Coaching and Comment
When the EABA asked me to join their team to contribute to the
English Amateur Billiard Player I was flattered and pleased to do so.
After a good deal of thought I agreed on the condition that what I did
say would not be edited providing it was printable and not offensive in
Whilst I will be pleased to answer any queries regarding coaching or
advice within my own capabilities, I do not wish to translate into words
a complete coaching manual. OF THAT I HAVE HAD ENOUGH! Books are
plentiful, and words easy to come by, can be endless.
For this reason I would like to introduce myself to those who may
have heard the name of a commentator and wondered if it was worth asking
a written question they hope can be answered to help their game or to
satisfy their mind.
I was born on the 18th of the 6th 1917 the youngest of ten
children, made my first 100 break in 1926 playing Tom Newman. I was
taught by the famous champion who expected great things from me.
My teenage years were spent playing with and learning from all the old
time greats, such as Tom, Walter Lindrum, Joe Davis and Willie Smith
onwards. Unfortunately in 1939 Adolf Hitler changed things a bit, so I
helped in my little way to put his fire out, which took until May 17th
1946 when I was demobbed. At about 30 years of age I decided to settle
for billiards and started to study the art of the game, as I had been
privileged to see and to play with the great masters. Pot hunting was
not my intention, my target was far more difficult in changed
circumstances, yet with hindsight the correct decision to make.
Billiards is the MASTER GAME that covers every facet of play on a
billiard table or if you like a snooker table.
There is no 147 or even 155 to finalise or satisfy the ego. At billiards
your best could always have been better, if that is your incentive the
desire to play will always be with you…your share of victories will
give you deep satisfaction.
As a former chairman of the governing body which at that time was an
amateur concern, I restored the World Professional Snooker Championship
to the fore after many years in the doldrums. John Spencer turned
professional and won the event from Gary Owen, another new “pro”, a
former fireman. Ray Reardon was at that time a policeman. That was the
spark that set snooker alight. From then on with Pot Black the game
reached, through the media of television, great heights and enticed
sponsors to part with their money. I personally, do not believe that the
skills of the players has improved. This is of course debatable, so if
you want to tell me I’m talking a load of rubbish, get your pen to
work. That should give a certain Mr Williams of Cheshunt the incentive to
dip his pen again and leave his address this time. During my years with
the BBC Ted Lowe, David Vine, John Spencer, in fact nearly all the
commentators opened scores of letters, mostly nice, just the odd nasty
one which gave us a laugh before being tossed in the bin from whence it
came. Somehow Mr Williams of Cheshunt found his way into print, so much
for the editor! I can only leave readers to form their own conclusions
as to why. “I did” and told him so.