Jottings of the Month
Is Gray’s game the game? The answer would seem to be that billiards is usually considered to be a game played with three balls, and that the constant effort of players is to keep the object white out of the pockets or area to which Gray endeavours to relegate it. At the same time Gray’s performances are both masterly and instructive.
“In good health and a decent atmosphere a big break like the one totalling 985 (says George Gray) ought not to affect one’s eyes in the slightest. It is not the play, but the tobacco smoke that damages a billiard player’s eyes.” If ever a movement against smoking at billiard matches were inaugurated, perhaps Dawson (to the Testimonial Fund to whom all success!) might also be one of its supporters.
Gray’s English visit will probably last two seasons and afterwards his father and he hope to tour India, China, Japan, and possibly America, playing matches and exhibition games.
There is talk-largely futile by the way-about “barring the consecutive red losers.” Would it not be better, in the interests of amateur play, to “unbar” the red winners except in professional matches.
The leading players say that they have always scored the most freely when playing with composition balls, yet consider that to meet Gray with these balls would be unfair to them. Perhaps they are mentally setting the more difficult run-throughs against the easier enlarged throw-offs.
“Flaneur,” describing in the Leeds Mercury Gray’s 985 break, says that at the end Gray looked “hot and happy.” And yet he had missed the 1,000 by 15 only. Herein is seen the breezy optimism of youth. An adult would have
John Roberts has been playing against Lindrum in Australia, and it is said that we may see him playing
against Gray here?
The Billiards Control Championship now seems to be recognised as the professional championship of the world.- Yorkshire Evening Post.
“I am young enough to wait a little yet, and although the billiard championship of the world is my great ambition, I shall be quite content to try for it even in two years’ time, when I feel sure I shall have made considerable improvement on my present play.” George Gray.
After one of Nelson’s sessions against Gray, in which he had done little more than chalk his cue, Ernest Breed (the ex-amateur champion) wired to Nelson: “How do you like the table.”
The striker’s score is mounting up, I see;
Yet now he seatward plods his weary way,
And leaves the board to red ball- and to me.
Who shall gainsay the high position as a national pastime of the game of billiards when the professional championship cup is presented by a Lord Chief Justice.
There are nearly a thousand entries for the Army and Navy championship, promoted by Messrs. Thurston and Co., more than two thousand for the London Charity Handicap, and 302 for the Sporting Press Handicap. Why not “Press Handicap” by the way?
The entrants for The Yorkshire championship are: W. Pinder (Hull), A. Raynor (Mexborough), F. W. Hughes (Leeds), D. Bree (Leeds), E. Rudge (Doncaster), S. A. Sissons (Huddersfield). and J. Young (Leeds). The winner will meet Nelson towards the end of January at Leeds.
For the Manchester Charity Handicap this season, the back marker is again H. A. O. Lonsdale, the amateur champion, and other well-known players are H. E. Wolstenholme, last year’s winner, G. A. Heginbottom, the holder of the highest amateur break, H. A. Morley, the Cheshire amateur champion, and Walter Brearley.
That John Roberts is still very far from being a negligible quantity in the billiard arena is shown by his recent average of 250 in one sitting. Having only to trouble to walk to the table three times during a session does seem to simplify the game.
American billiard reports sound strangely to British ears. Here are a few sentences about the match in which Hoppe has just beaten Ives’s cannon record:-“Hoppe plays 18 inch balk line, one shot in, and Cutler 18 inch balk line two shots in. Hoppe, who won the bank, got the balls on the balk line and clicked off caroms as fast as the balls would roll. His 100th shot was a single cushion draw.” And so on.
Amongst new departures in match play this season have been successive games in London between Stevenson and a group of young professionals and “relay” turns in one match between the same great player and three Newcastle-on-Tyne professionals. The matches were played under the auspices of Messrs. Burroughes and Watts, Ltd.
On his most recent form Reece is justified in his challenge (jointly with Inman) of Stevenson for the championship.
An Irish paper says that Inman, in his match with Raynor, failed with a “Massey” stroke. The junior reporter was evidently at work here. Still, masse with the accent is almost as bad, the chief difference being that the one offends the eye and the other the ear.
At the Little Horton Conservative Club the members have found that one table is not sufficient, and have purchased another. Clubs or Institutes that do not yet possess tables should note this. A billiard table soon yields back its cost out of its own revenue and then the members clamour for a second. Leading residents are rarely averse from supplying the initial guarantee fund.