English Amateur Billiards Association

EABA : The Billiard Monthly : March, 1911

The Billiard Monthly : March, 1911

Questions and Answers

A Status Question

23.—”Is it fair that markers should not be classed as amateurs
who have given up marking and are in an entirely different line
of business?”

Such cases are, we believe, considered on their
merits, and a request for reinstatement is sometimes acceded to.

Plain or With Side?

24.—”Are the red losers into the middle pockets from baulk
played as plain strokes or with check or running side? I have
heard all three methods advocated by different players.”

the whole we should advocate plain strokes.

Weight of Cue

25.—”In the last issue of your valuable paper you commented
on the proper weight of cue to use. It would be instructive to
many of your readers to receive a reply to the query: ‘At what
distance from the butt end of the cue ought it (a good one) to

The balance as tried on the edge of the table is
about at the splicing, and a good place to hold the cue is midway
between this part and the butt end. But, of course, the
hand has to be shifted according to the exigencies of the different
strokes. At any rate, when the cue point is resting against the
ball the forearm should be vertical in normal strokes.

Ironing the Table

26.—”In last month’s issue you have a paragraph under ‘A
Few Cue Tips,’ ‘The over-ironing of a table is a mistake.’ What
constitutes over-ironing? I have a table of my own and should
be glad to know how often it should be ironed. I may mention
that it is not played on every day, and I think it draws the

The table should be thoroughly brushed after each
time of use. If this be done the amount of ironing should be in
proportion to the amount of play or to the dampness of the
weather. Apart from damp once or twice a week is sufficient,
even if the table be used every night. The thing to avoid is the
effort to get a “glaze” on. This destroys both the cloth and
the play.

Nap Allowance

27.—”In playing short jennies into the middle pockets against
the nap, should pocket side be employed, or should the side be
reversed? If one puts on pocket side the ball curls away from
the opening, whereas if one employs reverse or check side it
seems to keep the ball out of the pocket. Should the side be reversed
when a ball has to travel only slightly against the nap?”

Whether side is reversed or not depends upon circumstances
as does the amount of side allowance. In playing up the table
slowly with running side at a long range half-ball shot the centre
of the object ball must be aimed at. At short range up the
table, or transversely, the aim would be only slightly thicker than
half-ball. Between short and long range shots up the table the
allowance would be proportioned. In playing down the table the
side is either reversed or aim is taken fuller or finer according to
where, for position purposes, it is desired to get contact on the
ball. For instance, the long range half-ball shot down the table
can either be made with running side aimed an inch finer or
with chock side turned full. All this, of course, only applied to
slow shots, as the nap does not affect free or fast shots. Usually
the stroke to play down the table would be a free one bringing
the object ball back out of baulk, and this applies, indeed, to
much of the play against the nap, especially where, as you say,
reversed side would lead to a wobble in either middle or bottom
pockets unless the exact centre were found.

Attitude at Table

28.—”Allow me to congratulate you on your admirable paper,
which should be most useful to amateur players who, like myself,
are endeavouring to improve their game. Will you kindly enlighten
me on the following points?: (1) In standing at the table
should the right leg (in the case of a right-handed player) be erect
or slightly bent? (2) With respect to the position of the right
leg, should it be held immediately behind the left leg, with the
heel in a line with the latter?”

(1) The right leg should be
kept straight but without undue muscular tension. A great point
in billiards is to feel natural and comfortable. (2) The left foot
should be kept well away to the left with the point of the foot
towards the cue ball. The right foot should be somewhat
broadside to the stroke, and the ball of this foot, the elbow, the
chin, and the bridge hand, must be aligned with the cue.

Billiard Lessons

29.—”I wonder if you would be kind enough to furnish me
with the names and addresses of one or two men in London who
give billiard lessons? I have never played any billiards, and
consequently would want a good many lessons. I work during
the day and, therefore, my only free time is in the evening.”

If you do not know any billiards you are in the happiest condition
for commencing to learn, because, as a rule, what a player
has taught himself in the early stages is more of a hindrance
than a help to him when he endeavours to take up the game
seriously. We could not recommend any particular instructor,
but either of the leading billiards supply houses, if applied to,
would be able to put you on the right track.

Size of Pockets

30.—”Playing with 2 3/32 in. balls on a table with 3 5/8 in. pockets
my friends do not score so freely as they do on public tables,
the pockets of which are invariably larger. This is an argument
in favour of all pockets being made to standard size, as
a man who comes to a table that is a little more difficult, and
misses one or two shots at the start of a game, is frequently put
off his game. The same thing, I suspect, had something to do
with the amateurs not going successfully for the long loser at the
Leicester Square competition, as mentioned in The Billiard
Monthly of February.”

We are strongly in favour of a uniform
width of pockets and agree with all that you say. There are
only two arguments that we have heard in favour of easy pockets.

One is that they beget confidence and make one used to break-getting,
and the other (this from the owners of public tables) that
they shorten the duration of the 100 up. The obvious replies are
that the confidence and break-getting alike disappear in presence
of pockets of unaccustomed tightness, and that all games might
just as well have a time as a points limit. There are no “hundreds
up” at cricket.

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