English Amateur Billiards Association

EABA : The Billiard Monthly : June, 1911

The Billiard Monthly : June, 1911

Questions and Answers

White Circle on Red Ball

47.—”Noticing that the red ball on my private table had a
whitish circle round it a friend of mine said: ‘I see your red
ball is not true.’ He added that this was always caused by
friction with the cloth on the heavier side of a ball of unequal
density. Personally, I cannot quite see this, as the circle is equal
all round the ball.”

The cause of the white ring is that the
dye sinks more into the poles, or core, of a billiard ball than into
the sides. The worn part is, consequently, invariably across,
and not with, the grain, and greater density on one side or the
other has nothing whatever to do with it.

County Championships

48.—”I noticed that there was something said about county
championships in one of your recent issues. I think it would
be a very good way of bringing the best amateurs to the front,
and if you could do anything to help in forming a championship
for Somerset by advising the best way to start about it I should
be much obliged.”

We believe that the Billiards Control Club
Council is considering the question of County Championships,
which, as you mention, have already been advocated as preliminary
heats for national championships by The Billiard Monthly.

Pocket Run Throughs With Side

49.—”A few tips upon the tricky shots which one so often gets
at the corners of the table would be very useful. I mean the
run-through shots into the pocket where the object ball is
against, or close to, the side or end cushions. The stroke seems
to vary, accordingly as it is made across, against, or down the
nap. The positions are, of course, reversed at the baulk end,
and I think are more difficult at longer range, because the stroke
is across the nap. This stroke was mentioned in a recent issue
of The Billiard Monthly, but no tip was given,”

These shots
should be treated exactly as ordinary run-through cannons,
except that as much pocket side as possible should be employed.

With only a short distance for the cue ball to run the nap does
not greatly affect the stroke, especially at the bottom of the
table, where it is played sharply to clear baulk. At the top it
is played slowly to keep the object ball out of baulk. Of course
there is no cloth deflection in sharp side strokes except with a
raised cue.

The Composition Run-Through

50.—”Is it really so much easier, as is represented, to make
a long losing hazard break with composition balls than with

We think the talk about losing hazard play being
easier to an expert with composites than with ivories should cease.

The advantage of the greater throw-off only applies after normal
position has been lost, and Gray sometimes makes a thousand
without being called upon for a single” squarish “shot. His
strokes are mainly middle-pocket run-throughs, and all run-throughs
are more difficult, in our opinion, with compositions
than with ivories.

A Middle Pocket Table

51.—”A billiard friend shows me a drawing of a billiard table
with the sides above the middle pocket cut away, leaving only
an alley two feet wide in the centre for the return of the red ball.
Is he mad or are we really coming to a different-shaped table?
It certainly would economize material. Many thanks for question
answered in your column. I have since mastered the stroke
and it has reformed my game.”

Good. Such a table would
be rather too much of the freak variety, and the same effect can
be obtained by marking the top cushion with chalk a few inches
each side of the spot and playing the red ball between the limit
of those marks each time as Gray does.

Screwing Back

52.—”You make so many things plain in The Billiard Monthly
that I venture to ask you to describe the ordinary screw-back,
I can only do it with a quick stab, which I know is wrong, as
you mention extra screw by letting the cue go right through.
Is it a knack which will only come with time.?”

There is certainly
a knack, but this really consists in doing the stroke right.

Screw-back is reversed follow, and what is needed in each case
is not force, or dig, but a smooth, flowing stroke, which goes
right through the ball, the cue being, meanwhile, held as lightly
as possible and brought well back. Put the red ball on centre
baulk spot and your own a foot behind it. Aim half-ball, striking
low down with as little force as possible and your own ball
should run along the baulk line. Do this a great many times.

Next aim midway between edge and centre and your ball should
go in the corner baulk pocket. Finally, aim dead centre and it
should come back to you.

Relative Scoring Speed Off Specific Shots

53.—”Can points be scored as quickly by means of middle pocket
red in-offs as by all-round play?”

No. Close cannon
play is the quickest form of play, and general top-of-the-table
play mixed up with occasional returns to baulk and all-round play is
also quicker than the red ball losing hazards, although each score
counts three. If Stevenson were playing Gray and both scored
the same number of points during a session it would, we think,
be found that Stevenson had occupied considerably less time at
the table than Gray.

Eight Contacts and Four Throw Offs

54.—”I cannot quite follow your theory that it makes no
difference to the run of the cue ball whether aim is taken finer
or fuller than half-ball. With me it makes considerable difference.”

Perhaps you stun the cue ball, especially when aiming
full. On each side of the object ball in billiards are four fine
and four thick aims, advancing by quarter inches, but representing,
so far as the direction of the cue ball is concerned, only
four deviations, as any aim taken inside the edge has the same
effect on the cue ball as though taken at an equal distance outside
the edge. Consequently, when it is desired to drive the
object ball forward, the thicker aim is taken, and when it is
desired to cut the object ball away the finer aim is taken. The
cueing must, of course, be light and the aim at near quarters
high, otherwise the thicker aims will produce a greater throw-off
and spoil the calculation. In screwing, the same eight aims,
and also a dead central one, are employed, and in this way the
cue ball can be deflected in nine different directions, but the
greater the distance between the balls in screwing the fuller
must be the aim taken to obtain the same direction for the cue

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