English Amateur Billiards Association

EABA : The Billiard Monthly : June, 1911

The Billiard Monthly : June, 1911

The Value of Slow Side—and Patience

Half-ball contacts ensuring the run of the object ball
along the usual half-ball contact course, can often be effected
when the stroke is not a half-ball one. The red ball, for
example, may be on the spot with the cue ball rather too
widely or narrowly placed near a top pocket shoulder to
leave an ordinary half-ball in-off into the opposite top pocket.

But by playing gently with running or check side and
aiming rather fuller or finer than half-ball the half-ball contact
will still be made, as the cue ball will curve slightly
before reaching the red, and the object ball will thus be
driven into favourable position for continuing with a middle
pocket in-off.

Even when the cue ball is several inches along the top
cushion or one or two inches down the side cushion, the
same contact can still be made – by means of a fairly gentle
half-masse stroke, which curls the cue ball, still more, in
the one case, and a rather fine running side stroke in the
other. These are much better strokes than harder and
check side strokes from the same position, as they leave the
middle pocket position just as though an ordinary half-ball
stroke had been played, and present the further great
advantage of pocket side.

The strokes described are equally useful when played from
near the middle pockets on to the red on the spot and also
when played from baulk into the middle pocket, the result
in each of these cases being to drive the object ball to the
top cushion and back along a line somewhat parallel with
the side cushions. The finer than half-ball stroke from
above the middle pocket is, however, made with check, as
this is pocket side from that position.

It is always wise gradually to lead up to another
required position, rather than to endeavour to force the
desired lie of the balls by means of a problematical shot,
however appealing such a shot may be. Perhaps the immediate
shot, without being at all difficult in itself, requires a
little forcing or other compensation which may operate in
a manner inimical to the maintenance of position, whereas
a near fine in-off or a long slow one may leave a simple ball
to ball cannon or half-ball in-off.

In watching the play of professionals it will be noticed
that they are never in a hurry to get a wayward ball immediately
into play. They bide their time, scoring experimental
in-offs all the time and presently a little extra
strength or a little deviation from the natural angle in the
run of the object ball yields them the opportunity for which
they have been waiting.

For instance, a double baulk may have been just missed
by the opponent so far as his ball is concerned and this ball
may be a little way up the table. The professional plays
ordinary in-offs until he has exactly gauged the strength
necessary to bring the white near to the baulk line and with
the next stroke he makes a cannon on to the red, with the
second he pots the red, wheeling his own ball round in so
doing, with the third he pockets his ball off the white,
which he guides to the middle of the table, and before the
majority of the spectators know what has happened he is at
the top of the table merrily alternating cannons with pots.

Even when the top of the table has been thus strategically
gained, the necessity for measured certainty in lieu of
retarding haste is often realized by the good player who may
be seen apparently dallying with cannons when there is an
easy pot on or making a somewhat sporting” pot “when
there is the simplest of cannons close to hand. It is all a
question of position and of the practically certain continuance
of the sequence. In the one case the white ball may
not be so near the spot as is desired and it has to be gently
edged in that direction by means of one or two gentle
cannons. In the other case the white ball may be already
nicely placed near the spot and a cannon would disturb if.

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