English Amateur Billiards Association

EABA : The Billiard Monthly : July, 1911

The Billiard Monthly : July, 1911

The Lesson of the Gray-Inman Match

Scoring v. Safety Tactics

The outstanding lesson of the Gray-Inman match, in
which George Gray defeated M. Inman by 16,000 to 7,231
points, is that safety tactics unaccompanied by consistent
and continuous scoring on the part of the player who resorts
to such methods are of little avail.

Inman relied upon his safety play, which is admittedly of
a high order, and thought that he might be able, partly by
means of such play and partly by his personality, both to
stop and to demoralize the young Australian. But he did
neither. Gray scored off many of Inman’s safety strokes
and put up others of his own.

On the opening day it looked as though Inman was succeeding.
But it was all a delusion. Gray was merely
gauging the table and the balls and when he had done this
the rest of the match was a “procession.” But why was
not Gray bothered by Inman’s personality? Simply because,
whilst Gray was at the table, Inman, so far as Gray was
concerned, did not exist. Gray’s play spells several words
and one of them is “absorption.” As he was addressing
the ball on one occasion something heavy fell down and the
spectators started. It is to be doubted whether Gray heard
the noise. At any rate it did not interfere with his stroke.

Now one is told that Inman is prepared to challenge Gray
level with ivories! He says that he found the crystalates
so light that he was afraid to hit them. They are really
as heavy as ivories; and Inman himself has never made
better breaks than he did off crystalates during his long
tour abroad.

Playing against Gray he made few breaks out of the
single hundreds. Can it be that instead of Gray being
demoralized or instead of the balls being at fault it was
Inman who was demoralized? And even if he were, what
blame could there be in this forlorn tilt at the mechanically

The question is being asked: Will Gray be able to make
any considerable stand with ivories? In the opinion of The
Billiard Monthly ivories, after due practice, will make little
difference to Cray’s game. He will have to play a shade
finer, and with slightly increased strength and to preserve
the present direction of the object ball he will have to
slightly modify his placings in the D. But to suggest
that this, when it has once crystallized into a habit, will
reduce hit, present scoring force to the averages of the other
professionals during the past season is, in our opinion, to
argue without book.

If Gray chooses to renounce composition balls for a period
and to specialize in ivories we should expect to see thousand
breaks still coming from his cue from the more elastic

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