English Amateur Billiards Association

EABA : The Billiard Monthly : August, 1911

The Billiard Monthly : August, 1911

Reece on Compositions & Ivories

Last month we quoted Reece as saying to an interviewer
of The Perth Daily News:—
“I think Gray would do just as well with ivories,
though there are many who do not agree with me. I
think it would take him about two months’ solid practice,
before he could get perfect those extra raking long
losers, in which the ivory angle makes it a narrow pocket.”

Since announcing this belief Reece has met Lindrum with
bonzoline balls and been beaten by him, mainly by means
of the red losers, by some thousands. Close observation
of the behaviour of composition balls during this match would
seem to have modified to some extent Reece’s view,
as, speaking later to a representative of The Melbourne
Argus, he said:—

“Under present rules and playing with composition
balls, Gray, in my opinion, can concede one-third of the
game to any living player, with the one possible exception
of Lindrum, whose proficiency at the red ball trick might
reduce the proportion of start.

“So far as I have seen Lindrum, I am inclined to think
that with composition balls there is not a great deal of
difference between him and H. W. Stevenson, but at the
same time there is no saying to what extent Lindrum may
improve his red-ball play in the immediate future. When,
however, we come to ivory balls I would not care to say
how Gray and Stevenson might get on. It might be that
Gray would be hard put to it to beat Stevenson on level
terms.

“In the first place, Gray would have to learn the way
to play ivory in the three-ball game, in order to work out
his intermediate game, which would take a long time in
even the simpler phases of billiards. More important still,
from Gray’s point of view, is the behaviour of ivory balls
in the playing of losing hazards from baulk. Personally, I
do not believe that Gray’s colossal runs off the red would
be possible with ivory balls. To begin with, the narrower
angle of divergence made by ivory balls after contact means
that thereby the pocket opening is considerably reduced,
and one-eighth, or even one-sixteenth, part of an inch is
quite sufficient to bring a break to an end.

“But the most important factor of all is the extra pace
at which an ivory object ball travels after being struck.

Not only does the spring of ivory account for this, but the
substance takes such a high finish and is so much lighter
than composition that it demands a delicacy and accuracy
of striking not required in the case of the composition
ball. Times out of number I have seen losers made
successfully with composition balls, and the object ball come
back to its proper position with such varying strengths of
cue that I am convinced, had the balls been ivory, the
object ball would have at once got beyond control.

“To prove this theory, I once suspended a cue from the
ceiling, so that it would swing forward truly, as in the act
of striking a ball. I then placed set hazards with composition
and with ivory balls alternately, and, drawing back
the cue to given distances, released it so as to make the
shot. In every instance the object ball in ivory travelled
some 3ft. farther down the table after striking the cushion
than did the composition ball. Moreover, the least variation
in the momentum of the cue was responded to by the
ivory object ball, but to produce anything like a proportionate
difference in the pace and behaviour of the composition
ball an altogether disproportionate momentum had to be
imparted to the cue.

“Owing to the latitude and margin for possible error
which the composition ball allows, I am certain that the
red loser presents nothing like the difficulties to a class
player which are usually attributed to its execution. At
the same time, I do not wish to convey the impression that
I have any contempt for the red ball game.”


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