English Amateur Billiards Association

EABA : The Billiard Monthly : September, 1911

The Billiard Monthly : September, 1911

Limiting Consecutive Hazards

With Observations on Limitation Rules Generally

Lindrum would have been just beaten by Stevenson, if
playing him in the recent match at Melbourne on level
terms. This is not necessarily to say that he is as good
an all-round player as Stevenson. Before such a thing
could be asserted, or even suggested, one would need to
know exactly how much use Lindrum made of the red ball
stroke, even with its 75 limitation, as the obtaining of
position for this stroke is one of the easiest things in
billiards. It is enormously more easy, for example, than
the resumption of close cannon work after the allotted
number has been made, and only requires an intervening
cannon or a loser off the white.

Apart, however, from such considerations as these, the
Stevenson-Lindrum match is interesting as furnishing the
first example in billiard history of the limitation of the red
ball losing hazard. We understand the limitation at Melbourne
to have been to twenty-five consecutive scores off the
red, and that any incidental winning hazard was also
counted in the sequence. Thus one of the suggestions made
in The Billiard Monthly two months ago seems to be on the
road towards maturing.

At present the limiting rules (B.C.C.) read thus:—
If the red ball is pocketed twice in succession in one
break from the spot, without the conjunction of another
score, it shall be placed on the centre spot, or, if that is
occupied, on the pyramid spot, and should both these spots
be occupied the red shall be replaced on the spot. If
again pocketed it shall be placed on the spot. Spot play
may, if the players agree, be arranged for by suspending
this proviso.

Consecutive ball-to-ball cannons are limited to 25. On
the completion of this number the break shall only be continued
by the intervention of a hazard or indirect cannon.

Much simpler, more just, and more consistent, to our
mind, would be one short rule worded as follows:
When 25 (a) consecutive cannons, or (b) winning or
(c) losing hazards off one ball have been made the break
shall only be continued by the intervention of (a) a
hazard or indirect cannon, or (b and c) a cannon or
different hazard.

On a basis such as this Gray or Lindrum might challenge
for the championship, and people would go to see them play,
for such a contest would be crowded with interest from the
first stroke to the last. Even now, whenever Reece is seen
gently nursing the three balls towards a top corner pocket
the whisper circulates: “He is getting on the anchor
stroke”; and if 25 consecutive winning or losing hazards
were allowed and were the limit, there would be the double
interest of witnessing a skilful player lead up to or recommence
such a break.

As has been frequently pointed out in The Billiard
Monthly, the virtual barring of consecutive winning hazards
has done no good to billiards. As well might close
cannons be barred altogether, or, for the matter of that,
losing hazards—after which the cloth might very well be
put on.

Every expert billiard player, professional or amateur, must
in the nature of things be a specialist on all strokes that
can be specialised upon. Just as Tom Brown, when at
Rugby, pulled out in his famous fight a trick that he had
learned when wrestling with the village lads at home, so
a billiard player should have at hand, for those occasions,
or days, or weeks, when he may be out of sorts, or hard
pressed in one way or another, some stroke or strokes by
means of which he can always “make a few” and send
the scoring pegs along in his direction.

Billiard legislation has erred in the past. Let it now
“for a great wrong do a little right,” and put the limitation
clauses of its rules into consistent and coherent form.


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