English Amateur Billiards Association

EABA : The Billiard Monthly : September, 1911

The Billiard Monthly : September, 1911

With Reece in Australia

(Special to The Billiard Monthly.)

SYDNEY, June 28, 1911

Never in the history of Australian billiards have
enthusiasts been regaled with such an exhibition of the
game as that afforded by Tom Reece and Fred Lindrum,
champion of Australia, in the match of 16,000 up now proceeding
here. At least, such is the description of the first
week’s play applied by the local press, who are enthusiastic
in their praise of the Englishman’s charming style and
delicacy of touch.

And truth to tell, it has been a great game so far. The
players have passed and repassed each other nearly twenty
times since the game opened on Monday, June 19, each
compiling brilliant efforts of the century, double-century,
and treble-century variety, until at the end of the eighth
day’s play but four points separate the two scores: Lindrum,
10,668; Reece, 10,664. Fortunately those who are
patronizing the match have been spared the series of tedious
red ball sessions which characterized the match at Melbourne,
although on occasions Lindrum has had recourse
to the “all-red” route in order to nullify the Englishman’s
greater ability at the all-round game.

For instance, last evening, when Reece showed a disposition
to forge right ahead by means of a lovely and
characteristic 386 (which was enthusiastically applauded for
quite two minutes), Lindrum turned on a 506 by means of
the “Gray” stroke. He had made other fairly lengthy red
ball runs previously, but up to time of writing the foregoing
is the Australian’s best. He was fortunate to get the
opening for the break, as the first shot was a palpable
fluke—an incident which apparently escaped the notice of
the reporters present. Or if they did notice it, the fact
was apparently not worthy of mention in their respective
papers. And this reminds me that billiards is not nearly
so well reported in Sydney as in Melbourne, where the
“covering” approaches the English standard.

Having seen Lindrum play for a month, I have arrived at
the conclusion that with the “all-red” route cut out he is
no match for Reece, even under conditions which favour
him greatly. Lindrum has a life-long experience of bonzoline
balls (which Reece is using exclusively throughout his
tour), whereas the Lancastrian never struck one of this
make in a match before landing in Australia on May 16.

Students of billiards do not require to be told the heavy
handicap this, and the fact that he had no opportunity for
practice while on the water for five weeks, entailed upon
Reece, who has risen manfully to the occasion, and at
present is playing such brilliant billiards as to lead a
majority here to remark that his exhibition is spectacularly
in advance of anything previously witnessed in Sydney.

The set of bonzolines in use, of course, deserve a great
deal of the credit, and both Lindrum and Reece speak in
high terms of their excellence. And I am of opinion Reece
will perform even better with this make of ball ere the
tour is over. In the present match with Lindrum Reece
has so far averaged well over 40 all the way through, and
no one, under all the circumstances, need ask for better
billiards than these figures represent in a game where his
opponent is putting all in to conquer. Lindrum is credited
with the intention of going to England at the expiration of
the present Australian season. His great ambition is to
meet and beat Gray at home, but he has no hope in life
of doing this. Fred is a great red ball artist, and, excluding
his younger countryman, the greatest in the world, but
he is a long way yet from being a George Gray. He plays
the losing hazards ever so much more attractively than the
phenomenon now in your midst, and is his superior at those
long raking shots into the top pockets, but as an effective
scoring force of the Gray type has a long row to hoe before
he can hope to tackle his fellow Colonial successfully.

Lindrum will be well advised if he goes home as an allround
player, in which phase he is indisputably the greatest
ever turned out by Australia, because, in addition to being
an effective scorer, he is a pretty player to watch. Moreover
he is one of the finest natural players I have ever seen,
and is capable of such improvement that he may well aspire
to the world’s championship in course of time when the
continuous red ball losing hazard is relegated to the same
scrap-heap of professional billiards as the spot, push, cradle,
feather, jam, and other strokes of the past.

Anyhow, that is the advice I have tendered the young
champion of Australia, who has a great future before him
if properly handled. It remains to be seen whether Lindrum
will act on this advice—emphasized by several of his
most genuine supporters and admirers in Australia—when
he arrives in England somewhere about the first week in
October. Still, no definite arrangements have been made
regarding the proposed trip.

Among Reece’s forthcoming engagements is a match at
Snooker Pool, in which the supporters of young Frank
Smith are laying £50 to £40 that he defeats Reece in the
best of 21 games. The match is creating great interest in
Sydney, where Snooker Pool rivals billiards in the rooms,
and will be decided on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday
of next week. Young Frank Smith claims the championship
of Australia at this game, and is said to “hole” a ball
better than anyone else in Australia.*
So far over 4,500 people have witnessed the Reece-Lindrum
match in Sydney and all records in the attendance
direction for Australasia seem to be in danger.

We leave Sydney for Melbourne on July 14 to meet
Harry Stevenson, who will play Reece games in Melbourne
and Sydney. In addition, Lindrum will be met once again
in each city, and on August 25 we leave for Colombo (Ceylon)
where a fortnight will be spent prior to our departure
for England. We are both fit and overwhelmed with the
hospitality of Australian sportsmen.

GEORGE REID.


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