English Amateur Billiards Association

EABA : The Billiard Monthly : March, 1912

The Billiard Monthly : March, 1912

Billiards as a Science

A Book by Col. C. M. Western

Most professional, and many amateur, billiard players,
seem to deny that billiards is a science at all. They do not
say this in so many words but whenever they hear of mathematical
angles and the scientific adaptation of varying
strengths to varying ball contacts they curl the lip and remark
that these things are best taken care of by the eye and
the” feel. “hey do not seem to realize that the accurate
accomplishment of a stroke is merely applied science and
that the laws that govern the motions of the balls under
varying conditions is Science itself.

The great majority of billiard players gradually find their
game, and we are not prepared to say that they are wrong.

But we do say that the preliminary stages of practice can
be enormously shortened and confidence established at a
much earlier date by an intelligent study of the theory of
the game, and that Col. C. M. Western is of the same
opinion is clearly deducible from the handsome volume just
published for him at the quite inadequate price of 3s. 6d. by
Messrs. Simpkin, Marshall, & Co.

In conjunction with his informative book, Col. Western
issues an appliance somewhat of a pantograph nature,
which is so scaled upon its surface and so jointed that a
player who uses this silent instructor can, it is claimed, tell
(1) the point of aim and how any stroke can be made, (2)
whether it is within his own personal power, (3) the different
ways in which the same stroke (so far as the immediate
score is concerned) can be made, (4) to what extent
he comes short of intention, and (5) the most desirable ball placing
for any specific stroke.

Col. Western admits that this may sound a pretentious
claim, but we are bound to say that the portion of the book
devoted to the” pointer “seems to fully establish what is
alleged in its favour. We have not yet had an opportunity
of practically testing the appliance, but hope to record some
of our experiences of its use in the next number of The
Billiard Monthly.

There is one thing, by the way, that Col. Western does
not claim, and that is that the desired results can be
achieved if the cue ball be not struck and the cue directed
in a similar manner in all similar cases, and it is just here
that one great value of the book seems to us to lie. In all
the months of misapplied practice of the average beginner
the most lamentable portion of the sum total of wasted time
is that which arises from the neglect, from the very outset,
to pay attention to the course of the object ball (or balls) in
losing hazard and cannon play and to the course or destination
of the cue ball in winning hazard play. The eye
should be trained to take the double glance in the earliest
stages of practice, and if this were done the cueist would
always know whether he had aimed and struck as intended
and would no longer be able to cherish the illusion that he
had cued accurately merely because the immediate stroke—
in which there is nearly always a considerable latitude for
error—was achieved.

The photos on front cover page of this issue of The Billiard
Monthly are (with the exception of that of C. Harverson
and the small insetted ones) by the Sport and General
Press Agency, Ltd., and for the attractive grouping idea we
are indebted to Lotinga’s Weekly.

A remarkable youthful billiard player has sprung into
notice in Leeds in the person of Harry Taylor. Only fourteen
years of age, he made on February 7th a break of 455
(453 off the red) while playing against Detective Helliwell,
of the Leeds Police. The break was made on a strict standard
table at the Cardigan Hall, Leeds, with ivory balls, the
table being that used in a match by George Gray. This 453
off the red ivory ball is claimed to be a world’s record,

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