Four Interesting Matches
- M. Inman 15,000 v. J. Roberts 12,971.
- A. F. Peall (rec. 5,000) 12,000 v. W. J. Peall 7,041.
- W. Smith 16,000 v. T. Newman 15,189.
- W. Cook 7,000 v. Miss Roberts (rec. 2,500) 6,006.
During the past month of May there have been four billiard
matches in London, each possessing distinctive
interest. The champion during many undisputed past years
met the present champion on the old championship table
with three-inch pockets, and, although playing level against
opponent to whom he had conceded very long starts in
comparatively recent years, was handsomely beaten by him;
old spot-stroke champion, playing all in, attempted to
concede his promising son 5,000 in 12,000, but would have
been nearly beaten without giving any start at all; Smith,
young Darlington player who beat George Gray, put up
winning game of extraordinary merit against John
Roberts’s present talented and youthful protege T. Newman,
in the course of which he eclipsed all Soho Square
break records with a 736; and the lady professional, Miss
Ruby Roberts, managed to score over 3,500 points whilst
W. Cook, who made frequent large breaks, put together
7,000so that if Miss Roberts had been conceded half the
game, as many a good male amateur would have needed to
she would have won.
Our chief concern just now, however, is with the matches
between Roberts and Inman and Smith and Newmanand
especially, perhaps, the latter. Although Roberts was
beaten by more than 2,000 in 15,000 under playing conditions
his own choosing, the idea is not to be deduced that his
play was other than of the highest class. There was all the
old fire and dash; all the gentle and graceful close-cannon
touch; all the magical positional manoeuvring; and all the
old and wonderful ball-grouping by means of daring all-round
or screw-back cannons. But this delightful play,
beloved as it is by spectators, only on occasion lends itself
to long break sequences when the table conditions are, as
in the present case, more than usually onerous and exacting
and it was Roberts’s fine dash and abandon, glorious to
behold, that were really his undoing. For he was pitted
against the veritable sleuth hound of modern billiardsa
player who takes no chances and who willingly gives none.
Instant sighting, two short movements of the cue, and the
delivery are Roberts’s utmost concession to the most difficult
and delicate proposition. Inman makes sure even of the
simplest shot by an addressing of the ball and a microscopic
adjustment of aim that leaves error practically no margin
to work in.
Interesting as was the match at the old Academy of
Music between the veteran exponent and England’s new and
youthful champion, that at Soho Square between the two
youths who have, in the course of a single season, forced
themselves by sheer merit and talent into a foremost place
in the billiard world, was, to many, more interesting still.
It was a ding-dong match from beginning to end, but such
were the breaks compiled on both sides and so excellent
was the play throughout, that the “ding-dong” could very
well afford to be a see-saw of a thousand points. According
to all rules of precedent each player ought, in succession,
to have been “hopelessly beaten” at several stages
of the game, but both refused to see the matter in that light
at all. Devoting their best efforts to the most discouraging
circumstances and reserving their most cheerful smiles for
the most exasperating pieces of bad luck they kept themselves
fit and in equable mood from beginning to end of the
closely-fought match and set an unconscious example for all
time to billiard players, both professional and amateur, of
the true sportsmanlike way of conducting an encounter.