English Amateur Billiards Association

Practical Billards – Charles Dawson

Practical Billiards

by Charles Dawson (Champion) : 1904

COMPARATIVELY little is known of the origin of the game of billiards, it is stated to have been derived from so many different games that it is doubtful which authority is correct, as the following extracts by various writers will show:-

Who invented the game of billiards? It has been asserted that the inventor was William Kew, who first played the game in London about 1560; but it has been shown that in France the game was played in the time of Charles VII. (1462), and it is certainly mentioned in one of the poems of Clement Marot, who died in 1544. At first the game was played with two white balls only, the red ball being introduced in the time of Louis XIV.

Billiards was said to be a pawnbroker’s pastime, and that a gentleman in that financial profession, William Kew, invented the game of billiards about the beginning of the sixteenth century. During the wet he was in the habit of taking down the three balls, and with the yard measure pushing them, billiard fashion, into the stalls. In time, the idea of a board and side pockets suggested itself. “All the young men were greatly recreated thereat, chiefly the young clergymen from St. Paul’s. Hence one of the strokes was named a ‘cannon’, having been by one of the said clergymen invented. The game was first known by the name of ‘Bill-yard,’ because William or Bill Kew did first play with his yard measure. The stick was first called a ‘Kew or kue.'”It is easy to comprehend how “Bill-yard” has been modernised into “billiards”, and the transformation of “Kew” into “cue” is equally apparent. “Mark-her”, or “marker” arose from the duties of a sentinel, who had to look out for a certain wife, who objected to her husband’s absence and sought him out. Hence was called “mark-her”.

Another account of the origin of billiards has by some writers been attributed to Henrique De Vigne, a French artist, who, in the reign of Charles IX., about the year 1571, designed tables, and drew up the earliest code of rules. It was then played with small ivory balls, a “pass”, or “iron” being fixed on the cloth, through which, at set periods, they were driven. Amongst German, Italian, and Dutch games, the new amusements soon occupied a prominent place. Very few improvements in the method of playing were carried out until the seventeenth century, when six holes, or, as they were termed, “hazards”, cut in the bed, superseded the pass, and greater skill being necessary to effect a score, billiards speedily became the rage. On the Continent a thick stick or “cue” half an inch in diameter, and held between the forefinger and thumb, was employed for striking the balls; but the “mace,” although derided by foreigners, continued the acknowledged instrument in this country, and not a few of our best players showed great expertness in wielding it. About the year 1760 cues with perfectly flat points, sometimes of ivory, were introduced, but, as may be conceived, very little adroitness resulted. Five-and-twenty years later a second cue, cut obliquely at the small end, or rounded slightly on one side, was proposed, in order to enable players to hit the ball below the centre. It could only, however, be applied for making “cramp” strokes, and obtained the name-why, we are not aware of the “jellery”. Another alteration was adopted toward the close of the century, the point of the cue being bevelled all round, thus presenting a still broader surface. Leather “wads” did not follow until about 1806, when the virtues of chalk were also found out. Lastly came the French “tip” of the present day, than which no invention connected with the mechanique of the game has rendered more signal service.

During the period when the game was played with only two balls, there were but two styles of play. The sole object of each competitor was to pocket his opponent and keep his own ball on the table, but if it accidentally ran in, the score was marked against the striker, hence the term “losing hazard”. But by the other style of play both might be holed, and a total of four thus made. The former was designated the “white winning”, and the latter the “white losing game”, each twelve up.

After the introduction of the red ball, about 1795, the mode of government underwent many reforms, the score was lengthened to sixteen, then to twenty-four up; while, though restricted to alternate strokes at the outset, facilities were also given for rapid counting. The “carambole”, or cannon, became known for the first time; and of which seven, and at the other ten, points might be made by a single shot, speedily outrivalled the old-fashioned plan. A curious clause in the specified that “whosoever shall wilfully shake the table forfeits the game” leaving it to be inferred that tables then did not boast too much solidity.

About the year 1825, John Carr, a marker at the Upper Rooms at Bath, is given the credit of first making use of the “side twist” or “screw stroke” to anything like advantage. He was accredited the “father of the side stroke”, and artful vendor of the “twisting chalk”, to the not too wise looker-on, by which he made large sums of money by its sale. He astonished them by making 22 consecutive spot strokes in a game of 100 up, and then challenged all comers, which was accepted by Edwin Kentfield, of Brighton. But Carr, through his intemperate habits, fell ill and never met.

Kentfield, a model of his profession, then assumed the title of Champion, and to his suggestions is attributed that most of the improvements in billiard tables and accessories took place, which were so altered as to make a revolution in play. This he alludes to in the book on billiards entitled, “The Game of Billiards: Scientifically explained and Practically Set Forth in a Series of Novel and Extraordinary, but Equally Practical Strokes”, published in 1839. His highest break was 196 (57 consecutive strokes), which must at the time have been a great performance, no matter what size the pocket openings were, considering the circumstances under which it was made, for when Kentfield learned his game it must not be forgotten that the cushions were made of woollen list, and the bed of the table wood, covered with coarse green baize, also the implements of play were nothing like those used at the present time. At his Subscription Rooms at Brighton he is said to have first met and tried his strength with John Roberts, Senr., after which all efforts to get him to play Roberts proved fruitless. Kentfield in his later years was let down by circumstances quite beyond his own control, and died in 1873. He saw the commencement of the modern style, but not then had anyone made 1,000 in one innings off the balls, even with the aid of the spot stroke. Cook’s break of 936 up to that time being the nearest to four figures.

Until the year 1827 wood alone had been used in the making of tables, and English players were not a little surprised towards the close of that year to find it supplanted by slate, of which the beds have since been constructed. Greater accuracy, smoother running, and more weight, were consequently added on this improvement, the only drawback being slowness. Ten years later india-rubber displaced list for cushions, and although at the outset it met with steady opposition, in consequence of the deleterious effects of frost, the difficulty was soon remedied by the adoption of vulcanised rubber, which retains its elasticity in any climate.

John Roberts, Senr., who was born on June 15th, 1823, at Liverpool, assumed the premiership in 1849, and for nearly twenty years his claim to it was unchallenged. He was originally a marker at Oldham, but in 1845, when he was twenty-two years of age, he became manager of the billiards rooms at the Union Club, Manchester. Whilst there he devoted much of his time entirely to the practice of the “spot stroke”. He was in the habit of giving big starts to all comers, but his first match of importance took place on October 18th, 1850, with Starke, the American, to whom he conceded 100 start in a game of 1,000 up, and won by 221 points. His other matches of note resulted as follows:-On October he was defeated by Starke (who received 1,500 in 3,000) by 200 points. He conceded C. Hughes 300 points in 1,000 on April 10th, and won by 445 points, and again defeated the same player, conceding 375 points in 1,000, on December 13th, 1861, by 180 points. He was beaten by J. Smith, who received 400 start in 1,000, on May 17th, 1863. After this reverse Roberts gave W. Dufton 400 in 1,000 on January 14th, 1864, and bear; him by 211 points; the following day Roberts tried to concede Bowles 300 points in 1,000, but failed, the latter just winning after an exciting game. On January 19th, he was beaten by W. Moss, who received 500 in 1,000; he defeated C. Hughes. conceding 350 in 1,000, on March 5th, by 234 points; and on May 20th, 1864 he defeated W. Dufton, conceding 350 points in 1,000 by 291 points. His best breaks up to 1867 were 188 (55 spots) against Herst, at Glasgow in 1858; 240 (including 102 consecutive cannons) against Bowles, at Oxford, in 1861; 346 (104 consecutive spots) against W. Dufton at Saville House, Leicester Square, London, in March, 1862; and 256 (78 spots) at Huddersfield, in January, 1867. Up to 1870 the title of Billiard Champion had been assumed.

William Cook, who played his first game of importance with John Roberts, Junr., in 1868, was the next player to make the most marked progress, and when a year later-and twice in one week with the same player he beat the largest break that John Roberts, Senr., had ever made, it became evident that the elder Roberts would not be left much longer in undisturbed possession of the Championship. In the latter part of 1869 he issued a challenge, resulting in articles being signed between John Roberts, Senr., and William Cook, on January 12th, 1870, to play the first match at billiards for £200 and the Championship, Joseph Bennett being appointed referee. The three principal firms of table makers (Messrs. Burroughes and Watts, Cox and Yeman, and Thurston and Company) each gave £50 towards a cup to be held by the winner, who in addition received a medal, to become the absolute property of anyone retaining it for five years against all comers. Lots were drawn as to which firm were to supply the table, and fortune favoured Messrs. Cox and Yeman.

Most of the leading players of the day, including Cook and representatives of the billiard table firms interested, met to draw up rules to govern the Championship, and decided that a table with 3 inch pockets, and with the spot 12 1/2 inches from the top cushion instead of 13 1/4 inches, should be used, and that this rule remain in force for all matches for the Championship trophy, thus instituting the “Championship Table”. Cook’s strong point being the spot hazard, his chance of success was thought to be considerably lessened by this alteration, for it completely killed all spot-stroke play, though Cook did not appear to realise this at the time. In the report of the match, which was played in the large concert room at the St. James’s Hall, on February 11th, 1870, it states that Cook, upon the first occasion that he secured position for the spot stroke (at 40) was greeted with several rounds of applause, and on Cook breaking down after making five in succession, there was a general feeling of disappointment by the large gathering of spectators present, including the Prince of Wales and numerous members of the aristocracy, and both Houses of Parliament. Roberts is described as wearing a soft felt hat, chalking bets on the floor, chaffing his friends with a jaunty air, and taking things very easily. His appearance contrasted very much with that of Cook’s, whose extreme juvenility evidently took the uninitiated by surprise, but though he headed his youthful opponent (Cook was not then twenty-one years of age) in the last hundred but one, he was finally beaten by 117 points, the game not being over until nearly two o’clock in the morning.

After winning the Championship Cook showed great improvement in his play, making the record break or 512. including 167 spot strokes, in a game of 1,000 up at the Assembly Rooms, Seymour Hotel, Totnes, South Devon against W. D. Stanley on March 4th, 1870. He, however, lost the Championship to John Roberts, Junr.. on April 14th, 1870. After this defeat he seemed to realise the difference between the ordinary and the championship table, for he issued a challenge to give any player 200 in 2,000 on an ordinary sized pocket table (3 5/8) by Messrs. Burroughes and Watts for £50 a side, which was taken up by John Roberts Senr., and played at the St. James’s Hall, April 17th, 1871. Cook ran out a winner with an unfinished break of 268 (78 spot strokes)-Cook 2,000, Roberts 1,591. This was about the last match of importance John Roberts snr., played, although he played in several tournaments and occasionally public for some years after. He, however, lived to see his son, John Roberts, Junr. become Champion-and a long way above any other player for many years-and also win the Championship Cup outright that he first played for. He died March 27th, 1893, at his residence, 13, Alice Road, Romford Road, Forest Gate, London, after a protracted illness.

On November 28th, 1870, Joseph Bennett contested and won the cup beating John Roberts, Junr. Thus in 1870 four championship matches were played and we had four Champions, viz., John Roberts, Senr., W. Cook, John Roberts, Junr., and Joseph Bennett.

Cook continued to make record after record, and on January 14th 1871, against Joseph Bennett, at the St. James’s Hall, Regent Street, London, he made a break of 752 (182 spot strokes).

He also won the Championship on May 25th, 1871, which he held till the same month in 1875. It was during this time that we saw the best of Cook’s form. He surpassed all his former efforts on November 29th, 1872, by making a break of 936 (262 consecutive spots) at his rooms, 99, Regent Street, W., against Joseph Bennett. He first introduced the “spot barred” game in the first big handicap played at the Guildhall Tavern, Gresham Street, London, on March 16th, to March 2lst, 1874, which was won by S. W. Stanley. The promoters, Messrs. Burroughes and Watts, gave a billiard table for first prize, and it was through their liberality that handicaps and tournaments became so popular and brought new players to the front. In the report of the first day’s play, in describing the “spot barred” game, it states that “a player is only allowed to put down the red ball once off the spot, into either of the top pockets; if ball be put down a second time without a further score by the same stroke, no score was allowed, and his opponent follows on, the red being placed on the on the spot”. The handicap had been made “spot barred” so as to bring the players more together, because Cook was so much better than the others at the “all-in” game. He had previously won the first handicap “all-in” played at the same place in December, 1873, making a 428 break unfinished in 500 up against L. Kilkenny, who received 130 points, in the final game, so there is little doubt that he was in front of the others at this time. The heats as before were 500 up, Mr. Cambridge, handicapping the players as follows:-First Round.- F. T. Morris received 160, beat H. Evans received 140, by 4 points; L. Kilkenny received 140, beat Joseph Bennett scratch, by four points; A. Bennett received 140, beat D. Richards received 180 by 46 points; John Bennett received 180, beat J. Roberts, Junr., scratch, by 9 points; S. W. Stanley received 200, beat G. Collins received 150, by 157 points; J. Roberts, Senr., received 140, beat W. Dufton received 200, by 75 points; T. Taylor received 180, beat W. Cook scratch. by 141 points. Second Round.-Stanley 200, beat Morris 160, by 197; A. Bennett 140, beat John Bennett 180, by 54; Kilkenny 140, beat J. Roberts Senr., 140, by 90; Taylor 180, beat F. Bennett 140, by 69. Third Round.-Stanley 200, beat Kilkenny 140, by 6; Taylor 180, beat A. Bennett 140, by 104. Final Games (two out of three).-Stanley beat Taylor by 57 and 40 respectively. Stanley’s largest break in the final games was 5], and Taylor’s 63.

Before this handicap some discussion had taken place in various papers about doing away with the spot stroke, some thinking that large breaks would soon spoil the game; but as the games played were mostly 1,000 up, it was not uncommon for a player to be asked to continue his break if he had made a good score when game was called. Most of the large breaks were compiled in this way. In the same year a Frenchman (Mons. Adrian Izar) gave exhibitions around the country of thumb and one finger against cue with considerable success. He was credited with making 662 in nine minutes at Barrow-in-Furness, which proved to show that large breaks, however made, were then popular. This kind of game was afterwards taken up by Herbert Roberts, brother to John Roberts, Junr.

About this time matches of 1,000 up, for £100 and larger sums, plentiful, and keenly contested. One singular event is worth recording: The “Sportsman”, reporting on a match played between L. Kilkenny and G. Collins on February 11th, 1874, said, “On Wednesday last the above players essayed to play their match of 1,000 up for £100 at the White Rose Tavern, Castle Street, Leicester Square, London. The first decent break was made by Collins, who ran up 61, to which his opponent replied with 73, and presently, when the former had scored 88, the numbers were called, Collins 613, Kilkenny 452, and shortly afterwards 623-510. Eventually the Yorkshireman reached 951 to 939, when Collins ran up to 950, and the landlord put the gas out, leaving Kilkenny one point ahead. The following day the players met at our office, and each agreed to draw his stake, and arrange another match shortly”. This, however, was carried out; but why the landlord took this course is not easy to understand, unless he had some interest in the game.

In 1874 Cook sailed to America, and there played several matches. On his return he introduced the first handicap played on the principle (i.e., each man plays one game with every other player) in a tournament played at Joseph Bennett’s Rooms, 315, Oxford Street London, January 25th to February 1st, 1875, in which the following players took part:-W. Cook, Joseph Bennett, and John Roberts, Junr., scratch; T. Taylor, 100 points start; S. W. Stanley, 120; Timbrell, 140; Kilkenny and A. Bennett, 160. J. Roberts and A. Bennett tied for first prize, and playing off the heat 500 up, Roberts started with a 213 break and won by 140 points. Up to this period Cook had made the largest breaks on both the ordinary and championship tables, and was generally looked upon as the best player. He, however, lost the Championship to John Roberts, Junr., on May 24th, 1875, which marked the turning point of the careers of the two players, for although Cook again held the title he never won the Championship, but unsuccessfully tried on four occasions. In the same year T. Taylor and W. Cook played two matches of 1,000 up, for £100 a side each match. The latter conceded 200 points in the first game, winning by 474 points; and 300 in the second, winning this also by 97. Tournaments and handicaps once introduced had plenty of support, and were continually played up to 1885. In 1876 Tom Taylor heat F. Bennett on a championship table by 315 points, and several tournaments were played. The following year W. Cook defeated T. Taylor (conceding 300 points in 1,000), and T. Taylor defeated Joseph Bennett two matches on a championship table, each match for £100 a side, winning both by less than 30 points. J. Roberts gave Timbrell 300 points in 1,000 for £500 a side at the Gaiety Restaurant, and was defeated by 439 points.

Up to about this period W. Cook, John Roberts, Junr., and Joseph Bennett had always played on even terms, but on the return of Roberts from India he offered to give Bennett 200 points in 3,000 on a championship table for £100 a side, and a match was arranged and played May 23rd to May 26th, 1879. Roberts took the lead early in the game when Bennett’s score stood at 336, and from this point it was a close fight, each in turn taking the lead. At the finish of the first evening the scores stood: Roberts, 1,024; Bennett, 939. The second evening: Roberts, 1,987; Bennett, 1,971; and after fine all-round play and a great struggle Bennett was finally beaten by 20 points. The winner’s best break was 91, and Bennett in one break made 14 spot strokes, and followed this with a break 112.

In November of the same year William Mitchell made his first appearance in London, winning an American tournament at the Royal Aquarium. He received 120 points start in heats of 500 up, winning 6 games and losing 1, the following players taking part:-J. Roberts, Senr., (160 start), won 5, lost 2; Joseph Bennett (scratch) and D. Richards (110 start) each won 4, lost 3; G. Collins (60 start) won 3, lost 4; F. Bennett (60 start), G. Hunt (110 start), and J. Lloyd (120 start), each won 2, lost 5.

The following month (December 16th, 1879) Mitchell made his first big break of 522 unfinished (171 spots) at the Royal Aquarium, against Joseph Bennett, in a game of 1,000 up; and with the absence of Cook, Roberts, Junr., Shorter, and Stanley, from the country, the pair played throughout the provinces. Mitchell at first received 100 points start in 1,000 up “all-in,” but soon after they were handicapped to play on even terms.

In May, 1880, Joseph Bennett played Maurice Vignaux, the French Champion, at the Royal Aquarium, four exhibition matches-two at the French cannon game on a French table. In each of these Bennett received 500 points in 1,000, and lost the first by 425, and the second by 400 points. The other two were played at English billiards, on a championship table, 600 up. Vignaux received 300 points in each game. Bennett again lost, the first by 53 and the second by 71 points.

In September, 1880, John Roberts, Junr., conceded W. Mitchell 400 points in 2,000 for £200 on an ordinary table, at the St. James’s Hall, and won by 541 points, making a break of 354 unfinished.

Joseph Bennett won the Championship in November, 1880, beating W. Cook by 51 points; and in January, 1881, he defeated T. Taylor in the Championship by 90 points, making the record break of 125 on a championship table.

Fred Shorter was the next to challenge for the Championship, and the match was fixed to be played on April 13th, 1881, at the St. James’s Hall, but Shorter forfeited at the last minute, after all the arrangements had been made for the match. As expenses would have to be paid, Bennett offered him 100 points in 1,000 up for £25 a side, and they played the same evening, a rather slow game ending in a win for Shorter by 193 points.

D. Richards next challenged for the Championship, but after a lot of paper warfare nothing came of the negotiations, for before the necessary deposits were made Bennett met with a severe accident by being thrown out of a gig and with no prospect of a speedy recovery he decided to resign the title and Championship Cup.

W. Cook, on September 23rd, 1881, at Manchester, made the record “spot barred” break-309-against Alfred Bennett, which was put together by open play all round the table;

and the following month John Roberts, Junr. (scratch), and W. Mitchell (100 start) tied for the first prize in a tournament, heats 500 up, at the Beaufort Club. Playing off, the latter won by 273 points.

On December 19th, l881, John Roberts, Junr., won a tournament at the Palais Royal (over Hengler’s Circus), Argyll Street, London, after tieing again with W. Mitchell. The following players competed in heats of 500 up, “all-in” :- Roberts, owed 120; Cook, owed 120; Mitchell. owed 10; Shorter, received 40; Taylor, 40; Stanley 40; Peall, 75; J. Lloyd, 140. Roberts made the best break (542) in the tournament, and after this success he gave Cook points for the first time, conceding 500 start in 5,000 “all-in” on an ordinary table for £500 a side, at the Palais Royal, on January 18th. 1882, and w on by 1,658 points. John Roberts, Junr., then called himself Champion of the World ” and ignored the Championship, and shortly after his defeat W. Cook challenged Roberts to play for the Championship (Joseph Bennett having retired through breaking his arm in 1881), but letter to the “Sportsman” stating that he had no intention of playing for the cup, giving out as his reason that the cup had been played for for 12 years, and would never be won under the conditions governing it.

On June 26th, 1882. W. Cook was credited with having made in practice a break of 1,362 (including 451 spot strokes) against Mr. E. Game at his rooms, 99, Regent Street, London, which was advertised daily as the record break; and, receiving 750 points, he defeated J. Roberts, Junr; in a match of 5,000 up “all-in” for £500 a side at the Public. Hall, New market, on July 7th 1882, by 968 points. In the course of the game Roberts made two consecutive breaks of 653 and 395 (129 spots) directly after the King (then Prince of Wales) arrived in the room, and about this time he was giving starts to all players at the “spot barred” and “all-in ” games.

W. Mitchell, the first player to compile a four-figure break in public, made 1,055 (including 365 spot strokes) at the Black Horse Hotel, Rathbone Place, Oxford Street, London, on October 5th, 1882, against W. J. Peall. And strange to say, on the of a return match with the same player, and at the same place, on November 8th, 1882, he made exactly same score again (1,055) with exactly the same number of spot strokes (350). He was credited with having made in a practice game at Dealtry’s Billiard Rooms, New Bond Street, Brighton, a break of 1,839 (612 consecutive spots), against Mr. R. Topping. In a letter to the “Sportsman” on March 2nd, 1883, Mitchell stated that he held the “record break”, as he did not consider breaks made in private as records. The majority of people will agree with Mitchell that only breaks made in public should stand as ” records”, neither should breaks that are continued after a game; but we must allow that up to about 1879 the usual game played was 1,000 up, therefore, the player did not get the same opportunity of making a large break in the game as in the long games that were afterwards played. However these breaks were soon beaten by W. J. Peall, who was the next player to make extraordinary breaks by the aid of the spot stroke, his first break of note being made on December 11th, 1883, at the White Horse, London, when in a game of 1,000 up, “all-in”, with F. White, who received 250 points start, he made breaks of 827 and 174 unfinished. White only scored four points in the game, and Peall had only four visits to the table. On May 19th, 1884, at Newman’s Rooms, Guildhall Street, Cambridge, he made against W. Mitchell (in a game of 1,000 up) a break of 411 unfinished, leaving his opponent’s score at 200, and on being requested to complete it, he the total to 1,989 (including 548 consecutive spots).

Early in 1884 John Roberts, Junr., organised a strong company of players to compete in an American tournament in the large provincial towns, taking North, Mitchell, Taylor, Shorter, Collins, White, Coles, and Sala. A start was made at Birmingham, and Roberts won this tournament after a tie with North, his best breaks being 407 (132 spots), 506 (143 and spots), an unfinished 525 (79 and 90 spots), and an unfinished 601 (106 spots). Mitchell won the next tournament at Sheffield after a tie with Roberts, making the largest break of 350 unfinished (106 spots) in his heat with North. Shorter won the next at Leeds. Roberts in this made 450 (147 spots), and 402 (131 spots). He next opened in Liverpool on February 26th, W. Timbrell playing in the place of Collins. Roberts won this after a tie with Shorter, making an unfinished 492 (77 spots) and 624, also unfinished, in his heat with Taylor. After each had given the opening miss Taylor did not score. North won the next tournament at Manchester, Roberts being put 25 points further back and owed 150 points in 500 up. He, however, made 612 unfinished (25 and 171 spots) in his heat with White.

Roberts next played a match with W. J. Peall at the Royal Aquarium-Peall had just previously made the record break of 1,989-conceding 2,000 points in 10,000 “all-in”. Peall made twice over 700 and once over 500, and won on June 2nd, 1884, by 598 points.

On October 17th, 1884, Roberts opened the Palais Royal with a “spot barred” tournament with ten players engaged, which was won by Mitchell. and he afterwards started giving players 3,000 points in games of 10,000, and 12,000 “spot barred”, and at the end of the year allowed his opponent the use of the spot stroke while he played “spot barred”. In these games he made new “spot barred” records, beating Cook’s break of 309 on November 27th, 1884, by making 322, and on November 28th 327 against J. North, and 360 on December 9th, against F. Bennett.

There had been some discussion previously as to the rules of billiards, and that other rules should be made, therefore a meeting was called and held at the “Sportsman” Office on February 1st, 1885, consisting, of professional players and most of the table makers, and others interested in the game, John Roberts, Junr., being in the chair. A proposal by Mr. Collis Orme and D. Richards to form an Association was so favourably decided upon, and it was also decided that the rules of billiards be revised by the following players:-John Roberts, Junr., Chairman; John Roberts, Senr., W. Cook, J. Bennett, F. Bennett, W. J. Peall, W. Mitchell, J. North T. Taylor, J. G. Sala, and G. Collins. This being the first attempt to provide a proper code of rules since 1870, it was decided that they should be the only rules recognised. The Billiard Association met week by week in a room set apart for them by Messrs. Bertram and Roberts, in the dining gallery at the Royal Aquarium until September 21st, 1885, when they were finished, and soon afterwards published.

John Roberts, Junr., now decided to play for the Championship again, after allowing Cook to hold it nearly three years. He challenged for it, and Cook not responding in the stipulated time, the cup went to Roberts; but immediately afterwards Cook challenged, and the match was played on March 30th, 31st, and April 1st, 1885, at the Billiard Hall, Argyll Street, (late Palais Royal), Roberts winning by 92 points. The game by consent was made 3,000 up, as nothing was stated in the rules as to the length of the game to be played for the Championship.

Previous to this match Roberts played T. Taylor at the Royal Aquarium, giving him 3,000 points in 10,000 “all-in”. Taylor made breaks of 616 (15 and 104 spots), 630 (76, 5, and 116 spots), 441 (17, 107, and 12 spots), 344 (113 spots). Roberts made 609 (199 spots), 574 twice, 570 (181 spots), 563 (44 and 135 spots), 460 (144 spots), and won on March 6th, 1885, by 1,663 points.

The next important match Roberts played after the Championship was with Cook for £200, Roberts giving 2,000 points in 12,000, Aquarium, and won on May 3rd 1885, by 2,759 points.

Joseph Bennett now challenged Roberts for the Championship, which was played at the Royal Aquarium on June 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, 1885. This was also 3,000 up, Roberts winning by 1.640 points. This match proved, however, to be the last one played for the Championship trophy, for Roberts was not called upon to defend it again, and when he had held the specified time (five years), the cup became his property in 1890. He had been exactly twenty years trying to win it.

After beating Joseph Bennett in the Championship, Roberts resumed his duty at the Billiard Hall, Argyll street, London, playing weekly games of 12,000 up, where he showed great improvement in his play, and time after time beat his own record at the “spot barred” game. In a match with Joseph Bennett, on October 22nd, 1885, he made a break of 409, and shortly afterwards in a match with T. Taylor, who received 4,000 points start in 12,000 for £50 a side, which commenced on November 16th at the same place, he cut the record again on November 20th with a break of 432 and won easily by 1,209 points.

The following week he played J North 12,000 up on even terms, allowing North to make one hundred consecutive spot strokes while he played “spot barred”. In this match North made two good breaks of 947 (with runs of 93, 54, 92, 3, and 56 spots) and 1,066 (100, 25, 6. 99, 33, and 71 spots). After an exciting finish Roberts won by only 60 points.

In a match with North, who received 4,000 points in 12,000, “spot barred”, Roberts again beat the record with 451 on December 19th, and won by 242 points.

In a similar match he played Peall. the latter, on January 26th, 1886, making the marvellous break of 320 (222 being made off the red ball alone). This was far the best performance of the kind up to this period, the largest run off the red ball previously being 156 made by Roberts.

It will be seen by these breaks that a big advance had been made at the “spot barred” game, also, the “all-in’ game had equally advanced; in fact the long games had made a wonderful improvement in the play of professional players.

On November 2nd, 1885, Peall and Mitchell commenced a game of 15,000 up, “all-in”, at the Royal Aquarium, and during the week extraordinary play was seen. Mitchell made breaks of 534 (177 spots), 1,620 (536 consecutive spots), 688 (226 spots), 456 (151 spots), 451 (137 spots), 671 (217 spots), and 617 (204 spots). On the Wednesday, the game was in progress, the late Mr. C. Howard, one of the generous friends that professional billiard players ever had, entered into the room and offered £20 to the first one to make a 1,000 break. This was secured by Peall, who made a break of 1,709 (including 18 and spots). He then offered £100 as a prize for the pair to play again, and £100 to the first player who made a 2.000 break in the game. Besides the break mentioned, Peall was responsible for breaks of 530 (173 441 (144 spots), 895 (293 spots), 1,380 (458 spots), 1,135 (372 spots), 673 (223 spots), 497, 1,257 (252 and 163 spots), and 1,150 unfinished, which made him the winner by 5,365 points. With the object of securing the £100 offered, Peall was allowed to finish his break, and just failed to make the 2,000, making the run into 1,922 (634 spots). Extraordinary as the play had been during the game, it seems almost incredible that six breaks should be made over the thousand in a week’s play, more so when one man accounts for five of them; but the time was evidently ripe for 1,000 breaks, for on the 10th of the same month T. Taylor made a break of 1,233 (405 spots) in a game Gatti’s Billiard Saloon, Villiers Street, Strand, and North on the same day made 934 (308 spots).

Also on the 27th Peall, playing at the same place against F. White, made a break of 1,003 (49. 9 7, 34. and 222 spots), and White made 1,015 on the following day of the same month.

The first Billiard Association tournament was played at the Billiard Hall, Argyll Street, London. Mr. George Pratt and Mr. Peter Jennings handicapped the following players in heats of 300 up, “spot barred” : John Roberts Junr., scratch; Joseph Bennett, received 175 points; J. North, 175; J. G. Sala, 225; W. M. Green, 225; H. Coles, 225; D. Richards, 225; G. Collins, 225; F. Bennett, 225; J. Lloyd, 250; and F. White. 250. J. North who was considered about the second best player, “spot barred”, won on January 15th, 1886, with nine wins out of a possible eleven.

Roberts’ next important match was with Mitchell at the Billiard Hall, Argyll Street, which commenced on February 8th, 1886. The late Mr. C. Howard, wishing to see Roberts play the “all-in” game again, gave a prize of £200 for the pair to compete for in a game of 15,000 up. on even terms. This caused great interest to be taken in the contest, for Roberts had been playing the “spot barred” game for nearly twelve months, and the great desire was to see how he would play the spot stroke; whilst Mitchell was in good form at the “all-in” game. Mr. Howard unfortunately died before the match could be played, but his executors, however, carried out his wishes. In this and other matches, Mitchell throughout the match played a sort of in and out game-his play was not so nearly consistent as he had shown in his previous match with Peall-for on the first day he only made one break of note-481 (29 and 118 spots)-and on the second 308 (101 spots). On the Wednesday afternoon he made one break of 321 (94 spots), and was left over two thousand points behind at the interval, but in the evening he made breaks of 745 (244 spots), 326 (106 spots), and 601 (197 spots), and at the close of play was only 575 points behind. On the Thursday he only made one break of 424 (139 spots), which enabled Roberts to finish with a lead of 1,193 points at the interval. On the afternoon of the fifth day Mitchell made one break of 335 (6 and 100 spots), and Roberts one of 362 (59 and 53 spots); in the evening Roberts made two breaks over 300, and Mitchell made a splendid break of 969 (321 spots), but at the close of play he was still left over one thousand points behind. In the afternoon of the last day Mitchell made breaks of 484 (159 spots) and 532 (175 spots), but at night Roberts had matters all his own way and won very easily by 1,741 points. The largest breaks made by Roberts during the match are as follows :- 693 (230 spots) 339 (4 and 101 spots), 430 (24 and 110 spots), 328 (12, 2, and 88 spots), 316 (16 and 79 spots), 353 (112 spots), 544 (179 spots), 616 (88 and 104 spots), 362 (59 and 53 spots) 323 (33 and 61 spots), 319 (18, 15, and 56 spots), 378 (124 spots), and 716 (47 and 184 spots).

The following week Roberts and Peall started a six days’ spot stroke match at the Billiard Hall, Argyll Street, for £200 given by the late Mr. Howard. The conditions were to play two hours each afternoon and evening; each player could place his ball at the beginning of each break where he choose, and the highest aggregate made in this way to win end of the week. Roberts’ highest break during the match was one of 672, and Peall’s best was 906. He led from start to finish, and won easily with the score: Peall, 16,734; Roberts, 11,924.

On April 9th, 1886, J. North, in a “spot barred” game against Roberts at the same place, made the largest break (361) that had been made by any player then, excepting Roberts. The same day Roberts made a break of 444; and on April 12th, playing against Cook, he beat all records again, making a splendid of 506. He next showed extraordinary form at the “spot barred” game. When playing against Mitchell, 12,000 up, in Derby week, he made breaks of 428, 489, 357, 352, 347 twice, 322, and nine over 200, and won by no less than 6,611 points.

Opening the season at the Billiard Hall, Argyll Street, in October, in a “spot barred” game with Mitchell, he again (on October 16th) beat his previous best break with 534; and on November 17th against the same player, who received 4,500 points in 12,000, he put together the extraordinary record break of 604 and won by 194 points.

Brilliant form was next shown by Peall in a game of 15,000 up, ” all-in”, at the Royal Aquarium, against G. Collins, who was allowed 5,000 points start, and he surpassed all his previous performances by making the marvellous break of 2,413 (338, 449, and 3 spots) on November 5th, 1886, also making on the same day 1,029 (138, 15, 122 and 40 spots). In this same match he made breaks of 996 (267 and 27 spots) and 1,247 (414 spots), and won by 3.388 points. After this extraordinary play on the part of Peall he challenged Roberts on November 5th, 1886, to play 15,000 points up, ” all-in”, on even terms, on an ordinary table, for £100 a side, which brought forth a reply from Roberts that he would play Peall two matches-one on the terms mentioned, and in the other he would concede Peall 4,000 points in 12,000,” spot barred”, both for the same amount – £100 a side. Peall declined the arbitrary condition and nothing came of it, and Peall claimed to be the “Champion of Ordinary Billiards”.

During a match with Roberts on November 22nd, Cook made his largest” spot barred” break of 365, which was also the largest break made by any player excepting Roberts, just beating the break of 361 made by North on December 6th, 1886.

Roberts and North commenced one of their numerous matches of 12,000 up “spot barred”. North (receiving 4,000 start) won after a close finish by 116 points; his largest break during the week being 202, and Roberts best breaks were 317, 260, 178, 244, 174, 337, 208, 222, and 297.

In a game of 15,000 up, “all-in”, at the Royal Aquarium against G. Collins, on December 15th, Peall succeeded in making another of his great breaks by compiling 1,729 (108, 275, and 183 spots).

The next great performance was by Roberts at the Billiard Hall during a match with Peall, when, on May 12th, he made a “spot barred” break of 580. In a letter written shortly afterwards to “The Sportsman” by Peall from the White Horse Hotel, Brixton Hill, S.W., which appeared on October 3rd, 1887 (the day he commenced a match with Mitchell of 15,000 up, “all-in”, on even terms at the Aquarium), he regretted that through a printer’s error he was called “Champion” simply, instead of “Champion of Ordinary Billiards”, i.e.,” all-in ” billiards with 3 5/8 pockets, and he thought it was only fair to John Roberts, Junr., “Champion”, to publicly say so. It was quite evident by this letter that about this time Roberts was content to allow Mitchell and Peall to battle for the supremacy at “ordinary billiards”, knowing well he could give either player a third of the game “spot barred”. However in this particular match Mitchell never played better, for after looking like being beaten very easily throughout the greater part of the game, he came out in fine form on the last day with consecutive breaks of 349 (113 spots), 297 (93 spots), 265 (15 and 64 spots), 141 (41 spots), 288 (93 spots), 644 (179 spots), 801 (249 spots), 349 (114 spots), 912 (304 spots), and a break of 53 unfinished, which made him winner by 1,267 points, having scored during the day 4,427 points to 1,266 by Peall. His other breaks during the game were 1,117 (369 spots), 373 (120 spots), 693 (226 spots), 728 (238 spots), 419 (138 spots), and 483 (157 spots). Peall’s largest breaks were 1,086 (353 spots), 1,159 (416 spots), 629 (202 spots), 470 (146 spots), 459 (53 and 88 spots), 464 (150 spots), 460 (150 spots), 466 (140 spots), 482 (153 spots), 483 (169 spots), 499 (6 and 143 spots), and 622 (203 spots).

In a match against Joseph Bennett at the Royal Aquarium on October 18th, Cook surpassed all his previous performances at the “spot barred” game by making a splendid break of 462, which was a long way the best break made, excepting Roberts’.

About this period, and up to the latter end of 1890, the “all-in” game received new life with the struggles between Peall and Mitchell, and the rapid advance and improvement of F. White at the “all-in” game. Matches and long games of 15,000 up between the three players were numerous, and played at regular intervals at the Royal Aquarium.

November, 1887, found Peall and Mitchell playing one of their long games, on even terms, at the Royal Aquarium, when Peall proved successful on November 12th by 858 points, making on the last day one good break of 1,256 (198, 22, and 191 spots).

The next important match was between Hugh McNeil (who made his first appearance in London in April, 1887) and D. Richards, who played 10,000 up, “spot barred”, for £100 a side. The match took place at the Marble Arch Saloon, 524, Oxford Street, London, W., when McNeil won on January 28th, 1888, by 838 points. Peall and White were next seen playing a long game at the Royal Aquarium, in the course of which White made a break of 1,054 (21 and 326 spots), and Peall on the same day made 1,547 (514 spots). On the following day (March 10th) Peall made another four figure break of 1,314 (413 spots).

The following week at the same place Mitchell and Peall commenced a game of 15,000 up for the “Spot Stroke” Championship. This proved be a good thing for Peall, who played an extraordinary game throughout, and won in the easiest possible manner on March 17th, with the score: Peall, 15,000; Mitchell, 6,753. It will be interesting to note that during the week’s play Peall, with the exception of Thursday, made a break of over a thousand on each day; and it seemed that about this time he could make a break of four figures or more off the balls whenever he chose. The following are his largest breaks in the order made during the week: 1,203 (397 spots), 1,192 (78 and 308 spots), 1,498 (89 and 408 spots), 1,125 and 2,031.

J. G. Sala and Joseph Bennett followed this with an “all-in” game at the Aquarium in which Sala, on March 20th, made a fine break of 1,012 (330 spots) and won the match easily.

On March 28th W. J. Peall came out with a challenge, and offered to give anyone 1,000 points in 15,000 up, all-in”, for £200 a side, and he afterwards gave W, Mitchell the same start (1,000 in 15,000) at the Aquarium, where he made one good break of 1,246 (54 and 394 spots), the only four figure break during the game, winning on May 19th with the scores reading: Peall, 15,000; Mitchell, 12,347.

In December, 1888, an interesting match was played between W. Mitchell F. White at the Aquarium, the latter receiving 4,000 points 15,000 up, “all-in”, which produced some fine play by both players. On December 18th Mitchell made a break of 1,310 (435 spots), and the same day White succeeded in making his largest break-1,666 (20, 108, and 400 spots). Mitchell made another big break of 1,011 (335 spots), and White, after making a splendid break of 1,281 (20 and 390 spots), won on December 22nd a very interesting match by 614 points.

After his success over Mitchell, he next played Peall, at the same place, taking a start of 4,500 points in 15,000 up, and during the game some large breaks were made. On January 2nd, 1889, White put together the respectable total in one break of 1,562 (318 consecutive spots), and Peall on January 4th made two of his useful breaks, the first one totalled 2,033 (142 and 526 spots), and the second 1,220 (72 and 330 spots), White on the same date making 1,021 (137 and 176 spots). Thus it will be seen that three breaks over a thousand had been made during the one day. Playing a sound game, White won on January 5th, by 923 points.

A match which caused a great deal of interest at the time was one of 12,000 up,” spot barred”, at the Royal Aquarium, between John Roberts, Junr., and Hugh McNeil, the latter receiving 4.500 points start, Roberts offering McNeil £100 if he succeeded in beating him. Up to the last two days McNeil looked like winning easily, and held a big advantage, but then Roberts came out in fine form, and finally won on January 12th by 981 points.

In this month Messrs. Geo. Wright and Company, the well known firm of table makers, introduced and promoted a “Championship of the World Tournament”, and presented a Silver Cup, value £100, to be played for in heats of 1,000 up, “all-in”, the cup to become the property of the first winner of three tournaments, and in addition the winner of each tournament to receive a gold medal. This was commenced at the Royal Aquarium on January 14th, the following players taking part:-W. J. Peall, H. McNeil, T. Taylor, J. Dowland, W. Mitchell, F White, G. Collins, and F. Bennett. The tournament eventually resolved itself into a fight between Mitchell and Peall when they met in their particular heat. Mitchell, however, proved to be in extraordinary form, for soon after the start of the game, with his score standing at 13, he secured position for spot play and ran right out with a splendid unfinished break of 987 (319 spots), leaving the scores: Mitchell. 1,000; Peall, 20; and he finally won the first tournament and became “Spot Stroke Champion” on January 28th, 1889.

The second Championship Tournament was won by W. J. Peall on February 25th, 1890, at the same place, the following players taking part in heats of 1,250 up:-W. Mitchell, W. J. Peall. J. Dowland F White, G. Collins. H. McNeil, H. Coles, and F. Bennett. In the heat between Peall and Mitchell, the former made breaks of 416 (137 spots) and 531 (176 spots). Scores: Peall, 1,250; Mitchell, 121.

The third Championship was also played at the Royal Aquarium, and won by W. J. Peall on May 30th, 1891. Four players only competed- W. J. Peall, W. Mitchell, J. Dowland, and C. Dawson-in heats of 2,500, up. Mitchell and Peall played off, and in the first half of the game Mitchell only scored 78 points. Peall made breaks of 773 (256 spots), 390 (7, 28, and 90 spots), and 655 unfinished (214 spots); Mitchell made a break of 650 (213 spots). Scores: Peall, 2,500; Mitchell, 776. The following year this Championship was withdrawn in favour of the “all-in Championship” (promoted by the Billiard Association) with Mitchell one win, and Peall two wins to their credit.

The month of February, 1889, found F. White and J. North playing a match of 12,000 up, “all-in”, on even terms, at the Royal Aquarium, when White, in the course of the game, made a break of 1,230 (52 and 345 spots) and won on February 16th, by 3,015 points.

The “spot barred” record was the next to go, for playing against Cook in a match at 14, Grafton Street, Bond Street. London, on March 9th, Roberts made the extraordinary break of 690, which remained the record break until the same month in 1893.

In the same month W. J. Peall conceded F. White 4,000 points start in 18,000 up,” all-in”, at the Royal Aquarium, and during the game White, on March 13th, put together the largest break during his career-1,745 (554, 3, and 18 spots); also making on the same day 1,132 (257 and 114 spots). Peall compiled one of his useful breaks on the same date, which totalled 2,107 (79, 95, and 513 spots). Thus it will be seen that three breaks over the thousand had been made during one day’s play, but two days later, however, in the same game, this remarkable performance was beaten by three consecutive breaks of over a thousand being made. Peall made 1,601 (528 spots), White followed this with 1,085 (357 spots), and Peall replied with 1,139 (373 and 2 spots). Peall won easily on March 16th by 1,728 points.

On March 25th, at Grafton Street, in a match against J. North, Roberts made another good “spot barred” break of 576, and T. Taylor made a “spot barred” break of 433 at the Royal Aquarium on November 7th, 1889, whilst playing against North. Peall, also, on November 13th, in a match against Mitchell at the same place, made a “spot barred” break of 429.

About this time Roberts gave Mitchell half the game start (10,000 points in 20,000″ spot barred “) at Grafton Street, Bond Street, and beat him.

During a match with W. J. Peall at the Royal Aquarium, on October 24th, 1890, H. McNeil made his largest “spot barred” break of 472, which at the time was the largest break made by any player, excepting Roberts.

In the same month C. Dawson made his first appearance in London as a professional player, and to play W. J. Peall at the Royal Aquarium. commencing October 27th, 1890, with a “spot barred” match of 9,000 up, Dawson receiving a start of 2,000 points. On the concluding day Peall played well, and at the interval left off in front. When the game was continued in the evening he went right away until the scores stood Peall, 8,607, Dawson, 8,306. At this point Dawson gradually crept up, but his task appeared all but useless, as finally Peall got within 15 of game, when Dawson ultimately ran out with a bleak of 169 unfinished. Dawson, 9,000; Peall, 8,985.

The following week the same players commenced a contest of 15,000 up, “all-in”, Dawson receiving 3,000 points. From the commencement of the game Peall began to play in extraordinary form, and on November 5th and 6th he beat all records by the marvellous performance of putting together a huge break of 3,304, which included runs of 93, 3, 150, 123, 172, 120, and 400 spot strokes; he also compiled breaks of 1,494, 1,637, and 1,322 in the same game. Naturally, Dawson had no chance after this extraordinary play, the full scores reading at the finish: Peall, 15,000; Dawson (receives 3,000), 5,680.

This fine display on the part of Peall put new life into billiards, as nothing else was talked about by those interested in the game but the great break. Then John Roberts surprised everybody by a challenge he issued in December 1890, to give anyone 12,000 points start in 24,000,” spot barred” (including all advertised Champions). This brought a reply from W. J. Peall to play him at ordinary billiards, 15,000 up, on even terms, started a great controversy in the sporting and other papers at the beginning of 1891, about the merits of the two players referred to and the Championship generally, which eventually ended with Roberts playing both North and Peall a match and conceding them 12,000 points start in 24,000,” spot barred”. The match between Roberts and North was played at the Egyptian Hall, Piccadilly, London, and was won by Roberts on February 14th, 1891. North at this time had a reputation of being the second best player “spot barred”, and the month previous (January 9th) to the match he made his largest “spot barred” break (464) at Messrs. Thurston and Company’s Show Rooms, Strand, London, playing against Peall. North in the early part of the game held a big advantage, but he was eventually beaten by 245 points. At the finish of the game a scene was created by Charles Mitchell, the well known boxer, who was accompanied by Frank Slavin, the Australian Champion pugilist, who denounced the match as a swindle, and would only leave on the request of John Roberts himself. Great interest was taken in the match between Roberts and Peall, which was played in the same Hall, large crowds of spectators being present at each sitting. Peall, who had the best of the play throughout the game, won easily on March 28th, 1891, by 2,590 points.

The controversy in the papers on the Championship question had the effect of moving the Billiard Association to do something, for there appeared no chance of a meeting between Peall and Roberts for the Championship under the existing conditions, as the former wished to play on an ordinary table as used by the public, and Roberts wished to play on the “championship table” with 3-inch pockets, for after his big break Peall was advertised daily as ” Champion of English Billiards”, and Roberts as “Champion”.

After due consideration the Billiard Association, at a meeting on April 28th, 1891, adopted a “Standard” table for Championship contests, and decided to give Silver Cups, value £100 for competition for both styles of play – “spot barred” and “all-in”, each contest for the Championship to be for not less than £100 aside, and each Cup to become the absolute property of any player who shall (1) win it four times in succession, (2) win it six times in all, and (3) hold it for three consecutive years. Two Championship Cups were also given for amateur contests, under the same conditions, with the exception of playing for a stake. The measurements of the “Standard” table as adopted were as follows: that the “Standard” billiard table measure not less than 2 feet 9 1/2 inches. and not more than 2 feet 10 inches in height, and 12 feet long by 6 feet 1 1/2 inches wide on the bed of the slates; that the balls used be of ivory and not less than 2 1/16 inches, and not more than 2 2/32 inches in diameter. The pocket openings to measure strictly 3 5/8 inches at the fall of the slates, and that the “Standard Template” (or wood block), bearing the Billiard Association stamp, shall be fitted into each pocket opening of the table, and passed by the Committee before being used for any contest. No breaks made upon other than the “Standard” table shall be accepted as records, and that a certificate be given by the Association for “records” made on the conditions named.

A “spot barred” tournament was then arranged and played on the first “Standard” table by Messrs. Cox and Yeman at the Swallow Assembly Rooms, Swallow Street Piccadilly, London, which was won by H. Coles on February 15th, 1892. The heats were 500 up. The following prizes were given:-First, £50 second, £20; and £30 divided amongst winners of heats. Handicap and position of players:-H. Coles, received 75 points, won 6, lost 1; W. Mitchell, received 25 points, won 5, lost 2, J. 125 points, won 5, lost 2; C. Dawson, received 75 points, won 3, lost 4; T. Taylor, received 75 points, won 3, lost 4; J. Dowland, received 125 points, won 2, lost 5; W. J. Peall, scratch, and J. North, scratch, won 2, lost 5. Tie for Second Prize:-J. Lloyd, received 125 points, beat W. Mitchell, received 25, by 286 points.


After this event the Billiard Association made great haste to bring off their Championships before the close of the season, the first one played being the “all-in” Championship, which was won by W. J. Peall on April 9th, 1892, at Messrs. Orme and Sons’ Show Rooms, Soho Square, London. on one of their tables. A condition in this Championship was that a new cloth bed of to stop the track or table caused by continued “spot” play, which, no doubt the same greatly helped the player. up.



W. J. Peall 5,000, beat C. Dawson 1,699; W. Mitchell, a bye.



W. J. Peall 5,000, beat W. Mitchell 1,755.

This was the only contest “all-in”, for Peall was not again challenged during the three consecutive years, and the Cup became his property


Commenced on April 25th, 1892, on a “Standard” table by Messrs. Thurston and Company, at their Show Rooms, Strand, London. Heats 3,000 up.



H. Coles 3,000, beat W. J. Peall 2,860; W. Mitchell 3,000, heat W. Cook 2,561; J. North, a bye.


J. North 3000, beat H. Coles 2,141.


W. Mitchell 3,009, beat J. North 2,697.

Second Contest

W. Mitchell beat J. North by 2,475 points in 9.000 up, for Silver Cup and £200 at the Egyptian Hall, Piccadilly, London, on February 25th, 1893, on a “Standard” table by Messrs. Orme and Sons. The winner’s best breaks during the game were 236, 231, and 212; the loser’s, 190 and 182. Scores: Mitchell, 9,000; North, 6,525.

Third Contest

W. Mitchell beat C. Dawson by 837 points for £200 on January 13th, 1894, on a “Standard” table by Messrs. Thurston and Company, at the National Sporting Club, Covent Garden, London. Mitchell made 27 breaks of over a hundred, and Dawson nineteen during the week’s play, the highest being 306, 225, and 196 unfinished by Mitchell, and 224 and 257 by Dawson. Scores:-Mitchell, 9,000; Dawson, 8,163. The Cup became the property of W. Mitchell, he having held it the three consecutive years.

In April, 1891, Roberts went on a visit to Africa and Australia, but the game did not lack interest as far as entertainment’s provided for the devotees of the game, for three distinct shows were running each afternoon and evening all the season.

Peall, after making his big break, took up his quarters at Messrs. Thurston’s Show Rooms Catherine Street, Strand, London, where he conceded Dawson 5,000 points start in 15,000` up, ” all-in”. In the course of the game the latter showed good form, making breaks of 741 (242 spots), 860 (285 spots), 1,201 (394 spots), and 631 (191 spots); but Peall with 1,408 (464 spots) and other good runs, won on April 18th, by 1,924 points, making a break of 1,782 (470, 44, and 8 spots) besides 818 (276 spots) unfinished on the last day.

The next big break of note (the first of its kind) was made by T. Taylor at the Royal Aquarium, Westminster, London, on April 24th, 1891, during a “spot barred” game of 600 points up with Hugh McNeil. The scores stood at: McNeil, 106; Taylor, 227; when the latter at 236 got the two object balls jammed in a corner pocket and ran out with 373 unfinished (182 cannons), and on being specially requested to continue his break in the evening he made it into 1,467 (729 cannons), beating all “spot barred” breaks.

The week commencing May 4th found W. J. Peall and J. Downland playing a match of 10,000 points up,” spot barred”, for £500 a side, at the Swallow Assembly Rooms, Swallow Street, Piccadilly, London. Peall conceding 2,600 points start, played in great form on the last day, making breaks of 174, 262, 410, 101, and won on May 9th by 1,341 points.

On November 16th Edward Diggle, of Manchester, made his first appearance as a professional in London, playing against D. Richards at the Egyptian Hall, Piccadilly, and receiving 1,000 points start in 9,000, “spot barred”. He made eighteen breaks of a century or more during the week-a very fine performance-and won on November 21st, 1891, by 1,446 points.

A novel idea was tried at the Hotel Victoria, Northumberland Avenue London, on October 12th of the same year, by J. P. Mannock, who played T. Taylor two games of 400 points up on a four-pocket table, the “push stroke”, which then played a prominent part in matches, being barred. The idea was a sort of compromise between the French, American, and English games. Taylor was successful in both games, making the largest break of 46 unfinished in the last one.

In October, Dawson took over the rooms at the Royal Aquarium, where he played several “spot barred” matches of 16,000 up on even terms with H. Coles, and also with J. North (who at that time was looked upon as the second best “spot barred” player), receiving 5,000 points start in 20,000 points up. In these games Dawson began to show improved form, but it was not until 1892 that he came rapidly to the front.

On February 3rd W. Spiller won a “spot barred” tournament at the Egyptian Hall Piccadilly, London (receiving 150 points start in 700 up), winning seven games. The following players took part:-

D. Richards received 50 points won 6, lost 1; T. Taylor 50 points, won 5, lost 2; E. Diggle 50 points, won 4, lost 3; H. McNeil scratch, won 3, lost 4; G. Ryder 75 points, won 2, lost 5; J. Dowland 150 points. won 1, lost 6; W. Cook scratch, won 1, Lost 6.

After this nothing further of importance took place up to June, 1892, with the exception of the first Association tournament on a “Standard” table and Championships.

Peall and Dawson paid a visit to Paris being engaged at the Folies Bergere, Paris, for one month commencing June 1st, the table being supplied by Messrs. Thurston and Company. In a report of the game in the ‘Sportsman”, June 8th, it says:-” The opening game by Peall and Dawson, 600 points up, ‘all-in’, Dawson receiving 150 start, was won by Peall. The French visitors seemed to take but a languid interest in the proceedings. As a fact, the game was too long for them, and in proof of their complete ignorance of the of play the only applause given was when Peall in trying for a loser off the white, in addition holed his opponent’s ball. This double event was looked upon by them as a masterpiece of skill, and was highly appreciated, much to the amusement of the English professionals. The production of the long butt was also hailed with considerable enthusiasm, and when the carefully elaborated stroke was brought off tremendous cheering greeted the event”. To meet the French tastes it was arranged of 100 up, “spot barred”, and afterwards games of pyramids were only played, as no charge was made for admission to the building, the management deriving their profit from a percentage deducted from bets made on the games. It was rather a novelty for Peall and Dawson to see two of the French professionals take their stand before each game commenced, one by the side of Peall at one end of the table, and the other by Dawson’s side at the other end, the one with Peall calling out,” Who will back Mr. Peall ?” and the other with Dawson calling out,” Who will back Mr. Dawson ?” This continued as long as the people were inclined to bet to equal amounts on each man, and then the game commenced, the management taking the percentage out of the stakes held on each game.

Roberts returned to England in May and resumed his duties at the Egyptian Hall, Piccadilly, London, on October 3rd, 1892, playing three games of 4,000 up, “spot barred”, with W. Cook (ex-Champion), who received 1,200 points start in each game, Roberts winning each game. The following week he commenced playing games of 12,000 points up, conceding Mitchell 4,000 start. In one of these weekly games with W. Cook, Roberts began to show wonderful form, making on November 17th a break of 668.

Soon afterwards (on November 28th), during a game with E. Diggle at Messrs. Thurston’s Show Rooms, Strand, London, W. J. Peall made the first. big “spot barred” break of 571 on a “Standard” table-a fine performance.

The following month (December 1892) Roberts came out with an offer to give anyone 8,000 points start in 24,000 up, “spot barred”, and £100 if they beat him. Mitchell took the start and played him the same month at the Egyptian Hall, where Roberts showed that he was still improving, making during the game breaks of 558, 617, and 421, and won by 415 points.

About this time Dawson began to improve very fast beating Mitchell on October 22nd 1892 at the Royal Aquarium, with 750 points start in 8,000 up, “spot barred”, by 7 points, and the following month (November 1892) his backers came out with a challenge for him to play anyone, bar Roberts. on even terms which caused a great deal of paper warfare between Dawson and Peall, but nothing came of it, for terms could not be arranged. Dawson at this time was advertised daily to play anyone, bar Roberts, for £500 or £1,000, and during a game of 3,000 up on even terms at the Royal Aquarium with W. Mitchell, on January 19th, 1893, the scores standing Dawson, 2,067; Mitchell, 950; the first named, after adding 48, worked the balls to the top of the table and at 2,115 got the balls jammed in the jaws of the top corner pocket, making 184 unfinished. On resuming in the evening Mitchell did not have a stroke, as Dawson ran with ‘333 unfinished (443 cannons).

At the same place on February 4th, Dawson be at Mitchell in a game of 8,000 points up, “spot barred”, on even terms by 751 points and again in a game under the same conditions on February 11th, after at one time being over 1,200 points behind, commencing the last evening’s play Dawson was nearly 300 points behind, but eventually won by 164 points. Dawson also beat North on even terms.

On February 27th Roberts again raised the start to his opponents, and commenced a match with Peall at the Egyptian Hall, Piccadilly London conceding Peall 9,000 points start in 24,000 up, “spot barred” In this game Roberts beat the “spot barred” record of 690 (made by himself in the same month in 1889) on March 2nd, 1893. Starting from a double baulk he scored the winning hazard, and at 134 was aided by a fluke, but continued in perfect style till he had compiled 737, beating Peall by 625 points.

On the 13th of the same month H. Coles set Peall’s largest “spot barred” break on a “Standard” table, making 571 unfinished in a short game of 700 up, against C. Dawson at the Royal Aquarium.

C. Dawson on March 27th made the largest “spot barred” break (698) on a “Standard” table at the Royal Aquarium in a game of 16,000 up against D. Richards.

On April 1st Dawson commenced a match with Roberts at the Egyptian Hall, receiving 9,000 points in 24,000 up, “spot barred”, for £2,000. Roberts during the game made breaks of 420, 396, 393, 317, and 314, but with 326 and several breaks over 200 Dawson won on April 18th by 1,993 points.

Dawson’s next success was in a “spot barred” tournament of 700 points up at the Royal Aquarium on May 8th, played with “Synthetic” balls (a substitute for ivory) with the results as follows:- C. Dawson, scratch, won 6, lost 1; H. McNeil, received 75 points, won 5, lost 2; H. Coles 75 points, v, on 4, lost 3; D. Richards 100 points, won 4, lost 3; J. North scratch, won 3, lost 4; J. Dowland 150 points, won 3 lost 4; J. Lloyd 150 points, won 3, lost 4; W. Mitchell scratch, won 1 lost 6.

Roberts, who for some time had been trying to arrange an international match with Frank C. Ives, of Chicago, the American Champion, sent T. Taylor to America with power to make a match and arrange conditions that would put the two players as near on equal terms as possible. A match of 6,000 points up, for £1,000, was ultimately played at the Humphrey’s Hall. Knightsbridge, London, on May 29th, to June 3rd, l893, on an English table erected by Messrs. Burroughes and Watts. With the pockets made much smaller being 3 ¼ in. only instead of 3 5/8 in; while the balls were 2 1/4 in diameter, instead of 2 1/16 in. 1,000 points to be scored each evening. At the finish of the first night’s play the scores stood:-Roberts, 1,000; Ives, 689; and on the second: Roberts, 2,001, Ives, 1,670; the latter making a break of 88. On the Wednesday evening Roberts scored at a fair pace, compiling breaks of 90, 70, 49, 36 twice 30 twice, 63, 33, 106, and 106 unfinished. Ives played fairly well (83 cannons 63 (25 cannons), 34, 90, and 30, the scores standing: Roberts, 3,000; Ives, 2,243. On resuming on Thursday evening Roberts made his unfinished break into 140, and then added 67, 49, and 139. Ives, whose highest break had been 45. Ives whose highest break had been 45 now got the balls together, worked them to the top corner pocket, and jammed the balls in the mouth of the pocket. Scoring at a tremendous rate he reached his points with an unfinished break of 1,540 (770 cannons), leaving the scores: Ives, 4,000; Roberts, 3,484 This came as a great surprise to Roberts, who seeing that Ives had an excellent position to finish the game right off. offered to give the game to Ives and play a match of 2,000 up, “jammed” stroke barred. for £1,000, but Ives declined. On the Friday evening Roberts did not have a stroke, as Ives continued and ran the break; into 2.539 (1.267 cannons). Ives, when within 5 points of his required number, in the evening, broke the balls up, but no doubt he could have continued nearly as long as he liked, but the company present became impatient and frequently shouted “Smash them up”, which he ultimately did. leaving the scores: Ives, 5.000; Roberts, 3,484. In the last evening’s play Roberts’ principal breaks were 30 and 193. Ives made 80 and 49, and once more balls “jammed”, making 848 (402 cannons), when he again broke the balls up with a four-stroke, bringing the full break to 852. and then played for safety. Ives won by 2,179 points, the final scores reading: Ives, 6,000; Roberts, 3,821.

A return match was played for £400 at the Central Music Hall, Chicago, Americas on September 18th to September 23rd, 1893, under the same conditions, with the exception that a baulk line, seven inches in length, was drawn across each of the corner pockets, inside of which two strokes could be made without driving one of the two object balls out of the baulk. Ives on the Saturday evening made the 1,000 which he required to win, while Roberts only succeeded in adding 478, the final scores standing: Ives, 6.000; Roberts 5,243. The largest breaks during the game were 432 by Ives and 166 by Roberts.

After this second defeat by Ives, a third match of 10,000 points up for £400 was arranged and played at the Lenox Lyceum. New York, America, on October 2nd to October 7th, 1893, under the same conditions with the exception that the pocket openings were 3 5/8 in. instead of 3 1/4 in. This put the two Champions on more equal terms, the conditions in the previous matches being in favour of Ives, who relied on long runs of nursery cannons along the cushions. The hazard game of Roberts’ was cramped by the size of the pockets, and the “push stroke” also being barred in these matches made a great difference to his play, for he could not play the “masse” stroke anything like the American Champion, who was an adept at this particular stroke. On Monday evening Roberts, with breaks of 106 and 191, to Ives’ best of 109, scored 1,001 to 542. On Tuesday afternoon, Ives, with runs of 244, 236, and 329, to breaks of 93 and 132 by Roberts, scored 997 points to 801, the scores reading: Roberts 1,802; Ives, 1,539 In the evening Roberts, with 91 and 128, to Ives’ best break of 116, scored 1,002 to Ives 703; score: Roberts, 2,804, Ives, 2 242. On Wednesday afternoon Roberts, with breaks of 176 and 91, had all the best of the play and scored 797 to 414, Ives’ best break being 98; score: Roberts, 3,601; Ives, 2,656. In the evening Ives treated the company present to the finest exhibition of nursery cannon play ever seen on an English table. Playing with marvellous accuracy of stroke he nursed the balls past four pockets along the cushions and reached the fifth pocket (which was a side pocket), and had made 640 by cannon play, but by playing too hard he lost position, and after adding 11 more by hazard play finally failed at a follow-on stroke, the full break being 661. Roberts answered to this with 105, 101, and 119, but Ives again got the nursery cannons, and passing the side pocket made 516. Roberts followed with 162, when Ives for the third time got the nursery cannons and scored 395, which gave him the lead for the first time Ives during the evening scored 1,946 points to Roberts 886. Score: Ives, 4,602, Roberts 4,487. On Thursday afternoon Roberts, with breaks of 95 and 110, scored 913 to Ives’ 436, leaving the score: Roberts, 5,400; Ives 5,038. In the evening, with breaks of 143, 117, and 105, Roberts scored 1 001 to 748 Ives’ best breaks being 94 and 202, the scores reading: Roberts, 6,401 Ives, 5,786. On Friday with his best break of 103 scored 799 points to Ives’ 878, the latter making a break of 586 by cannon play, taking the balls three-quarters of the way around the table. Score Roberts, 7,200; Ives, 6,664. In the evening Roberts, with breaks of 125 157, and 123, to Ives’ best of 146, scored 1,000 to Ives 513. Score Roberts, 8,200, Ives, 7,177. On the Saturday afternoon Ives made breaks and 205, and scored 927 801, leaving the scores: Roberts, 9,001; Ives, 8,104. In the of the game Ives scored 634 points, with a best break of 366, while Roberts with 130 and 127 scored the desired 999, and ran out a winner by 1,262 points, the full scores at the finish being: Roberts, 10,000; Ives, 8,738.

In the same month Roberts arranged a pool match with De Oro, the American Pool] Champion, which was played at Madison Square Gardens New York, America, in half English and half American style Two tables were placed side by side, and the played four frames or games-on each alternately In the English table, in the pyramid match. the pockets were 3 5/8 ins., and the balls 2 1/8 ins., in diameter, De Oro objecting to play with the ordinary 2 1/16 ins. English balls. In the American pool table the corner pockets were 4 1/2 ins., the centre 4 3/4 ins., cut square, and the dimensions 10 ft. by 5 ft. The balls were 2 5/16 ins. diameter quartered with different bright colours, and numbered from 1 to 15. Before striking, the player had to name the number of he was taking aim at and in the event of hitting and potting any other ball, it was replaced and counted nothing to him. The game resulted in a win for De Oro on October 21st, 1893, with the final scores reading: De Oro, 1,000; Roberts, 924. Roberts gave his opinion of the game in an interview, when he said that he should not care to make another match on such terms. American pool may be pretty, but there is too much luck and too little skill attached to it.

On September 26th, 1893, playing in a short game of 600 up,” all-in”, at the Royal Aquarium with T. Taylor, who received 100 points start, W. J. Peall scored a love game. Screwing in off the red he ran to game with a break of 600 unfinished, Taylor not having a stroke.

The next big break was made by E. Diggle on November 2nd, 1893. at Messrs. Thurston’s Show Rooms, Strand, London, in playing against Peall with “Bonzoline” balls (a substitute for ivory), when he made a “spot barred” break of 530.

Roberts on his return resumed his duties at the Egyptian Hall, Piccadilly, London, where he played H. Coles, and on November 10th made a break of 571, “spot barred”, mostly compiled by short runs of nursery cannons, which showed he had benefited by his visit to America, for shortly afterwards he began to play an extraordinary game, beating the “record” time after time.

The following month C. Memmott, the Australian Champion, visited England, playing several matches with the English players. Roberts next made a “spot barred” break of 578 on January 9th, 1894, in playing against E. Diggle, who had for some time been showing improved form and was rapidly coming on.

Several challenges between Diggle and Dawson resulted in Messrs. Burroughes and Watts offering £100 for the pair to contest for, and £10 for the largest break made during the game. A match of 18,000 up, “spot barred”, on even terms, was played at the Free Trade Hall, Manchester. The best breaks by Dawson were 311 and 346. Diggle, with 319 and several breaks over 200, won on January 27th by 846 points.

Roberts next gave Peall 9,000 points start in 24,000 up,” spot barred”, at the Egyptian Hall, Piccadilly, and won on February 10th, 1894, by 299 points, making during the game breaks of 570 and 545.

The same month Peall conceded C. Memmott 3,000 points in 15,000 up,” all-in”, at Messrs. Thurston’s Show Rooms, Strand, and won by nearly half the game on February 17th, making best breaks of 1,424 (473 spots) and 2,127 (325 and 304 spots).

On March 1st Roberts again beat the “record”, making 867 against C. Memmott, the Australian Champion, whom he conceded 10,000 points in 20,000, “spot barred”, and won by 619 points on March 8th

F. C. J. Schaefer, the Champions, visited England and gave an exhibition of American an billiards at the Egyptian Hall, Piccadilly, on March 9th, 1894; and at the same place the following day Roberts and Dawson commenced a match of 24 000, “spot barred”, Dawson receiving 9 000 points start. During the game Roberts compiled breaks of 685, 520, 540. 467, 759, 362 and 372, Dawson making breaks of 411, 329, 207, 240, 211 and 480, and won on March 24th, by 741 points.

H. W. Stevenson made his first appearance as a professional, playing short games with J. Lloyd at the Club Lounge, Royal Aquarium, Westminster, London, on April 2nd 1894

Dawson and Diggle next contested a match of 18,00(‘ up,” spot barred”, on even terms, at the Argyll Hall, Argyll Street, London, on a “Standard” table by Messrs. Geo. Wright and Company. Diggle made several breaks over 200 and one of 300, Dawson, making 342, 401, and 306, won on April 14th by 910 points.

About this time breaks of 600, “spot barred”, were made frequently by Roberts. who, no doubt, was playing better than ever, for during a match with E. Diggle at the Gentlemen’s Concert Hall, Manchester, on May 3rd and 4th, 1894, he surpassed all his previous performances. On the first named date Roberts was in extraordinary form, as nothing came wrong to him. He soon passed his previous “record” break of 867, and when he had reached the 1,000 wild cheering was kept up for several minutes Roberts having to bow his acknowledgement several times. the enthusiasm had subsided, he went on and added 33 more points, when play was adjourned, leaving the break 1,033 unfinished. The next day the hall was crowded with spectators, who gave Roberts a great reception on making his appearance. When at last he could continue his break, he played a little slower than usual, and finally he failed at a red winning hazard, which was played a trifle short of strength. A tremendous burst of enthusiasm acknowledged the great break, which amounted to 1,392, and secured for him the prize of £100 offered by Messrs. Burroughes and Watts if he succeeded in making a 1,000 break. Diggle, who received 9,000 points start in 24,000, “spot barred”, made on the last evening a break of 422 and Roberts, besides his great break, made breaks during the game of 794, 771, and 330 unfinished, winning on May 11th by 436 points.

The following week Roberts and Dawson commenced a match under the same conditions at Ginnett’s Circus, Newcastle-on-Tyne. Roberts best breaks during the game were 321, 387, 627. 341, 394, 582, 500 and 327, Dawson. making breaks of 408, 352, 437, 310 and 374, won on May 26th by 4,239 points.

Another great “spot barred” break was made by Roberts on June 5th at the Hengler’s Circus, Glasgow, in playing a game of 12,000 up against Diggle, who received 4,500 start, when he compiled 1,017. In the same game he made breaks of 559 and 770 unfinished, winning on June 9th by 397 points.

The next two breaks of importance by Roberts were 615 made in June against the same player at the Queen Street Hall, Edinburgh. and 505 at Dundee.

On June 14th Peall and Dawson met to play two games of 500 up, one “all-in” and the other “spot barred”, at the Old White Horse, Brixton, London. Dawson secured the “spot barred” game by 237 points, and in the “all-in” game ran out with a break of 499 unfinished, leaving the scores: Dawson, 500; Peall, 22.

In September, 1894, W. D. Courtney, the Amateur Champion, made his debut as a professional player at Roberts Rooms, 99, Regent Street, London, playing against H. W. Stevenson, who conceded him 1,000 points in 9,000 up, “spot barred”, Courtney winning by more than his points (1,378) on September 29th.

On October 20th a challenge appeared from W. Mitchell (who was in good form in the matches with Roberts) to play anyone, bar Roberts, 5,000, 10,000, or 20,000, “spot barred”, on even terms (Dawson preferred), for £100 to £500 a side on a “Standard” table. Dawson who was not satisfied with his defeat by Mitchell in the “Spot Barred” Championship in January, 1894, took the challenge up, and articles were signed to 20,000 points up, for £250 a side, at Messrs. Orme and Sons, Blackfriars Street, Manchester, on December 31st, 1894, to January 12th, 1895. Before the event Dawson conceded H. W. Stevenson 5,000 points in 20,000, “spot barred”, at the Argyll Hall, Argyll Street, London, and won by 1,918 points on November 17th; he also beat Peall on even terms, 18,000 up, “spot barred”, at the same place on December 8th, by 278 points, and Diggle by 559 points on December 22nd at Messrs. Orme and Sons, Manchester, in a game of 18,000, “spot barred”, on even terms, after being at one time nearly 1,500 points behind.

On December 31st to January 12th, 1895, Roberts and Diggle played a match of 24,000, “spot barred”, Diggle 9,000 points start, at the Argyll Hall, Argyll Street, London. Starting on January 4th with his score at, 13,629, Diggle continued to score till he had reached 14,614, when he broke down at a long red winner, the break amounting to 985-the largest “spot barred” break made on a “Standard” table, which included sequences of 21, 25, 41 and 37 cannons, made without working the balls a foot away from the top cushion. After the applause from the spectators had died away, Roberts added 13 points, which was his only turn at the table for the afternoon. The next afternoon Diggle scored his necessary 625 points in five turns, making a break of 480, including 168 cannons, Roberts only scoring 94 points during the afternoon. Diggle also made a break of 404, and eventually won by 4,054 points.

On the same dates Mitchell and Dawson played their match of 20,000 up, “spot barred”, for £500 at Messrs. Orme and Sons, Manchester. Mitchell’s best breaks during the game were 208, 200, 239 and 241. Dawson, whose breaks were 246, 215, 351, 258, 201 and 273, won by 3,130 points.

At the same Hall during a match with Diggle on January 15th, Roberts only scored 29 points in one afternoon, while Diggle (who received 9,000 start in 24,000) was compiling 625 in five turns to the table. Roberts made a “spot barred” break of 802 on the last day, and Diggle a break of 455, when he won by 5,603 points.

On January 26th, Roberts, conceding Mitchell 9,000 points in 24,000 up, “spot barred”, on a “Standard” table at the Argyll Hall, Argyll Street, London, made a break of 619; and on February 23rd, 739, when he won by 31 points.

The following week at the same Hall he commenced a match Peall on the same conditions, breaks of 742, 674, 414, and on the last afternoon of the match made an unfinished 138 into 578, and added 156. 386 and 36 unfinished, scoring 1,000 points while Peall was only able to subscribe 17 points to his total. Roberts winning on March 9th by 2,272 points.

At the same Hall Roberts conceded Dawson 8,000 start in 24,000, “spot barred”, and won by 2.891 points on March 23rd, making breaks of 563, 545, 526, 591 and 419.

Diggle at the same place beat Dawson in a match of 18,000 up, “spot barred”, on a “Standard” table, on April 13th, by 762 points, making a break of 583.

The billiard season of 1895-1896 commenced very early, Roberts playing exhibition matches at his rooms, 99, Regent Street, London, and introducing the pneumatic billiard cushions which were fixed on tables of his manufacture.

On October 1st, 1895, the first number of the ” Billiard Review edited by John Roberts (Champion), was published, in which an article by William Mitchell appeared, entitled, ‘ The odious push stroke. in which he said:-” It seems to me that there is infinitely more reason in barring the push than there is in barring the spot, for the latter is undoubtedly a billiard stroke, while I am not disposed to allow that the push has any claim to be so called”. This, no doubt, laid the foundation for abolishing the ” push stroke”, which was promptly taken up by the sporting Press until it was carried out. Articles and correspondence appeared in the principal newspapers from day to day, amateurs as well as professionals giving their opinions, but Roberts still continued to play the usual game, and in a match with Peall at the Egyptian Hall, Piccadilly, London, he conceded Peall 9,000 points in 24,000, “spot barred”, and won on October 26th, making breaks during the game of 610, 609, 453 and 252 unfinished.

On the same date C. Memmott, the Australian Champion, who received 50 points start, won a tournament of 700 up, “spot barred”, at the Argyll hall, Argyll Street, London (in which “Bonzoline” balls were used), winning five games and losing one. H. Coles, who received 50 points and W. D. Courtney, received 100 points, each won 4 games and lost 2 dividing second prize. J. North (scratch), won 3, lost 3; H. W. Stevenson (received 50 points), won 2, lost 4; T. Taylor (received 100 points), won 2, lost 4; J. Lloyd (received 130 points), won 1, lost 6. During the progress of the tournament, Coles, Memmott, Courtney, and Lloyd appealed for a foul when the “push stroke” was used by their opponents, which appeal was allowed by the referee (appointed by the “Sportsman”). Several games in the tournament were subsequently contested, “push barred” whilst in others, the two players agreed to the “go as you please” style of progression.

On Monday November 18th, Eugene Carter (the American player) opened at the Argyll Hall, Argyll Street, London, playing J. P. Mannock and other professionals at American billiards, which, no doubt, helped to increase the agitation against the “push stroke”. In one of his games with C. Memmott (the Australian Champion), Carter made a break of 563 on December 5th (counting one for each cannon). At each entertainment Carter played fancy strokes, and gave a novel display with little ivory halls. He had a long successful season in London, and he afterwards visited the provinces.

Diggle beat Dawson in a match of 9.000, “spot barred”, by 2,586 points, on November 23rd, at the Castle hotel, Swansea, South Wales, making during the game breaks of 527, 360, and 548.

About this time W. Spiller, who was running exhibition games at Messrs. Burroughes and Watts’ Show Rooms, Dean Street, Soho, London, was playing a fine game, for in a match of 18,000,” spot barred”, with Dawson, who conceded 2,000 points, he time after time beat his own record, making during the game breaks of 480, 395, 267, 248, 308, 364, 329, 255, 247 and 255. Dawson made breaks of 517, 482, 429, 470, 350 and nine over 200, and won on December 14th by 2,723 points.

Roberts in playing W. Hardy, of Manchester, at the Egyptian Hall, Piccadilly, London, made on November 21st a “spot barred” break of 841

The same month the Billiard Association gave £100 for a handicap of 700 points up “spot and push stroke barred”, played on the English principle (i.e., when a player loses his heat he takes no further part in the handicap), which came off at Messrs. Peall and Walder’s, 95, New Bond Street, London, and resulted as follows:-T. Taylor (received 125 points) beat H. Coles (received 70) by 21 points; J. North (scratch) beat J. P. Mannock (received 140) by 7 points; H. W. Stevenson (received 70) beat J. H. Whittle (received 320) by 138 points; W. J. Peall (scratch) beat C. Memmott (received 65) by 48 points; G. Collins (received 160) beat J. Dowland (received 160) by 125 points; J. Lloyd (received 140) had a walkover allowed, for Mitchell (scratch) was playing Roberts a match in which the “push stroke” was allowed; W. J. Peall beat H. W. Stevenson by 105 points; T. Taylor beat G. Collins by 124 points; J. Lloyd beat 4_ North by 302 points; Peall beat Taylor by 218 points; Lloyd, who drew a bye, played Peall in the final heat of 1,400 up, with the start doubled, receiving 280 points, and won on December 14th by 121 points.

Roberts during the progress of his games continued to make breaks of over 600 at frequent intervals, and W. Spiller breaks of over 300 in his games.

During a game of 9,000, “spot barred”, at Messrs. Orme and Sons, Blackfriars Street, Manchester, against D. Richards (who received 1,500 points start), E. Diggle, on February 8th1896, made a break of 612, and won on the same date by 1,846 points.

About this time it became necessary for players taking part in a match (under the rules in force) to stipulate whether the game should be played “all-in” or “spot barred”, with the “push stroke” barred,” jammed stroke “. barred, etc., to avoid any disputes when the game commenced. Mitchell, in the meantime, still kept up the crusade against the “push stroke” by repeated offers to play any player, bar Roberts. with the “push stroke” barred.

On February 10th E. Diggle and C. Dawson commenced a match of 18,000 up, “spot barred”, at the Argyll Hall, Argyll Street, London. In the articles signed it was expressly stipulated that the “push stroke” should be allowed. From the very first stage of the the “Sportsman” commenced a crusade against the “push stroke”. The reports of the play read after the following style:-” Diggle was the first to get fairly to work with a remarkably nice break of 140, in which the push was only once utilised. Dawson caught and passed him with runs of 92, 79, and 148. In all these breaks the push was far too conspicuous. A 219 again, unfortunately disfigured by several fouls”. Diggle during the game made a break of 629, which was described as follows:-” His all-round play was so admirable that it was a pity he could not the temptation of constantly pushing when playing his sequences of cannons”; and also that “a break was a good one but for one or two very pronounced pushes”, or “the push was very strongly in evidence”. In a break, most of the “push strokes” were counted and reported as fouls. Naturally, Roberts took offence at the “push stroke” being put down as a foul in these reports, and during the progress of the game got Dawson to support him by signing a letter that he sent to them which appeared in their issue of February 14th, 1896, over the joint signatures of the three players, protesting against this delicate point laws being decided by “a clique of sporting journalists and second-class professional players”. This, no doubt, made the opposition to the “push stroke” stronger, for in “The Sportsman” of February 19th an article appeared to the effect that:” The push has been and will be, described in these columns as a foul stroke, because it is one and that-in the rules of the Billiard Association-rules that were drawn up by a Committee of twelve of the leading players of the day, of which Committee Roberts himself was the chairman-the act of ‘accelerating the progress of a ball’ is declared to constitute a foul stroke”. Diggle won the match on February 22nd by 2,006 points, and little notice afterwards was given by the Press to a big break made by the aid of the “push stroke”, which eventually killed it. Roberts, in the “Billiard Review” of March said:-“I do most emphatically deny that a properly played push stroke is a foul under any existing rule. No one would, I think, care to say that the masse is a foul stroke, and yet in making the stroke the cue travels over a portion of the ball in much the same manner that the cue travels over the ball in a legitimate push stroke.

After all this controversy Roberts decided to play a match “push and spot barred” with W. Mitchell, who received 7,000 points start in 21,000 up, which commenced at the Egyptian Hall, Piccadilly, London on March 23rd, and during the game he made breaks of 480, 315 and 377, winning by 196 points on April 4th.

The following fortnight at the same Hall he played Dawson on the same conditions, winning by 184 points. His best breaks during the game were 335, 301, 342, 331, and 368.

On the same dates Diggle and Mitchell played a match of 16,000 up,” spot and push barred”, on even terms, at Messrs. Orme and Sons, Blackfriars Street, Manchester, which Mitchell won by 4,506 points.

On March 19th, 1896, W. Spiller made his largest “spot barred” break of 529 against H. W. Stevenson, at Messrs. Burroughes and Watts’ Show Rooms, Dean Street Soho, London, and at the same Hall against Dawson on March 28th made a break of 419.

During the week commencing April 27th, at the Agricultural Hall, Islington, London, in short games of 500 up. “all-in”, Peall playing against Dawson twice scored a love game by screwing in off the red in playing the first stroke in the game, and making a break of 500 unfinished.

Roberts complained of the meagre attendance’s during the two games played “push barred”, and again began playing., the old game with the “push stroke” allowed, commencing a match at the Egyptian Hall against Diggle, who received 8,000 points start in 24.000, which was won by Diggle on May 2nd by 713 points.

On November 16th, 1896, a match of 9,000 points up, “spot barred”, commenced between J. Mack (of Manchester) and W. Spiller at Messrs. Burroughes and Watts’ Show Rooms, Deansgate, Manchester, Mack receiving 2,250 points start. About this time Mack was playing a fine game, for during the evening of November 18th he scored his points in four turns, Spiller only scoring 68 points. His breaks during the day were 109, 197, 283 and 224 unfinished, and continuing it the following day he made the break into 429. He also made another good run of 297 and won by 2,916 points. Spiller’s best breaks during the game were 251, 174, and 360.

Most of the players were now engaged playing the “spot barred” game, with the “push stroke” allowed, though W. Mitchell frequently challenged to play anyone, bar Roberts, with the “push stroke” barred. The objection to the “push stroke” by the sporting Press seemed to have relaxed somewhat for at the commencement of 1897 the Championship controversy between Peall and Roberts was revived, which resulted in Roberts conceding Peall 12,000 points in 24,000, “spot barred”, at the Egyptian Hall, the match commencing on February 15th, 1897. Roberts during the game made breaks of 703 on February 25th, and 707 the following day, Peall eventually winning by 310 points on February 27th.

A return match was arranged at the same Hall, on the same conditions, from April 5th to April 19th Peall again being successful by 627 points.

Hugo Kerkan, the German Champion, on March 29th gave exhibitions of French billiards at Messrs. Burroughes and Watts’ Show Rooms, Dean Street, London, with J. P. Mannock, but he did not have a very long run, for after the first week the attendance was only moderate.

During a week’s play at the Agricultural Hall, Islington, London, Dawson and Peall (who played each afternoon and evening) contested 500 points up, “spot barred”, and 500 up “all-in”, on even terms. Dawson scored a love game on May 13th, making a break of 498 unfinished (114 and 47 spots); score: Dawson, 500 ; Peall, 0. In the “spot barred” game the score stood: Dawson, 500; Peall, 84.

On October 11th, 1897, Roberts introduced lady players at the Egyptian Hall with matches between Miss G. Fairweather and Miss L. Collins. They played three games of 1,500 up, “spot barred”, the first on even terms. Score: Miss Fairweather, 1,500; Miss Collins, 683; largest break by winner, 33. Second game:-Miss Collins received 350 start. Score: Miss Fairweather, 1,500; Miss Collins, 941; largest break by winner, 40. Third game:-Miss Collins received 500. Score: Miss Fairweather, 1,500; Miss Collins, 1,050.

Dawson beat Roberts in a match at the same Hall on November 1st to November 13th with 7,500 start in 24,000, “spot barred”. The principal breaks by Roberts during the game were 590, 480, 491, 421, eleven over 300, and the same number over 200. Dawson’s best were 340, 331, 325, and nine over 200. Score: Dawson, 24,000; Roberts, 23,622.

H. W. Stevenson, who had been showing marked improvement in his game, issued a challenge to play any player, bar Roberts, Diggle, and Dawson, which was immediately taken up by W. Mitchell. The pair played 18,000 points up, “spot barred”. at the Argyll Hall. Argyll Street, London, for £200, on January 31st to February 12th, 1898. Mitchell at the commencement took a long lead and though Stevenson repeatedly got close with good breaks during the game he could not pass Mitchell, who won easily by 1,605 points. Stevenson made breaks during the game of 319, 310, 352, 489, 319, 250: Mitchell, 304, 225, 222, 356 253, 269.

On February 14th, Roberts decided to again play the “spot and push barred” game (which soon afterwards became the recognised game, the players gradually adapting themselves to the altered conditions), conceding Mitchell 5.500 points in 21,000 up. at the Egyptian Hall. In this Roberts made a break of 526, but the match did not finish, as Mitchell was taken unwell with the scores: Mitchell 13.257; Roberts, 13,059.

C. Memmott and F. Weiss (the Australian Champions) played a match of 9,000 up, “spot barred”, at the Argyll Hall, Memmott being allowed to use the “push stroke” whilst Weiss played “push barred”. Memmott’s best breaks during the game were 251 223, 256, 226; Weiss 265, 282. Score: Weiss, 9.000; Memmott , 8,378.

Roberts and Weiss commenced a match of 21,000 up “spot and push barred”, at the Egyptian Hall, on March 13th on a “Standard” table (which was officially tested and passed by the Committee of the Billiard Association), Weiss receiving 6,500 start. Roberts’ best breaks during the game were 285, 230, 225, 327, 222, 297, 319, 357, 219, 223, 222; Weiss 247, 220, 203. The match resulted in a draw with the scores: Weiss. 20,108; Roberts, 19,737.

Dawson and Weiss contested a game of l8,000 up,” spot and push barred”, on March 28th to April 9th, Weiss receiving 2,000 points start, on a “Standard” table at the Argyll Hall, Dawson winning by 1,866 points. The winner’s best breaks were 287, 337, 267, 215, 310, 316, 202, 349, 309; Weiss 210, 293, 201, 272, 225


The best breaks made, “spot and push barred”, to the end of the season were by Roberts at the Egyptian Hall:-549 against J. G. Sala, March 11th; 609 against C. Harverson, April 4th; 679 against E. Diggle April 13th.

In a match with J. Mack at Messrs. Burroughes and Watts’ Show Rooms, Manchester, E. Diggle made breaks of 425 on March 30th, and 559 on April 7th.

At the same firm’s show rooms, at Birmingham, C. Dawson made a break of 572 on April 21st against F. Bateman.

By this time it became evident that something would have to be done with respect to the rules in force, and the Billiard Association set to to revise their existing rules, which were published in October, 1898. The principal alterations were that,” If the striker ‘push’ his ball, or strike it more than once, he cannot score, such spotting of the red ball which, “after spot twice in consecutive strokes by the same player, and not in conjunction with any other score, it shall be placed on the centre spot”. This at once destroyed the monotonous spot stroke, and did away with the continuous controversy respecting same as far as professional players were concerned. Matches and tournaments were now played under the new revised rules, Diggle being the first player to make a record break of 412 on November 22nd, 1898, in playing against Stevenson in a match of 18,000. points up (the latter receiving 2,000 points start) on a “Standard” table at Messrs. Orme and Sons’ Show Rooms, Soho Square, London. This break. however was beaten in the same game by Stevenson, who put together 582 on November 25th, the match resulting in a draw with the scores: Diggle 17,351; Stevenson, 17,073.

On November 28th the Billiard Association commenced an English handicap at the Argyll Hall, Argyll Street, London giving for first prize – £50, second prize £20, third and fourth £10 each. which was won by J. North who received 80 points start in 500 points up. First Round :- H. Barr (200 start) 500, beat C. Dawson (scratch) 275; C. Popkins (240 start) 500, beat W. Mitchell (40 start) 272; J. North (80 start) 500, beat B. Elphick (170 start) 424; H. W. Stevenson (50 start) 500, beat J. Lloyd (125 start) 495; M. Inman (200 start) 500, beat M. C. Clark (190 start) 480; A. W. Morgan (170 start) 500, beat W. Critchell (210 start) 455. Second Round:-W. Spiller (90 start) a bye W. J. Peall (40 start) absent; J. Dunn (170 start) 500, beat F. Dixon (250 start) 418; G. Collins (170 start) 500. beat W. Hardy (150 start) 426; F. Copping (190 start) 500, beat C. Harverson (90 start) 257; J. P. Mannock (140 start) 500, beat W. Cook (170 start) 409; H. Barr (200 start) 500, beat C. Popkins 240 start) 483; J. North (80 start) 500, beat H. W. Stevenson (50 start) 222; J. Dunn (170 start) 500, W. Spiller (90 start) 431. Third Round:-M. Inman (200 start) 500, beat A. W. Morgan (170 start) 390; G. Collins (170 start) 500, beat F. Copping (190 start) 483. Semi-finals:-H. Barr (200 start) 500, beat J. P. Mannock (140 start 452, J. North (80 start) 500, M. Inman (200 start) 335; J. North (80 start) 500, beat H. Barr (200 start) 466; J. Dunn (170 start) 500, beat G. Collins (170 start) 482. Final (best two out of three games):-J. North (80 start) beat J. Dunn (170 start), the first by 37 and the second by 166 points.

On December 17th, 1898 Roberts made a break of 527 on a “Standard” table by Messrs. Cox and Yeman, at the Egyptian Hall, London, against W. Mitchell; and on the 28th of the same month he commenced a big American tournament at the same Hall, 14 players competing in heats of 600 points up (under revised rules), for prizes value £410 (“Bonzoline” balls being used). W. Mitchell with a start of 175 points won on January 11th, 1899, taking first prize of £200, having won 11 games and lost 2; J. G. Sala (200 start) second prize of £60, won 10, lost 3; E. Diggle (150 start) third prize, £23, won 10, lost 3. Diggle and Sala played off for first and second prize, the latter winning. The following players divided according to heats won:-H. W. Stevenson (200 start) won 8, lost 5; T. Aiken (260 start), W. J. Peall (200 start), J. Roberts (scratch), and F. Bateman (260 start), each won 7, lost 6; W. Osborne (260 start) won 6, lost 7; F. Copping (260 start) and C. Harverson (225 start) won 5, lost 8; J. Mack (240 start) won 4, lost 9; T. Taylor (240 start) won 3, lost 10; W. D. Courtney (240 start) won 1, lost 12.

C. Dawson on January 14th, 1899, beat J. North for the first Champion ship played under the revised rules of billiards, promoted by the Billiard Association, who drew up rules to govern all future competitions for the Championship (see page 186). Up to the season 1898-99, John Roberts had pretty well held complete sway, till the agitation promoted by the Press against the “push stroke” compelled him to play under the revised rules. Under these new conditions, and consequent upon his taking composition balls into use, assertions were ripe as to his play deteriorating, and after countless challenges Dawson’s partisans (backed up by the Billiard Association) issued a challenge for Dawson to play Roberts 18,000 up level for £100 a side, the whole of the gate money to go to the winner, the game to be played in a neutral hall and ivory balls to be used. This brought an acceptance from Roberts, and articles were signed at “The Sportsman” Office in November of 1898, to play during the month of March, 1899. Then for a time nothing was talked of in the billiard world but the Roberts and Dawson match, and as the date agreed upon approached greater interest became centred in the game.

Dawson. in meantime, was showing good form. In a match of 9,000 up against J. Mack at the Exchange Hotel, Fennel Street, Manchester, February 20th to February 25th, 1899, he was successful in conceding 4,000 points start, and won by 261, making during the game breaks of 125, 211, 114, 131, 114, 116, 169, 140, 114, 129, 246, 148, 105, 170, 123, 160, 317, 180. Mack made breaks of 156, 123, 124, 100, 119, 187.

Roberts soon afterwards, at Messrs. Orme and Sons’ Show Rooms, whilst playing against Diggle on March 3rd, 1899, made a break of 597, which was of greater magnitude than any other since the revised rules had come into force. This strengthened the opinions of his patrons, who simply swore by him, as they had always seen him conceding about one third of the game, and how strong this feeling ran is best told by the following little story of J. P. Mannock, the well-known teacher:-During the first part of the match when Dawson was leading, one of Roberts’ supporters approached him in his room at the Hotel Victoria, and inquired “Who do you think will win this match – Roberts or Dawson? When told that he thought the latter would win, he replied, “Well, he can’t. Nobody will ever beat Roberts!” Mannock suggested that Roberts was not so young as he used to be, and that “Anno Domini” would beat him. “Bah !” said Roberts’ barracker,” I didn’t mean any of your foreign players, I mean an Englishman! ”

A number of difficulties arose with respect to the hall to play in, and whether “Bonzoline” or ivory balls were to be used. After it was settled that the latter should be used, the selection of the hall was got over (though the articles signed stipulated for a neutral hall) by Dawson, after consulting his backer, agreeing to a proposition made by Roberts, to play half the match at the Argyll Hall, Argyll Street, and the other half at the Egyptian Hall, Piccadilly, London. The match commenced on March 20th, 1899, at the former hall, on a “Standard” table by Messrs. Geo. Wright and Company, before a large attendance. At the finish of the day’s play, Roberts was leading by 110 points. On the following afternoon Dawson scored 859 points in sixteen visits to the table, to 189 points made by Roberts, and secured a lead of 784 at the finish of the second day’s play which enabled him to hold the lead until the Saturday evening only 280 points separated them. Roberts on the day named put together 1,923 points with breaks of 329, l 51, 129, 114, 101, and 115 unfinished, to 1,120 points scored by Dawson. the scores reading at the end of the first week’s play Roberts, 9,001; Dawson, 8,721. The breaks made by the leader, besides the above mentioned, during the first week were, 125, 126, 105, 119, 130, 111, 172, 140, 168, 169, 182, 124, 105, 1 :32, 180, 143, 118, 266. Dawson made breaks of 342 (the highest in the match), 152, 150, 278, 132, 128, 156, 104, 138, 122, 138, 127, 264,. 186, 126,, 132, 112, 126, 112, 121. Directly after Roberts had reached his points, workmen commenced to take down the table, which was then put up at the Egyptian Hall. From the commencement of operations at his headquarters. Roberts began to gain ground, for when a halt was called on Thursday night, prior to the adjournment for Good Friday, he was actually leading by 2,078 points. His best breaks up to this period were 124, 272, 155, 121, 108, 136, 285, 126, 110, 112, 148, 316, 106, 236, 144. Dawson’s best were 170, 185, 104, 101, 164, 165. On the Saturday afternoon Dawson scored 1,275 points to Roberts 748, making breaks of 112, 212, 94 and 243. to Roberts’ 85, 94, 131. In the evening Dawson again did well, scoring 1,495 whilst Roberts was reaching his points, a total of 2,770 points for the day, reducing the lead of Roberts’ to 807. Dawson’s breaks in the evening were 83, 45, 104, 228, 80, 65, 185, 155, 136 and 126, to Roberts’ 80, 102, 89, 75, 79, 57 and 42 unfinished. Commencing on the Monday afternoon Roberts only added a few to his unfinished break, but with breaks of 188, 115 139 unfinished scored his points whilst Dawson was putting together 268. In the evening Roberts raised his break to 213, and with breaks of 108, 207, and 212, won by 1.814 points.

During the game H. W. Stevenson challenged the winner to play on level terms, but shortly afterwards (on Nov 15th, 1899) he commenced a match with Roberts at the Hengler’s Circus, Glasgow, receiving 6,000 points start in 21,000. Result: Stevenson, 21.000; Roberts, 20,149.

In a match between F. Bateman and C. Dawson at Messrs. Burroughes and Watts New Street, Birmingham, the latter on April 19th, 1899, made a break of 536, and on October 21st of the same year, playing in a match with J. Mack at the Argyll Hall, on a table duly certificated as one of “Standard” pattern, he beat the existing record (597 by Roberts) under the revised rules by making a break of 722.

On November 13th, J. P. Mannock and C. Dawson played short games at the Argyll Hall, advertised as “descriptive billiards”, the former describing or declaring each stroke to be played and pointing out as near as possible what position would be left stroke named had been played. The public did not take kindly to the new idea and it only had a short run.

The next important event v as the Billiard Association handicap, 500 points up (played on the English “knock-out” principle), which commenced on November 20th at Messrs. Thurston and Company’s, Catherine Street, Strand, London. The prizes offered were: First, £50 second, £20, third and fourth, £10 each. First Round:-H. Shephard (120 start) beat J. North (owes 30) by 29 points; H. W. Stevenson (owes 30) beat W. Critchell (160 start) by 92 points; C. Harverson (50 start) beat J. Dowland (100 start) by 146 points; B. Elphick (110 start) beat G. Collins {100 start) by 114 points; C. Popkin (180 start) beat A. W. Morgan (120 start) by 121 points; F. Harwood (130 start) beat J. Dunn (100 start) by 72 points W. Hardy (100 start) beat F. Bennett (170 start) by 121 points; C. Dawson (owes 100) heat J. Ayres (130 start) by 172 points; J. Sharod (160 start) beat J. P. Mannock (80 start) by 76 points. Second Round:- F. Copping (130 start) beat W. J. Peall (scratch) by 161 points; J. Lloyd (70 start) beat M. C. Clark (150 start) by 252 points; H. Barr (120 start) beat M. Inman (100 start) by 107 points; H. Clark (160 start) beat H.. Shephard (120 start) by 37 points; C. Harverson (50 start) beat B. Elphick (110 start) by 249 points, Harverson making a break of 212 unfinished; C. Dawson (owes 100) (160 start) by 259 points; H. W. Stevenson (owes 30) beat C. Popkin (180 start) by 226 points F. Harwood (130 start) beat W. Hardy (100 start) by 117 points. Third Round :- F. Copping (130 start) beat J. Lloyd (70 start) by 212 points; H. Barr (120 start) beat H. Clark (160 start) by 141 points, C. Dawson (owes 100) beat C. Harverson (50 start) by 194 points, Harverson making a break of 135, and Dawson 100 and 315 unfinished, F. Harwood (130 start) beat H. W. Stevenson (owes 30) by 149 points. Semi-final Round:- H. Barr (120 start) beat F. Copping (130 start) by 94 points; C. Dawson (owes 100) beat F. Harwood (130 start) by 166 points. Final Heats (best two out of three games):-C. Dawson (owes 100) beat H. Barr (120 start) by 185 the first game, and by 97 points the second game, winning the handicap on November 27th, 1899.

Playing against F. Bateman at Messrs. Burroughes and Watts, New Street, Birmingham on December 7th, 1899, H. W. Stevenson made a break of 591

About this time Dawson issued a challenge to give Mitchell 1,000 start or Stevenson 2,000 start, in 18,000 up for £100 a side. Mitchell promptly replied and the match was played on a “Standard” table by Messrs. Burroughes and Watts at the Egyptian Hall, January 22nd to February 3rd, 1900. Dawson taking the lead at 2,481, left off with a good lead at the half-way stage, his principal breaks being 341, 263, 256, 247, 227, 212, 230, 251 and nineteen other breaks over the century. Mitchell made breaks of 225, 224, 212 and eighteen more over the hundred, the scores reading: Dawson 9,001; Mitchell, 8,307. The second half of the game saw Dawson playing in great form, and he won easily by 1,931 points, running to game with an unfinished break of 421 (the largest in the match). His other breaks were 405, 321 and twenty-one over the century. Mitchell compiled twenty-seven over the hundred, including 209, 203, 215 and 254.

Roberts then surprised everybody by making an announcement that he was about to play Stevenson and Diggle a “test” match, each on the terms of his challenge (after he defeated Dawson), to give any player 5,500 points in 21,000 up (with “Bonzoline” balls) with the intention to furnish a line of comparison of his play with those of his most capable contemporaries. (which those with any knowledge of the difference between a composition ball and ivory must know did nothing of the kind, when his opponents were used to playing with ivory only), and it was no surprise to see Stevenson lose his game by over 5,000 points. Shortly after these matches. Roberts went abroad, seen very little in England since.

In November 1900, H. W. Stevenson, who had improved wonderfully in his play accomplished a remarkable feat in a game of 18,000 up (on level terms) against Diggle at Messrs. Orme and Sons, Manchester. On the tenth day of the match he was 1,116 points behind Diggle when play and he put together 2,532 points whilst Diggle was scoring 822, including a fine break of 586, thus finishing up at night with a lead of 544, and finally winning by a margin of 987 points.

During the same week (November 12th to November 17th) Dawson gave M. Inman a start 10,000 at the Argyll Hall. On the Friday evening he scored 1,476 points to Inman 358, his principal contributions realising 149, 108, 441, 41, 59, 389 and 58 unfinished, to Inman’s best break of 128, eventually winning by 258 points.

The following month he gave C. Harverson 3,300 points start in 10,500, at Messrs. Orme and Sons, Manchester, making a break on December 11th of 540, and winning after an exciting game by 23 points.

On January 26th, 1901 H. W. Stevenson beat E. Diggle in a match of 9,000 (conceding 1,000 points) by 943 at the Gresham Restaurant, West Nile Street, Glasgow.

The most interesting events of the season were the two Championship games played between Dawson and Stevenson, the Amateur Championship and Messrs. Burroughes and Watts’ Tournament (see index). the matches of note to the end of the season were between Harverson and Inman, J. Mack and T. Reece, the latter players contesting 18,000 up for £100 a side, on February 11th to February 23rd, at the Socialists’ Hall, Oldham, Mack leading at the end of the first week’s play with the score: Mack, 9,000; Reece, 7,989. The best breaks were 126, 113, 123, 120, 101, 122, 129, 166, 164. Reece made the largest break ((338)) in the match, and also others of 106, 165, 140, 152, 101, 153, 124. During the second week the leader, who made his best break (271) in the match, won easily, the final scores reading: Mack, 18,000; Reece, 14,772. His other best breaks were 173, 141, 108, 132, 118, 140 and 127, the loser making breaks of 122, 148, 159, 101, 103 154, 129, 109, 168, 114.

The following week C. Harverson and M. Inman commenced a match at the Argyll Hall 8,000 points up, the latter receiving 1,000 start for £75 a side, which was a great game from start to finish, Inman lost most of his start very early in the game, the scores at the finish of the afternoon’s play on the second day reading: Inman, 2,114; Harverson (in play), 2,000. However, he never lost courage, and, finally, after a keen and great struggle, ran to game with an unfinished break of 182 (the last 129 of which were made off the red ball), a winner by 248 points. His other breaks during the game were 119, 112, 113, 154, 180, 174, 108, 117, 107, 101. The loser’s highest breaks were 118, 124, 157, 101, 131. 100, 111, 112, 129, 119, 112, 145 and 132.

C. Dawson in a match against F. Lawson at the Surrey Street Music Hall Sheffield conceding 4,500 points in 10,000 up, on April 15th to April 20th, made breaks of 376, 421 and 448, and won by 766 points.

The same month saw a match commenced in which H. W. Stevenson concede 2,000 points in 18,000 up to E. Diggle, at Messrs. Orme and Sons, The Parsonage, Manchester, the latter, who made breaks of 455 and 326 (twice) during the game, winning with the scores reading : Diggle, 18,()00; Stevenson, 11,758.

The commencement of the 1901-02 season saw C. Dawson and E. Diggle giving exhibitions of their skill in different towns in the United [kingdom, and with J. Roberts also being away in Australia, billiards (with the exception of a couple of tournaments) were rather dull for a time in London.

On October 5th H. W. Stevenson (who had previously challenged Dawson for the Championship) issued a challenge to play anyone in the world (Dawson preferred) three games, each of 18,000 up, level. for £100 a side each game, to be played in London, Manchester, and Glasgow, as he was anxious to prove who was the better player. Whether this challenge intended as an advertisement prior to the Championship is not known, but when it became evident that the Championship would not be played, as Dawson declined to play on the date selected by the Association- November 11th-the latter body declared Stevenson Champion on that date. Notwithstanding this, however, Dawson had accepted his offer to play the three matches named. He (Stevenson) then stated that he would only play Dawson on level terms if he played for the Championship, otherwise he would give Dawson or any other player 1,000 in 18,000, for any sum from £100 to £500 a side. After a continued paper warfare, articles were signed to play three matches of 18,000 up, each for £100 a side, on level terms, the first to be played in London and to commence on March 3rd 1902, one week to intervene between each match.

On October 12th, 1901, Messrs. Thurston’s Grand Hall, Leicester Square, London, was opened with an American Tournament promoted by the Billiard Association, who gave £100 in prizes. The heats were 500 up. H. W. Stevenson (scratch) and W. J. Peall (100 start) won six each out of seven, and in playing off the tie, the former made a bleak of 242 and secured first prize. The other players taking part were: W. Mitchell (50 start), F. Bateman (80 start), J. North (80 start), C. Harverson (100 start), W. Cook (160 start), and M. Inman (160 start).

Nothing sensational was done by Diggle or Dawson in their games until they arrived at Liverpool, when playing at the Eberle Street Hall, the latter on December 13th, 1901, made a break of 579, and the following week (December 20th) Diggle made a break of 519 at the Cambridge Hall Sheffield The two players named commenced a match of 18,000 up at the Argyll Hall on January 6th, 1902, on a “Standard” table by Messrs. Geo. Wright and Company. Diggle, who received 2,000 points start, caused rather a sensation, for on the evening of January 10th he made a remarkable break of 205. In this break, after a few strokes, Dawson’s ball covered the billiard spot, and, Diggle, instead of playing the usual cannon, continued playing the winning hazard off the pyramid spot into the four pockets (the two middle and the two top corner pockets). Although an objection was raised, and the revised rules were produced, nothing at that time was in them to prevent the stroke, and he made fifty-six consecutive hazards in this way before breaking down-a wonderful performance. Dawson, who won by 699 points, made breaks during the game of 484 and 555.

The same month C. Harverson and M. Inman commenced a match of 16,000 up, on level terms, for £75 a side, on January 20th to February 1st at Messrs. Thurston’s Grand Hall. Again the game was well contested, some of the sessions being greatly prolonged. Harverson during early part of the match went right away and looked like winning easily, but Inman struggled on gamely in his usual way. The last few days’ play was very close and exciting, the players constantly passing and re-passing each other. When Inman appeared to have the game in hand an unusual occurrence happened-whilst playing, the spot fell out of his ball. He requested a new set, which were duly provided, but he broke down after a bad stroke. Harverson then ran right out with an unfinished bleak of 225, a winner of a marvellous game by 163 points-a great performance.

On February 10th, H. W. Stevenson and C. Harverson commenced a match at Messrs. Thurston’s Grand Hall, the latter being in receipt of 3.000 points in 9,000. Stevenson on February 11th made a break of 541, and won by 196 points.

On February 24th to March 1st, Dawson and contested 9,000 points up (Diggle 1,000 start) at C. Poundsbery’s Billiard Hall, 114, Western Road, Hove, Brighton. On the Wednesday afternoon Dawson made a break of 455, but Diggle reached his points with an unfinished break of 75. On restarting, he continued playing all the evening, and left off with a magnificent unfinished break of 742-(this achievement is without precedent under the revised new rules)-his opponent never having a stroke during the evening’s play. Continuing the next afternoon, February 27th, 1902, he carried the break to 791 before breaking down at an easy winning hazard, thus beating all records. The following appeared under the report of the break in “The Sportsman” :- “The above performance of Diggle’s was a marvellous one, no matter upon what class of table it was accomplished; but in justice to both players and table-makers, it is only right to point out that no break can be accepted as a record unless it has been made upon a table that has been previously tested and passed as a ‘Standard’ by representatives of the Billiard Association.” – ED. The Sportsman.

The first of the three great matches between Stevenson and Dawson commenced on March 3rd at the Argyll Hall on a “Standard” table by Messrs. Geo. Wright and Company. One of the conditions (introduced for the first time) stipulated that two plain white balls should be used, a spot being marked on one in order to distinguish them. Dawson started very well, leaving off with a lead of over 500 points after the first session. The sitting in the evening was terribly prolonged and lasted until 11.45 p.m. before Stevenson, who scored 1,287 to Dawson 689, reached his points with a lead of 54, and from this point to the finish took a commanding lead. On Thursday and Friday, March 6th and 7th, he played an extraordinary game, making his necessary 750 points on the first named afternoon in six innings. an average of 125. His breaks were 47, 116, 62, 411 and 97 unfinished. In the evening he scored his points in thirteen innings with breaks of 101 (full), 86, 220. 240, 98 and 75 unfinished. On the Friday he even played better, scoring 750 in four innings in the afternoon (an average of 187) and breaks of 109 (full), 190, 185, 81 and 260 unfinished. Remarkable as was the exhibition given by Stevenson in the afternoon. few thought it possible that he would do better in the evening. but this he actually did, making successive breaks of 418 (full), 99. 13 and 481 (unfinished), .averaging 250 for three completed innings, whilst scoring 750 points-a marvellous display. The following afternoon he carried his unfinished break to 521, and at the half-way stage was leading by 3,767 points. Although Dawson on the Monday afternoon following scored 1,455 points to Stevenson 750, the latter was too far in front to be caught, and he eventually won by 3,806. During the match the winner, besides the big 259, 249, 245 (twice), 240, 237. 223. and forty-five of one hundred and over. Dawson’s son’s best breaks were 389, 299, 298, 288, 281, 258, 254, 227, and twenty-seven of one hundred and over. The following is an extract from the “Sportsman”, March 17th, 1902, under the heading, “Comparative form of the players” :- “This result is as it should be, for no unbiased critic who has closely watched the billiards of the past two weeks could leave Argyll Hall and say Dawson was the better player. That he is determined and plucky, that he knows not defeat until the end of the game, that he is a very fine player, indeed, there is no doubt, but that he is not the equal of Stevenson as a player is also unquestionable. When Dawson was Champion of his profession he was proclaimed as such in the columns of the ‘Sportsman’, recognise his great abilities as a player. However, at that time Stevenson was climbing the ladder, slowly, it is true, but with certainty. Their battle at the Gaiety for the Championship was convincing, for in that game Stevenson showed his capabilities in a manner that surprised all, beating his opponent in a match of 9,000 up by 2,594. It is true that later in the season Dawson turned the tables by over 3,000 and regained his lost honours, but by that time the form was known, and possibly the Huddersfielder knew what he was doing when, after being challenged for the Championship at the beginning of this season, he allowed the title to go by default. The match that concluded on Saturday in no way whatever could have affected the Championship, yet more than Stevenson proved that he is the Champion. Yet, as he has ousted Dawson from the position, so there may be another coming along to him, and, perhaps, beat him, and should that occur Stevenson, like Dawson, will have to take second place with as good grace as he can. Stevenson knows full well that one cannot take a life long lease of any championship”. Afterwards these matches were described as a “mere test of endurance” in the columns of the same paper under “Vigilant’s Note-Book”, but nothing was heard of this definition before Dawson won the next two matches.

The second match was played at the Free Trade Hall, Manchester, March 24th to April 7th (no play on Good Friday), on a “Standard” table by Messrs. Cox and Yeman. Again at the beginning Stevenson went right away, and at one time during the first week was leading by over 1,500 points. When the half-way stage was reached he held a lead of 976. His best breaks up to this period were 575. 225, 216, 202, 220 unfinished, and sixteen of one hundred or more. Dawson’s best were 373, 333, 312, 205 and fifteen of one hundred or more. During the latter half Dawson struggled on and gradually closed up the leeway, and for the first time during the game held foremost position after a break of 196. The totals at this stage were called: Dawson, 11,898; Stevenson 11,853; and although Stevenson got within eighteen points of the leader when the scores stood Dawson, 14,507; Stevenson, 14,489; he was never caught, and finally won by 910 points. The following breaks in the order made were accomplished by the winner during the second week: 174, 198, 131, 166, 172, 383, 123, 271, 112, 249, 131, 109, 100. 106, 174, 196, 137, 123, 241, 127, 186, 206, 319, 142, ‘289,. 130. 146, 141. 127, 115, 124, 108, 182. Stevenson’s best breaks were 232 (full), 168, 209. 403, 121, 156, 167, 100, 183, 234, 135, 101, 146, 170, 107, 292. 102, 105. 114, 105, 112, 244, 118, 249.

The third and deciding match was played at the Argyll Hall, London, April 14th to April 26th, on a “Standard” table by Messrs. Geo. Wright and Company. On the first afternoon, Stevenson breaks of 70, 144, 202, 85 and 160 unfinished, scored 751 to 276, Dawson making breaks of 47 and 135. In the evening he made breaks of 177 (full), 56, 57, 63, 100 and 252 unfinished, to Dawson’s best breaks of 94, 51. 197, 97 and 144 leaving off with the scores: Stevenson, 1,501: Dawson, 1,010. The following afternoon Dawson at the close of play actually led by points, making breaks of 125, 151, 148, 200, 225, 92 and 167 to Stevenson’s breaks of 295 (full), and 58. In the evening Dawson again increased lead to over 900. On the Saturday afternoon Stevenson scored 1,062 points in five innings, and put together 1,209 points to 679 by Dawson, and again took the lead when the score of the last named stood at 9,798. When play started on the following Thursday afternoon the scores stood: Stevenson (in play), 13,467; Dawson, 12,959, the former with a lead of 508. Dawson played up well during the day, the scores at the adjournment reading: Dawson, 15,003; Stevenson, 14,279. From this point to the finish he further increased his lead, and finally won the rubber by 1,169 points. The winners best breaks during the game were 284, 266, 235, 233, 225, 215, 219, 200 and forty-three of one hundred or over. Stevenson made 423, 328, 296, 295, 285, 263, 220 (twice), 216, 210 (twice), 202 and twenty two of one hundred or over.

After these matches Diggle and Dawson again became partners playing several exhibition games in the provinces.

The most important breaks to the end of the season were by Stevenson at the Palace Billiard Rooms, Hope Street, Glasgow, in playing against T. Aiken on May 13th. when he made a break of 537, and by Dawson, 524 made against Diggle on May 30th at the Royal Albert Hall, Jarrow.

The season 1902-03 started very early, Stevenson showing great form in a match of 9,000 up, conceding W. Osborne 4,000 start at the George Hotel, Leicester, September 22nd to September 27th. During the game he made breaks of 471 and 422, and just proved successful, and shortly afterwards whilst playing against Bateman at Messrs. Orme and Sons, Manchester, he made a break of 492 (playing with “Bonzoline balls)

Dawson, after being beaten easily by T. Reece, of Oldham. who received a start of 3,500 in Manchester commenced a four [two] weeks’ engagement at the Grand Hall, London, on September 29th, conceding W. Cook 7,000 points start in 18,000 up, on a “Standard” table by Messrs. Thurston and Company. Dawson who made two breaks during the game of 425 and 514, won by 182 points. Cook’s three-figure breaks during the game numbered twenty-seven. viz., nineteen between 100 and 200 seven between 200 and 300, and one over 300.

Following this match, Dawson gave C. Wilkinson, of Wakefield, 4,000 points in 9,000 and again proved successful by 205 points. Wilkinson, who made his first appearance before a London audience, played well indeed, making breaks of 120, 100, 163, 142, 129, 127 and 111.

The following week Dawson played a return match with T. Reece, conceding 3,500 points in 9,000, and on the first day (October 20th) Dawson made a break of 541 and eventually won by 327 points. Reece during the game made breaks of 146, 102, 105, 140, 141, 139, 100, 108, 213, 115, 125, and 207.

Dawson next contested three games of 3,000 points up, during the week November 3rd to November 8th. at the Albion Hotel, Leeds, conceding W. Nichol 1,500 points start in each winning all three, and making breaks of 402 on the Tuesday, and 605 on the Saturday.

On the following Monday commented an American Tournament at the Grand Hall, promoted by the Billiard Association. Heats, 500 up. T. Reece (150 start) and C. Harverson (150 start) won seven games each, and lost two. Playing off the tie (which was arranged 1,000 up, level), Harverson won on November 22nd by 315 points. The following players also competed:-H. W. Stevenson (scratch) won 6, lost 3; W. Osborne (180 start) won 5, lost 4; Alec Taylor (220 start) won 5, lost 4; W. J. Peall (100 start) won 4, lost 5; M. Inman (130 start) won 4, lost 5; W. Cook (150 start) won 3, lost 6; J. Mack (150 start) won 2, lost 7; W. Holt (240 start) won 2, lost 7.

Stevenson and Diggle then contested a game of 4,500 up (the latter receiving 500 points start) at the Corn Exchange, Maidstone, Diggle winning on November 26th by 812 points.

A challenge issued by C. Harverson to take 6,000 points in 18,000 from either Dawson or Stevenson for £50 a side, resulted in a match on the terms named being played at the Argyll Hall on a “Standard” table by Messrs. Geo. Wright and Company, on December 8th to December 20th. between C. Dawson and C. Harverson for £75 a side. Harverson on the first three days of play actually scored more points than Dawson, the scores at the close of Wednesday evening standing: Harverson, 9,002; Dawson, 2,980; and at the half-way stage: Harverson, 12,001; Dawson, 8,257 The leader’s best breaks were 122, 113, 105, 112 (twice), 177, 104, 103 and 148. Dawson’s best were 133, 114, 110, 152, 106, 125, 117, 327, 140, 113, 333 127, 122, 118, 134, 207, 107, 103, 268. During the second half Dawson, gradually but surely began to gain on the leader, and when the last day’s play was entered upon he was only nine points behind, and he finally won a well contested game by 439 points. His breaks during the second half were: 125, 228, 103, 122, 266, 166, 115, 109, 103, 251, 305, 144, 164, 113, 137, 154, 211, 101, 119, 235, 190, 100, 158, 179, 110, 290, 183, 275 and 153. Harverson’s best were: 103, 135, 137 (twice), 101, 111, 174, 114, 192, 109 and 146.

The same fortnight Stevenson and Diggle played a game of 18,000 up at Messrs. Thurston’s Grand Hall, Diggle receiving 2,000 points start. Stevenson at the commencement of the second and week caught and passed his opponent, the scores reading: Stevenson, 10,502; Diggle, 10,330; and again he was leading by over 500 points on the following Friday afternoon; but Diggle played up with great determination and won by 953 points. The winner’s best breaks throughout the game were: 367, 309, 254 (twice), 252, 251, 242, 241, 233, 227, 225 (twice), 245, 217, 207, 205 and thirty-four of one hundred or more. Stevenson made breaks of 423, 442, 492, 372, 336, 333, 280, 281, 272, 286, 261, 258, 244, 250, 239, 225, 221, 218, 203, and thirty-two of one hundred of more.

The following fortnight Stevenson conceded F. Bateman 4,500 points in a game of 16,500 up, at the Grand Hall. The latter showed improved form, and complied breaks of 366, 270, 340, 323, 308, winning on January 3rd, 1903, by 537 points.

E. Diggle, in playing a match with C. Dawson at Hotel, Leeds, made a break of 594 on January 2nd, 1903.

The next important match commenced on January 5th at the Grand Hall between M. Inman and T. Reece for £100 a side, 16,000 up, on level terms. Inman at the beginning of the game gradually drew away and at the half-way stage the scores read: Inman, 7,907; Reece, 7,344. The game was well contested throughout, the two men playing very keenly, and on the fourth day a remarkable series of consecutive safety misses were given, Inman giving sixteen and Reece fifteen; also during the match in another session he gave ten consecutive safety misses to nine by Reece. At one time Inman was leading by four figures, but Reece responded gallantly, closing up the leeway and getting within eight points of the leader on the last night, the score at this period being called: Inman, 15,521; Reece, 15,513. After a desperate struggle home from this point, Inman won by 312 points. The best breaks by the winner during the game were: 110, 100, 109, 104, 169, 189, 110, 121, 112, 117, 103, 101, 137, 116, 146, and 117. Reece’s best breaks were 210 (twice), 118, 125, 102, 145, 107, 184, 107, 160, 171, 139, 228, 158, 132, 185, 132, 215, 130, 111, 165, 187, 183, 126, 167, 140 and 143.

Stevenson and Diggle should have commenced a match of 18,000 up, the latter with 2,000 points start, the same fortnight, at the Gresham Restaurant, West Nile Street, Glasgow, but the former was ill the first two days. However, on the Wednesday the players started as though each had run to his points overnight, when the respective totals should have read: Diggle (2,000 start), 4,666; Stevenson, 3,000. Diggle again played well and won easily by 1,167 points, scoring some 500 points less than the start given on the ten days’ actual play.

During an exhibition match at the Criterion Hotel, Shrewsbury, on February 2nd, H. W. Stevenson made a break of 588 in playing against T. J. Watkins; and on the 10th of the same month C. Dawson, playing against :E. Diggle, made a break of 607 at Messrs. Burroughes and Watts, New Street, Birmingham.

At Messrs. Thurston’s Grand Hall C. Harverson and M. Inman played their match of 16,000 up, on level terms, for £50 a side, on February 2nd to February 14th. Inman drew away on the first day with a good lead. Harverson, however, with breaks of 102, 107, 127. and 147, on the Tuesday evening scored 1,103 points to Inman 441, leaving off with a lead of 183. and from here to the finish steadily gained, the scores at the half-way stage reading: Harverson, 8,001; Inman 6,662. After a most protracted game, the average duration of play being six hours a day, Harverson won easily by 1,447 points. The winner s best breaks during the game were: 172, 112, 110, 111, 141, 135, 160, 147, 101, 191, 118, 110 (twice), 111. 114. 106, 125, 140. 120, 137, 126, 119, 174, 118, 265, 123 and 132. The loser made breaks of 110, 141, 145, 176, 194, 200, 111, 177, 100, 122 105, 106, 108, 148.

During the fortnight February 16th to February 28th, at the same Hall, H. W. Stevenson conceded W. Cook 7,000 points start in 18,000. The latter took a strong lead from the commencement, showing much improved form, and made several breaks of over two hundred, his highest being 366. Although Stevenson on the last day made breaks of 534, 305, 111, 110, and 157, Cook with a splendid break of 238 unfinished won easily by 2,606 points.

The week following the Championship (see page 190) Dawson and Diggle commenced a game of 9,000 up (the latter 1,000 start) at Messrs. Thurston’s Grand Hall. The report of the first afternoon’s play in “The Sportsman” commenced:- “The inseparables, the Damon and Pythias of the professional billiard world, Dawson and Diggle, are again together. They were separated for a week whilst Dawson was taking the Championship from Stevenson but Diggle could not bear the parting, and as a result he was a constant visitor to the National Sporting Club”. Diggle, who had been Dawson’s partner and trial horse prior to his big matches with Stevenson, brought about the above remarks. In “The Sportsman”, under notes, “The game in 1902″, read:-” During the year Dawson and Diggle were showing together in the provinces; but, so far as the results of the matches are concerned, no interest whatever attaches, for being continually pitted against each other, their games became very monotonous indeed. They were quite inseparable; in fact, except for that period when Dawson was engaged with Stevenson, he rarely met any other player except Diggle. As the two players named were inseparable to the end of the season, I will give the games of most interest played by them”.

On April 4th W. Cook, in a benefit match with J. Lloyd (the beneficiare) at the Grand Hall, made a break of 476 (his highest on record).

At the above Hall Diggle and Dawson commenced a match of 16,500 up, the former receiving 1,750 start, April 6th to April 18th (no play Good Friday). Diggle on the third day made a break of 527, and during the game compiled breaks of 390, 337, 312, and 301, to Dawson’s best break of 394, winning very easily. The scores at the close of the match were: Diggle (1,750), 16,500; Dawson, 11,270. On the Saturday evening Mr. Harry Young (representing the “World of Billiards”) presented Diggle, on behalf of his admirers, with a magnificent gold watch, made by Messrs. Kendal and Dent, as an appreciation of his great form during the game.

The following fortnight (April 20th to May 2nd) the same players contested a game of 18,000 up (Diggle receiving 2,000 points start), at the City Hall, Eberle Street, Liverpool on a table by J. Ashcroft, of Liverpool. Throughout the game was full of interest as both players showed great form. Dawson on the first Saturday evening, in six visits to the table, including breaks of 64, 137 589 and 246, scored 1,042 points, the scores at the half-way stage reading Diggle. 9,421 : Dawson, 8,467. During the second half Diggle made a break of 432, and finally won easily by 1,118 points. His other breaks during the game were: 324, 308, 269, 243, 238 (twice), 237, 228, 224, 223, 213, 206 and forty-eight of one hundred or more. Dawson, besides the big break, made 473, 376, 344, 318, 300, 278, 276, 264, 255 (twice), 252, 250, 239, 231, 213, 220, 245, 236 and thirty-eight of one hundred or more.

One week intervened, and then the above players commenced their last match of the season. a start of 1,000 in 18,000 up, at Messrs. Burroughes and Watts, New Bridge Street, Newcastle-on-Tyne, on May 11th to May 23rd, 1903. Both players again showed great form and big breaks were plentiful; on the second day Dawson made a break of 468 and Diggle one of 523. After a fine game Dawson eventually won by 692 points. Besides the breaks mentioned the other breaks made during the game by the winner were: 415, 397, 320, 315, 301, 284, 270, 237, 235, 226, 215, 208, 200, and forty-one of one hundred or more, and by Diggle 334, 315, 301, 290, 280, 248, 238, 231, 230, 202, 200, and thirty-two of one hundred or more. It may be interesting to note that Diggle and Dawson have competed against each other in thirty-five matches under the old rules, with the “push stroke” allowed, Diggle winning nineteen and Dawson sixteen. Under the present rules they have played forty-three matches, Dawson winning twenty-six and Diggle seventeen They played one drawn game of 18,000 up at the Queen Street Hall, Edinburgh, on November 9th, 1901, when the final scores were: Dawson, 17,148; ‘Diggle, 16,920. Stevenson and Dawson, besides the Championship games and the three money matches also contested the following games (under old rules):-October 1st to October 6th, 1894, at Argyll Hall, twelve games of 700 up, Stevenson receiving 150 start; result, Dawson won nine, Stevenson three. Same month, October 15th to October 17th, at Argyll Hall, six games, 700 up, Stevenson 150 start; result, Dawson won five games, Stevenson one. At the same Hall they contested 20,000 up, Stevenson 5,000 start, November 5th to November 17th, 1894; result, Dawson 20,000, Stevenson 18,082. November 20th, 1894, at the Constitutional Club, West Norwood, London, 500 up, “spot barred”, Stevenson 100 start; result, Dawson 500, Stevenson 366. 500 up, “all-in”, Stevenson 100 start; result, Dawson 500, Stevenson 288. November 4th to November 16th, 1895, at Argyll Hall, 18,000 up, Stevenson 2,000 start; result, Dawson 18,000, Stevenson 16,866. March 9th to March 14th, 1896, at Messrs. Thurston’s, Catherine Street, Strand, London, 9,000 up, Stevenson 1,500 start; result, Dawson 9,000, Stevenson 8,355. And under the present rules:-The final heat in Messrs. Burroughes and Watts’ Tournament, Dean Street, Shaftesbury Avenue, London, February 27th to March 11th, 1899, 18,000 up, Stevenson receiving 3,500 start; result, Stevenson 18,000, Dawson 15,838. December 24th to December 29th, 1900, Messrs. Burroughes and Watts’ American Tournament, Dean Street, Shaftesbury Avenue, London, three games 3,000 up, Dawson owes 500, Stevenson scratch-Christmas Day (no play) intervening, the games had to be played in five days-Stevenson winning all three; the first, Stevenson 3.000, Dawson 2,462; second, Stevenson 3,000, Dawson 2,532; third, Stevenson 3,000, Dawson 2,280.

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