Over the years I personally have witnessed a good number of amusing incidents on the snooker table, and have heard a great many more from other players and sources. I have collected these into one chapter of my book Snooker for Love, not Money, which I hope to publish in the not-too-distant future. I have also retained quite a few more for future use, and will be airing them in the magazine.
Here are a couple of examples of the many to be inserted (I should explain that Charlie Gay is one of the most respected players in Cornwall and a multi-title winner):
One incident I witnessed, perhaps not too amusing for Charlie Gay at the time, was when he was playing in one of the open tournaments in Exeter, I think. In a close frame, Charlie went in-off a red, allowing his opponent to play from hand. His opponent then fouled a baulk colour in placing the white, and was penalized for this carelessness by the referee. Charlie then proceeded to pick up the white, only for the referee to call 'Foul' once more. The ball should have been played from where his opponent had left it after his foul 'stroke'! Charlie was not too pleased at the time, but later saw the funny side of this bizarre series of events.
FOUL AGAIN REF?
Talking of referees, another story occurs to me involving myself. One of these also took place in an Open tournament, at the Pot Black Club in Plymouth. I was playing an unknown opponent and the match was being refereed by a local referee who really fancied himself, judging by his mannerisms, his bow-tie, waistcoat, official badge and all the trimmings. My opponent had potted a red and was near the top end of the table. There was a cluster of colours including yellow, green and black near the side cushion towards the baulk end of the table. Without nominating, my opponent then slowly hit the white towards these colours, the white drifting gently against the nap until it struck the black ball. "Spot one," proclaimed the referee. (I can never stand anyone saying this as opposed to 'One to spot', as my friend John, who does it to irritate me, will tell you). Feeling hard done by that the referee did not call a foul, I said, "Was that a foul shot, ref? What colour was he playing?" "I don't know," said the snotty-nosed referee. "What ball were you playing, player?" "Black," came the surprising reply. What did the ref expect him to say, 'yellow'? But then, of course, because of the sportsmanship inherent in our sport, he was bound to tell the truth, wasn't he?
Oh, by the way, did you spot the 'deliberate' mistake? Yes, the ref must have forgotten to spot the brown. But the players can't be held responsible for that any more, can they?
REPORT YOU TO YOURSELF!
One of my favourite 'true stories' was told to me by the late Sydney Kemp, who had a great sense of humour. At the time Sydney was an official of the League and was playing with the Four Lanes team in 1967 at the Helston RBL. This club possessed two tables, and apparently it was their custom to play one match using both tables, in order to complete proceedings more quickly. As the first match broke off on table one, the opposing captain approached Sydney and said, "Are you S.Kemp? I'm going to play you on the other table." Sydney was rather conservative in outlook (I mean no disrespect by that - he was a real 'gentleman') and preferred the traditional system of playing all the frames on the same table. "Oh no you're not," he said. "I'm going to play on the same table as the others." At this the opposing captain got quite upset, and demanded that he play. Sydney still refused. "Do you know that I am the President of this club?" asked the other man. "I couldn't care if you were President Kennedy," replied Sydney calmly. "I'm still not playing." "In that case, I have no alternative. I shall write to the League Secretary about this," stormed his opponent. Sydney smiled in his own inimitable way. "In that case you will be writing to me," he said. "I am the League Secretary." The outcome of this was that the opposing captain did, in fact, write a letter of complaint to the League via Sydney. This is recorded in the minutes of the League Committee. The Committee decided that teams could not be forced to play on two separate tables (but could agree to do so if they wished) and the result (3-1 to Four Lanes) stood. Two frames which had not been played because of the dispute were declared void. On bringing up the story in conversation I have since been informed that the aforementioned frame did not in fact involve Sydney Kemp himself, but another great Four Lanes stalwart, Kingsley Hitchens. The humour of the situation remains unaffected.
CHEAT, CHEAT, NEVER BEAT!
One Friday evening several years ago, before I was Results Secretary, I was playing for Four Lanes at the St Ives Constitutional Club, which is housed in a building on a kind of 'island' between two streets towards the Wharf. The place always seemed to smell of fish as you climbed the stairs to the snooker room, but it was probably our imagination! Interestingly, the snooker room was apparently at one time a courthouse, and you can still see the raised judge's platform on one side. They had quite a good team, but unfortunately they are no longer in the Mining League, although several players play in other Mining teams. On the night in question St Ives played particularly well and by the end of the evening had beaten us 6-0. I went up to the captain, Taylor Veal (a good snooker player and excellent billiards player) and said I would sign the scorecard. "I'm sorry, here it is, but I haven't filled it in yet," said Taylor. The card was blank. "If you just sign here at the bottom, I'll fill it in and send it in later," he continued. With a twinkle in my eye, I replied, "No, I'm not signing that, you might cheat!" (Since we had lost 6-0 that would have been difficult!) Taylor looked at me 'as black as thunder' and muttered something about 'Never cheated in my life'. He did not really see the funny side of it until I pointed it out to him years later! Taylor has played for Penponds recently.
ANOTHER CHEAT !
One of our young players, Ross Matthews, was recently playing one of his first Perranporth League matches at a Redruth club against a rather older opponent. Ross is very keen and aware at the table, and, when he saw his opponent make a foul stroke which the referee apparently had not noticed, rather than asking the referee, he shouted at his opponent, "Hey, you touched the blue then!" "Oh, did I?" replied his opponent. "Hell, I'd better be more careful then, hadn't I? You've got eyes like a hawk, youngster!"
I hope you have enjoyed these stories. There are lots more in my book, Snooker For Love, Not Money.
Click here if you are interested.
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