Cornish Players

In the first (and only) two issues (with permission and help from those still with us) we gave a profile of one of the great Cornish players and one not so great! Although Cornwall has not had any professional players, there have been a number who have stood out from the rest, some of whom could have turned professional if they had wanted to, or if the climate (and money) at the time had been right. In the first edition, we looked at the career of a man considered by most to be Cornwall's greatest-ever player, Jonathan Barron.

Jonathan's Career

Illustrated with a photograph of Jonathan, now aged 62, sitting with a team-mate holding the local St Blazey Victory League Trophy, the article traces his career as 13 times Cornwall Snooker Champion, 3 times English Amateur Champion and once World Amateur Champion from his beginnings at the age of 9 to the present day, as revealed by himself in an interview with the Editor, Graham Allen.

And after that we did something completely different!

In the second issue we looked at Clifford Williams, and I include an extract from Clifford's career below:

Personal Details: Age: 56?
Home town: Camborne
Highest break: 45 (according to him), and he once made two 21 breaks in one frame!
Highest break in County Championship: 7 (black, but unfortunately he went in-off!)
Born somewhere in Cornwall, Clifford is single and lives in College Street, Camborne, and is a little vague about when he first started playing snooker, although I met him first on a snooker table about 30 years ago. Clifford's main claim to fame is that he insists on being the player with the highest handicap (+45) in the Mining League Handicap Competition. Last season he beat our own Steven Shovel, much to Steven's embarrassment, although when Clifford gets that gleam in his eye and hits a 'purple patch', any self-respecting player should watch out! Clifford has been very keen to improve his standards over the years, including buying several new or expensive second-hand cues, (without success) and asking the better players around for some advice.
On one famous occasion, Charlie Gay, one of the most successful Cornish players, was playing a match at Camborne RBL, and Clifford, as usual, rushed over to engage Charlie in conversation. The latter, as always, smiled with delight when he saw Clifford approaching. Oh, by the way, I forgot to tell you that Clifford has a slight? stammer. After five minutes, Charlie understood his question:"Euh, Charlie, w-what w-was I going to a-ask you? Euh, w-what am I d-doing w-wrong w-when I play snooker?" Charlie thought for a moment or two, then he nodded. "Okay, Clifford, I'll tell you what your doing wrong, mate." "Y-yes? W-what's that?" asked Clifford, leaning forward eagerly. "Well, what you're doing wrong, mate, is ... taking your cue out of its case!" "Oh, thanks, Ch-charlie, I'll remember that," said Clifford, beaming. But he never did put it into practice! Clifford still insists that Charlie was referring to his namesake, Clifford Williams at St Day!
Clifford usually plays 'rubbish', but danger lurks for the unwary, as he is reputed to have a little 'black book' in which he writes the names of his occasional victims. It doesn't matter how many thousands of times you've thrashed him, if he beats you you're 'in the book', and there is nobody who can truthfully say he isn't in it, including me! And woe betide you if at some time you did get 'in the book', for, over the next few days you could be sure that the news would be all over town and his former workplace. And if you met another player or a work colleague of his and they were smiling as they approached, you knew that they knew the awful truth too! For Clifford will occasionally have one of those purple patches when he can't miss, pots everything in sight or has the most horrendous flukes, all done with a demonic grin on his face and the words "So you thought you had an easy game, did you?" ringing in your tormented ears. And while he does so, everyone else present roars and cheers on his every move. For they all love to see Clifford beat you, and he laps it up!
We all like to have our 'bits of fun' at Clifford's expense, although he takes it well, and I am no exception. One day I was playing him and somehow he had scored a break of thirteen. "How many's that?" he asked. Feeling very clever, I said, "A baker's dozen, Clifford." "You mean twelve?" he asked. "No, a baker's dozen," I insisted. "What's that?" I asked, somewhat maliciously. Clifford thought for a moment. "Oh, I dunno," he said. "Splits?"
On one famous occasion in the now defunct Mayflower Trophy Clifford visited Morwenstowe in North Cornwall with the team. One of his team-mates was that eminent sportsman, Maurice Francis, who did not have a high opinion of Clifford's abilities. When Clifford's opponent warily asked Maurice how good Clifford was, Maurice replied "He's hopeless. The worst player I've ever seen. You've got a pigeon, mate." Famous last words! When Clifford played his frame, he had one of his 'purple patches' when he could not miss a ball, fluked several more and thrashed his opponent off the table, while his team-mates looked through the glass panel of the door hooting with laughter. They were splitting their sides so much that they could not stay in the room! Needless to say, Clifford's opponent was not very amused with Maurice! To this day, almost every time you meet Clifford, he still insists on telling you about that evening. Writing is not Clifford's strong point and once when he was captain (how?) the opponents claimed a frame at 7.30 after he had started writing the six team names up at 7 o'clock! (This story may be apocryphal). However, the longstanding local competition, the Heathcoat Cup, has long been referred to as the 'Hutchiant Cup' after Clifford wrote it on the noticeboard one day. And that one is true! There are hundreds more stories about Clifford, but at the same time I would like to emphasise his friendliness, his team-spirit, (as reserve he would take his cue to away matches) and, above all, his love of the game, which is one of the reasons I've talked about him here.
Although the stories are amusing, if Clifford, or people like him, could play a little better, many a club would be better off because of it. But Clifford has certainly provided the local snooker community with a lot of laughs over the years! (And, to his credit, he has taken it all in good part!)

There are a lot more stories about Clifford in my book, Snooker For Love, Not Money.

Click here if you are interested.
Please {short description of image}us with details of yourself if you are a Cornish player with something to say. We may include your story on this page.

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