I first took on the task of Fixtures and Results Secretary about 30 years ago and soon realised that preparing fixtures was not for the faint-hearted! I was provided with a 'Key' which contained a lot of numbers representing which team played which other team in each week of the season. This looked something like this (for 16 teams):
1 v 2, 15 v 3, 14 v 4, 13 v 5, 12 v 6, 11 v 7, 10 v 8, 16 v 9
3 v 1, 2 v 16, 4 v 15, 5 v 14, 6 v 13, 7 v 12, 8 v 11, 9 v 10
So, if Team 1 was Clinton SC A (the top team for many years) and Team 2 was Penponds, then Week 1, Fixture 1 would read:
September 14th: Clinton SC A v Penponds etc.
You can imagine that to write out all the fixtures for four Divisions (at that time) you have 30 weeks times 16 teams times 4 Divisions, which comes out at 1920 teams, plus the dates for each week's matches! This all had to be written out long-hand on 24 sheets of A4 paper, just so that they could then be typed! (well, we like it to look nice).
Another problem with fixturing is that some clubs have more than one team and only one snooker table, so you must then ensure that one team is at home and one team is away each week. Therefore, each number on the Key has an "opposite" on the list. For instance, number 1 has number 9 as its opposite, so whenever team 1 is at home, team 9 has to be away. It is almost impossible to fixture two different divisions on the same night unless there are the same number of teams in each, because the 'opposites' are not the same for each Division. So, if a club has teams in each Division, it can mean a lot of hard work! If I'm boring you, by the way, you'll never make it as Fixtures Secretary, but perhaps you don't want to! If you want to move, just click on one of the Menu tabs or read on below:
Click Home (above) to go back to the Home Page or Racing Commentary to see my thoughts on UK horse racing.
At the time computers were in their infancy and I only had a BBC B computer (later a Master) and the PC did not arrive until rather later!
After a while doing fixtures manually (this took a number of hours), I decided there must be an easier way, so I set to work to program the computer to do it for me. I could program in BBC Basic, and in fact had already started fixturing on the BBC B and Master computers, so I quickly picked up the PC's QBasic program, and, after about six months I had programmed the computer to print all the fixtures directly onto paper. Sound easy? Well, it wasn't, but greater detail can be found in my book Snooker For Love, not Money, with, of course, a variety of other chapters. Unfortunately QBASIC has now been dropped from current PC's but was a lot of fun to use and often frustrating when it did not perform as expected!