I am now going to bore the pants off you by describing how the Mining Snooker League in Cornwall is fixtured. If you can read through to the end you can consider yourself a candidate to take over from me! I gave up the job for a couple of years, thanks to Terry Kempe, and am still looking to take a gracious retirement! Read on!
I first took on the task of Fixtures and Results Secretary many years ago (about 30, could have had a
much easier life!) and soon realised that preparing fixtures was not for the faint-hearted! I feel sure
that the late Ramon Thomas (Penponds, RIP) was the Results Secretary before me and he provided me with a 'Key'
which contained a lot of numbers representing which team would play which other team in each week of
the season. I also received keys for different numbers of teams but had to work out some keys for
myself! At one time there were four Divisions with 16 teams in each, but interest in snooker has nose-dived (despite huge exposure on television, and there are now three Divisions with 8 or 9 teams in each). This may go down even further with the current Covid situation. In fact this year we are constantly delaying the start to the season (normally in September or October) and there may be no season at all!
The 16 team Key looked something like this:
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
1 v 4, 2 v 3, 15 v 5, 14 v 6, 13 v 7, 12 v 8, 11 v 9, 10 v 16
So, if Team 1 was Clinton SC A and Team 2 was Penponds, then Week 1, Fixture 1 would read:
September 14th: Clinton SC A v Penponds, Redruth RBL A v Godolphin Club etc.
You can imagine that to write out all the fixtures for four Divisions (at that time) you had 30 weeks
times 16 teams times 4 Divisions, which comes out at 1920 team names, plus the dates for each week's
matches! This all had to be written out LONG HAND on 24 sheets of A4 paper, then some kind person
(I think at that time it was Patricia Pollard, our Chairman's wife) volunteered to type them! Thanks, Pat, fo those many hours spent for no reward other than a bouquet at the Presentation Night!
(well, we liked it all to look nice). Imagine all that looking from the list to the typewriter and
back too (unless you had some kind soul (Willie?) to read them out to you!).
Another problem with fixturing in general 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 is 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 quit, just press the Home tab above or read on below:
After a while sweating blood doing fixtures manually, 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 (see how long ago that was?), so I quickly picked up
the PC's QBasic program and, after about six months (it was difficult, complicated work) I had programmed
the computer to print all the fixtures directly onto paper. Sound easy? Well, it wasn't, but greater
detail (if you can stand it!) can be found in my book "Snooker For Love Not Money" with, of course,
a variety of other chapters.
Nowadays the number of teams in the Mining League has dwindled dramatically, on average down to 8 or 9
in each of three Divisions. I no longer use BBC Basic programs, although my BBC Master is still sitting
idly in the house, although I sold my BBC B a long time back. I got £50 for it together with numerous
programs etc, which would be worth £100's of pounds now! I now use Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, and
from spending many hours writing out fixtures, I can now complete all the fixtures in just a couple of
hours simply by replacing team numbers with names on a template! Halleluja!
Incidentally, I am still doing the fixtures and results and am still looking for someone to take over!
After what I have written here, I can't imagine anyone clamouring to take over, although it is much easier
than it was! You just need a few hours at the start of the season, attend a monthly meeting and spend
another couple of hours compiling results, tables and a report for Sunday. Oh, and there is usually a Summer
League if you want to run one, although this year it was scuppered by Coronavirus!