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the term losing hazard. The wine amateurs he met. He himself
About Kentfield a friend generality of players, a 'pottering
This is a result to be ex.
pected if play is chiefly on a very
strokes 57. During the last fifteen title “ A Cannon of great service"
excitement of looking on, or dis- simple deserves attention ; far cover the attractions of a love oftener, however, the exhibition game at billiards.
But no sooner of human nature offered to the has the Napoleon disappeared observer will repay study and than the smaller fry are back afford satisfaction and gratificaagain, all the keener for their tem tion to every well-regulated mind. porary abstinence. Still, billiards Before passing the various types has advanced greatly in respect- under review, it may be desirable ability; all sorts and conditions of to gossip on comparatively modern men, and ladies too, play, and find developments of the game. If an the interest of the game, which they ordinary man whose experience are only beginning to understand, extends over ten or twenty years sufficient without the inducement is asked, he will probably reply of a money stake.
that the elder Roberts invented Under favourable circumstances, the spot-stroke, and that his son when the atmosphere is not satu discarded it and discovered the rated with tobacco-smoke and the secret of nursery cannons— addfumes of beer and spirits, there ing, perhaps, if he knows what it be
no question that the means, that he is also the author game, in moderation, is good for of the push-stroke, which he will mind and body; it may be learnt condemn as foul with a certainty when young
the in exact proportion to his ignorbetter – and may be played in ance. Now, curiously enough, a
But at the same time, somewhat careful examination of the devotion it requires, if more the books on billiards of the first than ordinary excellence is to be half of this century leads to the attained, is perhaps a drawback, conclusion that though tables and for time is limited, and should be implements generally have been wisely apportioned. If, after work vastly improved, yet the game has or business is provided for, the not altered as much as might have balance for recreation is subdivided been expected. Kentfield's match. between many games or pastimes, table at Brighton was apparently the share which can be given to as difficult as any championship billiards is insufficient to secure (i.e., 3-inch pocket) table now in even moderate proficiency. use, and many of the strokes are
It is this, no doubt, which ac shown to have been played much counts for the vast difference be
as we play them. His book was tween the form of amateur and published in 1839, and in it the professional players. The latter statement is found that the intro begin for the most part as markers, duction of the red ball is of recent and after years of work pass their date, the older game having been fellows and emerge as players in played with two white balls only
. public and teachers.
Each player's object was to pocket siderations, however, need deter his adversary's ball and to keep his no one from trying to do his best, own on the table. Play was alterwith the reasonable hope, if he has nate, irrespective of success of any natural aptitude for crime, failure. That that he will sacceed in amusing winning game. In the winninghimself and in interesting others. and - following game the player For it is to the credit of billiards continued his break till failure
, that spectators are interested only but in both he lost by pocketing in a less degree than principals. his own ball, just as is the case at Sometimes the game pure and pool or pyramids, and thence arose
fined to games with members of his and he remarks with complacency
. He played the spot-stroke, and
and three cushion cannons there is also a diagram which
In one respect Mr Mardon
consecutive losing hazards in the
He must also have
a gentleman recognised
Could the Dutchman
was called the
the term losing hazard. The win- amateurs he met. He himself ning-and-losing game, in which says, "My game, though difficult both sorts of hazards are scored, to beat by those who will not conwas the next development, and is, descend to play defensively, would in fact, the present English game. nevertheless be termed, by the
About Kentfield friend generality of players, a 'pottering writes :
This is a result to be ex
pected if play is chiefly on a very “I can just remember the old man, difficult table. and was, when a child, a member of his subscription-rooms at Brighton ;
Looking at his “diagrams and he was commonly known as "Old K.? observations," one cannot fail to The essence of his game lay in losing be struck with the great similarity hazards and delicate strengths, the
of the strokes to those now played. latter more or less a modern feature A sound game then is still sound, in his day. His largest break was and th stroke that are new are 196, and his greatest number of spot- comparatively few.
Under the strokes 57. During the last fifteen comparatively few. or twenty years of his life he rarely title “A Cannon of great service" played away from his own table-a nurseries are described, not of very difficult one. K.'s play in his course with every modern developlater years was almost entirely con ment, but the principle is there, fined to games with members of his and he remarks with complacency rooms, he playing the one - pocket that he has made as many as fifteen. game, at which he was wonderfully He played the spot-stroke, and good. His knowledge of the angles of the table was extraordinary, and clearly discerned its importance ; his two and three cushion cannons
there is also a diagram which were wonderfully accurate, as also
shows that the push-stroke was was his play at balls behind the played and taught in Kentfield's baulk-line. He was a clever man of day. considerable general information, and In one respect Mr Mardon may a good gardener. His
claim to have been a remarkable Brighton attracted the best amateurs of the day, but latterly custom fell player, for Mr Russell Walker off, and he died anything but a rich recollects having seen him, when man, early in the seventies, I think.” eighty-nine years old, make fifteen
consecutive losing hazards in the One of Kentfield's most devoted middle pockets, a great performance admirers was Mr Edward Russell at that age. Even if his age is unMardon, who in 1849 published a wittingly exaggerated, the achievebook on billiards, the first part of ment is a remarkable one for an which is chiefly a description of a old man.
He must also have match he played with Mr Porker, heard many stories and much who gave him 25 points in 500. gossip concerning the game and It must of course be remembered players, and one regrets that he that 25 points meant a good deal did not record more.
He menin those days, so much indeed that tions gentleman recognised he has illustrated his account of formerly as the “ Dutch Baron," the game with nine diagrams of who by retreating judiciouslyhis final break of 25 points. The in other words, by concealing his break, if the diagrams are even game — gained signal victories, approximately accurate, is a re
re- winning every shilling from á markable one, for no single stroke “gentleman who had returned is played correctly. Mardon, how. from India with a considerable ever, never a fine playerfortune.” Could the Dutchman though probably he defeated most be any relation of Mr Coxe
opponent, and spectators generally business, fond of a game though welcome bis discomfiture the more not skilful, and full of anecdotes,
the next type, who may be called between the puffs of his cigar or
opposed to cushion-crawling. Any respect for the etiquette of the
parently with the flake positive, varieties, some genuinely anxious
obtain a vast amount of amuse- when some impossible event is ment. The antics of the players, achieved, looks round with much not to mention the running con- complacency, and eventually comes versation they so often affect, dis- to believe that he played for playing an appalling ignorance of the stroke or for safety, as the case the elements of the game, are pass- may be. When the extreme iming strange, and they vary with probability of his having tried for different types
. Of these let us something is brought home to him, try and recall a few. There is the as likely as not he will explain very careful man who seems to that he played for two strokes at derive more satisfaction from see once, knowing that if he missed ing his opponent in difficulties than the one he must get the other ! from scoring on his own account. Occasionally, however, and He is fearfully slow and deliberate
, often if deserted by his luck, the with a strong propensity for pot- fluker is cantankerous enough, ting his adversary's ball and play. the boisterous and somewhat op
Tuggeridge Coxe's acquaintance, game that the practice necessary Baron von Punter, who when for making a considerable break defeated for shillings on a pro- from it is unlikely to be under. vincial table remarked, “Id is de taken. horrid dables ; gom viz me to Lon It is unnecessary to say much don and dry a slate-table, and I concerning the strides made by vill beat you"?which he effectu- players since Kentfield's time. It ally did, having bet what he called should, however, be recollected, “bonies” on the game.
when one is disposed to contrast Again, when writing on the to their disadvantage the modest importance of a knowledge of breaks of old days with the great strength, Mardon tells the follow
ones now common, that not only ing story, which has a distinctly are implements improved, but the humorous side, though that did tables are often much easier. John not apparently present itself to Roberts of Manchester, who suchim. He was playing with an ceeded Kentfield as champion, was acquaintance, and had so learnt a marvellous player. He had a the strength of the table that his genius for the game, great physical antagonist had no chance, and said powers of endurance, and for about he would play no more :
twenty years, from 1849 to 1869, “The proprietor of the room, fear
he could give any one a third of ing his departure, thus addressed him :
He may be said to *Try once more, sir ; I will endeavour have been succeeded, and doubtto prevent it.'
After the play for the less surpassed, by three men, Cook, day had ceased, he removed the lower Bennett, and his son, the present cushion, and, placing it for the night champion. before the kitchen-tire, so softened it last there is no doubt of the
Of the first and the and increased its speed and power that the strength which had previ superiority; opinions may differ ously only taken the object - ball to as to the second-named, though the centre-pocket carried it into the it can scarcely be contended that baulk! I remember perfectly well he ever was really in the class of frequently exclaiming, “Why, what the other two. Still
, each in turn ails the balls ?' but many months had held the championship on the pat elapsed ere I was informed of the
tern of table and under the rules dirty trick that had been played."
devised when the first match was In those days the feather-stroke played, till at length the younger was much practised; Mardon calls Roberts so completely passed all it extremely serviceable, and thus rivals that since 1885 no candidescribes it: “When either of the date has been found adventurous balls is so near the baulk-line as enough to challenge his position, to be pronounced playable, the which has been unconquered since player's ball must be placed as 1875. near to it as possible without Now, though the chief interest touching, and then by a push the of a spectator in a billiard-room striker can hole his own ball in should be the play, yet it often the corner pocket as often as he happens, the performance with the pleases.” This stroke is some cue being so poor, that compensatimes called the “quill,” and is tion must be sought elsewhere. forbidden by the rules of the And to tell the truth, though a present Billiard Association, --& player of experience who happens somewhat useless prohibition, we to be looking on can learn little in are inclined to think, for the posi- the way of instruction, yet it he tion is so seldom attainable in a keeps eyes and ears open he may
ing a double baulk. When he pressive good-bumour being quick-
Another contrast is to be found
company may not improbably between the old hand and the be favoured with a few words on novice. The former need not be the beauties of defence, and on
a good player, but he is acquainted the rashness of attempting difficult with the ways of the place, and strokes. He is exasperating to is able to take care of himself. play with, especially if favoured Sometimes he is an old officer, not with luck, but he is never really wholly deserted by the ways and formidable; the games he wins manners of the service, of few from better players are secured words, and attentive to his game. not by his skill but by their irri- On the other hand, he may be tation. He is seldom a popular some one who has retired from
The novice is apparent
heartily should it proceed from which he will relate with gusto
A greater contrast pipe. The old hands are generally
, and have a reasonable cue will do for this gentleman--the room. heavier the better; and he does at every movement; if alone, be not spare the balls. He calls his generally contrives to enter the strokes shots, and is surprised if room at the wrong moment, people complain of his luck, which, saunter about when he should he explains, is in the long-run the stand still, and to talk when he same for all. Not satisfied ap- should be silent. There are many when in the full bloom of his not to offend, and others careless career, if he does not score be in that respect, but both genersecures the fluke negative by con- ally before long very keen to play. triving to leave to his opponent a And in that stage they have the position of complete safety. The satisfaction of manifest improve Aaker is sometimes a happy-go ment, which gradually vanishes as lucky good-humoured fellow, who, each comes to his best.
obtain a vast amount of amuse when some impossible event is ment. The antics of the players, achieved, looks round with much not to mention the running con- complacency, and eventually comes versation they so often affect, dis- to believe that he played for playing an appalling ignorance of the stroke or for safety, as the case the elements of the game, are pass- may be. When the extreme iming strange, and they vary with probability of his having tried for different types. Of these let us something is brought home to him, try and recall a few. There is the as likely as not he will explain very careful man who seems to that he played for two strokes at derive more satisfaction from see once, knowing that if he missed ing his opponent in difficulties than the one he must get the other ! from scoring on his own account. Occasionally, however, and very He is fearfully slow and deliberate, often if deserted by his luck, the with a strong propensity for pot- fluker is cantankerous enough, ting his adversary's ball and play. the boisterous and somewhat oping a double baulk. When he pressive good-humour being quicksucceeds in this enterprise his ly changed for an uncommonly satisfaction is ineffable and his sulky gloom. port is lofty; if he wins the game, Another contrast is to be found the company may not improbably between the old hand and the be favoured with a few words on novice. The former need not be the beauties of defence, and on a good player, but he is acquainted the rashness of attempting difficult with the ways of the place, and strokes. He is exasperating to is able to take care of himself. play with, especially if favoured Sometimes he is an old officer, not with luck, but he is never really wholly deserted by the ways and formidable; the games he wins manners of the service, of few from better players are secured words, and attentive to his game. not by his skill but by their irri- On the other hand, he may be tation. He is seldom a popular some one who has retired from opponent, and spectators generally business, fond of a game though welcome his discomfiture the more not skilful, and full of anecdotes, heartily should it proceed from which he will relate with gusto the next type, who may be called between the puffs of his cigar or the fluker. A greater contrast pipe. The old hands are generally there can scarcely be—carelessness courteous, and have a reasonable opposed to cushion-crawling. Any respect for the etiquette of the cue will do for this gentleman—the room. The novice is apparent heavier the better; and he does at every movement; if alone, he not spare the balls. He calls his generally contrives to enter the strokes shots, and is surprised if room at the wrong moment, to people complain of his luck, which, saunter about when he should he explains, is in the long-run the stand still, and to talk when he same for all. Not satisfied ap- should be silent. There are many parently with the fluke positive, varieties, some genuinely anxious when in the full bloom of his not to offend, and others careless career, if he does not score he in that respect, but both genersecures the fluke negative by con- ally before long very keen to play. triving to leave to his opponent a And in that stage they have the position of complete safety. The satisfaction of manifest improveAaker is sometimes a happy-go- ment, which gradually vanishes as lucky good-humoured fellow, who, each comes to his best.
the person who plays steadily up to his old form, or has other
takes the form of criticism or in-
There are many varieties of the impression that it is unfair, shouts and is an agreeable oppo- money from the public-Roberts nervous player-indeed, in the most to the ball, “Stop, you fool!"
preferred the easier table, but extended sense it may justly be words to that effect. Then there is A terrible nuisance in the bil- barred the spot-stroke, and in both said that every player is occasion- the player who cannot help giving and room is the spectator who acts his judgment was probably ally nervous ; still, some men have a violent kick at the critical mo as it his duty to make remarks sound. The majority of spectators, less control over their nerves or ment, or making some other gro a the game. If he is alone in not understanding the beauties of are less liable to be upset than tesque contortion. These habits are a mom with two players, he that stroke, considered it monotonothers. It shows differently in bad, and can be controlled; they biects one to whom he extends ous, but at the same time they different people. With some the are not natural
, but are generally szupathy ; be expatiates in liked to see large breaks rapidly body seems chiefly affected, with imitated by the novice from some ** most ignorant and gratuitous scored, and this combination was others the mind.
We are all person whose style he admires. sauber on the excellence of that possible only in the way Roberts familiar with the man who can
The form of nervousness which Bez strokes, and the hard lines selected. Hence he abandoned control neither feature nor limb affects the mind is far more diffi zeted out to him when failure spot practice, not because he could when watching the progress of a
cult to cope with, and even to 3 the result. Not improbably not play that stroke, but because ball, who brandishes his cue to describe ; for the player may
this servile adulator of the one he thought it would not pay. the imminent danger of specta- sufficient self-control to appear
payer may be discourteous to the Now in 1885 certain persons tors, of whom for the moment he fairly calm, yet at a critical mo saber
; and as no person with interested in billiards formed themis completely oblivious, or of the ment of the game he will surely real knowledge of the game selves into a body which was lamps, and who, as
a ball ap- break down. He is often a very would be likely to act such a named the " Billiard Association proaches a pocket, pirouettes in good player, but he is a very
, the value of his criticism of Great Britain and Ireland, front for its encouragement, and
any readily be appraised. man to back.
India, and the Colonies." Their should it seem to draw off, imme
Passing from the billiard-room committee consisted chiefly of
There are many other types, diately backs or walks gently in such
the conceited player,
and its occupants
, let us return to professional players and reporters the other direction, as if some
John Roberts and matters con of the sporting press. Their best
who is always ready to give subtle influence passing from him any amount of points, and whose
cerning the championship of the known work is a set of rules comcould induce a deviation from its bounce occasionally
zame. In 1885 be defeated first piled by some of the players, with path. Sometimes these antics are ally to command success : il de
Cook, then Bennett
, and since Roberts as chairman. Though very amusing, but too many of feated, he will explain that be that year he has never been the code is faulty, the billiard
challenged under the conditions world is no doubt indebted to their We also know had nothing to play for, was not
in force when he won his title. labours. The Association also
That being so, one would imagine made a laudable endeavour to selong as success lasts ; but if un
Then we have met men who did
that he is still indisputably cham. cure uniformity in the matter of pion
, and must remain so till de ordinary tables, calling their design he gives vent to
feated on a 3 inch pocket table
, " standard Association tables." a prolonged 6 to 4 the best of the game at
all-in, or till he resigns. Never. They instituted matches on them,
on this point there has all-in and spot-barred, of which
recently been a great deal of con Peall gained the former and }
troversy, not always conducted in Mitchell the latter, so that on such a way as to induce great this pattern of table Peall became respect for the views urged, or for the all-in champion, and Mitchell
the judicial capacity, discrimina- the spot-barred champion. wrong, by whistling a tune or even
tion, and courtesy of the writers.
In course of time, and on several
The question seems to have occasions, Peall challenged Roberts usually is destitute of all ear for stroke, and an
. Whilst no one ap- to play, all-in, on the standard
proached Roberts's form on a Association table; but the latter, seeing his ball approach a cannon
championship table, several players secure in his position as champion
an extraordinary power of on the championship table, always making the spot-stroke on an or- declined. From this certain perdinary table with 34-inch pockets. sons argue that Peall
, not Roberts
, But it so happened that for ex- is entitled to be styled champion,
hibition matches~in other words, whilst others treat that claim as alarmed at the encouragement thus superior player
in order to get the largest gate ridiculous. The question, as far
VOL. CLXI.-90. DCCCCLXXVIII.
them soon pall.
the causes of failure. The man