Meeting every Wednesday from early October through to the spring, members of the Brant County Snooker League sometimes wonder why more folks aren’t joining them.
“I was an eight-ball player for years,” president Todd Glaves said. “A buddy of mine suggested I try snooker out and I never went back.”
Glaves, who has been in the snooker league since 1995, compares eight-ball to snooker with an analogy of checkers to chess.
“Eight-ball, like checkers, is fun, you can get it done quick and you can play with kids,” Glaves said. “Snooker is like chess.”
The strategy, reading of opponents and planning in the game of snooker is not all that keeps Glaves and others coming back.
“I am into my seventh year now (with the club) after not having picked up a cue for 30 years,” treasurer Bill Harding said. “For me it was reconnecting with a lot of people I hadn’t seen for years. Old acquaintances became new friends.”
The BCSL has been around in one form or another for more than 50 years.
Originally known as the Brant County Ex-Servicemen’s Snooker League, the club rearranged itself in the late 1980s to become known as the BCSL.
Glaves said the club is attempting to lure in some new players by showing off its great camaraderie, low cost and good competition.
Club statistician Ivan Hayhurst has been involved since 1991 and remembers the regality of the league back then.
“It had 17 teams and was really quite the league,” he said. “The competition was fantastic; it was fierce.”
Currently sitting at nine teams headed into the 2012-13 season, the league is ready to expand should any interested parties come forward.
The cost to play is $10 a player for the entire season because the service clubs that sponsor each team pick up the rest of the tab.
“The players are expected to pick up a membership at their home club,” Harding said. “Teams have to play in only nine games to be eligible for a playoff spot.”
Each team in the league plays out of a home service club such as the Navy Club, Dunsdon Legion or Air Force Club.
Each evening of play will feature a home team and “away” team competing in six single matches and three doubles.
“You only need four players to field a team for the week,” Glaves said. “Six players is ideal and any more than that and you have some alternates.”
New players getting into the game need not be intimidated by the snooker tables that are both wider and longer than standard billiard tables that casual players are used to.
“Even a little bit of experience on an eight-ball table goes a long way,” Glaves said. “And because of the intricacies of snooker, it’s not always about sinking balls. If you can’t hit a certain ball way down the table, there are always ways to roll the cue ball behind something else.
“I won my first few games without sinking a single ball.”
For anyone unfamiliar, the game uses a 12-foot by six-foot table, 15 red balls and six coloured balls. The players or teams try to accumulate the most points by sinking the red balls (one point) and coloured balls (between two and seven points) with the cue ball.
Snooker is not “about what you make, but what you leave” for your opponent.
“You can win games by simply understanding the weaknesses of your opponent and playing into it,” executive member Gord Mewhiney said.
The club hosts an annual eight-ball tournament and an end-of-year banquet where the proceeds of the season are used on trophies and draw prizes.
Glaves said the league currently consists of men and women from all walks of life who come together for their love of the game and fun night out.
“People who are looking for something to do each week should look us up,” he said. “This is friendly, gets you out of the house
and is not expensive at all. You might spend a quarter or a buck in scratch penalties, but aside from that and your bar bill there is no cost.”
Anyone interested in joining the Brant County Snooker League is encouraged to contact a member of the executive for more information: Todd Glaves (519-755-6966), Tim Annis (519-759-2001), Ivan Hayhurst (519-753-9480) or Bill Harding (519-861-1935).