The snooker reached its nadir when Marky shat himself at the Crucible.
“The thing was,” he told us some time later, “they don’t let you out of your seat until the frame has finished. So I’m sitting there in real distress, like. And I’m waiting, desperate to bomb it out of there, like. And…”
We digest the scene as Eddie pots his white.
“It must be your worst nightmare,” chips in Short Tony. “You’re in that state, and you hear the announcer boom out: ‘now, ladies and gentlemen – please welcome Peter Ebdon!'” It is a sobering thought. But tonight we are players, not spectators.
Eddie pots his white again as Marky sips his lager reflectively. This was shortly before he retired from the team, disconsolate at his transformation – solely through his association with us – from being one of the top amateur players on the tough, hard-as-nails Midlands club circuit to a man incapable of constructing a break of more than five points or, indeed, completing a frame without requiring a visit to the toilet.
“We are probably the worst snooker team in the whole of Great Britain,” I think to myself with pride, as Eddie misses the object ball completely. But I do not voice my thoughts out loud for reasons of team morale. You always have to focus on the positives in a team sport situation like this, and Short Tony has gone to the bar, and there is only one more frame before there will be some sandwiches.
Eddie now requires three snookers, yet soldiers on unfazed, despite there being only the pink and black left on the table. It would be good to see an unexpected comeback, but unexpected comebacks are few and far between in our world.