The walk takes us down to the edge of the village, past places that one normally just whizzes past in the car. Short Tony carries his brand new professional snooker cue; I do not have a new cue but have four bottles of cider to compensate for this. Big A is equipped with red wine.

We are the first there, so we rack em up (nb that is what we snooker people say when we start playing) for a practice game.

The old barn is beautifully fitted out for snooker – I do not know what it was used for previously. Aside from the large table in the middle there are lots of massive couches, a dressing screen (presumably so you can get changed into your dinner jacket for important games) and various horsey stuff like whips and leather bridles hanging up on the wall. There is a small gallery above so people can watch. It is really professional and impressive.

We have been playing for about half an hour, and several balls are remaining.

“What’s the score?” I ask Short Tony.

“4-1 to me,” he replies.

I do not yet need snookers. I almost pot another red to make the score 4-2, but it misses by about eighteen inches. It is depressing. The thing about playing on a proper big table is that due to trigonometry the amount by which you miss on a proper pub table with 50p’s is magnified by a factor of exponential 10. It had simply not occurred to me that I would be rubbish.

Short Tony goes for a pot and misses by a foot. But he is only that much better than me because of his new cue, the cheat.

Later, I play Big A and beat him. He is rubbish as well.

We are all rubbish, and we have agreed to enter the league this year. We will be laughed at. Not only will we be laughed at but we will probably become an item on the local news ‘and finally’. It is not a cheerful thought.

Martin the IT Consultant arrives unexpectedly to make a foursome.

He is also rubbish. We are doomed.