At the beginning of the season, the league organisers took half a look at the Village team playing before allowing us all a generous handicap of 21 points. That meant that we got a 21-point head start against basically anybody who had ever picked up a snooker cue in their lives, ever.
Half way through the season, following our regime of practising, completing league and cup games, and playing semi-competitive matches amongst ourselves, they have come to regret their decision. As from the start of 2008 they have decided to up our handicap to 28 points, this being the maximum that anybody can have.
We were determined to prove them wrong in the first home fixture under the new regime, and thus pulled out all the stops and raised our game accordingly. After losing five frames to nil, we decided to stay for a practice frame amongst ourselves. The opposition elected to stay and watch because ‘it will be entertaining’.
This week we pulled off a huge coup, playing one of the best teams in the league!!! Medium-sized John required a snooker – which he got!!! Before we lost five frames to nil. I proudly took my opponent to a black-ball finish, as I started with a 28 point lead and he kept fouling. But I then missed the black ball completely thus conceding the frame.
There is something honourable in being so bad at something yet persisting. There is a piety yet a self-fulfilment that one simply does not get with success. Years back, everybody laughed at Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards for being a fundamentally blind rubbish ski-jumper who practised by crouching in his skis strapped atop a plasterer’s van that sped round the streets of Gloucestershire. But he was one of the true English heroes, and so are we all.