The pink wobbles and falls into the pocket’s hungry clutch.
My opponent, who is very good and who plays off scratch, looks agape. Then his shoulders slump, as if he has just been passed a note revealing that his wife is having an affair with eccentric weather forecaster Rob McElwee.
“Look – you’re going to have to write about this now,” says John Twonil. “You can’t put it off any longer.”
I brush him aside temporarily, to modestly run round the table doing high fives with Mick, Big A and the Chipper Barman, and to accept the kind offer of a pint from my defeated opponent, which he wanders off to order before assembling his noose.
But John Twonil is right. I have been avoiding talking about my snooker success as I do not wish to jinx it and make it go away. We are proudly the worst snooker club in Norfolk – probably the whole country – and I am the worst player in it. I have the bare minimum of technique, I regularly miss the object ball completely, and I have to sort of squint to see where I am hitting things because my eyes don’t seem to work properly.
At the end of last season, the rankings for the league were distributed. The very bottom of the table went something like this:
- Twonil, J
- Tony, S
- A, B
- Barman, C
- Continuedonaseparatesheetof, P
It took me ages to work out that I was featured on an attached sheet, as an also-played. It was humiliating for one with my sense of dignity.
Yet here I am, having now won three singles games in a row. Undefeated in the league since December. The man the top players fear.
John Twonil and Mick win their frames also. We have won the match. The opposition tonight are an excellent team, and are known as a good bunch of people. I hope they do not give up snooker because of this. But it will certainly take them a while to recover from the humiliation.
We speed off from the Conservative Club in Mick’s car. “David Camm-eronn!” I shout. “Margaret Thatcher! Francis Pym!!! John Selwyn GUMMER!!! JOHHHN SELL-WYNNN GUMMMMERRRR!!!!!! Your boys took one hell of a beating!!!!”
“Right – I’m off home to fuck the wife,” I add.
“Do you want me to text her, to let her know you’re on your way?” asks Big A.
“Better not,” I reply.