We attempt a snooker comeback.

Our snooker playing has reached a nadir.

The Village has the worst snooker team in Britain. We sit bottom of the bottommost league and, although we have never particularly been hung up about winning, it would be nice not to get horribly beaten occasionally. Last year we even won the odd match, but I think this raised our hopes and expectations to unrealistic levels, making this particular nadir even harder to bear.

(nb to self check before publishing that nadir is the right word think it is but may be type of small anteater)

We discuss this as we unpack our cues.

“We have gone ten frames without winning a single one,” reminds John Twonil who, as captain, has to take pretty well all of the blame for all of our defeats, to be fair. Ten frames is quite a long time, and not exactly Crucible-qualification standard. Part of the problem could be that we do not practise very much, but I am sure that there must be something else that is causing our shaky ineptitude on the baize.

Eddie arrives from the bar with a big tray of beers.

The pairings are made and Mick is drawn to go first. This raises our spirits immediately. Mick is by far the best player out of all of us; he hasn’t been able to play much recently but his reintroduction to the squad means that we have our talisman back.

Mick breaks off, hitting the white ball directly into the blue. This is against the rules of snooker, and means that we give the opposition some points. “Foul!” stutters the referee, staring in incomprehension and amazement.

“Oh,” says Mick.

This is a disappointing start. I turn to Short Tony, who is on next. Perhaps it is his day for feeling lucky. He explains that he had driven all the way to Norwich in the lashing blizzard earlier in the day, only to have to return immediately when his entire car window fell out. He does not feel lucky today. This is reflected in his performance.

Unusually, I am quietly confident about my own match. I have been doing a bit of self-analysis recently, and have identified that I need to hit the cue ball with a firmer action, and straighter, so that the object balls go nearer to the pockets. So much of snooker is in the mind.

“Fifteen frames,” mutters John Twonil as the five of us mooch back to the car afterwards. He is right to be dispirited. This is becoming like one of those situations when you become the ‘and finally’ feature on the local TV news.

We attempt to keep our spirits up on the snowy journey home. I lose control of the car and almost kill the entire team.

19 Comments

  1. Cheer up! At least you didn’t tear the cush.

  2. The ‘and finally’ feature? Or the ‘before turning the gun on himself’ feature?

  3. ‘almost kill the entire team’. Might have been the most humane thing to do.

  4. Never mind Jonny – the bowls season will start soon.

  5. You can make something great from this, like, you’re the underdogs of snooker, and you have people rooting for you. Sort of like the very first Jamaican bobsled team. Or the Charlie Browns of football. The next thing you know, they’re making a movie based on you chaps.

  6. Perhaps it’s time for a change of pace, Jonny, or a sport involving actual physical effort? Or why not just complete the trifecta of fat wheezy pub sports and start a darts team too?

  7. We call that a ‘Norfolk Triathlon,’ Ivan…

    GG I think this is an excellent idea. It could be a bit like the Karate Kid as well. Classic Hollywood stuff. We could reach the final in the Crucible and everything, and meet Clive Everton.

  8. That movie sounds heartwarming, at least up to the part where the team’s transportation crashes in the wilderness and lots are drawn to see who gets eaten first.

    I’d probably cast my vote for Mick, who incurred the penalty, though the driver should, in fairness, contribute an arm or a thigh to the cause.

  9. ‘Almost’ kill the entire team. Jonny, you even failed at that?

  10. No need for lots, spazmo. An entire Peruvian rugby team could carve chunks off of Jonny for a month without reaching any vital organs – tho’ he might squirm a bit and giggle about it “tickling”. In cannibalistic scenarios, he’s the gift that keeps on giving…

  11. True, Ivan. Though I’d hate to be the poor Peruvian who ended up with the liver. Talk about slim picklings.

  12. Yup – “pickled” is definitely le mot juste

  13. Can you not get a set of those waistcoats made up with some spurious local bookie’s name on? They seem to be all the rage.

  14. Jonny I hope you notice that in the spirit of the season your kind admirers (see comments above) refrained from giving recipe suggestions. It’s moments of sheer generosity like this that make the holidays so special to me.

    [note to self: jugged jonny sounds right, but is it more likely to be in the Gordon Ramsey oeuvre – (challenging dishes for the amateur chef) or Jaime Oliver (wild foods surreptitiously obtained)?]

  15. Richard, being in Norfolk, the only sponsorship they could get on their waistcoats would involve Turkeys….which is kinda appropriate, actually.

  16. Was it an asil nadir?

  17. When you become the ‘and finally’ feature on the local TV news…
    Now why couldn’t I stumble upon your blog earlier

  18. Brennig, asil nadir takes nadir to a different level.

    Which reminds me, we have politician with that name.

  19. ‘a politican’.

    Sigh. My grammar has hit a nadir. I’ve been hanging out with folks who don’t have a / an / the in their wocabulary.

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