It’s got to be said, unearthing fresh topics for these daily journals of life under COVID’s oppressive grip can be exacting. With events echoing the previous days episodes, even groundhogs must be fed up at these endless dawn to dusk reprisals as they lockdown in their burrows.

Seeking today’s subject for imparting unreliable copy, my aural backdrop is my mother clattering around the house like a bull on speed. Incidentally, that’s speed the amphetamine, not the movie starring Keanu Reeves and Dennis Hopper. However, as the only bullock in the movie is Sandra, you probably gathered that already.

I’m unsure what’s causing mater’s uncharacteristic clattering, however, I’m finding it highly distracting, The din taking centre stage in my conscious mind, as opposed to a whizzbang of an epiphany. A notion which’ll so entertain my readership, upon concluding the final paragraph they’ll be moved to announced to anyone who’ll listen, “Did you see last night’s World Snooker Champions Final?…. That Ronnie O’Sullivan is some player!”

I used to love watching and playing snooker back in the 1980’s. An era of Steve Davis, Ray Reardon, Terry Griffiths, Eddie Charlton and Dennis Taylor. At that time, I always thought Aussie player Eddie Charlton had a look of my late Grandad Jack.

Footnote – To clarify, that resemblance was before my forefather passed….. Although, as Steady Eddie has now also passed I’d imagine the similarity is even greater these days!….. Unless, of course, one was cremated and one was buried….. Actually, what the bloody hell am I rabbiting on about?!!!

As alluded to above, during that juncture in my ageing process, not only did I love to watch televised snooker, but played regularly at a local club. My skillset at the game competent enough to one year see me reach the final of a staff welfare club snooker competition.

Unfortunately, the brew of excessive alcohol intake during the long evening, along with my opponent being better player than me, conspired to rob me of ultimate victory………. It was an evening where yours truly won many battles on the green baize. Sadly, though, not the war.

The final took place through the course of an evening somewhere in Sunderland; I suspect it was the Sunderland Snooker Centre but I’m guessing. I am certain that it didn’t play out at Tesco’s in Sunderland, or indeed any other supermarkets….. Hopefully that’ll help the reader when attempting to build a picture of this fascinating anecdote.

At the beginning of the final, yours truly recollects overhearing a close mate relay to another audience member “He’ll be unbearable if he wins!” ……. I think it was him anyhow. If truth be told, though, at that juncture lager over-indulgence’d resulted in me not being able to clearly make out my buddy Dave. All that my eyes could muster at this point were vague shadows!

Well I might not’ve won, Dave . However, I got further than you, mate! 😉 …… Actually, I’ve just possibly proved I’m also unbearable in defeat as well!!

I fell out of love with snooker a few decades back. The decline in my thirst for the game coinciding with the professional players thirst for copious amounts of alcohol during matches. Professional snooker players in those days loving a drink when they played; unlike now when the rewards on offer generally ensure sobriety during frames.

In the 1970’s, I recall one Canadian player Bill Werbeniuk was reputed to require six pints of beer before a game just to calm his nerves. He would follow this up by downing a pint every frame……….. At that time, I knew plenty of lads with similar outlandish thirsts; although they’d less desire to play frames of snooker in parallel to this alcohol carnage!

Werbeniuk’s boozing antics were legendary at the time. Allegedly, his most famous feats of drinking include: –

76 cans of lager during a game with John Spencer in Australia in the 1970s; and 43 pints of lager in a snooker match/drinking contest against Scotsman Eddie Sinclair. After Sinclair had passed out following his 42nd pint, Werbeniuk was reported to say “I’m away to the bar now for a proper drink“….. Or I may’ve dreamt that last bit!!

Canadian Snooker Star – Big Bill Werbeniuk – “Cheers!!”