Post by The Chubbster™ on Dec 17, 2013 18:06:40 GMT
So I've cobbled this together, and just this small amount of information was tough to find and make sense of. Feedback would be very welcome, any contributions would be a massive bonus. Feel free to add, re-write anything you like. I would love to expand this as much as we can. It coud be used for Wikipedia, The AEBBA site, anywhere really and since there is so little info about our history, I think a community project is the only way to get something more definitive than the few scraps of info that are our there. Either way it would be nice to fill this up as much as possible and present it in a nice clear way (pictures would also be a missive plus). At the very least it will preserve our history as best we can.
So think of this as a community project. We can edit as we go along. Here is the start.....
Update: Revised as of 28th December...
A brief history of the game
Very little is known about the earlier origins of Bar Billiards, but it’s widely believed that the modern day game descended from a Russian game called Billiard Russe. An English gentleman named David Gill reportedly observed this game being played in Belgium, and on his return to England he convinced an English table manufacturer Jelks to create a version of the game, which then became the modern day game of Bar Billiards that is played today.
First Leagues and following years
The first known Bar Billiards pub league was formed in Oxfordshire in 1936, and shortly thereafter leagues began appearing in other locations such as Reading, Canterbury and High Wycombe. In 1933 the game was first introduced in Jersey by a gentleman named George Jeune, a landlord, who important 4 tables over to the channel island. By 1964 this had grown to over 50 tables with competitions being organised by two organisations, the National Bar Billiards League and the Jersey License Victuallers League. By 1980 the two leagues had amalgamated and consisted of 21 teams and over 200 registered players.
Back on the UK mainland, before the Second World War there was an organisation called the National Bar Billiards Association (maybe the same organisation mentioned above), and a team from Canterbury are recorded as winning the NBBA challenge cup (beating a team from Oxford). Other tables manufactures had started to produces Bar Billiards tables, two of which were Sam’s and Riley’s.
Into the modern Era
Around 1973, the All England Bar Billiards Association was formed and started to organise competitions nationally which are still going strong today. Some of these competitions include the National Pub Team Championship, The British Isle Open Pairs, The Inter-Counties Championship and the All England Grand Prix. Today the AEBBA still governs the game in the UK mainland.
Bar Billiards received its first regular television exposure during the 70’s with a show called “Indoor League” hosted by former England fast bowler Fred Trueman. The show was produced by Yorkshire Television and ran on ITV from 1972-1977.
In 1981, the first ever British Isle Open was held in Jersey (organised by the Jersey Bar Billiards Association.) This tournament was won by a gentleman from Jersey named Harry Siddal. In the year 2000, this tournament officially became the World Bar Billiards Championship. An Englishman named Bernie McCluskey won the tournament that year and has the distinction of being crowed the first ever ‘official’ World Bar Billiards Champion. The rules of the game in Jersey are slightly different, as the tables are a little wider than standard mainland tables, and all shots must be played “off the spot”.
Around the early to mid 90’s, many country organisations started to run a ‘County Open’. These are tournaments that invite players from all over the country to compete against each other, and many are still in existence today.
Bar Billiards today
The All England Bar Billiards Association is the official governing body of the game on UK mainland. As of 2013, there are still around 30 known leagues in the United Kingdom covering a dozen or so counties. Just about all of these leagues run separate singles, doubles and various other competitions for their players. In addition there are county level competitions and also National Competitions in the form of County Opens and AEBBA competitions for any aspiring players who wish to dedicate more than the standard one night a week required in local leagues.