As there is a short break before proper snooker starts, I thought I would ask the question as I am interested to hear your stories.
My first memories of snooker are watching on telly around 1980. I can't remember who or what tournament it was but I suspect it was the 1980 WC as I remember my dad kicking off as it was interrupted by the Iranian Embassy siege.
My first taste of a snooker hall was at a working men's club where my dad played. It was serious stuff. You put your name up, put your 10p in the meter and woe betide you if you made noise or broke etiquette. I was not allowed on the table at first but I remember it being like a shrine with the rituals of ironing, brushing and covering taking place with solemnity. Later, if they had a lock-in I was allowed on the table with just the colours.
Then when I was about 14 I was taken to the Priory Club (or Alf's). This was a proper snooker club but had not been touched since the 1930s. Snooker cases (Full length and metal) hung from ropes and were all padlocked, although Dad told me that there used to be chalk hanging from the ceiling. That was gone. £1 per hour and 20p for a cup of tea. The buzz in there was incredible - hushed but fiercely competitive. I was playing at last and I was hooked.
I grew up in Hastings and the standard in the leagues was high. A few names long forgotten, but I remember Derek Heaton (a pro), Anthony Davis (Mark's older brother) and Tommy Bartlett. Tommy was a lovely guy but I don't know if he ever moved up a level. Saturday morning competitions were heaving with youngsters.
There were five snooker clubs at that time and loads of working men's clubs. All that remains is one snooker hall which is more oriented towards pool. I have played at least once a week (usually three or four times) in the intervening 37 years (ouch!) and won't stop whilst there is still a decent table to be had.
I have so many memories of laughs, victories, drunkenness, sobering defeats, fights (not me - well only once) and characters who are long gone but who I thought would be there forever.
Anyway, I have gone on long enough.
What are your earliest memories whether you play or just watch?
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