New 2022 English Partnership for Snooker and Billiards inaugural billiard champion Rob Hall isn’t sure where the game will be in 10 years’ time…
The 37-year-old from Lincoln, when he’s not pocketing in offs and playing canons on a billiard table, can normally be seen renovating houses and dabbling in the property market.
Hall was delighted to have claimed the inaugural EPSB billiard event and told SnookerZone: “It’s always great to win any event and the feeling of satisfaction from winning will never grow old. I played well in patches in the event, but having high expectations of myself, I’ve come away with a list as long as my arm of things to work on. It’s the usual. The better you get at something, the higher the expectations become.
He added: “My first memory of Billiards goes back to the early sessions of learning the game with Roger. Probably some of the most enjoyable times, as I was discovering something new and learning new skills. Somehow, the feeling of enjoyment and excitement seems to plateau a bit the better you get and the more your self-expectation grows.”
“I would say that learning the basics of billiards gives you a much better understanding of the angles on the table. This can only go to improve the tactical aspect of a player’s snooker game. I’m sure over the years I’ve won countless frames of snooker thanks to my superior safety play that has stemmed from my knowledge of billiards.
Hall added: “It was very much the basics of the game. All about consistent cueing and getting to grip with the half-ball contact (the backbone of billiards). Roger Clark took me from a beginner to around 150 break level. I’m still in regular contact with Roger, who is in his late 80s now and he’s still very much interested in my playing career and loves hearing about what events I’ve been to and how I’ve got on.”
Hall then added: “The great thing about the Billiards community/players is that we are always happy to pass on knowledge to others so over the years I’ve done a fair amount of ‘brain picking’ of other players to try to keep learning.”“The best advice I could give a novice would be not to run before you can walk, learn the basics first and become a competent red ball player before advancing to the top of the table play. There’s no shortcuts in this game and every aspect of the game needs to be learned in the correct way.”
He said: “Some events the winners cannot even cover their costs for attending. Until we get a boost from somewhere, the game will continue to decline in popularity. In five years, I think the game will still be played, but in ten years I’m not so sure.
Hall added: “There are many shots that are tough in Billiards but none that can’t be mastered with sufficient practice. I suppose massè shots are ones that players shy away from more than any. Billiards is a game that requires a high level of understanding of spins and how those make the balls react. Again, time in the table is the best way of gaining this essential understanding. My best memory of the game would probably be being presented the English Amateur trophy by Roger when he came to watch me in the final. It was a pretty emotional moment for both of us.”
Hall quipped: “Good food and drink is another passion of mine, I’m lucky as my partner and soon-to-be wife Anna Lynch, from Australia (current ladies World Billiards Champion (2019) and also a professional jazz pianist) has an amazing skill for cooking and all things culinary, so I’m well catered for!”