STEPHEN HENDRY once said in his book ME AND THE TABLE, that going to play snooker was a sanctuary, an escape from the issues going on outside.
For many who love snooker, going to a snooker club and playing either in practice or events is a sanctuary, an escape for a few hours for a bit of downtime. However, when it becomes difficult for ordinary people to do that because of so many “elite” events that end up happening, this becomes a problem.
A source told SnookerZone writer/journalist Chris Gaynor that the English Partnership of Snooker and Billiards (EPSB} apparently don’t pay a fee to snooker clubs when they want to hold an EPSB event.
This is wrong on one level, because, how are snooker clubs supposed to survive on just food and drink sales and memberships, etc, when there are lots of other costs to maintain?
If the EPSB specifically want to hold a certain number of events per year, they should pay a fixed annual fee for the privilege, if that happens to be the case.
As it stands, it appears that some clubs are relying on the donations of members, or sponsored companies to help IMPROVE clubs, as well as members help donate to setting up tournaments and promoting events. SnookerZone has done his fair share of promotion since 2015 as well as donating to events like the Cuestars, and the handicap tournament. SnookerZone was the first to donate a small high break prize when the handicap tournaments got up and running a couple of years ago again.
As a loyal member of Woking since 2015, the EPSB have most recently begun hosting tournaments. However, these tournaments are held on a weekend and at a time when some regular members are generally only able to come in to play and to have a knock with friends, and family, or, indeed, enter handicap or scratch tournaments OPEN TO ALL
PUTTING EVENTS BEFORE MEMBERS…
Events are fine. But too many of them deny ordinary members from being able to get on tables when they want.
Some regular members cannot ALWAYS get on a table when they come in. In some cases, SnookerZone has observed members either being turned away, or being put on a waiting list. This happened just before Christmas at Woking. Some members, I’m sure, would like to come in, but if there is an EPSB or some other event that has become a regular event being held at the weekend, they can’t always get a table.
Whilst it is fine to have EPSB or any other events at a snooker club, it should not be at the expense of regular members not being able to play on the weekend – regularly every weekend with external tournaments being held.
How does the WPBSA and Jason Ferguson intend to help amateur snooker maintain the balance between keeping the club’s regular members happy, as well as catering for the so-called “elite” of players who generally enter EPSB events.
Having said that, NOT all players of all abilities have the cash to enter events regularly, or have sponsors, and, by all accounts, it is difficult for some regular members to practice during the week due to other commitments, etc.
Snooker should not just be about churning out a factory of amateurs into professionals. Those who want to go to the next level of the game should try to go to the academies like the ones in Sheffield, and see how they get on with their development there.
SNOOKER FOR ALL…
For the rest, ordinary members of snooker should be able to enjoy and play however they see fit, either by playing in a variety of tournaments or by just being able to get on a table. The same goes for entering leagues. No one should be excluded from joining a league. or entering tournaments hosted, but not be forced to have to pay every single weekend to play in calendar EPSB events just so they can get on a table that are NOT RUN BY THE CLUB.
Whilst events are good for improving your game, it means that some regular members cannot get on a table.
The EPSB needs to consider how it helps to manage this balance between trying to develop talent at the grassroots, without spoiling the enjoyment of snooker for everyone, regardless of ability.
Sport is for all, not just to try to train an elite few in clubs. There are academies for that.
In the time SnookerZone writer/journalist Chris Gaynor has been at the Woking club, it has always been a CUSTOMER SERVICE BASED BUSINESS and it needs to remain that way with the interests of members who have paid their membership fees and contributed to food and drink and donated/promoted the club.
SnookerZone will act in the interests of the community, and pose the questions that matter.