Recently, I went along to one of Muswellbrook Snooker & Billiards Club’s Sunday social days, and I have to tell you, I had a ball.
Snooker and Billiards are both cue sports with a long and rich history. It is thought billiards was derived from a form of croquet in the 15th century. In comparison, snooker is a relatively new game originating in the second half of the 19th century. The snooker and billiards we know today differ greatly from their origins and are played all around the world by both professionals and amateurs.
While billiards and snooker are similar in that they both use cue sticks, tables, and balls, there are also distinct qualities that set them apart. Most notably, snooker has 22 balls and billiards has 3. The rules are also very different for both, and quite complex, especially compared to the more commonly played pool.
One of the great things about all cue sports is that anyone can play. The Muswellbrook Snooker & Billiards Club has a diverse set of members across a wide range of backgrounds. Currently the youngest member is 24 and the oldest is 82. Women can play against men and grandparents can play against grandkids, making it one of the most inclusive sports around.
Since the Club was inaugurated in 1986, it’s seen many people join its ranks over the years. It’s also had plenty of legends come through, such as Ray Meekin and Carl Hedges. Currently they have 38 members, as recent years has seen their numbers decrease, mainly due to Covid.
The Club is now encouraging new people to join and share their love of cue sports.
The Club welcomes players of any skill level. If you’re new to the game, there’s plenty of ace players at the Club who are happy to step up and mentor you as you learn the ropes.
And for pool players? You’re welcome too. Though expect some friendly ribbing as there’s an ongoing debate among the members about which is best, billiards, snooker, or pool, though many of the members do enjoy playing all three.
Although I haven’t picked up a cue in many years, I got coerced into a game of snooker with one of their long-time members John Baker. Definitely an unfair match up, since John only recently trounced the state champion! Despite my lack of skill, I still managed to pot a couple of balls and I can’t tell you how satisfying it is when one goes into the pocket. It’s easy to see why these sports are so popular.
The camaraderie among the members can’t be put into words. You would be hard pressed to find a more friendly and encouraging group of people. Dee, a member who moved to Denman a year ago, shared how the Club provided a great avenue for her to meet new people. It gave her the opportunity to make some lifelong friends and help her find a place in her new community. It’s a view that all the members echoed.
Another player shared how they had been in all sorts of trouble before joining, including an addiction to alcohol. While it might seem heading down to your local club is not the greatest idea for someone in sobriety, he said the support from fellow members played a big part in turning his life around.
For those of you more interested in the competitive side of things rather than the social aspect, you’re covered. There are nine comps throughout the year catering to all skill levels. The Club also travels for weekend competitions and from the stories I heard, they are the social events of the year. Recently they returned victorious from Dubbo, winning the annual Inter-Club Challenge.
So, if you’re looking for a social connection, or just want to get involved in a sport that doesn’t require huge amounts of physical exertion, head on down to Muswellbrook Workers Club on a Friday afternoon or midday on a Sunday. You’ll learn a fun new sport, have a good laugh, and I guarantee you will make some new friends.