Monday, 2 August 2010
Snooker without cigarette advertising: well, it's not the same is it?
Do you remember Alex Higgins chain smoking his way from the sidelines in the early 80s - the golden era of snooker? I was hooked on snooker back in the day. I had an older brother who used to host tournaments for the local boys in our garage.
Even for sport-neutral me, it was an exciting time. Ghoulish Ray Reardon - the Welsh hope, Terry Griffiths, Steve 'boring' Davies, and little, squeaky Alex Higgins. My brother and his pals took their tournaments seriously - they used to club together to buy a trophy from the engravers in town. All properly executed, I remember Jason Thomas winning one year. Jason - the year he won, wore a waistcoat and dicky bow for posterity. One polaroid picture shows his chest puffed out, waving the trophy proudly.
The next year a tall boy won. I can't remember his name now, but I recall he died in his teens in a car accident in Ireland.
Ah, of course, these tournaments didn't last forever, and neither did the golden age of snooker. The enthusiasm ripping through the grey, pebble-dashed ex-council houses was directly linked to the fanfare around the players of the time, and when they gradually faded away, then then so did the tournaments - and it was back to the wickets and bats...