But when's the winter solstice?
Into Whetstone today, my snooker genius finally realised, for an interview with the World Snooker Tour about self-playing snooker. And I was going to prove that self-playing snooker is the superior sport by taking on a top 16 professional two-player-snooker snooker player, Anthony Hamilton. Obviously I was reluctant to commit sacrilege by playing the apocryphal version of the sport, but I thought it was worth it to finally silence the naysayers who said that the Mes, world champions as some of them are, could compete with proponents of the bastardised version of the sport. The sport of king. Not kings. King.
My confidence was a little shaken when I discovered we'd be playing on the ridiculous waste of four snooker boards that is the 12ft by 6ft snooker board parody that these idiots play on. I sometimes can't reach shots on a 6 by 3 board. I was all dressed up in a three piece suit for the occasion, so was glad to see that Anthony had shown his sport up to be non-classy by turning up in jogging bottoms and looking like he'd just rolled out of bed. He would be intimidated by my smartness and probably resign before we'd hit a shot with our snooker sticks.
It's maybe 20 years since I last played on a full size snooker table, though I did play a little bit on the one table that the Cheddar Snooker Club possessed back in the eighties. It might have been kinder if they had let me have a little warm up, but after meeting Anthony and the film crew we more or less went straight into it. I don't want to give any spoilers about who won the battle of the snooker formats, but I did make the mistake of playing myself instead of one of the Mes (I haven't played snooker for years) and also they had some kind of trick board where they could shrink the pockets when it was my turn. Anthony seemed able to knock in the most impossible shots with nonchalant ease, but nothing was going down for me. I hoped that I could get through the whole frame without committing a foul (though if you've watched me on the small board you'll know how unlikely that is) or that Anthony might miss something and I'd pick up points that way. As we all know it's the final black that really counts anyway (hence "Pot Black") and Anthony suddenly seemed to get really rubbish on this ball and kept leaving it over the pocket. I finally potted it and then watched the cue ball go all the way up the board and pop into the top pocket. But I was still counting it. Magnets were clearly involved.
It seemed a bit pathetic to be wasting even 20 minutes of this professional snooker player's time, but he was charming and funny and even kindly kept saying "unlucky" when my shots went nowhere near the pocket. And when you think about it I will have practised twice as hard as him because I do all the shots, rather than having to wait for someone else to take their turn.
I did a nice interview about self-playing snooker (will let you know when it's up) and then headed home.
I decided to play my European Super League fixture tonight and that will be up on Youtube and as a podcast on Tuesday. The Mes seemed to be worse at potting even on a proper sized board (though at least I make it harder by having a camber and non-bouncy cushions where you can't predict the angle the ball will ping off from - two-player snooker/pool is so much easier as proven by Quantum Leap, it's all about learning angles) but there were two fabulous frames and the viewers of the live feed seem to be adding quite a lot of excitement to the event by betting Twitch points on the outcome.