Teams were drawn and the crowd assembled. Cheers rose to the ceiling as the first player stepped up to the pool table. Raucous comments were tossed around, supporting or trying to distract the players.
None were experienced, but all were prepared to give it a go. Cues were chalked, the white was lined up, and the table was broken by the first shot. Applause rippled around the room. The cue was handed to the first opponent, eager to take their place on the shield of fame. The white drifted up and down the table.
Cries of ‘well played,’ ‘hard luck’ and ‘oh no,’ repeatedly broke the silence as players lined up their next shots. Gales of laughter resounded when we tried to lie on the table, as we had seen the pros do, accompanied by encouraging comments. It’s not as easy as they make it look on TV.
The first round came to an end, to be followed by a slap-up lunch. The successful players took their time, fuelling up for the next round. They took advantage of the lull after lunch to rest and regain their strength.
Tea was served, and the semi-final players took their places. This round was more intense as the players concentrated on each shot. Reputations were at stake. The first game was competitive, the second even more so. Good friends played each other and there was much ribbing and teasing. One player had learned to play in the common room of the convent she attended and there were many comments about this.
In the end, the players who would feature in the final were decided. Convent girl vs. a keen steady player who had also obviously had experience. The silence was intense as players lined up, squinting to assess the line, withdrawing to chalk the cue, and at last making the shot.
The game went on … and on. Pockets were missed. Opponent’s balls were sunk. The white and the black found the pockets too. The suspense built. The crowd held their breath for every shot and broke into riotous applause when the players succeeded.
At last, after a nail-biting interval, the winning shot was sunk, and the crowd went wild, clapping and cheering. The prize was given – a silver horse – a remnant from a Secret Santa party some years before.
There were eight of us, on a rainy afternoon at the beach. Well, we had to do something to pass the time, and we all agreed it was an enjoyable way to do so.