Bil­liards cham­pion at 74

Hamilton News - - SPORT -

Twenty-one years ago, Wayne Carey wore the sil­ver fern on his chest to rep­re­sent New Zealand on the world stage for the first time.

At 74 years young, he’ll be do­ing it again for the 12th time at Oc­to­ber’s World Bil­liards Cham­pi­onship in Leeds.

Carey is ar­guably one of New Zealand’s long­est stand­ing cue sports­man and says he will con­tinue play­ing com­pet­i­tively un­til he hits the grave.

“That’s the beauty of the sport. With most sports you’re fin­ished at 35, but bil­liards has old guys like me play­ing to win un­til they can’t hold a cue any­more.”

Carey first got into cue sports at 16. One af­ter­noon he popped into a snooker hall in West­mere in Auck­land, cu­ri­ous to see what was hap­pen­ing in­side. Af­ter a few games, he fell in love with the sport and bil­liards even­tu­ally be­came his pre­ferred dis­ci­pline.

Carey is pas­sion­ate about see­ing more peo­ple, par­tic­u­larly school aged chil­dren, pick­ing up a cue and try­ing each of the three dis­ci­plines — pool, snooker and bil­liards.

“I think it’s a great sport to start when you’re young be­cause it teaches you ev­ery­thing. It teaches you dis­ci­pline, it teaches you re­spect, it teaches you how to treat peo­ple when you win, and it teaches you how to re­act when things go wrong,” he says.

The world num­ber 27 says the cue sports game has not only grown in pop­u­lar­ity, but has also out­grown a stigma of men drink­ing, smok­ing, and play­ing pool in a bar.

“Masse´ ’s five clubs in the North Is­land have more than 13,000 mem­bers,” he ex­plains.

“The sport is grow­ing each year and I would love to see it be­come as main­stream as rugby or net­ball and to fea­tures in the Com­mon­wealth and Olympics Games,” he says.

Carey has be­gun coach­ing in both Hamil­ton and Auck­land where he men­tors play­ers be­tween eight and 91 years of age.

“The best ad­vice I could give to other play­ers is to en­joy the ride. It’s a funny thing, when you en­joy it, suc­cess seems to come with it,” he says.

Carey is not short of wins, hav­ing se­cured 124 pro­vin­cial (re­gional) and na­tional tour­na­ment wins.

He is also the only Kiwi to have won 12 con­sec­u­tive na­tional tour­na­ments in a sin­gle year.

Carey will fly to the World Bil­liards Cham­pi­onship in Leads for the tour­na­ment run­ning from Oc­to­ber 22-26. He will com­pete against the best bil­liards play­ers in the world, in­clud­ing David Causier from the UK who won the tour­na­ment last year.

Carey’s games will be livestreamed on Masse´ ’s Face­book page at www.face­

Photo / Sup­plied

Top of his game: At 74 years young Wayne Carey will be rep­re­sent­ing New Zealand at the World Bil­liards Cham­pi­onship in Leeds.

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