Billiards has it all
Cameron Rowe wants to show that billiards can be a young man’s game.
The 20-year-old from Porirua works at Porirua Club and spends much of his downtime practising his technique with a cue – at least two hours a day. Introduced to snooker just six months ago, he saw a small group playing billiards, wandered over to ask what it was all about, and the rest is history.
‘‘I never wanted to go back [to snooker], I knew straight away that billiards was for me. I absolutely love it, it’s tactical and you have to have patience.’’
Although there are a number of versions of billiards, the one Rowe plays is the most common, involving just three balls on a standardsized snooker table. Points are scored via ‘‘cannons’’ and ‘‘in-offs’’ – dinking your ball off the other two, or trying to sink yours off one of the others. It can often lead to a cat-and-mouse contest as players manoeuvre the balls around the table, trying to get an advantage over their opponent.
Rowe knows he is just a rookie – his highest breaks are in the 30s, whereas the top players are getting at least double that. There are between six and 12 players at Porirua Club on a Tuesday night – only two clubs in the region play organised billiards – and while he is the youngest ‘‘ by about 20 years’’, he believes it is a sport young people should consider.
‘‘Anyone can be good at pool or even snooker, but this is something that’s more technical – you’re thinking about five shots ahead.’’
Rowe’s taking billiards seriously. He knows the rules inside out and is studying for his level one referee’s certificate. He even has the uniform, replete with bowtie, for tournament play.
At the end of October, he will play in the Jim Couper Open, a national ranking event at Porirua Club. One of the entrants is from England, leading a seasoned field. Rowe will be treating it as a learning experience.
‘‘I know I’m probably going to get thrashed, I’ve got no expectations.
‘‘I think I’ll be the better for it and I just want to have a good time.’’
Cue shots: Cameron Rowe has his sights set on going a long way in billiards, and says the older players are welcoming him warmly to his newly-chosen sport.