Stalybridge Snooker League (Sunday Schools League)
Originally written by Elston and Hopkin on Monday, June 9th, 2008.
We write on a fairly regular basis about any manner of thing that is linked to the “broad church” that is the world of cuesports. On occasion we write about businesses that we have been customers of who have provided us with a magnificent service. We feel strongly that highlighting companies or organisations that deserve praise is an increasingly important company trait as a small business in the UK. One of the area’s that we have failed to address is to give credit to deserving Snooker leagues and their committees who work hard to ensure that many local people have a hugely enjoyable time playing competitive Snooker. Therefore if you would like to feature in our modest Blog, please get in touch and give us some information. We want to actively support any league as without them we will find that less and less Snooker or members club outlets will exist. It does not matter if we do not have any direct ties to the league – all that matters is that we continue to promote the grass roots of Snooker and Billiards in the UK.
I have recently been contacted by Ian Hopton who is webmaster of The Stalybridge Snooker League on the edge of Greater Manchester. This league like many has a long and proud history and will be 100 years old in the 2010/2011 season. Stalybridge Snooker league would be delighted to recruit new teams to increase the size and competitive nature of their league.
The history of this league is formidable and as often was the case the league was first formed due to the efforts of those involved in their local church. The league came about due to the desire for friendly sporting competition during the winter months between various men’s societies linked to both local Churches and Chapel’s.
The league was initiated in 1910 at which time the league was set up to play billiards which at the time was the game of choice. The league did not play Snooker until the 1970’s when the growth in the game started to increase. The Stalybridge league evolved over the years and teams were accepted from Ashton, Dukinfield , Hyde and Mossley. In fact over the years over 40 different teams have competed in the league, there is an interesting story on their website about one of the venues St Peter’s CMS where a short cue was required for some shots and additionally at 10pm sharp play would be halted for five minutes of prayers.
Interestingly the format in the 1960’s was five games of billiards 100 up. The teams were handicapped and not the players so every point scored was vital even if you were an individual loser. The total points scored were added up and once the handicap was calculated the winning team would receive two points. I also understand that to this day in one of the venue’s the rule still exists that the local vicar has priority when booking a table (he never comes in)!
This is just one example of the many wonderful leagues that exist throughout the UK. The leagues provide a stepping stone for those players with serious ambition in the game and a wonderfully relaxing night for those who like a social game of snooker or billiards. It is a very difficult time for Clubs and Pubs at the moment, the double whammy of the smoking ban and the increases in the cost of beer and other overheads have made the future of a number of outlets fairly doubtful. I urge you to get involved in your local league wherever you are as the number of teams nationally appear to be in decline. Stalybridge like many other leagues has a wonderful history with many well known local characters. These leagues are precious lets all try to ensure they survive and thrive over the coming years.