‘Snooker Plus’ was a variation of traditional snooker invented by 15-time world snooker champion Joe Davis and introduced, professionally, at the ‘News of the World’ Snooker Plus Tournament at Burroughes Hall, London in 1959. As the name suggests, ‘Snooker Plus’ included two additional colours, purple, worth ten points, and orange, worth eight. The purple ball was spotted equidistant between the brown and the blue and the orange ball was spotted equidistant between the blue and the pink. According to Davis, ‘This will make scoring possibilities far greater for the average player and will greatly increase the technique required of the top-grade player’.
Indeed, the inclusion of the purple ball meant that the ‘maximum’ break became 15 reds and 15 purples, followed by all eight colours, for a total of 210 points, rather than 147 points in traditional snooker. Aside from the break-building possibilities, the only other innovation of ‘Snooker Plus’ was that, in the event of a tie, the purple was respotted on the black spot. Only Joe Davis and two other former world champions – his younger brother, Fred Davis and John Pulman – contested the ‘News of the World’ Tournament, played in round-robin format, much to the displeasure of other professional players. The tournament attracted little interest and the ‘Snooker Plus’ format never really gained any traction, despite the Billiards Association and Control Council stating that it should have a ‘fair trial’.
Inevitably, as an England goalscorer, John ‘Jack’ Charlton is overshadowed by his younger brother, Sir Robert ‘Bobby’ Charlton, who won 106 caps, as an attacking midfielder or forward, between 1958 and 1970 and scored 49 goals. By contrast, the older Charlton brother was an archetypal, uncompromising English centre-half, but did not make his debut for the national team until April 10, 1965, less than a month shy of his thirtieth birthday. When he did so, he lined up alongside captain Bobby Moore in the centre of a back four that also included George Cohen and Ray Wilson – as it would in the World Cup Final the following summer – in an international friendly against Scotland at the original Wembley Stadium.
Jack Charlton scored his first goal for England in a 3-0 win over Finland in another international friendly at Olympiastadion, Helsinki on June 26, 1966 and his second in a 2-0 win over Denmark in a similar contest at Parken, Copenhagen on July 3, 1966, in the warm-up to the World Cup finals tournament. Later in his career, Charlton would score twice more, in international friendlies against Romania and Portugal, both at Wembley, but his two competitive goals came in European Championship Qualifying; he scored the final goal in a 5-1 win against Wales at Wembley on November 16, 1966 and the third goal of the game, but the first for England, in a 3-2 defeat by Scotland, also at Wembley, on April 15, 1967. All told, Charlton won 35 caps for England between 1965 and 1970 and scored six goals.
The ‘Postage Stamp’ is the name of the par-3 eighth hole on the Old Course at Royal Troon Golf Club in Troon, South Ayrshire, which has hosted the Open Championship on nine occasions. The name was coined when William Park – not to be confused with Willie Park Jr., who won the Open Chanpionship twice, at Prestwick in 1887 and Musselburgh Links in 1889 – described the long, narrow green as ‘a pitching surface skimmed down to the size of a postage stamp’ in an article in ‘Golf Illustrated’ in 1922, but not officially adopted until the Fifties. Indeed, the eighth hole was originally named ‘Ailsa’, after Ailsa Craig, a granite, volcanic island that lies ten miles offshore at the mouth of the Firth of Clyde, but is clearly visible from the elevated teeing ground.
Measuring just 123 yards from the championship tees, the Postage Stamp is, in fact, the shortest hole in Open Championship golf. That said, the sloping green, which measures 40 yards long by 14 yards wide, is protected by five cavernous bunkers, including the infamous ‘Coffin’ bunker, cut into the base of the sandhill that flanks the green to the left. The signature hazard was added when the Old Course was redesigned by five-time Open Champion and renowned golf course architect James Braid in 1922, in preparation for hosting its first Open Championship the following year.
After the World Snooker Championship moved to its ‘spiritual home’ at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield in 1977, the first overseas player to win was Canadian Cliff ‘The Grinder’ Thorburn who, in 1980, defeated the late Alex ‘Hurricane’ Higgins 18-16 in the best-of-35-frame final.
However, strictly speaking, much earlier in the history of the World Snooker Championship, in the days when it was still contested at various venues around Britain, and elsewhere, the first overseas player to win was Australian Horace Lindrum, in 1952. Be that as it may, the World Snooker Championship that year was an oddity insofar that a financial dispute between the Billiards Association and Control Council (BACC) and Professional Billiards Players’ Association (PBPA) led to a player boycott and left only two entrants.
Lindrum, who had previously finished runner-up to Joe Davis in the World Snooker Championship three times, in 1936, 1937 and 1946, faced reigning Professional Billiards Champion, New Zealander Clark McConachy, in a marathon, albeit one-sided, ‘final’ at Houldsworth Hall, Manchester. The best-of-145-frame match was contested over a total of 13 days between February 25 and March 8, 1952, but was effectively over after ten, when Lindrum took a winning 73-37 lead. Nevertheless, the pair earnestly played out all bar two of the remaining 35 ‘dead’ frames, to make the final score 94-49 in favour of Lindrum.