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Potting a winner with bar billiards revival in Sheffield pubs

Bar Billiards makes a comeback in the Cross Scythes pub in Norton Lees in Sheffield, with players Lee Beardwell and Steve Keir

Bar Billiards makes a comeback in the Cross Scythes pub in Norton Lees in Sheffield, with players Lee Beardwell and Steve Keir

Drinkers at Sheffield pubs are being reintroduced to a bar game that had almost died out in the city.

The dusty bar billiards table at The Cross Scythes in Norton Lees was barely used as customers didn’t know how to play.

But new landlords Steve and Rebecca Kier are trying to save the traditional pub game from extinction by starting a new league.

They have joined forces with The Gardeners Rest in Neepsend and New Barrack Tavern in Hillsborough, which also still have tables, to host regular competitions.

Steve said: “We took over the pub in October and the bar billiards table was something I’d never seen before.

“Many people used to look at it but they wouldn’t have a go because they didn’t know the rules and the table does look quite complicated.

“I looked up the rules and started encouraging people to have a game, and it has really taken off now.

“Somebody told me that there were only three bar billiards tables left in Sheffield so I called the other pubs with one to see what we could do.”

Bar billiards, which first became popular in England during the 1930s, developed from the French and Russian game ‘billard russe’.

Players must pot balls into nine holes on the table, which all have a different point score, within a 17-minute time limit.

The first Sheffield bar billiards game took place at The Gardeners with a knockout competition planned at The Cross Scythes in February.

Gardeners landlady Pat Wilson said: “We’ve had a table since we bought the pub in 1998 and there was a point where it was the last one in Sheffield. We have some people who see the table saying they haven’t played for 20 years, although in other parts of the country it is still popular, and younger ones who haven’t seen one before.

“When I first came to Sheffield there were a lot more tables because you only play from one side of the table so its a great game for a small pub.

“The first game was very pleasant and we are hoping it will help spread the word a little bit now.”

 

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