FORGET snooker – these ladies are potty about pool.
Every Tuesday night you’ll find them and their team mates battling it out to gain the upper hand in Sheffield’s Association of Ladies Pool League – but their days at the table might be coming to an end.
League stalwart Rachel Kennedy, whose mum Margaret Roe formed the league back in 1981, says the number of teams has dwindled and now the existence of the league is under threat.
She said: “Not so many years ago just about every pub in Sheffield had a ladies’ team. We had three divisions and our presentation nights at Dial House Club in Wisewood were always packed out. Now there are just six teams left.
“I play for The Ship in Shalesmoor then there’s The Sportsman in Denby Street, The Forest in Rutland Road, The Devonshire in Shireclife, The High Noon on the Manor, Forty Foot up Herries Road and The Staffordshire Arms behind Spital Hill.
“It seems there’s a pub closing every day in Sheffield and when that happens the pool team goes with it. How sad it would be if we can’t get enough teams or enough players to form a ladies’ league for the new season which starts in four or five weeks.”
Rachel, aged 36, a mum-of-three who lives in Shirecliffe and works as a school clerical officer, says pool is a great way for women to have fun.
She said: “When my mum set up the league she always used to say the most important thing was enjoying a night out and that winning was a bonus. We have players of all abilities with a couple even being good enough to play at county standard.
“Some of our players even play in the men’s league and believe me we girls hold our own and will give any bloke a game. One of our players, Nora Wetherall, has been playing in the league for 24 years and she loves to play still – even though she is 75 years old.
“But I’d say in the main it’s all about having a good night out and making some very good friends along the way.”
Rachel’s mum died in 1994 and the league is now run by Julia Jefford.
Rachel said: “Every year we play a special tournament for the Margaret Roe Trophy in memory of my mum. This year The Ship team was beaten in the final by The Sportsman. I’ve been trying for 16 years to win that trophy and never managed it yet!”
Email Julia Jefford – email@example.com – for more details on setting up a team or joining the league.