SITTING on his own at a table for 20 at the social clubs league’s 2001 presentation evening was enough to make Gary Cool hot under the collar.
It was the year of the infamous Peter Marchi Cup snooker final between Cool’s Bitterne RBL B and Bitterne Cons A.
“The cup was in my hands - and then it got taken away,” recalled the 52-year-old.
After potting the match-winning black against Keith Taylor, Pete Merritt threw his cue on to the table and turned to accept the congratulations of his teammates.
However, the cue-ball was still travelling and hit his cue.
Cool, who watched the sequence in agony, said: “I knew it was going to hit the cue but I couldn’t tell him. “It’s against my religion; it’s against what I play snooker for.”
Unbowed, he organised a trip to the presentation evening at Shirley Warren Social Club to collect the runners-up trophies.
“I bought 20 tickets and I said I’d get there early and save a table,” he said. “Do you know how many turned up? Not one.
“I was devastated no one turned up. I looked a right idiot.”
He took the trophies back to Bitterne RBL and told his teammates: “There you go lads. You need a new captain. “I didn’t play for a month. But I was missing my snooker so I went back.” The team he had played for since 1978 eventually folded through lack of players and he packed the game in for 30 months.
But five years ago, while fitting windows for Adrian Wiltshire, president of Lyndhurst Workmens Club, Cool was persuaded to pick up his cue again.
“I’ve always played snooker,” he said. “My life was for Monday night snooker.
“Sometimes I put a job off to start on a Tuesday so I’ve got my Monday night for snooker.”
Sadly, there was no celebration for Cool and his gang when Hamble Club B popped over and snatched a 6-4 victory, leaving Lyndhurst Workmens B winless after three matches played.
Cool lost to Lee Hayball, whose quick-fire style racked up a 44-point lead with two reds left in the second frame.
Paul Williamson accounted for away skipper Mike Allen on the blue in the first and the black in the second.
Cool’s 19-year-old son Louis, who likes to hear the balls thwack against the leather at the back of the pockets, lost to left-hander Wayne Brine.
The teenager was chasing snookers on the colours in the first and his comeback in the second was halted when Brine fluked the brown. Matt Windsor, 26, and Tony Brine shared two tight frames. And in his first game back in the side, Dave Hollyoake, helped by his Rolls-Royce cue-action, earned an honourable draw against left-hander Jason Stafford. Summing up the match, Gary Cool said: “It was quite close but it just went the other way.”
Scores, Lyndhurst first: Gary Cool 0-2 Lee Hayball, Paul Williamson 2-0 Mike Allen, Louis Cool 0-2 Wayne Brine, Matt Windsor 1-1 Tony Brine, Dave Hollyoake 1-1 Jason Stafford.
HONOURS 2009: Burroughes & Watts runners-up 2002: Division 5 champions 2001: Division 7 champions l For more about Lyndhurst Workmens Club B see dailyecho.co.uk/yoursay/blogs/snookeritsjustaloadofballs/.
Lyndhurst Workmen's Club was featured in Saturday's Daily Echo weekly snooker spotlight