Holland, 71: I just play to my ability

Picture by Kevin Legg: Southampton’s 2012 side.

Picture by Kevin Legg: Southampton’s 2012 side.

First published in Your Say Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by

CHRIS Holland, an ever present member of the Southampton side from the start of the Inter-Town League in the mid-1960s to its demise in the early 1980s, insists he just plays to his ability now.

The 71-year-old “enjoyed” the 9-8 win over Portsmouth & Gosport in the 2012 revival and was “pleased” with his draw against 16-year-old England international Adam Bobat.

“I just play to my ability,” he said. “It’s a personal thing. Anyone that’s good at any sport has a personal level that they need to play at.

“Whether they win at that level or don’t win at that level is beside the point. As long as you can come away and say ‘that’s as well as I can play’, it doesn’t matter whether you win or lose.

“The lads are nice, they’ve got the right team spirit. I quite enjoyed the evening. I was pleased with my game.”

Town Champion Mike Finn said: “Every time Adam came to the table, he was in a sticky situation – especially when (just) the colours were left on the table.

“Ultimately, that was the frame that made the game go to 8-8. Tonight, Chris was crafty, and he crafted his way out of that frame.”

Holland’s draw with Bobat and Billy Castle’s 2-0 win against Mike Jurd squared the match at Stoke Snooker Club, Gosport.

And it was young gun Castle who eased past Colin Norton in the tiebreak frame.

Southampton skipper Drew Farminer said: “Billy doesn’t tend to get bothered by whomever he is playing.

“Everyone enjoyed themselves, that’s the main thing. It was a very good snooker match. They picked a decent enough side; we picked a decent side.”

Dave O’Brien, who captained the old Southampton side, missed only one match in all those years.

The 79-year-old recalled walking out of a match in Gosport, because the club had a live band, and doing the same at Hill Park.

“A lot of (the players) took their children along,” he said. “We got the game going and someone said ‘children are not allowed here on a Saturday night’. So we walked out. That was the only couple of occasions that we had any problems.”

O’Brien added that afternoon matches on the Isle of Wight were “a good old day out”.

Holland said: “It was very tight between Southampton and Portsmouth. When we ran ten-man teams, we used to win. Then they cut it to a six-man teams, which gave them the edge because we were stronger in depth.”

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