Bar billiards in its current form started in the UK in the 1930s when Englishman, David Gill, saw billiard russe being played in Belgium and persuaded the Jelkes company ofHolloway Road in London to make a similar table. It is a traditional game played in leagues in SussexBerkshireOxfordshireBuckinghamshireSurreyKentCambridgeshire,HampshireNorfolk and Northamptonshire. These counties comprise the All England Bar Billiards Association. There are also leagues in Guernsey and Jersey. Tables were also made by Sams, Riley, Burroughs & Watts and Clare. The standard "league" tables have a playing surface approximately 32 inches (81 cm) wide. Sams also made a narrower version with a 28-inch (71 cm) width playing surface.

The Hastings & Bexhill Bar Billiards League has a long and rich history dating back to as far as 1959. Not much has changed since then and a lot of the old traditions are still respected by all the teams. We have numerous players who have played in this league for decades and remember a time when most pubs had a table. Although there is now only 4 pubs competing in the league there are 7 teams and we'd always welcome more. If you are interested in joining a team or starting one in your pub please see Contact.

 

HISTORY OF THE GAME
HOW ITS PLAYED

Bar billiards is played on a unique table with no side or corner pockets but with nine holes in the playing surface which are assigned various point values ranging from 10 to 200. There are eight balls in all, seven white and one red. Potting the red ball in any hole scores double points. On the playfield are normally placed three pegs or mushrooms. There are two white pegs one either side of the 100 hole with one black peg in front of the 200 hole.

If a white peg is knocked over then the player's break is ended and all score acquired during that break is discarded. Knocking down the black peg ends the player's break and all points are lost.

All shots are played from the front end of the table so access to all sides is not required which is ideal in a smallish bar or pub. At the start of the game or when there are no balls  on the table a white ball is placed on the spot on the 'D' and the red ball is placed on the spot in front of that. This 'Break shot' may be done a maximum of three times if both balls are potted before one ball must remain on the table known as the '1-up', failing to leave this one ball up results in a foul and loss of break.

The play is time-limited. A coin will usually give around 17 minutes of play dependent on region. After this time a bar drops inside the table stopping any potted balls from returning, leading to a steady decrease in the number of balls in play.

The last ball can only be potted into either the 100 or 200 hole having been played off either side cushion.

THE CURRENT TEAMS

There are 4 establishments currently with teams in the H&B Bar Billiards League, 2 of which have two teams. They are as follows:

  • The Old King John

  • The Ashburnham Arms 

  • The Jenny Lind A

  • The Jenny Lind B

  • The Nags Head A

  • The Nags Head B

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