The Cathays Conservative Club is one of the ‘Diff’s hidden gems. Situated next to the busy Harriet Street and Mackintosh pub, many walk past without ever taking a second glance – fantastic new grafitti-art on the club’s exterior should change that, though. In addition to a full-size snooker table, the club have a pool table, a dart-board and a skittle alley – making it a pub game utopia. We spoke to team member Martyn Evans who gave us an insight into the Cardiff snooker scene.
What is the history of the Cathays Conservative Snooker Club?
“It’s not known how long the Cathays Conservatives Club has had a snooker team, but it’s well in excess of 40 years. In 2013 we won the interdivisional cup, last year we won the division one cup. Clearly, cup specialists!”
How many players make up the team?
“Our current side comprises of 10 registered players. Eight of those are regulars. One, John Hicks, has played for the team since 1984. Unfortunately for John, snooker is one of those sports where you can play for years and get worse! Most of us have joined within the last six years, with many playing for different sides in Cardiff.”
“With eight players, but only five singles matches played each week, we rotate based on form. If you win, you’re guaranteed to play in the following match. If you lose you might be dropped… depending on who is available.”
“It means there’s good banter and – if you are dropped – you always pop down to play before the fixture starts – and have a few beers!”
Which league do you play in?
“The decline in pubs and social clubs in the UK has an obvious knock-on effect on snooker teams. Cardiff has lost a lot of snooker venues in the past few years – both Rileys clubs have closed and snooker tables are slowly being removed from other venues.”
“This season we play in the Cardiff and District Snooker League. This comprises of 15 sides from as north as Senghenydd and as south as the Savoy club, in Barry. We play between September and April.”
“There are a few professionals that started in this league: Paul Davies (former world 35) and Michael White (current world 24). Currently the league has Mark Bennett (former world number 24) and Kishan Hirani, who has played in several Players Championship Tour events.”
What is the format of the Cardiff and District Snooker League?
“With 15 teams, we now have a new league format. Teams play each other once before a ‘SPL-style’ split. The top eight teams going in to the premier league, with the bottom seven competing in division one. The league splits on 22nd January.The format of a league match is five singles matches, refereed by the home side. The ‘miss rule’ is also enforced.”
“The natural perception of snooker is that it’s played by older people. However, the teams are made up by a variety of genders, ages, ethnicities and abilities. Trecenydd comprise players as young as 10 and other teams – like the cuesaders – have teenage players.”
“Last year, Kirsty Davies played for us. She’s the current women’s world pool champion!”
What are your plans for the future?
“Cathays Conservatives are a fantastic team with great players on and off the baize. Our aspiration for the future? Funding for a new cloth on our table, a few victories, competitive matches and new friends along the way! First stop Cathays, next stop the crucible!”
To find out more about the Cathays Conservative Snooker Club follow @CathaysSnooker or visit www.cardiffsnooker.org.uk