Kissing, breaking and potting – it’s all in the game - The Community Leader and Real Estate New and Views
Community Sport

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January. Most of the holiday money is spent, the festivities are over, all the new movies have been seen and the young folk still have another month off school. In the hunt for something new and different to entertain them, it might be worth introducing them to the gentlemanly pastime of Cue Sports. Redlands RSL Snooker Club has a dedicated billiards room with three tables, coaching is available and juniors are welcome.

Remembering the old aphorism that skill at snooker is the sign of a misspent youth, and knowing that most classic gangland crime movies feature at least one shoot-‘em-up brawl in a pool room, why would you send your child to a cue sports school?

Lots of reasons, according to former Redlands RSL Snooker Club President Belinda Dinga. Her son Jayden started learning snooker 12 years ago at the age of six; he’s now the Australian Junior Champion and will be travelling to Albania next year to try for the title of World Junior Champion in the World Snooker Federation World Championships.

“Involvement in snooker has given Jayden so many wonderful opportunities and young players learn more than just how to play the game,” she says.

“It teaches them respect, self-control, discipline and sportsmanship. Jayden has a job that he loves at a snooker centre in Calamvale, he’s travelled all around Australia and to New Zealand playing and competing and he’s had residential invitations to China and England. It’s had such a good impact on his life. The Redlands club has always been a main feeder into the game; it’s the strongest junior club in Australia.”

Jayden’s 16-year-old younger brother Lucas is showing a stirring of interest in the game and six-year-old Lachlan, the family junior, already wields the cue; on his tip-toes at the family pool table and on a step at the higher snooker table. That their dad, Ed, is an accredited coach has no doubt helped their interest but Belinda gives most of the credit to Bob Turpin, the RSL Juniors’ coach who trained the boys and put Ed though his coaching exam.

“Bob’s a wonderful person; he’s been coaching Redlands kids, gratis, for more than 25 years and his juniors have won more than a hundred state titles and over 50 national titles,” Belinda says.

“He’s still a great player. Unlike many high-impact sports that have a physical age limit, snooker travels into your later years with you very comfortably.”

Bob started playing pool when he was an apprentice at an engineering firm. The firm set up a snooker team; Bob joined and the flame was lit for a lifetime passion. He started coaching at the Redlands RSL thirty years ago and still plays – successfully – in the Golden Oldies comps. Bob has coached many of the players he competes with; his oldest pupil was ninety. His favourite game is now billiards, rather than snooker; “It’s a more technical game, you have fewer options so you need more control.”

Bob says a positive approach is essential when coaching, especially with young players.

“You need to be able to impart information in a few simple instructions; just give them a few words and let them play the shot. Always find the positive part, the thing that they’re doing right and give them praise for it.”

Bob has stepped back into the role of assistant coach to Club President Paul Talbot, who attributes much of the Club’s strength and success to in-house and community support.

“The RSL is a godsend; they really look after us,” Paul says. “We’re one of three clubs in south-east Queensland that have a dedicated snooker room that’s separate from the gaming room, which means there are no poker machines there and that makes the room accessible for young players. The membership and management of the club can see the value in cue sports and Bob and I are more than happy to commit our time as coaches. That’s a recipe for success.”

Paul says that membership is open to all genders, abilities and ages from six up. He has fond memories of learning to play billiards as a 13-year-old with family friends on his father’s fold-out table “in a shed down the back”. Paul went on to become a regular 8-ball pool player and committee member in various clubs and holds high hopes for the coming generations of players.

For more information go to or contact Paul on 0417 752 489 or at [email protected].

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