Bar billiards

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Bar billiards
Bar billiards table 1.jpg
A Bar billiards table.
Highest governing bodyAll England Bar Billiards Association
First played1930s
TypeCue sport
EquipmentCue, Billiard balls, Skittles

Bar billiards is a form of billiards which involves scoring points by potting balls in holes on the playing surface of the table rather than in pockets. Bar billiards developed from the French/Belgian game billard russe, of Russian origin. The current form started in the UK in the 1930s and now has leagues in Norfolk, Sussex, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Surrey, Kent, Cambridgeshire, Hampshire, Suffolk, Yorkshire and Northamptonshire. These counties comprise the All England Bar Billiards Association. There are also leagues in Guernsey and Jersey where the annual world championships take place.


Table with mushroom-style skittles

The game of bar billiards developed originally from the French billiard, which due to the expensive tables in the fifteenth century was played only by the French monarchy and the very rich.[1][2] The game was transformed into Billiard Russe during the 16th century for the Russian Tsars and a derivative of Bagatelle played by French royalty.[3][1]

Bar billiards was first imported into the UK during the early 1930s when David Gill, an Englishman witnessed a game of billiard russe (Russian billiards)[4][5] taking place in Belgium.[1][3] He persuaded the Jelkes company of Holloway Road in London to make a similar table.[1] Tables were also made by Sams, Riley, Burroughs & Watts and Clare.[6] It is now a traditional bar game played in leagues in the English counties of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Hampshire, Kent, Norfolk, Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire, Suffolk, Surrey, Sussex and Yorkshire, and also the Channel Islands.[7] The game's governing body is the All England Bar Billiards Association.[7] There are also leagues in Guernsey and Jersey. 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.[1]


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. Earliest versions of the game used wooden mushrooms instead of pegs which have a thin curved stalk and a flattish rounded cap. These were normally placed in front of the 50 and 200 holes often with a fourth mushroom in front of the 100 hole. This version was often referred to as Russian billiards, probably named after the very similar French and Belgian game billiard russe which has a longer history, neither are to be confused with the common billiards game in Russia. There are a couple of leagues that still play this version in East Anglia in the Norwich and Sudbury areas. 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. In the case that a white and a black peg are both knocked over, then the first peg to be knocked over is counted. 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 remaining 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 next shot attempted is the 'split shot' where the object ball is usually potted in the 50 hole and the cue ball is potted in the 100 hole. There are variants to this; sometimes it is necessary to pot the balls into the 50 and 10 holes for example. If successful the break shot can be used again and so on. Players take alternate turns or 'breaks' at the table playing from where their opponent has left off. If the player fails to pot a ball then the break has ended and the second player takes their break by placing another ball on the first spot. If all balls are in play, then the nearest ball to the 'D' is removed and put on the spot. If a player fails to hit a ball, then the break ends and all points earned in that break are lost. 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.[8]

The Bar Billiards world championship takes place each November on the island of Jersey.[9][10]

World Championship results history[edit]

The Bar Billiards World Championship (called the British Isles Open up to 1999) is held every year in Jersey.[10]

Year Winner from Runner-up from Reference
1981 Harry Siddall Jersey Derek Payne Oxfordshire [11]
1982 Graham Bisson Jersey Clarrie Querrie Jersey [11]
1983 Tim Ringsdore Jersey Micky Daw Jersey [11]
1984 Peter Noel Jersey Don Cadec Jersey [11]
1985 Bernie McCluskey Berkshire Peter Webb Guernsey [11]
1986 Dave Harris Berkshire Peter Noel Jersey [11]
1987 Wayne Poingdestre Jersey Kevin Tunstall Oxfordshire [11]
1988 Alan Le Blond Jersey Micky Daw Jersey [11]
1989 Trevor Gallienne Guernsey Bob Taylor Kent [11]
1990 Steve Ahier Jersey Terry Race Sussex [11]
1991 Steve Ahier Jersey Simon Tinto Surrey [12]
1992 Dennis Helleur Jersey Harry Barbet Jersey [12]
1993 Kevin Tunstall Oxfordshire Graham Bisson Jersey [12]
1994 Kevin Tunstall Oxfordshire Tony Walsh Berkshire [12]
1995 Tony Walsh Berkshire Mark Brewster Kent [12]
1996 Terry Oakley Surrey Don Cadec Jersey [12]
1997 Jim Millward Sussex Steve Ahier Jersey [12]
1998 Keith Sheard Oxfordshire Nick Barnett Jersey [12]
1999 Peter Noel Jersey Terry Race Sussex [12]
2000 Bernie McCluskey Berkshire Bob King Jersey [12]
2001 Jim Millward Sussex Kevin Tunstall Oxfordshire [12]
2002 Terry Race Sussex Nigel Ryall Jersey [12]
2003 Jim Millward Sussex Terry Race Sussex [12]
2004 Terry Race Sussex Nigel Ryall Jersey [12]
2005 Graeme Le Monnier Jersey Harry Barbet Jersey [12]
2006 Kevin Tunstall Oxfordshire Jim Millward Sussex [12]
2007 Trevor Gallienne Guernsey Jim Millward Sussex [12]
2008 Trevor Gallienne Guernsey Kevin Tunstall Sussex [13]
2009 Phil Collins Oxfordshire Paul Sainsbury Berkshire [13]
2010 Jim Millward Sussex Graham Bisson Jersey [13]
2011 Kevin Tunstall Sussex Steven Sheard Oxfordshire [13]
2012 Kevin Tunstall Sussex Paul Sainsbury Berkshire [13]
2013 Mark Trafford Oxfordshire Nigel Senior Sussex [13]
2014 David Ingram Sussex Kevin Tunstall Sussex [13]
2015 Paul Sainsbury Berkshire James Jeanne Jersey [13][14]
2016 Matthew Jones Buckinghamshire Mark Brewster Kent [13][15]
2017 Mark Trafford Oxfordshire Kevin Tunstall Sussex [13][16]
2018 Paul Sainsbury Kent Phil Osbourne Sussex [17]
2019 Kevin Tunstall West Sussex [18] Martin Cole West Sussex [19]
2020 Cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic - - [20]
2021 Mark Trafford Oxfordshire [21] Trevor Gallienne Guernsey [22]
2022 Kevin Tunstall West Sussex Trevor Gallienne Guernsey [23]

Multi-time world champions[edit]

  • Kevin Tunstall 7
  • Jim Millward 4
  • Trevor Gallienne 3
  • Mark Trafford 3
  • Peter Noel 2
  • Steve Ahier 2
  • Bernie McCluskey 2
  • Terry Race 2
  • Paul Sainsbury 2 [11][12][13][17][19][18][21][23]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Bar Billiards - History and Useful Information". 2020.
  2. ^ "Billiard Russe Talou". 2017.
  3. ^ a b "History of Bar Billiards". 2001.
  4. ^ Powell, Anthony (1976) [1952]. A Buyer's Market. Fontana. pp. 285–286.
  5. ^ Powell, Anthony (1976) [1955]. The Acceptance World. Fontana. p. 154.
  6. ^ "Bar Billiard Tables". 2020.
  7. ^ a b "Bar Billiards Rules". 2019.
  8. ^ "Bar Billiards Rules for Beginners". 2020.
  9. ^ "Bar Billiards World championships". 2019. Archived from the original on 12 August 2020.
  10. ^ a b "Bar Billiards History of the World championships". Jersey Bar Billiard League. 2019. Archived from the original on 2 August 2016.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Timeline of National Bar Billiards History - Part 1 - 1972 to 1991 (pre-BB Quarterly)". All England Bar Billiards Association (AEBBA). 2018. Archived from the original on 13 October 2018.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r "Timeline of National Bar Billiards History - Part 2 - 1991 to 2006 (Info Extracted from Peter Farrelly's Bar Billiards Quarterlies)". All England Bar Billiards Association (AEBBA). 2018. Archived from the original on 13 October 2018.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Timeline of National Bar Billiards History - Part 3 - 2007 to 2018 (Comprises a Summary of Nigel Senior's Bi-Monthly AEBBA Newsletters". All England Bar Billiards Association (AEBBA). 2018. Archived from the original on 13 October 2018.
  14. ^ "World Championships 2015". British Bar Billiards. 2015. Archived from the original on 12 October 2018.
  15. ^ "World Championships 2016". Jersey Bar Billiard League. 2016. Archived from the original on 12 October 2018.
  16. ^ "World Championships 2017". Jersey Bar Billiard League. 2017. Archived from the original on 12 October 2018.
  17. ^ a b "2018 final-live-updates". British Bar Billiards. 2018.
  18. ^ a b "2019 World Championships Results page 4". British Bar Billiards. 2019.
  19. ^ a b "2019 World Championships Results page 1". British Bar Billiards. 2019.
  20. ^ "Cancellation of the 40th World Championships 2020". British Bar Billiards. September 9, 2020.
  21. ^ a b "Staff member Mark Trafford celebrates third Bar Billiards World Championship win". 12 November 2021.
  22. ^ "2021 world championships". British Bar Billiards. November 2, 2021.
  23. ^ a b "World Championships Results 2022 Live Data". British Bar Billiards. 14 November 2022.

External links[edit]