ENTHUSIASTS who are trying to promote a classic English pub game in York say they have been delighted with the revived interest.

A small group of drinkers from The Golden Ball and The Phoenix in York teamed up earlier this year to launch an inter-pub bar billiards competition, and since then more pubs and players have come forward to get invovled.

For several years The Golden Ball, in Bishophill, was the only York pub with a bar billiards table.

But The Phoenix then bought one, and in recent months The Knavesmire and the Fulford Arms have followed suit. The Nag’s Head in Heworth is also considering buying one, while The Grapes in Slingsby near Malton contacted the York group to say it too had a table.

Mike Shallcross, who has been organising the league in York, said: “When we started six months ago there were just the two tables in the York area.

“Now there are five, so interest is definitely growing. We started by holding fortnightly derby games between The Golden Ball and The Phoenix, which have brought loads of locals together and have become a bit of an institution.

“The home team always makes some food, and The Phoenix has even rigged up a camera above the table that projects the games onto a big screen in the main bar.”

He said The Golden Ball table seemed to be generating more interest now and the Fulford Arms is planning to hold regular singles and team competitions.

He said: “Overall, it’s been a brilliant way of getting to know new people from different pubs, while fostering a sense of pride and camaraderie in our own pub. We don’t take it too seriously – if we did we’d be despairing, as The Golden Ball loses nearly every match to the Phoenix –so anyone can join in, regardless of experience.”

He said if any pubs were interested in getting a table, they could be found on eBay for anything from £100 to £1,000.

For more information, anyone interested should email yorkbarbilliards@gmail.com or speak to their local pub landlord about forming a team.