John Ferguson – Snooker
On Friday the 6th June 2014 I was honoured to host Jason Ferguson, Chairman of the World Professional Billiards & Snooker Association (WPBSA) who gave a very interesting and entertaining talk about Professional Snooker at our club’s lunchtime meeting.
Jason began with a brief summary about how the game of snooker originated during the monsoon season at the military station of Jubblepore, India way back in 1875 by Colonel Sir Neville Chamberlain, who, as a young officer served on the staff of Field Marshal Earl Roberts and how it took another 138 years until a world ranking snooker event the Indian Open to be staged in India.
There are currently over 90 registered National Billiards & Snooker Governing Bodies with a staggering 120+ million participation worldwide.
Jason first served on the board of WPBSA between 1999-2003, has been a Councillor and Mayor of his home town Ollerton, as well as founded and ran successful businesses
Just over 4 years ago, when Professional Snooker had only 6 tournaments that year, Jason received an unexpected phone call from Barry Hearn, Chairman of Matchroom Sports to ask him to be Chairman of the WPBSA. Between them both they have probably saved Professional Snooker from requiring Rtn Maurice Humphris’ family funeral directors’ services. But, as we speak, there are now 32 Professional Snooker Tournaments worldwide with over £8.5 million in prize monies.
The recent World Professional Snooker Championship was televised in 82 countries worldwide with a massive 338 million watching the final. It is also not uncommon for snooker clubs in China to have 100+ tables!
The WPBSA have also set up Cue Zone into Schools and have created a new game called Functional
Snooker which is a fun way to learn English and maths.
Jason is also a great fan of Rotary and is very impressed with the excellent works that Rotary does worldwide especially our very strong connections with schools. Since Jason lunchtime talk last Friday, I’ve had several lengthy telephone conversations with him and we believe that there is a massive scope for both Rotary and the WPBSA to work together in the future – WATCH THIS SPACE!