‘He’s won it already,’ Dad had said
the previous afternoon.
He’d always hated him.
‘Boring ginger git,’ he’d said,
as the score went seven nil.
It hadn’t helped that in eighty-three,
the one time he’d had tickets,
the ginger had finished Thorburn
before he’d even got to the theatre,
and all he got to see
was Reardon playing Spencer
for nothing but beer money.
The Irishman had been there too,
and he never liked him much either.
‘Bloody show-off with his trick shots,
thinks he’s bloody funny.’
But suddenly the clown
had become his biggest hero
and his best mate rolled into one.
Neither of us needed to mention
that it was way past both our bedtimes.
There was never any doubt
we were sticking this out to the end.
At seventeen each we knew it had been worth it,
and by sixty-two fifty-nine
we’d forgotten how tired we were.
I waited till the morning before I asked
if I could have a cue
for my birthday.