Go behind the 8-ball at Mounties
Once the chalk dust settles you notice a strong sense of community, mateship and comradely in the often-packed snooker room at Mounties.
In a sport where every angle and millimetre counts, this is a pure numbers game.
With 10 tables and about 50 regular punters racking up the 8-ball two to three times a week – about the same number again play but less often – the biggest rivalry seems to be the race to score your favourite table.
For the past six years, retiree Joe Calabrese has driven the 30minutes from his home near Campbelltown to Mount Pritchard three to five times a week to enjoy his favourite past time.
“I’m always the first one there when they open the doors to get my favourite table, lucky number 7,” he says.
“Over the past few months I’ve also started helping the club service the tables with a brush and iron once a week, so I know which ones run the best.”
Before he retired, Joe owned his own snooker room and two of four sons Chris and Vinnie are former Australian junior champions, so he knows his stuff. Playing since he was 16, he enjoys the social side of the game and the chance to give back something to the local community.
“I play at other clubs but the atmosphere’s just not there and it’s a much bigger room at Mounties, and the crowd is friendlier, they’re like a second family,” Joe adds.
“I’ve been retired for the past eight years so when I first started coming to Mounties it took some time to get to know everyone, they were strangers at first, but we started playing and we got comfortable with each other and now I have some great mates.”
Trusted and familiar to all the players and staff, “ask anyone they know me”, Joe has run a weekly competition on a Wednesday night for the past three years where the $10 entry fee goes straight into the prize pool.
“We get about 15 players each week from right across Sydney so it’s always a good night,” he says. “If you win one week then you get a handicap to make it fair – if the same players keep winning then no one would turn up.”
The snooker room is one of the friendliest places at Mounties with someone always on hand to give you a smile and helping hand, just not with how to hold a cue. #MyMounties.