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Last Updated: Saturday October 11 2008 10:02 GMT

Gavin cues up for snooker

Gav cues up

I hadn't played snooker before - I'd had crack at pool with my mates, but this was a whole different ball game!

No spots or stripes involved here. Snooker demands you be even more cunning and strategic about where you play your shots and how you out-fox your opponent.

Very complicated

Matches can be pretty complicated if you've never played before. The idea is to pot a red and then a colour, but then you must put that ball back on the table, then go for a red again and so on, until only the colours are left.

Finally, you have to pot the colours in order - yellow, green, brown, blue, pink then black - to finish the frame.

Eleven-year-old Nico was my guide to the sport, and he was good. So good in fact, I had to bottle out of going head-to-head in a proper match with him - he would have destroyed me! - and challenged him to a trick shot contest instead!

All about technique

But first, we had a pro come in and show us the ropes - Welsh wonder Daniel Wells!

Most of the tricks involved the bridging technique, where you arch your fingers and use your hand to balance the cue when hitting the ball.

Let's just say I couldn't really get the hang of it. I was just winging my way through!

Snooker table from a the point of view of the cue
The view from the cue!
A quick change of clothes into our smarter snooker attire, and we were ready for action.

Nico was giving me a bit of stick in the build-up... But I thought to myself, 'I'll let the cue do the talking'! A best of three decided who got to take home the prize.

Pressure's on!

Trick one was easy enough - we had to make the black ball go into the middle pocket when it was surrounded by reds.

We both did that easily - so the pressure was whacked up a notch for the next shot... Making the ball jump through a triangle in the middle to pot a ball. That one we both missed!

So it all went down to the final shot, a ludicrously difficult off-the-cushion-jump-over-a-load-to-pot-a-black!

Nico was doing it in practice, so when I messed up my shot, I was relieved to see his drift past to miss as well. Now the contest went to sudden death - all or nothing!

Game over

Daniel set us the triangle shot again for the decider and my game was up when Nico slammed his ball into the pocket - mine missed by a couple of inches.

But I think gave as good as I got. Nico was a good sport and Daniel taught me a few things which I'll definitely be putting into practice if I ever take on one of my mates! Good one lads.