Snooker Canada Connects With China
Great news! Snooker Canada has created a liaison with the snooker scene in China by working with a fellow Canadian living abroad. Bill “Bullit” Bradley, a snooker enthusiast from Ontario, will now be sending pictures and reports for different events happening in China . both amateur and professional
Below is a short bio on Mr. Bradley written by himself. Welcome to the family Bill!
Growing up in St. Thomas Ontario ( pop. 25,000 ) in the 60’s was such a great start to my interesting life! My family sold Christmas trees so I learned how to count change and learned the value of money.
At age 8, the ladies at the Zellers department store downtown let me play on the first pool table I had ever seen – it was a 2 x 3 toy table with very small balls, but I played there for hours or until they kicked me out! At age 12, I was so excited to get my first ‘real’ job, setting bowling pins at the local alley.
It was hard work and every Saturday I would get paid in cash ( imagine that ! ) and go next door where they had these ‘huge’ real pool tables – 5 x 10 Brunswick tables. I would play anybody and everybody and back then, the loser paid for all the table time, and everyone could and did beat me!!
I started to just practice by myself as it was obvious I needed to improve. After about 3 months the tables were turned, and nobody could say if you want a free game, just yell out Bullits’ name.
At age 15, I was allowed into Kitchies pool room, the first ‘real ‘ pool room I had ever seen. I was in heaven, the dark room with the smoke hovering above the lights, and my life long love affair with the great game of snooker began. After school and every Saturday I would be there playing and sometimes watching and working hard to improve. I started out on table 5 and within a year I was up to table two and sometimes table one at Kitchies.
Such great memories, and being raised by a single mom who had 5 boys to raise with little money, she knew how to keep me focused and well behaved as her hammer was always, – follow my rules or you are banned from Kitchies! And the owner, Ken Kitchen would back her up too! ( try that one today )
I somehow graduated from AVSS high school in St. Thomas and was off to Western University in London where the first week I thought I had died and gone to heaven – at the university center were 8 6×12 snooker tables, 6 more pool tables and a bunch of ping pong tables.
Again, not sure how I got through Western as I spent a lot of time playing there. I remember Mr. Dave, ran 95 points on me and I had never seen anything like this before – his friends -that made me feel a little better, but not much.
Paul Flemming, beat me in a contested final at Western so I joined with the 3rd place finisher to enter the Ontario University Snooker Championshipsin Ottawa in the 70’s. My partner carried me and we won the University Partners Title.
Fast forward a few years and my dream came true – I was on a plane to Sheffield in 1995 to report for the Montreal Gazette ( as Alain was still playing top snooker then ) and my old friend Paul Flemming got me a press pass to report for the Canadian Snooker Association.
I was there 12 days, 12 hours a day and witnessed Hendry run his perfect game in the semis against Jimmy White and then go on to beat Nigel Bond 18 to 9 I think in the final. Later that night I was invited to the Champions dinner and I turned around and Hendry was in the food line behind me, The 12 days were a blur and I often had to pinch myself to make sure I was not dreaming.
I started my own magazine upon returning to Canada, Billiard News Magazine, writing articles and selling ads and continued with my teaching career and had two young children at the time and still tried to compete in amateur snooker events in Ontario. I was fortunate enough to win the Onatario A snooker Championship in 2000 ??? and was off to St. John New Brunswick to play in my first Canadians – another dream of mine.
I am very fortunate that my son Evan and my daughter Emily both like playing pool, as they have graduated from spotting balls for me when they were younger to me spotting balls for them when they beat me!
Kirk, Cliff, Brady Gollan and others were there and we wont talk about my finish but I did manage to win a game against Brady Gollan and I knew he was a former top 16 in the world, so I was happy. I also had the honour of playing Cliff in a pro am tournament in Kitchener in the 90’s and although I did not fare too well, for me I was over the moon to play Cliff. He has and still is, one of the most respectful people I have ever come across in my years of snooker. Kirk is also a fine gentleman who treats everyone the same.
Now I am a retired teacher and teaching in China and doing some freelance work for Patrick at Snooker Canada and have been fortunate to see events in Beijing and the recently-completed Shanghai Masters. I still play here in China as some tables are inside and some are outside in the parks and on the sidewalks.
More snooker stories to follow……