An extract from the book 40 Strange Groups

The Marathon Snooker Club believes that the unhealthy image of the game harms its reputation as a sport. People have a picture of snooker as being played in smoke-filled, dark rooms by men with unhealthy complexions and nicotine-stained fingers. The MSC resolved to change this image by changing the rules of their game slightly and rewarding the healthier types by making stamina a more important element.

The rule change means that every red ball that’s pocketed is placed back on the table. The winner of the game is the first to get to 1,500 points and games can last five hours without any breaks.

The founder of the club Willie Rose says: “This game is often seen as a cross between snooker and billiards, simply because of the re-introduction of the balls after every successful shot. The idea is that the fittest player will win most of the games if they have a reasonable technique. Players who have great technique, but are unfit or are carrying too much extra weight invariably start off well, but tail off after a couple of hours as they lack the necessary standard of fitness to stay the course.”