BOURNEMOUTH snooker guru Roy Chisholm has rubbed shoulders with some of the game’s greatest players in an illustrious 35-year coaching career.
The 83-year-old mentor’s biggest claim to fame came after a chance meeting with Canadian star Cliff Thorburn, who he helped guide to the 1980 World Championship.
“I was in Black-pool with one of the young players I was coaching at the time and Cliff was on the table next to us during a practice session,” explained Chisholm.
“He (Thorburn) was going through a bad spell and asked me if I could help.
“Cliff thought he was hitting the centre of the white ball, but was striking it a quarter of an inch to the left.
“I’ve always been able to see where players are going wrong and consider myself a guru of the game.”
Thorburn heeded Chisholm’s advice and, as the saying goes, the rest is history.
In fact, Thorburn toppled top-10 player John Parrott immediately after his first session with Chisholm.
Now, more than three decades on, Chisholm is still a master of the green baize – winning the Dorset senior title for over-50s last month.
Chisholm, who has lived in Bourne-mouth for 44 years, chalked up an impressive break of 69 in the final.
Although an accomplished snooker player in his own right, Chisholm has always gained the most satisfaction from coaching.
Among his protégés was Bournemouth’s Paul Wykes who soared through the rankings with Chisholm, climbing more than 90 places to reach the top 56 in 1999.
Chisholm, meanwhile, began his playing career in his home town of Derby, where he chalked up his first 100 break at just 17.
“I moved around the country a lot playing snooker,” said Chisholm. “We went all over the place, which was interesting because you really learned your trade. I’d be playing all types of players and I learned a lot in watching them.”
He then joined the RAF and continued to play snooker for his camp, travelling around Germany for competitions.
Later in his career, Chisholm was asked to coach at the Sovereign Club in Winton.
“I took it up seriously and discovered a lot of things I never knew about the game,” he added.
“You don’t really coach professionals, you just help them. When they’re going wrong they can’t see it. I am able to see where they are and put them right in minutes.”
Chisholm currently coaches players at the Greenbaize Snooker Club in Wallisdown.
Among his pupils is Bradley Chappell, a 19-year-old from Poole, trying to break into the professional circuit.
“After a couple of sessions with me, he recorded his highest break of 137. He’s now recorded a break of 141,” said Chisholm.
Chappell, ranked among the top 50 players at under-21 level, said: “I wouldn’t be where I am now without Roy’s help. It’s amazing how much he knows. I would definitely recommend him to anyone.”
Chisholm can be contacted at Greenbaize on 01202 525061 or on his mobile 07977052007.
He is available for booking at all snooker clubs in the local area.