Trick Shots, Fancy Shots, and Catch Bets
From "Billiards" by W Cook, published 1891
7. There are several ways of making a ten shot, but none are absolute certainties to an ordinary player. One way is to place the white ball over the middle pocket: place the other white ball about a foot in front of it, in a line with the middle pocket, and the red ball in front of that. You then play to put in the red ball into the opposite pocket (a certainty), and screw back on to the ball over the middle pocket with sufficient accuracy to put both in. It is not a very difficult stroke, but it is no certainty.
Perhaps the easiest way of making a ten shot is as follows:- Fix the red and white balls, touching each other, in one of the corner pockets, as near in as possible. Next play from opposite them with the other white ball, hitting the red nearly full, but not quite, just a trifle on to the side where the white is. Hit your ball high, just as if you were trying to run through a ball touching a cushion. The red will go in; your ball will often come back a little and then run on again, cannon, and both white balls will go into one pocket, thus making a ten stroke, and all the balls go into one pocket. This way of making a ten stroke is far more easy than the other, although it looks more difficult.
8. There is a catch stroke known as knocking a ball into the pool basket. The pool basket is put on its side with the mouth near the pyramid spot facing baulk. You are told to play from baulk and knock your ball into the basket.
This trick is easily done by placing a shilling on the table a little in front of the basket. Play over this shilling. You will find your ball will jump, and after one or two tries you will find the stroke easy.
9. Another fancy stroke, which used to be done some years back by Mr. Roberts, sen., is known as Jumping into hat, and cannoning off another ball touching a cushion.
You place a ball touching a cushion, and you place another ball in a hat about three feet in front of it. You play at the ball, spotting your own ball about a foot and a half in front of it. You have to play rather hard and down, so as to make it jump backwards. The stroke is not easy, as it requires a certain power of cue.
10. A very curious but difficult cannon can be made as follows. You balance one ball on the top of another in the centre of the top cushion, the top ball resting on the cushion. Then play from baulk and cannon. If you play direct, slowly, it is possible, but very difficult, as your ball will kiss away before the other one falls. The easiest way to do it is to hit the top corner pocket so that your ball catches the shoulders and rolls up the top cushion. The cannon is then a certainty. The stroke to make the ball catch in the bumps, so as to roll along the cushion is very difficult.
11. The late Charles Hughes had a pet fancy shot. He used to place the red ball right in the jaws of one of the top pockets, touching the cushion. His own ball was placed a few inches in front of it, touching the side cushion, and the other white ball also touching the cushion a few inches behind his ball.
Then the stroke is to play at the red ball and make an eight shot.
The way it is done is as follows. You hit your own ball high up with a little side, as if you were going to follow on through the red. The red, of course, goes into the pocket, and your ball kisses back on to the white and cannons.
Owing, however, to the way in which your ball is hit, it is spinning in the direction that will take it towards the corner pocket, and the side - right or left, according to which side of the table you play, but generally the left-hand side - will take the ball into the pocket. This is a pretty stroke, requiring delicacy of touch rather than power of cue.
12. To jump over a ball into a pocket. Suppose your ball is near a pocket, and another ball is just in front in a line, it is possible to jump clean over the ball into a pocket. You must hit low down between the cloth and your ball, hitting, if anything, the cloth first. You should have a rather large soft-leathered cue, well chalked. This will make your ball jump. If you play too hard it will jump off the table. It is a stupid shot to play for, and you run some risk of cutting the cloth.
13. A far better catch stroke than the last is hitting a sixpence stuck upright under one of the side top cushions. You have to play from the centre of baulk. This stroke looks very easy, but it is not. If you aim at it you will never hit it. You have to play to hit beyond the ball, but a little practice will show you. It is a deceptive stroke well worth trying. The sixpence must be wedged in upright under the cushion.