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  • Ssb - jackie rea dies

    Jackie Rea, who has died at the age of 92, was one of the original eight players who contested the BBC programme Pot Black in 1969, which showcased the advent of colour television in Britain by putting snooker into living rooms across the country.


    Such was the popularity of the game that snooker was transformed from folk sport to a multi-million pound professional enterprise, making household names of its best players and providing endless TV drama.


    It came too late for Jackie, a popular and gregarious man, who was 48 when that first series was broadcast, but he enjoyed a lifetime of snooker in various roles and, for him, enjoyment was the most important part.


    Rea began playing at the age of nine in the Dungannon pub managed by his father.


    After the second world war, he won the 1947 Irish amateur title and turned professional, winning the Irish professional championship, a title he held, bar one defeat, until Alex Higgins beat him in 1972.


    There was never a worse time in history to be a snooker professional than the 1950s, when support for the World Championship, built up by its original champion and promoter, Joe Davis, dwindled following the 15 times winner’s retirement.


    Rea reached three world semi-finals and, in 1957, lost to John Pulman in the final in Jersey, after which the event ceased.


    It was revived as a series of challenge matches in 1964 but did not go open again until 1969. Rea reached the quarter-finals as he did again in 1970, but by now his best years were behind him.


    But he was a popular booking on the exhibition circuit, which players relied on to bolster often meagre on table earnings.


    In terms of patter, trick shots and general entertainment, Rea invented the type of snooker exhibition later perfected by the likes of John Virgo and Dennis Taylor, which were not just about players turning up and playing club members but providing comedy and laughs, which would guarantee return bookings.


    Rea retained his professional status, pitching up at qualifiers as much for the love of the game as any thoughts of reaching venues.


    He won the odd match here and there but was eventually relegated from the circuit in 1990, at the age of 69.


    Rea had been something of a mentor to Alex Higgins, although they once came to blows after the volatile Higgins insulted Rea’s wife, leading Rea to fell the Hurricane with a well aimed punch. The two resumed their friendship soon afterwards.


    Rea had won the 1955 News of the World tournament, worth £500, but the snooker boom came too late for him to benefit.


    In many ways, though, he was an early trailblazer not just for snooker but for snooker professionals: for how they could project their personalities and characters.


    His funeral will be held in Cheadle Hume, Cheshire, where he lived for many years.


    More...

  • #2
    Never new much about Rea but sounded like a nice fella.. Hats off

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    • #3
      good player in his day, won Irish professional title on many occasions and held for 20 years until the young hurricane came along.
      was the first comedian snooker player, before virgo and taylor invented their routines, Rea had people in stitches in exhibitions.

      be sadly missed. R.I.P
      Last edited by mattyshinobi22; 21st October 2013, 05:34 PM.

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      • #4
        Very sad news. That leaves Rex Williams as the last surviving professional from the pre television era. They'll be a good obituary by Clive in the next Snooker Scene for sure. RIP Jackie.

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        • #5
          Who were the original eight players who contested the BBC programme Pot Black in 1969?
          My favourite players: Walter Lindrum (AUS), Neil Robertson (AUS), Eddie Charlton (AUS), Robby Foldvari (AUS), Vinnie Calabrese (AUS), Jimmy White, Stephen Hendry, Alex Higgins, Ronnie O'Sullivan, Dominic Dale and Barry Hawkins.
          I dream of a 147 (but would be happy with a 100)

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          • #6
            Fred Davis, John Pulman, Jackie Rea, Rex Williams and Kingsley Kennerley - being the existing pro's from the 1950's, were joined by the three new recruits, Gary Owen, Ray Reardon and John Spencer.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Cyril View Post
              Fred Davis, John Pulman, Jackie Rea, Rex Williams and Kingsley Kennerley - being the existing pro's from the 1950's, were joined by the three new recruits, Gary Owen, Ray Reardon and John Spencer.
              Thanks Cyril . . .
              My favourite players: Walter Lindrum (AUS), Neil Robertson (AUS), Eddie Charlton (AUS), Robby Foldvari (AUS), Vinnie Calabrese (AUS), Jimmy White, Stephen Hendry, Alex Higgins, Ronnie O'Sullivan, Dominic Dale and Barry Hawkins.
              I dream of a 147 (but would be happy with a 100)

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              • #8
                HI Is there any video clips of Jack REA on youtube maybe someone knows on this forum

                Cheers Leonard

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                • #9
                  I've never seen any on YouTube. I have some frames of him on DVD playing John Spencer in the final of one of the Park Drive tournaments in the early 70's which is really entertaining. There is also a video link to a Jackie Rea exhibition on Patsy Fagan's website but I've never managed to get it to play.

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                  • #10
                    R.I.P Jack.......

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by mattyshinobi22 View Post
                      good player in his day, won Irish professional title on many occasions and held for 20 years until the young hurricane came along.
                      was the first comedian snooker player, before virgo and taylor invented their routines, Rea had people in stitches in exhibitions.

                      be sadly missed. R.I.P
                      Well said.

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                      • #12
                        In 1969 I engaged the services of Jackie Rea to give a Snooker & Billiards exhibition in our local hall. Jackie`s wife came from Cork so therefore we didnt have to go to the expense of a hotel as he stayed in the family home. I did the `meet n greet` thing and brought him to our club where he gave possibly one of the best B&S exhibitions I have ever witnessed. His play was outstanding that night making breaks of 121, 118, and 104 at snooker, and a lovely all round break of 198 at billiards. He won the crowd over in about 2 minutes with his jokes and banter, but best of all was about 1 hours trickshots in which every one worked out at the first attempt.
                        After the exhibition and having a few drinks in the Committee Room Jackie went on to tell us about a tour of India he did in the 50s with Joe Davis. Joe at he time was having an awful tour and Jackie beat him in most of the exhibition matches. On the second last night of the tour both Jackie and Joe was approached by an Indian gentleman who challenged either one or both of them to a match `best of 3` for the equivilent of £5 per match, the games to be played on the gentlemans own table which was within a quarter of a mile from Jackies hotel.
                        Joe was never a guy to refuse and took the gentleman up on the challenge, so after their exhibition match they went off to the gentlemans house. Jackie described the Billiards Room as : A full size Burroughes & Watts table with a dustcover on it, but when the dustcover was removed there was no cloth on the table, just the slate bed which had been painted green, and instead of Snooker or Billiards balls there was 2" discs, 22 in number, 15 red discs plus the colours, the Billiard balls (discs) were white/red/white with 4 spots on the spot white. Both players refused to play under these conditions, but the gentleman after allowing them to have a tap about on the table, they changed their mind.
                        Joe played 3 matches and was beaten 3-0, Jackie played 2 matches and drew 1-1. Joe was like a demon going home that night after losing the £15, but Jackie put it down to a stomach bug Joe was suffering from that week.
                        Jackie told me the gentleman could bring off shots with the discs that he thought were impossible, and his positional play was impecable. Jackie toured with Joe quite a lot in the 50s and had some great yarns to tell.
                        Reading through Joe Davis`s books I have never come accross any mention of this encounter with the Indian gentleman. Was Jackie making it up ?.... If he was, it dosent really matter, it was a great tale anyway.
                        Rest In Peace Jackie.
                        G.
                        When you but cheap... You buy twice !

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                        • #13
                          Hi all im new here, been following and playing snooker since I was a kid, been around a pool tabel since i was 10 months old and grew up loving snooker. this is the first snooker forum I have found so I am looking forward to adding some valuable input. I had been tracking the health of Jackie rea for a while and only just recently discovered his passing which I am very sad to discover. He was a talented player, by far the greatest Irish player of his era until Alex Higgins burst onto the scene. He also invented the game "Snooker Plus" incorporating an orange and a purple ball onto the table with a points value of 8 and 10 for each ball. the idea was to provide a new challenge to those who had already perfected the art of the maximum break. I unfortunately couldnt find any footage on youtube for him but there are some photos available via google of him playing throughout his career.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by szaboss View Post
                            Hi all im new here, been following and playing snooker since I was a kid, been around a pool tabel since i was 10 months old and grew up loving snooker. this is the first snooker forum I have found so I am looking forward to adding some valuable input. I had been tracking the health of Jackie rea for a while and only just recently discovered his passing which I am very sad to discover. He was a talented player, by far the greatest Irish player of his era until Alex Higgins burst onto the scene. He also invented the game "Snooker Plus" incorporating an orange and a purple ball onto the table with a points value of 8 and 10 for each ball. the idea was to provide a new challenge to those who had already perfected the art of the maximum break. I unfortunately couldnt find any footage on youtube for him but there are some photos available via google of him playing throughout his career.
                            Didn't Joe Davis invent snooker plus?
                            My favourite players: Walter Lindrum (AUS), Neil Robertson (AUS), Eddie Charlton (AUS), Robby Foldvari (AUS), Vinnie Calabrese (AUS), Jimmy White, Stephen Hendry, Alex Higgins, Ronnie O'Sullivan, Dominic Dale and Barry Hawkins.
                            I dream of a 147 (but would be happy with a 100)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              well yes, in doing some research it shows Joe Davis is accredited with creating snooker plus.....I read somewhere Jackie Rea did. Maybe he was more of an advocate for it and tried to promote it is more likely,when reading up on Jackie Rea before his passing I did read this.......I learned something today

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