After playing professional snooker for five years, at one point reigning as the Northern England Champion, Tony Crosby left his homeland in 2001 with one thing in mind: shooting professional pool in the United States. After arriving, he began hitting balls with a cue he bought for ten dollars. “It probably wasn’t even worth ten dollars, actually, and I played with that for a year and a half. I didn’t really know how to play nine-ball. I didn’t know the rules of the game or anything, and it’s a totally different game from snooker, shape-wise, in positional play. So I learned the hard way, really-by playing in tough matches and playing in tournaments.”
And he has learned. He was the 2002 Rookie of the Year on the UPA tour, and having been touring for two years now and getting fully adjusted to life in America, his game is growing stronger, and he’s climbing through the ranks. “Nine-ball is my favorite … It’s a great game, and coming from snooker, it’s a lot more relaxed. Snooker is very serious all the time. I’m also just starting to play some straight pool, which I think is a real good game to practice. I just enjoy playing pool. That’s what it’s about.”
Crosby, who just turned 30 in July , is based in Clearwater, FL, where he lives with his wife and daughter. He is the house pro at Strokers in Palm Harbor. “They help me out a lot. They’re also holding some big events this year in the Florida Pro Tour. The weather is good in Florida as well, a lot better than where I’m from in England. I try to get in the sun as much as possible. It keeps me happy.”
Until this year, Crosby had been paying for everything entirely on his own. He doesn’t make a wage, but he has picked up some good sponsors that offer him product and cover his expenses. Predator, Slayer Player Technologies, A Plus Restorations, and Tiger Products are all helping Crosby get it done.
“I’m hoping that with the events going on in Florida and the big tournaments, I might start making a living out here.”
Bet your dollars he does.
Playing Cue: Predator cue with Tiger stacked leather wrap, 19 ounce with two shafts and a steel joint. www.predatorcues.com
Playing Cue: Casanova 19 ounce with an ivory joint.
Shaft Diameter: “I’ve actually taken it down a little-it’s probably twelve and a half millimeters. Coming from snooker, I used to play with a nine millimeter, so it was a big jump for me … that was the other thing I had to cope with. I’ve gone from playing with a nine-millimeter ash cue with a brass barrel to maple thirteen millimeters … it feels like I’ve got a spear in my hand. When I first came over, I thought I was playing with a broomstick.”
Shaft Taper: “I’ve taken it in a little … it’s almost as it was.”
Tips: Tiger and Sniper tips. “Even if they didn’t help me out, I’d still play with those tips. They’re very good.” www.tigerproducts.com
Playing Cue Hit: Medium
Break Cue: Predator break cue, 19 ounce. “That’s what’s winning me a lot of matches at the moment-my break.” www.predatorcues.com
Jump Cue: Roger Cobianco
Loose in Case: Spare change, Q Whiz, Tip Pik, Tip Tapper, Dentyne Ice, multivitamins, guardian angel travel piece. www.cuesight.com
Shaft Maintenance: “Just a damp clothe and give it a wipe down, that’s basically it for me. I try not to mess around with my equipment too much. You see a lot of people just constantly tearing away at tips and shafts. I might not even look at my tip for a month. The Tiger tips stay the same shape. I’ve had one on for seven months now, with a hell of a lot of play on it, and it still probably has another seven months on it.”
Case: Dan Whitten. “They’re a great cue case.” www.whittencases.comAdvice to Others on Buying a Cue: “It’s a tough one. Everyone’s got their own preferences. Certain cues feel good to me that some of the top players probably wouldn’t want put on a bonfire. As for finding cues, if you’re happy with it, it doesn’t matter what it costs, as long as you’re happy with it-that’s what matters.”
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