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Memorial Tribute

Roger Hunt

Roger Hunt

Guy Smith, Roger's friend writes …

I first met Roger in our local 'The Vic' and then one day I bumped into him at the Merchants, and we just got talking Pool. He invited me for a knock up and over the next ten years I had become his practice partner, confidant and proud to say, best of friends. We could talk about anything, offering advice and support to each other.

This practice was invaluable to me, as I soon learned some of the 'Dark Arts' of Pool. The matches usually ended up about 7/3 to Roger of course, however I occasionally got the better of him. I remember I dished him twice on the trot once, and was able to say a term he used back at him, 'You're my whipping boy.' He was not happy. However, He got his own back the following week 9/nil to him – finished off with a clearing dish, and looked up with a wicked glint and said, 'You're my whipping boy now.' – He was back on form.

Practice was always followed up with a few pints and of course one extra last pint for Roger before the taxi came, always pushing his luck with last orders.

He would often reflect on his achievements with the England Senior's Pool team, Graham Thompson, Bill Rigby and Tony Kay to name a few.

In 2011 Graham remembers Roger potting the last ball to win the European Championship Cup, which earned Roger man of the match and the team went on to win the World championship that year as well. He remembers Roger's love of quirky pubs and where to find them on tour and felt there was a great bond between the team.

Shirley Jewkes who ran the Senior's, Master's and EPA tours was much appreciated by Roger (and one of the few people who could call him to order). He loved going on these tours, getting very excited about meeting up with players and opponents from over the past 30 – 40 years in County and Representative Pool of which he was very proud of his achievements. He knew just about everyone involved and it was great to see him chatting and shaking hands with everyone (and I mean everyone).

Four of us would tour the Senior's circuit, myself, Roger, Paul Curtis and Mark Winham having great fun together, with Paul and Roger sniffing out the best Real Ale pubs and live Rock venues. My first tour was in Ashford, we arrived the night before and Roger assured me we could get to the venue in plenty of time, so we arrived by the skin of our teeth, 5 minutes before play started – I was a nervous wreck and Roger was cool as a cucumber.

Typically (as many of you will know) we were on 'ROGER'S TIME' … unique to him).

I got to share a room with Roger and from then on I would always set my many alarms earlier (to Roger's great displeasure) – I was told off for disturbing him so early, but he would have no problem coming back and opening the curtains, making a racket if I was on the later match.

If we arrived first at the hotel, Roger always liked to check out the rooms and take the better room (don't tell Paul and Mark and sorry lads no refunds!).

He had a knack of mixing his words up, once in Derby on tour Roger is asking the bar staff to call a local taxi for us – can you call Albert Ross taxi firm please? never heard of them, they said, Albert Ross??? Oh you mean Albatross taxis! (much to the delight of the whole pub who were in tears of laughter).

He loved his job, window cleaning, it suited his lifestyle, fitting around his love of Pool, he would keep an eye on his elderly customers and make sure they were ok, but hated late payers, Oh how he hated late payers.

He especially loved cleaning the pub windows for some reason! Yes he certainly loved his pubs. His route being: the Vic, Raglan, Tap, Windmill, Seven Stars, Quigleys, Squirrel, Merchants and if he could get back to the Vic for extended last orders again, he would, and always requesting his pints through the sparkler (even if it didn't need it – much to the delight of the bar staff).

Roger loved music, was always on the Jukebox, bands like Travis, Oasis, Bowie to name a few, however he would really moan if the music was not to his taste … shouting who put this on ???

He loved Liverpool FC and although he would never say the E word … EVERTON, he could certainly turn the air blue with his colourful language when things weren't going Liverpool's way.

Free food was always an attraction to Roger, and the cheese and biscuits at the Windmill was much appreciated and I know he will be dearly missed there and in all the Rugby pubs.

He liked a joke, when walking past our house he had the habit of often rearranging the windscreen wipers on my car, leaving twigs and once leaving a bamboo cane with a particular Leicester City hot spot card attached, trying cheekily to get me into trouble with Dilly. He said it was my new break cue! We were however very honoured to look after his cue for him from time to time, in its heavy wooded, well travelled case, not something he let out of his sight very often. We know how much it meant to him, and he entrusted it to us.

Roger was a family man and always kept Sundays free for his much loved sons, grandchildren and their partners. He was devastated by the loss of Lee last year and we all saw the change in him after this tragic event. I know how much he appreciated the help and support of friends and family, in particular Petanne who cared for him in the last month at her home.

I think some people may have misunderstood Roger, with his quirky humour and lust for life. However, the more time you spent with him, you realised he was a great individual, cheeky and with a heart of gold.

Just after Christmas, Paul took Roger to Wales for one last tour at an old stamping ground, and I joined them, visiting some of his favourite places, and although the weather was very wet, he had a small beer and was still betting on his horses. One of the last photos of him with a thumbs up in the pub really sums him up.

He knew he had achieved more than most and was such a character, Rugby will certainly miss their 'Mr Pool'.

I will miss him greatly and am proud to say he was my best friend.

This much I know.

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