Come and try ... eight-ball with Murray Bridge and Districts Eight-Ball Association

Lee Spurling invites you to come and try a cue sport.

In years gone by, Murray Bridge’s Italian Club was known for all-you-can-eat meals, and for the soccer and cricket played on the oval out the back.

These days, however, it’s usually quiet there – except on a Monday night.

Then you’ll hear the click of billiard balls and hum of conversation as members of the the Murray Bridge and Districts Eight Ball Association turn up to compete.

For the most part, president Darrin Lovegrove said, the competition wasn’t too serious.

“We’ve got some good players, but it’s more social,” he said.

“Some take it a bit more seriously than others.”

One player who seemed pretty laid back about it all when he spoke to Murray Bridge News – despite his sparkling resume as a player – was Lee Spurling.

When did you first start playing eight-ball?

I started back in ‘95. I’d have been 16, turning 17. My girlfriend at the time, her dad was part of the (association) committee. I’d never played eight-ball in my life, but they had a table in their shed and I ended up starting to play with her dad. I used to practise against him for, like, six or seven hours after school. He passed away in ‘97 – Jeff Cox was his name. He was the president at the time. When he passed away, I joined the committee that year.

What do you get out of it?

It’s like a game of chess. Every time you start a game you’ve got to work it out, work out how you’re going to get to that little black ball. Your opponent has got a different theory on how they want to play the game, and can muck up what you want to do ... Through the minor rounds (of the season) you just come out, play your game; then when you get to the finals, sheep stations come out.

What has been the greatest achievement of your eight-ball career so far?

Playing in premierships. It’s an individual game, but it’s played with a team (locally). All the premierships with my teammates, that’s why I play ... I think I’ve won 24 division-one premierships here. We play two seasons a calendar year, that’s how that's possible.

How are you going this season?

Pretty well. Our team’s called Bridge Breakers, we’re the reigning premiers at the moment. The last four out of five premierships our team’s won, so we’re doing alright.

What do you hope to achieve as an eight-ball player?

I haven’t got any more to aspire to, to tell you the truth. I’ve been lucky enough to get a wild card into the state playoff, to make the state side; I didn’t make it, but I haven’t got the time to put in at that level. As the vice president (of the association) at the moment, I just want to make sure eight-ball is still here to play.

Why should people come and play eight-ball?

It’s a night out. It’s a sport you can play for a long period of time. Look at some of our division two sides – they’re in their 60s, 70s and still playing eight-ball. It’s a good social gathering, a good group of people, and you can play at all different skill levels and still be competitive. You don’t have to be Eddie Charlton to enjoy the game. It started as a pub sport. Anyone can play it.

“Come and Try” aims to promote fitness and wellbeing in the Murraylands – and it could promote your business, too. Murray Bridge News is seeking an ongoing sponsor for this fortnightly feature. Call Peri on 0419 827 124 or email