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In 1876 Neville Chamberlain left the Devon’s to join the Central-India Horse Regiment, but had little time to spend on the game of snooker. The game nearly never developed any further due to Chamberlain becoming seriously injured and almost killed two years later in the Afghan war. Fortunately, for the game of snooker and for himself, he recovered and in late 1881 joined the personal staff of the Commander in Chief of the Madras Army. It was while serving at this post that he came to be stationed at the hill post at Ootacamund, affectionately known as Ooty. It was here, at a meeting with fellow officers in 1882, the first set of official rules were drawn up, thereby enshrining Ooty’s place in the games history. There is still a traditional English Gentleman’s club in Ooty whose claim to fame is the invention of snooker.
Snooker Tables became a common sight around the British Army messes in India but it was a while yet before the game of snooker reached our shores. One of the first civilians to hear about the the game was John Roberts Junior who decided to visit India to learn more. In 1885 as Neville Chamberlain was sitting down to dine with the Maharajah of Cooch Behar, Roberts junior introduced himself and on returning home had the official snooker rules with him.
It took a while after this for snooker to establish itself in the British Isles. This was due to the resistance of snooker table halls because of the expensive snooker ball sets that had to be purchased to play the game. Also the Billiard Association refused to formally recognise the game of snooker for a number of years, before agreeing to publish the official rules on 11th December 1900.
Snooker continued to stay In the shadows during the early 1900′s. It was only after the emergence of players such as Tom Dennis and the legendary Joe Davies which helped the game along the way to the multi million pound industry we see today.