Fancy yourself as a bit of a pool player? Then test your cue skills against a Pro right here in Macau.
Lane is perhaps one of the most unassuming world record-holding sports
people around. Looking very dapper in his red satin-backed waistcoat and
black bow tie, he greets us like a true gentleman as we enter the small bar
in Taipa where he is standing by the pool table waiting for his next
victim…I mean opponent.
It is here every Thursday night with a quiet air of grace and humility, that he quickly but surely defeats player after player throughout the evening; each one hopeful that they might stand a chance of beating this champion Pool player, only to have their aspirations for a free bucket of beer (the prize on offer) dashed in a flurry of carefully placed strokes from his cue.
The son of a New Zealand dairy farmer, Rocky was introduced to the game of pool by his former father-in-law, the 1972 New Zealand snooker champion, the late Norm Stockmann, and quickly showed his talent, winning the National New Zealand 8-ball championship in 1976.
"I took lessons in the 70's from the famed New Zealand World Champion Billiard Player, the late Mr. Clark McConnergy, who enrolled me in the National 8 Ball Champs without my knowledge. It was the first competition I had played in and luckily, I won it", remembers Rocky, who is affectionately known as 'Machine Gun Rock'.
Despite his natural talent, he took a 27-year hiatus from cue sports to follow his legal career, first as a New Zealand Police Officer, and then as a prosecutor. His legal background brought him to Hong Kong in 1989 where he worked as a legal consultant for a number of law firms, and he finally returned to playing in an amateur tour in 2002 when he won first runner-up at the FCC Hong Kong 8 Ball Championships.
In 2005 he r11ose to fame when he set a new world record jump shooting and potting 15 balls in just 14.16 seconds, a record that still stands today (check out the video on Youtube).
"A number of world pro's have tried to break this record, like the failed attempt in Finland in 2007, but it was not recognized by the World Record Academy as the height of the rail to jump the balls over was not high enough," Rocky points out.
"I practiced for six months to set this world
record. The previous record was 26.5 seconds and I said I'd do it in under
20, but to my surprise, I did it in 14."
Retiring from the legal profession in 2006, Rocky turned professional in the sport and began playing on the European, American and Asian circuits. At 61, he is one of the oldest professional players still on tour, but he has no intention of packing up his cues just yet. Under the ever-watchful eye of his manager Len Kerr, Rocky is in fact hard at work training and competing in an effort to improve his world ranking, as he has been off the Pro tour since 2009.
"I practice two to three days a week and do around 250 to 300 racks (pool games) a month, but I can only count the games I win," he explains.
Around a year ago, Rocky came to Macau from Hong Kong and he has quickly set about improving the game's profile in the territory. As well as being the resident House Pro at the Private Party Bar on Thursday nights, he has also helped to establish the Macau Pool Player's Association (MPPA) which he believes could give birth to Macau's first representative on the world professional circuit.
"Every year we see Pro players coming from China and Hong Kong, but nothing from Macau, yet there are good players here" observes Rocky.
"The MPPA has appointed office bearers and a president and now we need to be recognized by the Macau Sports Development Board", he explains. "Then we need to be sanctioned by the Asian Pocket Billiards Union, which falls under the World Pool Association".