A historical outline from the early days to the present time

click to enlarge photo Before the setting up in Rabat Gozo of the first civic musical bands of the island in the second half of the nineteenth century, indoor games here consisted only of old traditional folk games mainly connected with the Christmas festive season. The Leone Philharmonic Society was the first one of its kind to be established on the island, so much so that the second deed marking its reorganization and official naming was drawn up at the Society’s association premises in Ghammieza Steet on 6th February 1881. In this respect, this Society was the pioneer in introducing several new activities previously unknown in Gozo. Billiards was one of the indoor games to be introduced in Gozo by our Society. In fact, according to the Society’s inventory, in 1900 a billiard table existed at its association premises which then were sited at 9 Piazza Reale (known as It-Tokk, now Independence Square). It appears that billiards soon became increasingly popular with members and admirers who then frequented the association premises. Very soon afterwards the idea was also copied by other Societies of the time. When in 1908 the Leone Band Club moved to its new premises at Strada Arciprete (now Archpriest Saverio Cassar Street), the Society had two different Billiard Tables, the same two which are still extant at the present association premises. When compared to the present premises the halls were in those days rather small. So the two tables were placed in two different halls. The most popular game then was locally known as L-Ingliza. The other games were known as Carolina and Pula (Pool). According to Father Emmanuel Magri, S.J., who at that time was rector of the Gozo Seminary, the Carolina was a type of snooker played with five differently coloured balls.

Time passed and in the meantime other Philharmonic Societies were set up in the villages of Gozo. Billiards became so popular in Gozo that no new band club could afford to remain without its Billiard table. In 1963 the Leone old association premises were pulled down and new ones incorporating the first Aurora Theatre were inaugurated on 28th April of that same year. The new premises had a spacious hall at ground floor level and the two Billiard tables were placed there for the benefit of all users and their friends. Around that time and with the help and assistance of the Anglo Maltese League association of Valletta snooker was re-introduced in Gozo. This was done as it appeared that even at their end, enthusiasm towards this game was waning and they wanted to do something to give it priority over the other game known as L-Ingliza. The Anglo Maltese League Committee donated a trophy to be presented each year to the snooker champion in Gozo. On 9th October 1976, the present association premises and the Aurora Opera Theatre at Republic Street were inaugurated. The two Billiard tables were placed in two separate spacious halls, one in each hall, the largest ever owned by the Society. Snooker competitions continued to be organized ever since without any interruption and with the full cooperation and avid participation of enthusiasts from all over the island. (Prepared by Anton F. Attard).

In 2003 the first committee for Gozo was formed, called the Gozo Billiards and Snooker Association. In the same year, two other divisions were formed, in addition to the former two, and for the first time in Gozo the fist Premier Division was organized. Moreover, the third and fourth divisions were also added. From 2004 onwards, the Gozo Billiards “L-Ingliza” was revived and an annual league started to take place.