January 20, 2011

Line Up the Potters: The World Snooker/Sky Shootout

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:36 pm

This is the coastal town, that they forgot to close down.

A week tomorrow the world’s top 64 players, the very cream of snooker make their way to Blackpool for something very very different. It’s the potfest, rapid-fire madness that is Bazza’s big idea, the new Sky Shootout.

Ten minute frames, a shot clock which speeds up to just 15 seconds half way through the frame, a random draw after every match, dolly birds, bouncers, loud music and a walk of shame are all elements of this fiasco that will have purists reaching for either their old Ray Reardon videos or the whiskey bottle, depending on their levels of despair.

As you would expect, such a serious format has attracted the big hitting, highbrow, intelligentsia of the television world and Sky Sports promise extensive coverage of the event.

As Blackpool, that cosmopolitan, bohemian English Riviera town is known for it’s extensive libraries and stunning architecture and is just up my street, I have decided to ‘treat the Mrs’ to a weekend there, where I will be hopefully filing some reports from behind the scenes for the blog.

I haven’t a clue what to expect but at least it is snooker, not that dreadful game they played on ITV a few weeks back.

The bookmakers have been quick to price it up and as well as match by match betting there are also the outrights and if you fancy an out and out potter to win it there are several players that you might want to take a look at.

Ronnie starts as obvious favourite in a tournament that is arguably made for him and he is best priced 16/1 with Corals who are also best priced on newly crowned Masters Champion Ding Junhui at 22/1.

Two of the best potters in the game at the moment are Mark Williams and Mark Allen, who are both best priced 25/1 at Betfred.

Looking further down for fast fearless potters you might want to have an interest in Graeme Dott (33/1), Judd Trump (40/1) Liang Wenbo (40/1) or Martin Gould (50/1), all best priced at Betfred.

Even further down we have veteran potters Jimmy White (80/1 Skybet) who plays Ali Carter (28/1 general) first match and Tony Drago (125/1 Boylesports).

It really is anyone’s guess who will come through this but it’s fair to say some of them will have to get their skates on to stand any chance. I can’t imagine Rory McLeod, Alan McManus, Rod Lawler or Fergal O’Brien will be going into this brim full of confidence. Although according to the headline of this story, I hope they have a stop and search in operation for when local boy Ian McCulloch enters the building or the TV cameras might get more than they bargained for.

Ronnie is another that frequently likes to talk to the serious media and has given some very interesting interviews about his theories on life in the past. But not this week, as Ron has been chatting to soft-porn teenagers jazz mag Zoo here about cars, Spurs players and that mate he’s got from that rubbish band that sang that terrible song about Muhammad Ali.

It’s certainly different and it remains to be seen how it goes, but with a total prize fund of £130,000 and £32,000 up for grabs for potentially winning just 6 ten minute frames of snooker, it could be fun, you never know.

What do you think of the idea? Are you going to give it a try or do you agree with the great Morrissey?

Who’s next to find a Golden Ticket?

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:08 am

Ronnie pictured here with Mark Allen.

One of my favourite books when I was a kid was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and regulars on here may recall references to it now and again relating to stories about the baize.

The original film remains another favourite of mine, not the remake with Johnny Depp which was a bit daft. Even though as years would pass and older, more cynical eyes might have the ‘Candyman’ down as a bit weird with some sort of twisted hidden agenda. It’s still a great watch and takes me back to the wide-eyed innocence of youth.

As many know given some of his recent displays, snooker’s biggest Wonka is Ronnie O’Sullivan. The Rocket is again tirelessly scouring the country to find this year’s Rileys Future Star and award them their own real-life Golden Ticket.

This is the competition where boys and girls under the age of 16 take some time off from mugging old ladies, entering shops in hoodies to steal cigarettes and cheap lager, hanging around parks in the hope of a grope with the town bike and generally making a bloody nuisance of themselves to concentrate on earning five grand to develop their skills on the baize (and buy better quality lager).

Last year, it was won by Joel Walker who even got a wildcard entry into the World Open as well as having the Rocket on hand to teach him how refuse to pot blacks after the referee gets to 140.

The competition is again being run by Rileys and players aged 16 or under on April 30 can register free at before February 28. The preliminary rounds, best-of-five frame Super 6 knockouts, will take place at Rileys clubs nationwide on Saturday March 19.

Ron said: “I’m excited about the 2011 competition, I’m looking for a candidate with the potential to become a top professional player. I’ve really enjoyed the coaching role with Joel, I enjoy passing on experience and seeing people get better. I’m looking for someone with a unique talent – you can spot it straight away. With backing from Rileys and some mentoring from me – hopefully we can uncover a new World Champion.”

“If I can help stop just one old person having their pension stolen by one of these little sods, it will have been worth it”. OK, I made that bit up, he didn’t really say that.

Rileys Chief Executive Maurice ‘The Mozfather’ Kelly said: “We are delighted to see the return of Future Stars. The standard of entrants in 2010, our first year, was exceptional and I’m sure this year will be even better. The competition is a real chance for a youngster to break into the snooker big time.”

If you’re a pushy parent with a young protege on your hands you don’t know what to do with or you just want £5000 to buy a top of the range home cinema system to watch the snooker, for more information on the competition, endorsed by Bazza and World Snooker, you should head to Facebook at

Talking of Rileys, they have stumped up the prize for our next competition which will take in next Monday and Tuesday’s third group in the Championship League at Crondon Park so be sure to look in tomorrow for more details on how to win.

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