3.5.09

SIX APPEAL?

It was hard to discern much about the potential of the ‘Super Sixes’ version of snooker by watching the Crucible final between veteran Tony Knowles and young Ross Muir but still possible to make a few general points.

The first would be that six reds snooker is invariably a faster form of the game but not necessarily that much faster. For instance, Stephen Maguire and Mark King spent something like 25 minutes on the green in their second round match last week. There’s no reason why this couldn’t happen in the six reds version.

Six reds snooker levels the playing field a little, but why is this a good thing? Top level sport is the survival of the fittest.

Six reds snooker may encourage attacking play but this negates much of the skill of the game, namely the tactical duels.

Of course, many people find these dull and it’s certainly true that snooker can’t stand still.

But I would argue that its chief problem is not a stuffy game or lack of ‘characters’ but more a lack of tournaments and the way the sport's media profile has declined, at least in the UK, so that TV viewers find it harder to relate to the players in the way they once did.

As I wrote last month, six reds may be the way to go for seniors tournaments as the old boys obviously aren’t as good as they were but plenty of people would still like to see them play.

Maybe it would also be a good way of getting kids into the sport.

But snooker, and in particular the World Championship, is popular largely because of the slow burning drama it provides.

Perhaps not everyone has the attention span for this but that doesn’t automatically mean that if you take away nine reds they will suddenly flock to the sport.

That said, there’s nothing wrong with trying something different. But why not be bolder?

If you really want to speed up snooker, you will have to change the rules.

You will have to introduce a shot clock or, as Steve Davis suggested on the BBC, introduce the rule used in 9-ball pool where players have ball in hand after every foul.

I think six reds snooker is fine if it remains in the background as a novelty variant of the established game.

But of all the things wrong with snooker, the game itself is not one of them.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

well put davie

Jenna said...

Im not sure, have not seen the Super 6 played. Only seen clips. Think Id have to see the top players play it and judge what difference it makes before I can comment. Its fine getting kids to play but its hardly that exciting watching a pubicesent boy with a moustache play an old man. Its like playing with ur dad/grandad. Not that Im downgrading their achievements, theyre good, but its not the same as watching Higgins and Murphy.

Jenna x

Jenna said...

Perhaps a one week trial tournament with the best players would be good.

Just listening to Willy comentate. His voice is a bit funny but he seems to know exactly what shot to play. I bet he was a good player in his time. John Virgo sounds like hes down the pub but guess they have a good balance. Bet he used to have a lazy style cue action like they said Robertson had. Its just what I think from listening and imagining their style.

Jenna x

Jenna said...

Just a thought. On this super 6 thing, are players allowed to play on if they need snookers to win? Thats such a waste of time so perhaps they should ban that to speed things up.

Jenna x

Dave H said...

That's a good point actually as the frames are more likely to be low scoring so there's a greater incentive to play on for snookers

MMMBop said...

6 reds or 15 reds another seniors event is well overdue. Willie Thorne won the Seniors Masters in 2000 and I think that was the last seniors event held. Wasnt it streamed online or something?
I've looked everywhere for it but nobody seems to have it.

JIMO96 said...

A seniors event with 6 reds sounds great...the last one was for me a bit devalued because every match was a single frame. With 6 reds, they could play best of 9 like in ranking events.

But a rule change would be better overall as a means of stimulating a bit more positivity, an Steve Davis' suggestion isnt far away from being a good idea. I would go a step further and introduce another 9-ball pool rule: that you must make a ball hit a cushion. This would eliminate all the slow roll-up shots behind a colour, and also the dead weight snooker escapes.

The slight downside of this rule is that a bit of luck (like fluking a snooker) could win you a frame because the escapee would be trusting more to luck than presently.

darrus said...

"But of all the things wrong with snooker, the game itself is not one of them."

Well said, Dave.
Nothing to add.

Keith said...

It's certainly harder to relate to players when so much is only on the red button, without the post-match interviews or between frame features.

I wonder if 6-reds could help to break into the North American market?

Betty Logan said...

Snooker isn't even delivered to everyone who wants to watch it anyway, so why are they even botherng to bolster its appeal? Fans outside of the Eurosport regions can't even get a legitimate internet stream to watch the sport. Packed arenas are a thing of the past. 15 million sat in front of the TV is a thing of the past (not even Corrie gets that now!). The problem here is a bunch of old guys judging success by how it was defined in their day.

There are two things you can do to broaden snooker's audience:

i) Provide a means of coverage to everyone anywhere in the world so that anyone who actually wants to watch it can watch it. Pretty obvious really, and easy to do but for some reason isn't happening.

ii) Snooker is traditionally TV unfriendly. A match can go on for 90 minutes, or 4 hours so how can a commercial channel sell airtime for that? Snooker would be ideal for Channel 4 now they don't have the cricket. The answer is a timed match format for the commercial channels, where a match lasts 2 hours and won via scores aggregate and show adverts between each frame.

Jenna said...

jim096 what was Steve Davis rule?

Jenna x

Anonymous said...

dont like the last part of that post

if a player got "up" in the first 90 minutes thered be a lot of boring and negative and sometimes pointless play as the other wouldnt be able to catch up.

you always need a target reached!

Matt said...

Interesting views on the top eight in 2014 Dave though going for 'Chinese Player' is cheating for me! Gotta narrow one down.

Disappointed that the BBC as far as I can tell spelt the names of both Luca Brecel and Thepchaiya Un-Nooh wrong though.

PatM said...

Hi Dave

Regards 6 Reds, I agree whole heartedly, I believe the product itself at the highest level is, as proved during the World Chamionships one of the great viewing specticals in sport.

AS you are aware we are trying out a 6 red group stage in The World Series final, both myself and John have discussed this at great length and believe we can give credibility to a 6 red provisional round. It will be the first time its been shown on Eurosport and we hope to show it as a credible development step for new comers to the game, i.e. if the big boys are playing it then it has some gravitas. The event will then progress to 10 reds for the next round and will be full 15 reds in the semi final onwards. The honest truth is we dont know what impact it will have on the viewing public, however we wish to attempt to bring more people from as many countries as possible into Snooker Clubs, will this be the answer we dont know, but lets try it and see, You will of course get first hnd experience of it during your commentary. I am looking forward to the feedback from all quarters.

Thx

Pat Mooney
The World Series of Snooker

Anonymous said...

Many moons ago I submitted a proposal for a different angle on the game based on a game called Snooker Plus.

For the purist, snooker can provide hours (literally hours) of entertainment showing the best in the business showing their tactical prowess. But as a viewing spectical, it can become tedious.

It was my thought that the number of reds (15) can - in many cases - be a contributory factor in slowing the game up with reds stopping other reds from being potted, so on that aspect I proposed reducing the number of reds to 10.

But another factor that slows the game down is the when the colours sometimes go "out of commission". So, to try and overcome that, introduce 2 extra colours (as in Snooker Plus) to make it easier to keep a break going. The 2 extra colours which in SP is an purple and an orange ball, would give players 8 balls to go for on a less congested table.

Another factor to speed it up would be that after a foul, all the colours go back on their spots, or as close as possible on the same basis as is done in snooker now - nearest its own spot from the black cushion.

The extra balls are spotted between the brown and blue spot, and the blue and pink spot, and be worth 8 and 10 points respectively. The maximium break goes to 155 meaning a high break prize opportunity is still there (as opposed to a number of players achieving a 75 break with 6 reds).

I - along with some others - tried this format, which proved a very entertaining game. An awful lot quicker than regular snooker, and a format which could be used for a tournament. Afterall, tennis play on different surfaces, don't they?

The result of my proposal sent to WSA? Not even a reply !

Was it that bad of an idea?

Tony B

JIMO96 said...

Jenna-

Davis' suggestion was to award ball in hand after every foul. I think he may have meant within the "D" area rather than anywhere on the table.

The up side of this is that there'd be no more miss rule, and frames would flow quicker. The down side is that the Ronnies, The Murphys and the Higgins would all clear up repeatedly.

PatM said...

Hi I believe the six reds is not so much about the speed of frames, however more in our mind about giving greater access to younger players and beginners without the complexity and degree of skill required to complete one frame for the below average or younger player.

I played football in my youth and as with all other youth football in the UK at that time, we played on full size pitches, with full size goals. I think back to visions of a 13 year old goalkeeper standing inbetween these goal posts and us all running the full length of a professional size pitch. It done nothing for the development of football, then the continental coaching systems of 7 aside pitches and understanding of how you can hone and develop if you set the arena to the capabilities of the participnts rather than the other way about.

We dont have to alter the size of the table or introduce new rules, simply have a process of competitive development that will cater for all ages and abilities.

I like many have sat at the side of the table waiting to play the winner of the frame and have had to hang around for 3/4 of an hour plus to get my turn, whilst the light meter eats a large hole in your pocket money.

We should be embracing the opportunities to give true credibility to events that showpiece the sport and the differing formats that can be adopted at all levels.

I dont every imagine the Football World Cup finals being played with 7 players, but most of those who will be competing there will have come through 7 aside youth football.

Sorry to go on but please dont think I am comparing football to snooker as a sport simply that those with imagination and the courage to change at grass roots have taken the game to where it is today.

Pat Mooney

Jenna said...

Ah ok thanks Jim.

Jenna x

Jenna said...

Ok so seeing as this super 6 will have proper players in it I will try to watch and give my opinion on what I think compared to normal snooker. Will check the tv times, hope its on in the evenings as well. And maybe if I get a table Ill try to play and see what its like but Ill prob be rubbish.

Jenna x

Jenna said...

Just a quick question to Pat Mooney. Who is the John you mentioned in that first post of urs? I think I agree with what you say anyway. Good luck with this thing ur trying anyway and Im glad I have eurosport.

Jenna x

Anonymous said...

Hi Jenna

John Higgins

Thx

Pat

Jenna said...

Oh wow thats so cool, did not know he was involved in setting it up but did know he was playing from Daves post a while ago. Thought it could have been John Virgo since hes more senior and prob has some experience from life and free time to be involved in the thing. But cool that John Highins is taking the time for this when he must be busy playing etc.

Jenna x

Claus Christensen said...

For me the downside to six reds snooker is the break building which automatically disappears. Nothing is more watchable than picking out red after red and having to produce amazing positional shots in order to do so. I would be sad to see this aspect of the game go.

Anonymous said...

i agree seesee

i think 10 reds would have been a good compromise

Anonymous said...

Another question to Pat.

How many snooker tables are there in Portugal?

Or will you go anywhere to find someone to back your world tour?

jamie said...

My worry is this it won't stay in the background though if you give it life. I wouldn't mind twenty twenty but I feel it is now beginning to overshadow test cricket.