Stephen Hendry is, of course, among the star attractions here at the Six Reds World Championship.

The seven times Crucible champion is much in demand for autographs and pictures from spectators and some of the amateur players.

Hendry is a great pro at all this stuff. He learned it at an early age and accepted it as part and parcel of being at the top of any sport.

He told me he wasn’t completely convinced by six reds snooker but that he was enjoying the tournament and happy to play in it:

“It’s certainly cut throat and there’s not room for many mistakes.

“Purists who want to see big breaks aren’t going to get that because the highest possible break is only 75 but if you had a six red event with all top players it would be intense.

“This is a bit of fun, although the competition is serious once you get out there.

“I’ve known the tournament director, Con O’Sullivan, for a long time and am friends with Ken Doherty so I was very happy to come out here and take part.

“It all takes me back to the start of my career at Pontin’s when you’d wait in the tournament office for your name to be called out and a table number.

“It’s a good event for the public because they don’t usually see top players in this environment, up so close.”

I’d echo that. There is something bizarre yet compelling about watching the likes of Hendry, John Higgins and Ken Doherty rubbing shoulders – sometimes literally – with amateurs from all over the world in the open plan, 13 table set up.

The tournament has also given players from all over the world the chance not just to meet their snooker heroes but also to play them.

Lucky Vatnani, from India, is one such player. He was very excited yesterday about the prospect of playing Hendry. In the event he almost beat him before letting slip a 3-1 lead and losing 4-3.

All of the pros have made it through to the knockout phase and I would expect one of them to win it.

Snooker devotees needn’t worry. Six reds isn’t going to replace the traditional game and neither is it going to harm it.

The players in general see this week as a chance to compete for a €10,000 first prize, come to a hospitable part of the world and wind down after the rigours of the UK Championship.

The atmosphere backstage is relaxed and players are socialising in ways they perhaps wouldn’t at a ranking event – last night’s poker evening was well attended.

And what of Alex Higgins? After two 4-0 defeats he beat James Stewart – for whom today was not such a wonderful life – 4-0 before producing a little bit of Hurricane magic to come back from 2-0 down to be 2-2 with main tour player David Hogan.

Higgins stroked in a terrific long pink and added the black in frame three before a good clearance gave him the fourth.

Sadly for his many fans – and he still has them – he was beaten 4-2.

Eurosport starts its live coverage tomorrow afternoon. Our own Mike Hallett may be playing as he’s made it through to the knockout stage.


Anonymous said...

thanks for the report dave

in fife last month alex couldnt pot 3 balls in a row, so i wonder how he improved so much, if he did.

hope hes 'well'

Anonymous said...

Come on Mike Hallett!

Anonymous said...

Sounds great. As you say it won't replace traditional snooker but there's nothing wrong with doing something different sometimes. The players sound like they're enjoying it so bring it on.

Anonymous said...

On another note: has Jimmy White got the wild card for the Masters?

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave. just sent you an email re Eurosport coverage. Any idea what they will be showing the next couple of days?

Dave H said...

This afternoon 3-4 matches from last 32

Tomorrow semis and final

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed the Eurosport coverage - not enough of it but I applaud them for broadcasting it at all- surely potential to expand next year. Good to see snooker being broadcast - keep up the increase!

John McBride said...

I played in this tournament myself & thoroughly enjoyed it. A great atmosphere, the table pockets were a bit tight, the cloth's were lovely & it was great to look down a cue again in such great company.

Anonymous said...

dave can you please stop letting mike h speak. he keeps on calling shots anfd getting them completely wrong. i am embarrassed for him.

jamie brannon said...

If it is treated like good fun then it won't harm the 15 red format. However, what happens if the prize fund increases and then players will start taking it more seriously. Initially Twenty Twenty was perceived as no threat and now it is the most popular form of cricket. I don't feel for sure six red snooker won't become bigger than 15 red as the society we live in today are obsessed with instant gratification nd shorter formats deliver that.

Anonymous said...

10 reds would be the best bet, as 6 reds is an absolute lottery. ok it will almost always be won by a top player if you play over a decent number of frames, but 6 reds could be won by anyone in the top64 of 15 red snooker imho, which isnt 'right'