It’s good news that Sky Sports are to broadcast another WPBSA event after losing faith in the governing body six years ago.

The new Sky Shootout promises to be a fast-paced, glitzy and above all gloriously tacky affair in which snooker – so often seen by outsiders as deadly serious – will play second fiddle to entertainment.

There will be a 20-second shot-clock – with no time-outs – and frames will be adjudged to be over after 12 minutes, although it isn’t clear how exactly this will work or what would happen if, for instance, the frame scores were tied at this point.

WPBSA chairman Barry Hearn has already intimated that he wants a ‘Grim Reaper’ to accompany the losing players out of the arena and that the crowd should be encouraged to get involved.

The top 64 will all be invited, the draw will be random and prize money will double each round, meaning a top prize of £32,000, as Hearn says not bad for three days’ work.

The tournament runs from January 28-30 next year at a venue to be confirmed. A big city, possibly Manchester, is likely.

Players will be able to choose their own outfits and be encouraged to project their personalities.

One frame snooker is nothing new. Pot Black brought the game to the British public’s attention in the 1970s and Darren Morgan won a one-frame knockout event in 1991, although the WPBSA bizarrely made the final a best of three.

Sky don’t want a ranking event – or at least not a lesser one – so the sport should welcome their willingness to show any snooker.

However, a 20 second shot limit was originally trialled for the Premier League and it was found that the players could not cope. Some shots require extra consideration, even for Ronnie O’Sullivan and the other fast players.

Playing ultra-quickly does not guarantee high quality snooker. In fact, it could produce quite the opposite.

However, as a spectacle there’s no doubt the new Shootout will be a fun affair.

Snooker needs a range of tournaments and formats to appeal to different audiences. Too many events look the same, feel the same and, frankly, are the same.

And if the new Shootout persuades Sky to take more snooker in the future then it will have done its job – despite the inevitable howl of protests it will bring from dyed-in-the-wool traditionalists.


Anonymous said...

I think it sounds great - although personally it's not my cup of tea, what we need is variety and more exposure, and this fits that bill.

jamie brannon said...

If people read Simon Barnes in the Times today then he makes a fair point about sport shouldn't sacrifice itself for entertainment.

I don't 100% agree with what he is saying, but at the same time I feel we have be careful where we take this type of 'tacky' snooker. As I don't want this format to become more popular than the Crucible format.

My dad though said he didn't mind one frame snoooker, yet is aghast at 20/20 cricket. I know that is not relevant, but I was surprised when he told me. As a contest I would have to say 20/20 is more valid than this.

The Premier League produces great standard though - and this should help the likes of Robbo, Ebbo and Selby to get their skates on.

Sparky said...

Any clear statement from worldsnooker what the actual name of the tournament is going to be?

The calendar of worldsnooker.com has "Sky Shoot Out", whereas the newsflash about the tournament has "World Snooker Shoot-out"...?

Anonymous said...

i think barry hearn thinks because it works with darts it cant fail but darts has always been played in pubs ussually with a load of pissheads shouting.the darts tournaments are just a bigger version of being in the boozer.snooker needs to move forward but not lose its identity too much.i heard barry was very arrogant at the meeting and pretty much shot everyone down who didnt agree with him.not sure thats the kind of person id like to see get 51% off the game.maybe he;d been on the stella with the darts lads.


Fantastic news for snooker and a great idea.

There is a always a place for a bit of fun between majors.

Im looking forward to seeing how the players cope with the noise and the clock.

Think it will definitely bring a few youngsters on board, some of whom will take to the regular format.

I also expect significant media interest, which will also be good.

Roland said...

This Sky event is great because it's a one off and the 20 second shot clock pushes the limits. Everyone with half a brain knows the 25 second shot clock lowers the quality of snooker so the 20 second one will do that even more but it will be exciting and entertaining.

Why don't Sky want a proper ranking event though? They used to have one and covered it very well. They've done it with darts - loads of events now established that weren't there before. This should be Barry's next target.

Anonymous said...

" As I don't want this format to become more popular than the Crucible format."

not a hope in hell mate.

pigs might fly before that happens.

long matches is where snooker's ultimate popularity is these things are novelty and like all novelty items they only last a limited time before they break.

Betty Logan said...

I suppose the reason Sky doesn't want a regular ranker is because it's a distant fourth in terms of importance on the list of snooker tournaments, after the WC, Masters and UK all of which are on the BBC. Can't say I blame Sky - if I was a channel producer I wouldn't be satisfied with the BBC's crumbs either. In fact, if the BBC do drop the Grand Prix/World Open or whatever it's called these days then maybe Barry should package it with the Masters and offer it to Sky - Sky may take a regular ranker if they get a biggy as well. I don't see why the BBC should hog all the prestigious tournaments when it isn't willing to do the bread and butter ones.

jamie brannon said...

I think people forget that the BBC is not just a sports broadcaster - you couldn't expect them to be doing all the bread-and-butter events. The 'big'3 events need to be on the beeb to generate the largest audience possible as otherwise the game's profile will diminish more.

The standard in the Premier League is actually pretty high. There are a plenty of centuries and the last few days of the Crucible showed that taking a while doesn't lead to a glut of high standard snooker.

Anonymous said...

What on earth does it take to get a comment published here? I tried to say it was a good idea and 'thank you Barry'. It has happened so many times I don't know what's going on. Technical difficulties or very strange screening policies....?


Off topic I know, but Im unsure about the ranking points available in the new player tour championship.

I know there is a separate order of merit for each event with the top 24 playing for main tour or "real" points.

Are there real points available also, for each event or just a secondary set of points to find the top 24?

Anonymous said...

its willing to do bread and butter ones, but ids not exactly balancing the books when they last the same as normal events duration, or very similar....

theyre not a good venture financially for the beeb, who i believe arent a free service either and have budgets for all sorts of progs to suit everyone with a tv license

Anonymous said...

More dross from Brannon

If there were ranking points on the PL they wouldn't go for everything like they do currently

Also, after 17 days of snooker in a ludicrously over-long tournament at the Crucible the players are completely knackered

Anonymous said...

i think 20 seconds per shot is ridiculous [just like what most of Brannons comments ;)]

Going over the years ranking events (which obviously are the "important ones", i wonder who regularly breaks that time with their average shot time....

ill hazard a guess at less than 7% of the field.

we already have the premier league which is geared up for ronnie, who is one of the only players who plays well and quite naturally comfortably inside the 25 second shot clock.

ok, this event is about fun, but the rules could be used to your advantage....if the frame ends at the scores on the board after 12 minutes....

if i was on an easy break and was already 15 points clear, i would make sure i took as close to the 20 seconds as possible without endangering me to time foul, so that in the event of a miss by me, the frame was all but over due to not much time left.

it could also see the last half of the frame being very boring if someone makes a 30 break and after 6 minues or so just keeps rolling up to a red/reds

not a well thought out format, even if it is spotlighted on fun


Anon @ 9.05;

If you were a top 64 ranked pro on an easy break 15 points clear, you would expect to win the frame anyway.

Changing from your normal pace to concentrate on making sure your shot takes between 16 and 19 seconds will, if anything, offer a potential lifeline to your opponent rather than keep him out.

As for rolling up to reds, well the position of the balls will nearly always determine the shot, and rolling up only offers your opponent the advantage. If you keep playing negative safeties your opponent won't be long about sticking you in trouble.

Anonymous said...

if only you knew how high a standard i have played to KC

needless to say i stand by the comments i put, and the point of my post (which was generally overlooked by you, remains the same.

the rules can be used to the advantage of someone who has an easy break, or an easy run to get well clear on an otherwise difficult layed out table, and then mess about for the remaining minutes, playing good well thought out roll up shots and safeties (not just rolling up and leaving easy punishing safeties for my opponent) like your post seems to suggest i meant

Anonymous said...

I was hoping the break in Dave's blog would help some posters, but I've just read Brannon and we're back to his typical player bashing - the current world champion, Ebbo and The Jester - who smashed his beloved ROS at Sheffield all get a dig.
Please Brannon try to learn some of the more subtle aspects of the game, there just can't be a century break in every frame although you'd love that.

jamie brannon said...

Firstly there is pressure in the Premier League as they are playing for more money than some ranking events.

O'Sullivan is one of the game's best safety players and I have long appreciated the tactical aspect of the game. Safety play does not have to be slow.

Player bashing? I rate Robertson, Selby and Ebdon all highly. They just don't do it in a style that is as easy on the eye as the likes of Ronnie, Williams, Ding and Allen.

Just because I have a preference for the faster and silkier looking players - doesn't make me any less of a snooker fan.

There are some problems posting comments it is taking me more than one click every time.

jamie brannon said...

I notice that Robertson and Stuart Bingham have recorded 147 breaks at the Austrian Open.

Does this mean they have both now recorded their second career maximum or is this event not valid in this regard?

Anonymous said...

"I rate Robertson, Selby and Ebdon all highly. They just don't do it in a style that is as easy on the eye as the likes of Ronnie, Williams, Ding and Allen."

But, surely we want different styles, different pace of play, different mind-sets and different shot selections from the players don't we? It would be awful if every player tried to play like the players you mention, wouldn't it?

Betty Logan said...

Robertson doesn't exactly drag his heels does he? He also has one of the more flamboyant playing styles on the circuit, knocking in plenty of centuries and taking on big shots, what more could you want? I find the Robertson bashing ridiculous.

jamie brannon said...

Mark Selby and Peter Ebdon have made lots of centuries too, doesn't mean they are silky and fast. Robertson is okay too watch, but he does play at around 24 seconds a shot.

I totally want different styles as it makes for fascinating match-ups. However, I doesn't mean I have to support every player.

I agree that Neil is attacking, but despite the fact he has made a lot of centuries, he doesnt score with the fluidity of a Ding or a Williams.

jamie brannon said...

By the way I am talking very much in degrees here. I can enjoy the three players I have supposedly slagged off, but just not as much others.

I was slightly worried that people would think I hate Robertson just because he is a 24 second a shot player, which obviously is not true.

Nice to see Trump win as I'm hoping he will get more TV airtime next season. As this years Crucible actually was not much good for anyone under 25.

Anonymous said...

its the Brannon show on here....

i missed this blog when offline, now its back and Brannon is as bad as ever, as well as the fine art crackpot

Anonymous said...

If the one frame knockout in 1991 you refer to in your blog was called time frame pot black it wasn't won by Darren Morgan it was won by Neal Foulds.

Dave H said...

Pot Black was a different event

The One-Frame knockout was played in Stoke