I remember interviewing Mark Davis a few years ago. At the time he was rather stuck in the snooker mud, going neither forwards nor backwards. Endless anonymous qualifying matches were yielding little real success. He lost a lot of matches in deciders.

At the time Davis was reasonably upbeat. He said he felt he was playing well and needed one good performance to give him the crucial boost of confidence he required to kick on.

It came in the unlikeliest of events, the Six Reds World Championship in Killarney in December 2009.

Not a ranking event but a TV title, with Mark Williams his victim in the final.

The tournament may have been dismissed as meaningless by dyed in the wool traditionalists but it certainly wasn’t to Mark Davis. It gave him that spark of confidence he had been looking for. He rose up the rankings, first into the top 32 and then the top 16.

He started last season having been a professional for 21 years but never a semi-finalist in a ranking event. Then he reached the semi-finals of the first two ranking tournaments. In between, he won the six reds world title again, in Bangkok, Thailand. He went on to reach the semi-finals of the UK Championship.

Davis defends the six reds title next week as part of a stellar field which includes Neil Robertson, Mark Selby, Judd Trump, Shaun Murphy, Stephen Maguire, John Higgins, Ricky Walden, Barry Hawkins and Williams.

Six reds, for the uninitiated, is as it sounds: snooker with fewer reds. It never caught on in the way some predicted for the very simple reason that there’s nothing wrong with traditional 15 red snooker.

However, it is quite popular in Asia and one event a year is a novel departure from the norm.

It’s quicker because the reds split immediately. Some frames are over swiftly, although if players are struggling to pot a ball it doesn’t matter how many reds are on the table.

The whole history of cue sports is littered with experimentation with accepted rules. Snooker would not have existed without this, although thankfully when snooker was found to have worked, the experimentation stopped.

Most innovations come and they go – Power Snooker anyone? – but one international six reds event a year provides a slice of something different and could give the eventual winner an early season kick-start with some really big tournaments just around the corner.

I’m sure Mark Davis would agree with that.

The event is live all next week on Eurosport, the coverage starting on Monday.


ANON said...

Just to confirm one point in this piece - can you confirm that Power Snooker is definitely not coming back ever?

Dave H said...

Forever is a long time but we've heard nothing concrete about it for two years.

Corben said...

Funny title, Dave ^^

Unknown said...

There was an old chap up my club who the other old boys would mock because he insisted on playing using a purple and orange ball with higher values, he even called them by names he made up. I didn't mind playing this game as the higher breaks convinced me I was better than I was.

It wasn't until recently 15 years later Ive found out this is called snooker plus, a failed variation of snooker created by Joe Davis, still its better than Power Snooker and I'm glad that has been dropped. Six reds on the other hand is pretty entertaining.

Ray147 said...

Hey Dave, I thought the Stephen Lee case was supposed to be resolved today. Instead,it seems like another false dawn in this long running saga.
Have you heard anything more?

Dave H said...

It's next week

jamie brannon said...

What I don't get is why six reds has been deemed more acceptable than Power Snooker as a snooker variant?

I guess it has been packaged less tackily.

The Blog said...

OT - the Stephen Lee 'match-fixing' allegations finally reach a tribunal.


Good thing the WPBSA don't run our judiciary. The cases would take decades to reach the court!

Five years to get Lee to a tribunal. Incredible.

Unknown said...

Dave, do you have any comments on why Mark Davis does so exceptionally well in this format? Is it just coincidence, or do you see something substantial that explains it?


Dave H said...

It's hard to say why Mark should have taken so well to six reds but I suppose the first win gave him so much confidence under the format.