Sky Snooker Shootout
The Snooker Shootout is a rapid-fire tournament that has brought snooker to a whole new audience.
For starters, the whole tournament takes place in a very manageable three days; a far cry from the two and a half weeks of the World Snooker Championship. Then there’s the fact that the tournament is held in Blackpool, away from traditional snooker cities like Sheffield and York. And it’s an event that attracts live Sky TV coverage – in fact, the tournament is also known as the Sky Snooker Shootout.
Snooker Shootout-the need for speed
The innovative rules of the Snooker Shootout have played a major part in appealing to a different type of sports fan. Unlike traditional snooker competitions, ties are decided over the course of a single frame, and that frame is not allowed to run for more than 10 minutes. Whoever wins goes straight through to the next round, meaning the tournament progresses at a breakneck pace.
Speed is of the essence when it comes to taking shots as well. A shot clock is used in every match; for the first 5 minutes, players are allowed no more than 20 seconds to get each shot away but after the 5 minutes are up they are given just 15 seconds. In addition, players must hit a cushion or pot a ball in every shot or a foul will be awarded against them.
The inaugural event
Although a similar event was held back in 1990, technically the new-look Snooker Shootout was first held in 2011. On that occasion, Nigel Bond confounded the critics by winning his first title since 1997, beating Robert Milkins 58-24. After the match, he explained that the new rules make a big difference. “With the shot clock you’ve got no time to think, you just go for the first ball you see and knock it in the hole,” he said. “It stops you thinking about what can go wrong. It’s been a fantastic event, a great atmosphere with full crowds every day.”
In 2012, Barry Hawkins defeated former world champion Graeme Dott in the final. Top stars such as Judd Trump, John Higgins, Mark Williams and Mark Selby failed to progress beyond the second round, proving the tournament’s tendency for unpredictability.
Predicting the winner of the Snooker Shootout
The rapid-fire format makes it difficult to predict the winner of the Snooker Shootout. After all, nobody expected Nigel Bond to triumph in 2011. However, lightning-fast snooker players like Ronnie O’Sullivan and Judd Trump may prove to be good bets if you’re thinking of having a flutter on the Snooker Shootout.