QUICK-FIRE potting will be the theme when the Snooker Shoot Out returns this weekend.
At the picturesque setting of Blackpool Tower’s Circus Arena, 64 players will compete for the trophy and the £32,000 prize in a three day competition which sees snooker being played in its most fastest form yet.
Now in its fourth year, previous winners include Nigel Bond, Barry Hawkins and Martin Gould.
Despite the absentees of the likes of Masters champion Ronnie O’Sullivan, Neil Robertson, Ding Junhui and Judd Trump, ticket sales have been successful with the opening night sold out.
Maybe not all snooker fans’ cup of tea, but the tournament should throw up some drama of a different kind as players may have to rush through pots in the final seconds to progress through the rounds.
Matches at all stages are single frame shoot-outs each lasting a maximum of ten minutes. A shot clock is in operation – 15 seconds for each shot in the first five minutes of the frame and just 10 seconds for the final five minutes of the frame.
All shots must see a ball potted or the cueball hit a cushion. Any foul conceded will result in the opposing player having ball to hand meaning he can place the white anywhere on the table.
And do not be expecting silence from the crowd, fans are encouraged to sing and cheer for their favourites during play making for a unique atmosphere at a snooker tournament.
A random first round draw was drawn out live on TalkSPORT last month which saw some interesting matches come out. The most appealing on paper include Mark Williams vs Mark Allen, Cao Yupeng vs Mark Selby and Stuart Bingham vs Joe Perry. Matches start from 6pm tomorrow (Friday).
World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn said: “The Shoot-Out has proved a phenomenal success over the past three years and we are delighted to return to one of the best arenas in the sporting world.
“The Tower Circus produces an extraordinary cauldron-like atmosphere so it’s all about which player can think quickly under pressure. It’s a dramatic three days of snooker.”
888CasinoSnooker Shoot Out – First Round Draw
Zhang ANDA vs Martin GOULD
Cao YUPENG vs Mark SELBY
Anthony HAMILTON vs Ali CARTER
Barry HAWKINS vs Rod LAWLER
Luca BRECEL vs Ben WOOLLASTON
Mark KING vs Mark JOYCE
Nigel BOND vs Jamie JONES
Fergal O’BRIEN vs Dominic DALE
Liam HIGHFIELD vs Stephen MAGUIRE
Alfie BURDEN vs Paul DAVISON
Dave HAROLD vs Jamie COPE
Robbie WILLIAMS vs Jack LISOWSKI
Mike DUNN vs Tom FORD
David GILBERT vs Anthony McGILL
Michael WHITE vs Barry PINCHES
Jimmy WHITE vs Jimmy ROBERTSON
Mark WILLIAMS vs Mark ALLEN
Rory McLEOD vs Peter EBDON
Stuart BINGHAM vs Joe PERRY
Jamie BURNETT vs Dechawat POOMJAENG
Kurt MAFLIN vs Marcus CAMPBELL
Adam DUFFY vs Matthew STEVENS
Gerard GREENE vs Xiao GUODONG
Peter LINES vs Michael HOLT
Ian BURNS vs Thepchaiya Un-NOOH
Ricky WALDEN vs Mark DAVIS
Robert MILKINS vs Shaun MURPHY
Graeme DOTT vs Aditya MEHTA
Matthew SELT vs John HIGGINS
Ken DOHERTY vs Alan McManus
Andrew HIGGINSON vs Tian PENGFEI
Steve DAVIS vs Ryan DAY