I reckon that Barry Hearn is going to miscue and make a balls of it. Hearn is spearheading a drive to sex-up activities on the green baize with the introduction of Power Snooker and the new format will mark a radical departure from the traditional game.
Players are limited to 20 seconds per shot, and a violation of the rule results in a 20-point penalty. Each game lasts half an hour, with the clock starting once the red balls are broken, and stopping only at the end of each frame. At the end of the 30 minutes, the victor is determined by total points rather than the number of frames won.
Potting the middle red, known as the PowerBall, activates a two-minute PowerPlay during which points are doubled. However, missing a shot during the timeframe means the clock stops, and the opponent gets to use the remaining time.
The new rules stipulate that two or more reds must hit a cushion following a break to start the frame, and there is a 50-point bonus for a century break. That amount doubles if the feat is repeated in successive frames.
Organisers reckon the new format will “deliver an innovative look and feel both live and on-screen. Vibrant lighting and strategic music stings will also be used to produce energy, excitement, tension and theatre.”
In other words, they’re going to fuck it up.
But why not go the whole hog while they’re at it?
Every time a player pots a ball why not have a gimp midget jumping out of the pocket exclaiming;
“Your mothers fanny looks a horses mouth when he’s crossing the line in the Grand National, now fuck off” – McSavage words to that effect.
We could also have topless refs, and well endowed lesbian nuns gyrating suggestively with cues.
The first Power Snooker event is scheduled for October 30 and all the players will wear microphones in order to gain more interaction between crowd and players.
I can tell you that won’t work for a start because it will be only a matter of time before Ronnie O’Sullivan tells someone to fuck off or inquires live on air about the availability of some Bolivian marching powder – exclusively live on Sky Sports. Don’t go away.
Hearn, they say, has resurrected the fortunes of darts. He’s sexed things up out there on the oche and “millins” are tuning in.
However, I believe the only reason half of them are watching the tungsten tossers is to marvel at how a shower of fat bastards have the audacity to consider themselves sportsmen.
Is snooker a sport? Steve Davis, whose persona as a boring old fart was transformed when the boys in the Red Tops nabbed him sinking the pink – as The Sun memorably put it – once said that if you can smoke whilst your doing it, it’s usually not a sport.
Three-times World champ Ronnie O’Sullivan believes that the game in its present format is boring and is endorsing Power Snooker.
A few years back a person claiming to be O’Sullivan’s agent told me that “The Rocket” would be looking for ten grand sterling to do a charity gig on Shannonside. Ten thousand doubloons for playing seven frames, plus we pay for his flight and hotel. What’s that someone said about people that are good at snooker having led a misspent youth?
We got a downmarket star for €2,500. He’d have led a lesser misspent youth then.
O’Sullivan is undoubtedly one of the most exciting players in the world. He’s following in the footsteps of Alex Higgins – minus the pissng into a flower pot and headbutting an official at an international tournament part.
However, O’Sullivan’s attractiveness come from being a breath of fresh air, a free spirit in a game, which while admiring the virtuosity of the young guns, also prides itself on the traditional virtues of tactics, patience and good old fashioned courtesy and sportsmanship.
In contrast, O’Sullivan will be just another hustler out there on the green baize in Power Snooker. And how long before the organisers start demanding that players lay off on the safety shots and start going for the extravagant pots – for the TV ratings?
Could you strike the cue ball at the exact moment of Phil Collins drum break in “In the Air Tonight” please!
Hearn’s believes that Power Snooker will attract young people, because it will be exciting and dramatic. But youngsters don’t look to snooker for excitement, they’ve got Grand Theft Auto and cider for that.
Power Snooker! As a snooker fan whose highest break is five and who would have difficulty directing a cue ball into the Grand Canyon, I won’t be tuning in. Give me Ray – I was a teenage vampire – Reardon anytime.