With a bit of downtime this week following the early season madness, it is a good opportunity to give a little information on a new initiative that went successfully at the recent 2011 World Championship in Sheffield – Street Snooker.
In the last few years, the city of Sheffield has made a concerted effort to incorporate the surrounding area outside The Crucible Theatre into a vibrant festival vibe for the 17-day snooker marathon.
The Winter Gardens, in particular, has been the core centre for snooker activities outside the main venue for fans without tickets to keep up-to-date with the goings-on and enjoy some fun endeavours as well.
The practice table with the BBC crew has been a regular fixture as part of the set for the last number of years but Street Snooker was launched last April in association with the Play Innovation initiative.
This has been established in an effort to promote “physical well-being and social developments in schools and communities” across the UK through the use of outdoor games.
It is not aimed solely at a special age group but it is generally understood that young people should benefit the most from improved social skills and necessary outdoor exercising.
Street Snooker is the flagship new game that has been released under Play Innovation’s logo and it was perceived as being a huge success with the public and even the professional players and referees during the fortnight in Sheffield.
In effect, the game is a mould of football and snooker. A wall, painted in green like a snooker table, has targets on it and a player attempts to hit these targets with the football to accumulate points.
Each target represents a colour in snooker. So there is a red area, worth one point if hit with the football, and there are six remaining targets representing each of the coloured balls on a snooker table.
The rest of the game is played similarly to snooker whereby you have to hit the red target followed by a coloured target, and so on, to keep your turn (break) going.
Current professional snooker player Alfie Burden, who had eyes on being a footballer before a career threatening injury in his youth, is reported to have already compiled a 147 break in Street Snooker.
More recently, the scheme was trialled at the Watford F.C. Open Day with families pitting their skills against some of Watford’s football pros.
Most children enjoy kicking a football against a gable wall when they are growing up and this idea is so ingeniously simple that it is a wonder that somebody didn’t think of it sooner.
The incorporation of football skills and the numeric factor of snooker will help children exert themselves away from the computer screen (ahem!) in a somewhat educational manner.
Indeed, there is an added incentive for the lucky talented ones to make some money in a tournament being held tomorrow at Welwyn Garden City. Good luck to all those involved.
Hopefully this is just the beginning and after a period of it being tested more thoroughly throughout the UK, I definitely think it could be of benefit to schools and communities throughout Ireland as well.
For more information and pictures to get a better idea of Street Snooker, click here.