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Snooker Set-up

There was an interesting discussion over on the Snooker Island forum yesterday that proposed the use of a sets format in a ranking event.

The use of sets is something that has, to the best of my knowledge, not been tried before in the sport and it is a wonder why not.

Most notably, the system has been used in tennis forever and it is also incorporated in a significant portion of major darts championships, among other sports.

In an era where Barry Hearn and co are looking for innovative ideas to transform the image of the game, here is surely one that was staring them and everyone else directly in the face.

That is not to say that a sets format should be used for every event on the calendar but it could definitely be trialled.

The Welsh Open immediately springs to mind when thinking of a trademark tournament that has stood the test of time but is in desperate need of a face lift.

However, there are a variety of new tournaments being established and it would not be crazy to attach a fresh format to one of those either.

It was suggested on the thread that the use of 6-reds instead of the usual 15 could be utilised but that is something that I would be wholeheartedly against.

Perhaps that would be okay if it was for an invitational tournament that had no bearing on the world rankings but to showcase that form of snooker in a ranking event is simply out of the question.

The 6-red series was initiated a few years ago under the old regime of Rodney Walker in an effort to inject some new, young interest, in a similar style to the way Twenty20 has been successful in cricket.

Yet, the idea never really took off and while some may say that it is because of a traditionalist snobbery attached to a vast majority of snooker fans and analysts, that really is incorrect.

It was boring. The game developed quicker and was played at a much faster pace but that doesn’t take away from the fact that there was no substance to it.

No, 6-red snooker can still be used in some shape or form for minor events but it should not be used to decide important ranking trophies.

In football, they don’t suddenly play five-a-side mid-season and there are no par-3 tournaments in the golf campaign.

However, the set format could still be demonstrated.

Imagine a best of three sets match with each set played over a best of three frames system.

The most frames that could be played is nine – the same as in the early rounds as most of the other ranking events on the circuit.

In the latter rounds, a best of five or seven sets length could be enforced to provide even more drama.

Undoubtedly, it would be a refreshing new perspective in which to watch an encounter and it would be interesting to see how the top players could cope.

Who knows whether or not this idea has been tabled already but it is certainly worth considering because, unlike a lot of the other ventures, this could be a major success.



Creator of SnookerHQ and a journalism graduate, David has been actively reporting on snooker since 2011. He has been published in national publications and has appeared on BBC World News and on talkSPORT radio as an analyst.

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