Dominic Dale emerged victorious from a field of 64 to win the Sky Snooker Shoot-Out in Blackpool last night.
The eccentric Welshman, sporting a bleached blonde hairstyle and entertaining the vibrant crowd with a rendition of Frank Sinatra’s ‘My Way’ following his triumph, overcame Stuart Bingham in the final.
It’s the 42 year-old’s first professional title since winning a PTC event in 2010 and, after pocketing a sweet £32,000 for just six frames of effort, it’s his biggest payday since capturing the 2007 Shanghai Masters.
Often throughout his career, Dale’s flamboyance both on and off the table has been his own downfall and success.
He has won two ranking events as well as one minor ranking event in his career but is arguably the best player to have never featured in the elite top 16 of the world rankings throughout his career – such is his inconsistency.
However, he has proved in the past that he can be a big-game player and there is no better setting than the Shoot-Out to prove your mettle.
The tournament consists of a series of single frame shoot-outs, supported by off-putting shot-clocks and rowdy crowds, in an effort to find the person can hold themselves together the most – and perhaps enjoy the most luck along the way as well.
Typically, one of the top players has never gone all the way at the Circus Arena.
Nigel Bond, Barry Hawkins and Martin Gould are the previous champions and, while they have enjoyed particular highlights in the careers, at that point none of them were particularly at the pinnacle of the sport.
The same goes for Dale who, as well as ending the challenge of ‘Ballrun’, also dispatched of Hawkins, one of the pre-tournament favourites in Mark Allen and countryman Ryan Day.
In truth, there’s no such thing as a favourite tag for this event, though.
Tactics and skill of course come into play, but anything can and does happen in a single frame format that encourages reckless play.
As I said in the preview article, there’s nothing really wrong with having an event like the Shoot-Out on the calendar, although one is probably enough.
It seems to do its job of entertaining those who long for something a little different, which is a fair enough wish to have.
In fact, I too feel this way at times and it is indeed good to occasionally have something fresh to follow.
Yet, to me the Shoot-Out is a rather mundane and boring affair with any considerable degree of quality and/or dramatic conclusions to frames at a premium.
Nevertheless, I don’t think Dominic Dale will mind too much as he celebrates being in the winner’s enclosure once again in his topsy-turvy career.
The full list of results can be viewed here.