Morris Mounts Shoot-Out Challenge

Ireland’s Davy Morris is into the last 16 of the Sky Shoot-Out after winning his opening two matches in Blackpool.

This is Morris' first appearance in the Shoot-Out since 2011 - photo courtesy of Monique Limbos.
This is Morris’ first appearance in the Shoot-Out since 2011 – photo courtesy of Monique Limbos.

The competition sees 64 competitors invited to play in a single-frame knockout format that includes shot-clocks and other variations from the general rules of the traditional game.

Morris comfortably beat Matthew Stevens and then Chris Wakelin to set up a third round clash with Xiao Guodong on Friday – the final day of action where the overall champion will be crowned.

Because of the short format, it’s nigh-on impossible to pick a winner and the unpredictability is one of the major selling points about it.

That said, each of the champions – and indeed runners-up as well – of the last four editions are considered quick players which is understandable as there is a distinct need for speedy┬ádecision-making.

However, top ranked players who may be considered well suited to a fast and frenetic frame like Ronnie O’Sullivan and Judd Trump have both been dumped out already, while Rod Lawler, arguably the slowest cueist on the circuit, remains in the hunt and is due to play Michael Holt for a quarter-final spot.

Elsewhere, 2012 and 2013 champions Barry Hawkins and Martin Gould face Kyren Wilson and Shaun Murphy respectively in two intriguing match-ups while Mark Williams and Jamie Jones prepare for an all Welsh battle.

The rest of the draw has a distinctly English flavour to it with Michael White, another Welshman, the only other to hail from a different nation.

White faces Tom Ford, who conquered O’Sullivan, while there are all-England affairs between Alfie Burden and Sam Baird, and Joe Perry and Ben Woollaston.

The Shoot-Out gets a lot of stick on social media from so-called traditionalists of the game, which is fair enough to a point as it does encourage a boisterous crowd who don’t respect the usual etiquette associated with snooker.

But, in reality, the tournament is staged only once a season and lasts for just three days in what is a long and hectic schedule.

The calendar needs a little bit of variety to keep both fans and in fact the players themselves interested.

The Shoot-Out is a bit of fun and offers a real opportunity for one of the lesser known players to get their hands on some silverware, not to forget the handy 32,000 pounds winner’s cheque as well.

A campaign full of these events would be less than ideal but there’s no suggestion that there is any intention for it to replace the regular game in any threatening manner.

Put simply, if you don’t like it don’t watch it. It’ll be over soon anyway.

The full draw for the Shoot-Out can be viewed here.

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