Over the course of the upcoming World Championship many will be pinned to their seats inside the Crucible Theatre, while there will be countless others glued to their screens watching from afar.
In a 17-day ‘marathon of the mind’ there’s a lot to take in and, because of that, so much of the event and all that goes with it can easily pass one by.
So, I’ve challenged one snooker aficionado to highlight these moments on a daily blog for SnookerHQ – the best quirky, outlandish, unusual, laughable and questionable observations of each day, that may or may not be about the snooker played itself.
As if to further enhance his (or her!) alter ego as snooker’s fly on the wall, this spy has elected to go through the tournament in disguise.
Known simply as Free Ball, the sleeper agent was even present at the final day of the World Championship qualifiers at Ponds Forge on Wednesday.
Here is a flavour of what’s to come, but who is behind the Free Ball?
Final Day of Qualifiers – By Free Ball
1 – Robert Milkins, who sat in front hours before his critical final qualifying session, smells really nice.
2 – Referee Paul Cosgriff is a carpet shuffling, pirouette ball placing, silent speaking referee.
3 – Fergal O’Brien cannot stop exercising/exorcising his shoulders in a forward fashion.
4 – Men in black suits sitting behind with the names Brendan and Jan drink lots of coffee, then proceed to talk and giggle more than anyone else in the stands.
5 – Mark King and Michael Holt really are that animated.
6 – Igor Figueiredo has brilliant hair; and along with Xiao Guodong, is happy to join the audience with cue in case immediately after losing.
7 – Matthew Selt, aka The Jimmynator, says “get in there” on qualifying for The Crucible.
8 – Ponds Forge audience seats are very uncomfortable.
9 – Four coinciding final frame deciders at the end of 10 hours sat on aforementioned uncomfortable seats, bar 50 minutes break for pint and sandwich, was worth it all!
10 – Bring on the Crucible. Good luck to them all. It’s time to play the game.