Over the course of the World Championship I’ve challenged one snooker aficionado to highlight the best quirky, outlandish, unusual, laughable and questionable observations of each day.
As if to further enhance his (or her!) alter ego as snooker’s sleeper, this spy has elected to go through the tournament in disguise.
Read below for day four’s offering, but who is behind the Free Ball?
By Free Ball
I like looking at faces. My job, which I have almost abandoned since Saturday, gives me the opportunity to people gaze. So observing the facial twitches and other mannerisms of snooker players is another sideline of entertainment for me.
Mark Selby has managed to get his swaying motion under control, but the intensity of a particular shot still has his head shaking like it may pop. Ryan Day, with his deep sunken eyes, comes across as a very gentle soul when interviewed. But when things go wrong in a match, he has the appearance of a Hell child.
There’s a lot of tongue action. Ronnie O’Sullivan can go all lizard like with his muscular hydrostat (I had to look that up). John Higgins can’t play most shots without his being revealed. Higgins was also a great nose picker in his early days, waiting in his seat for some table time. Graeme Dott likes to give his a good workout too. He’s probably up there with the best for all round facial expressions.
Watching Ding Junhui against Mark Davis, it was nice to see Ding’s eye barely twitching. I’m a big fan of Ding, and get concerned when the twitch is regular; it usually means he’s in a spot of bother. Ding still looks almost like a boy, with his cherub like face and cheeky grin. Contrast that to his opponent. Davis, with his chiselled jaw and slicked back hair, looks like he fell out of a 1940’s film noir set. His clean-cut appearance assures that he’s a man who washes his hands after going to the bathroom.
And then there’s Neil Robertson. As the years have passed, he has pretty much deleted any desire to show an emotion at the table. Surely it’s healthy for a player to release a little while playing, otherwise they run the risk of implosion? Stephen Maguire doesn’t have such problems.