Features

It’s There! Character Building

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.

Alan McManus attempt to blind his opponent failed as he went out in the opening round - photo courtesy of Monique Limbos.

Alan McManus’s attempt to blind his opponent failed as he went out in the opening round – photo courtesy of Monique Limbos.

Read below for the latest offering, but who is behind the Free Ball?

Character Building
By Free Ball

Last year, myself and the man behind SnookerHQ, or Boss as I’ve had to call him for the last week, were having some evening refreshments. Amazingly, talk turned to snooker. A fairly heated debate ensued with another fan of the sport. His argument was that snooker no longer had characters, and had become a bit boring. It took myself and the Boss a while to win the argument due to the effects of afore-mentioned refreshments. It wasn’t really that difficult in the end, as our associate finally owned up to hardly watching the sport these days…

I was thinking about this during the first week of The Worlds. His argument about the sport being less engaging is of course ludicrous. The standard of play just gets better and better; big breaks, top safety, and snooker abound on an almost weekly basis. And characters?

I would be bold enough to say they are all characters. There are no hell raisers, sure, but each one has his or her own set of traits that make them, for want of a better term, interesting.

There’s the heart on sleeve players like Maguire, Allen, King and Holt. One day, Maguire will break a table, or himself. The intensity to the max players like Robertson, Ebdon and to a point, Selby. Ebdon puts so much into preparing for a shot, he may not strike the ball until the next day.

There’s the nice guys. Hawkins, Bingham and Poomjaeng to name a few, just simply coming across as very amiable people.

Then there’s the exhibitionists. Trump and Murphy with their shoes, suits and big shots. McManus with his silk scarves and ridiculous tartan – it’s awful. I think as a final throw of the dice, he wears it to unsettle his opponents. How about Dominic Dale being, well, his amazing, intriguing, inter planetary self?

It was great to see Anthony McGill going through to the quarters on Friday night. He is steadily becoming a favourite of the crowd with his daring play and cheery nature. Here’s hoping his approach doesn’t alter too much as his career progresses and pressure takes its toll.

There’s also a guy called Ronnie O’Sullivan…

Keep an eye out for the next dose of ‘It’s There!’ by Free Ball throughout the 2015 World Championship.

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.