Finals, News

Robin Hull Wins the Shoot-Out

Robin Hull won the Shoot-Out on Sunday, taking home the biggest prize of his career.

Robin Hull
Robin Hull is a two-time European amateur champion and the 1992 world under-21 champion.

The Finn pockets a handy £32,000 for winning just six frames lasting a duration of only one hour in total.

In a format which rewards speed and a steely nerve, Hull held himself together well right until the end when he beat Luca Brecel in the dying seconds of the final.

It was an entertaining conclusion to what was overall a well-received edition of the now five-year old Shoot-Out, which was broadcast live for the first time on ITV4.

At times, there have been critics of the format which focuses on shot clocks and gimmicks, while all the while encouraging fans to be more noisy, boisterous and interactive with the players.

On Friday night, like what has happened in previous years on occasion, a few drunken idiots in the crowd threatened to tarnish any positive image of the event with inappropriate language lewdly brandished.

However, there was a good mix of banter and respect throughout the weekend and it made for a much more enjoyable spectacle.

One of the Shoot-Out’s best attributes is how it is able to offer air time to all 64 competitors taking part, albeit short but still a nice way for the regular Joe to be introduced to some of the lesser-known faces.

And one of the more popular men among both fellow players and staunch fans alike is Finland’s Hull.

The 41 year-old has been around for a long time and many predicted he would break into the higher echelons earlier in his career, until a life-threatening illness forced him into two early retirements.

Hull has returned, on a limited basis, over the last number of seasons and on many occasions has proven his obvious ability – none more so than when he qualified for the World Championship in 2014 and played Ronnie O’Sullivan in the first round.

It also continued a strong couple of weeks for Europe, with Belgium’s Brecel reaching his second final in successive weeks and now a first professional title for a Scandinavian.

“I thought my chance had gone in the last frame,” admitted Hull after becoming the sixth consecutive player ranked outside the world’s top 16 to win the Shoot-Out.

“Each match is just a coin flip and I got very lucky. The money helps because it allows me to keep playing and I enjoy competing, especially in an atmosphere like this.

“To get paid for it is a privilege. I was twitching here for two days but I’ve ended up winning and this will give me a lot of confidence.”

In recent years the likes of Barry Hawkins, Michael White and Martin Gould have all used the Shoot-Out as a springboard for further success, so it’ll be interesting to see how Hull performs in the coming months with this boost in confidence.

That begins today, Monday, with the Welsh Open in Cardiff.



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World Rankings Top 16

World Rankings after the Northern Ireland Open – won by Mark Allen.

1. Judd Trump
2. Mark Selby
3. Ronnie O’Sullivan
4. Neil Robertson
5. Kyren Wilson
6. John Higgins
7. Shaun Murphy
8. Stephen Maguire
9. Mark Allen
10. Ding Junhui
11. Mark Williams
12. Stuart Bingham
13. Yan Bingtao
14. Barry Hawkins
15. Jack Lisowski
16. Anthony McGill

Fin Ruane Snooker Academy