Returning after the success of last year is our inconspicuous snooker aficionado, Free Ball.
Throughout the World Championship, this unnamed follower of our beloved sport will provide a few musings on some of the not so well documented happenings in Sheffield – mostly from the luxury of his/her own settee.
The main talking points obviously surround the snooker played in the arena but there’s plenty of other things, both useful and useless, to take note of during a tournament of this extremity and length.
Read below for the latest offering, but who is behind the Free Ball?
By Free Ball
I feel it a good idea by the BBC to bring a journalist into the commentary box. George Riley has been around the snooker scene for a while. He has a pleasing voice to the ear. His awareness of what is unfolding on the table should be praised. I would say though, that the sound engineer should sort out his mic levels. This isn’t 5 Live football commentary. At times it sounds like he’s bellowing through a frame. Bellowing through a frame – that kind of sounds like a joinery term.
Anyway, I’m also enjoying his occasional requests for personal insights from whichever behemoth he is sat beside. The ex-players commentating, plus Nigella and Ken, seem genuinely pleased to express their empathy for someone going through the ringer. It’s a nice contrast to the more than occasional jibes the old guard give each other.
George went too far on Monday night though. He got overly excited and called King Hendry “Stevie”. There was a moment of silence in the box. Now that wouldn’t have been unusual with Hendry in the past, but I couldn’t help imagining a stoney glare from the past master. “Don’t call me Stevie, laddie. You’re not worth tying my shoelaces!”. Or words to that effect… I haven’t seen or heard Georgey Boy since then.
Nigella, meanwhile, seems ecstatic in his relatively new role as a pundit and commentator. He did get carried away as John Higgins ate up the balls near the end of his match yesterday. He came over all sensual in his description of Higgins’ stroke, touch and feel around the table. I could imagine him salivating in the comm-box. Too much, Peter, too much.