Snooker Shoot Out draw
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Snooker Shoot Out Draw and Preview

The 2020 Snooker Shoot Out draw took place last week and, in a change of pace from previous seasons, almost everyone has entered.

The controversial ranking event, which is back on the calendar for a tenth straight year and a fourth in a row at the Watford Colosseum, gets under way on Thursday.

In the past, the majority of the marquee names had opted to skip the unpredictable event that relies predominantly on speed and a great deal of luck.

However, with £50,000 up for grabs for the champion on Sunday, only five out of the elite top 16 have decided to not take part.

There are quite a few reasons why the Snooker Shoot Out draw features more of the bigger stars this year.

Not only has the prize fund increased, but the event is also the third leg of the inaugural European Series – a four-tournament swing in which the highest earner at the end pockets a £150,000 bonus.

Neil Robertson and Judd Trump are fighting it out near the top of that order of merit but neither has entered this week, meaning there’s an opportunity for several contenders to narrow the gap before the Gibraltar Open next month.

The Shoot Out’s close proximity on the calendar to the next event on the Coral Series is another reason for its increased importance.

With the Players Championship next week in Southport, defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan currently lies in the precarious 16th and last qualifying spot on the provisional one-year rankings.

The “Rocket” is in the Shoot Out field for the first time since 2015 but the William Hill sportbook rates the 44 year-old as the 10/1 favourite.

Of course, it’s almost impossible to predict what’s going to happen in a competition that incorporates a variation on the traditional rules of the game.

A single ten-minute frame, shot clocks, ball in hand, and having to hit a cushion are just some of the changes adopted.

The Shoot Out is also famous for its unique atmosphere, encouraging boozy boisterousness rather than the humble hush that is the norm for snooker at venues such as the Crucible Theatre.

Such is the obvious unpredictability of the event that no member of that year’s top 16 has ever won it.

Thepchaiya Un-Nooh is the reigning champion after claiming his maiden ranking title twelve months ago, compiling the tournament’s highest ever break of 139 en route.

Barry Hawkins and Michael White are among the other former winners who are in this year’s Shoot Out draw.

While there’s a sense of randomness to it all, the tournament could be important for that pair and a number of others who are involved in various ranking scraps at present.

Hawkins, for example, is 15th on the provisional Race to the Crucible standings and in danger of missing out on an automatic spot in Sheffield, while Welshman White is currently outside the top 64 on the end-of-season list and in line to be relegated from the Main Tour.

The Shoot Out will be a combination of fun and serious then over the coming few days in Hertfordshire.

As its slogan goes, the clock is ticking.

Selection of First Round Ties (L128)

Ronnie O’Sullivan vs Alan McManus
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh vs Alex Borg
Jimmy White vs Matthew Stevens
Shaun Murphy vs Kishan Hirani
Kyren Wilson vs Michael White
Mark Williams vs Luca Brecel
Barry Hawkins vs Jackson Page
Mark Allen vs Luo Honghao
Stuart Bingham vs Andrew Pagett (a)
Ian Burns vs Reanne Evans (a)
Aaron Hill (a) vs Robbie McGuigan (a)

Live coverage is on Eurosport.

Click here to view the full Snooker Shoot Out Draw (Times: CET)


  1. Missed opportunity: How about mentioning the date – that adds some useful information to the opinions.

    • Second sentence: “The controversial ranking event, which is back on the calendar for a tenth straight year and a fourth in a row at the Watford Colosseum, gets under way on Thursday.”

      Happy to spoon feed you even more details if and when you need them, Jan!

  2. The fact this has ranking status is an utter joke. I’ll be fuming if O’Sullivan misses out on Southport because of this decision to demean the meaning of winning a ranking event. In some ways, though, if Ronnie was to miss out it might make them realise how unfair it is to let rankings be affected by an event not played under snooker rules and involves a high proportion of luck.

    • If Ronnie misses out it won’t be because the Shoot Out is a ranking event. It will be because he didn’t enter enough tournaments and didn’t perform well enough in the ones that he did play in. Whether the Shoot Out should be a ranking event or not – and I agree, it shouldn’t be – is completely irrelevant to that. Every player knew the calendar at the start of the season.

      • Paul Whearty

        So what snooker rules are not recognised? It seems to me that all the usual rules are followed, however there is a shot time restriction and frame duration added.
        To be picky if “the rules” are followed then all tournaments would be the best of X frames from start to finish. That’s not the case.
        It’s a good comp and is a change from the norm and the winner deserves their prize money and ranking points, as they have earned it, especially under the extra crowd pressure.

        • The rules on fouls are different and the element of luck is far too pronounced. To win a ranking event should be a significant challenge of winning several matches over a meaningful distance.

          • I’m not sure you’re getting the event. It looks like you’re calling this a new sport that any cueist can compete in. Pool, American pool and snooker are different, so the shootout is different?
            American pool has different variants, as does UK pool, I’m sure snooker would benefit in the same way pool does.

      • I understand what you’re saying but if it wasn’t a ranking event he’d have done enough to qualify. So it is relevant in that sense. Obviously he could have done better and entered one or two more events but it still irritates that this Shootout nonsense has cost us the best player of all time in Southport. There’s also an argument as defending champion that he should be seeded one as many other ranking events apply this criteria, and the Masters find space for a reigning World Champion outside the top 16.

        • I agree, any reigning champion should be able to defend their title and should automatically be seeded no.1 irrespective of what they have done over the course of the season.

    • Pete Farrelly

      Contrary to popular belief, the world of snooker does not revolve around what suits any one player.

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