Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

Billy on the Box: From Blackpool with love and Bond with cue

Residents in Blackpool on Sunday evening were driven to distraction with a persistent thumping sound that wouldn’t go away.

It turned out that it was Barry Hearn and a brick wall as despite his best efforts to make snooker sexy and quick-fire the players just didn’t play ball, leaving him loopy.

Determined to show us all what we can do with a load of balls and a snooker cue, the Shoot-out promised a new exciting era, one-frame knock-out action, crowd interaction and fast and furious fun.

And your final? Nigel Bond vs Robert Milkins. You could feel Barry’s pain.

Held at the Tower Circus Arena you felt that the wheels had come off Hearn’s car and there wasn’t a clown in sight, although the persistent beep during play meant that you thought there was a lorry reversing.

There wasn’t. It was just the excitement building of the running down of the shot clock, added to by a man doing an Orson Wells impression telling us who’d won and lost.

Sadly for the organisers all the famous players had had the negative Orson treatment before the final and you felt for Clive Everton, for so long the doyen of baize bards on the Beeb, now given the Sky treatment.

As Nigel ‘00147’ Bond was about the break off, Clive exclaimed: “Sky viewers, for your eyes only, a Bond adventure — Nigel Bond v Robert Milkins.”

I see what you’re trying to do, but there was very little thunder among the balls as the man with the beige cue won the day.

As a view it didn’t make a killing, but with a bit of tinkering, a little quantum of solace, it might just live another day.

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