Belfast Telegraph

Billy on the Box: Time to cue the snooker revolution

Power Snooker has arrived, and Matt Smith looked more excited than a boy handed a year’s supply of Lucky Bags.

Well, I say ‘arrived’ as it’s on ITV4 and they’re clearly taking no chances but Matt did his best to persuade us that this was the future of sport on the green baize, or darker green, with some weird designs on it.

“It will be, we hope, fun, fast and furious. You might say, cue the revolution!” he proclaimed, while I looked for one of Riley’s finest to insert into a hole from an acute angle.

Basically, Power Snooker is a cross between Big Break and a stag do. Lots of drunken men in bad shirts, leering and shouting at scantily-clad women whilst sinking copious amounts of alcohol. The fans are now mirroring the players of the Eighties.

I half expected to come back after one of the four million ad breaks to find Tony Knowles and a Page 3 girl, in a state of dishevelment with not a waistcoat to be seen, but there was no time for that.

So what else is new? No ties, just open-necked shirts (rock and roll) with Ali Carter sporting a rather fetching mustard number, and everything has to have Power on it. Must be like living in Phil Taylor’s house.

We had Power Zones, Power Plays, Power Balls and, best of all, Power Girls, as three beauties accompanied the players onto stage to a cacophony of loud music, flashing lights and cheering hordes. Darts really should give this a bash.

Not exactly dipping a toe in the politically correct pool but having female referees announcing to a drunken male rabble ‘you are in my Power Zone’ was maybe not the best idea. I half expected a flurry of fivers to rain down on the stage as Michaela Tabb slipped up on down on a two-piece walnut number.

It was fitting that a game created to try and keep Ronnie O’Sullivan (pictured) from throwing the toys out of the pram was won by the Rocket, although letting him play a 15-year-old from Belgium in his first game was taking things a bit far. I thought it was only Linfield who got draws like that.

And it all went according to plan, except for the unplanned brown that emerged from Ronnie’s mouth, clearly adapting to his surroundings better than most.

“At one point Luca potted a Power Ball and made 50 in a minute. I thought ‘S*** man, what’s going on here?”, he said. Cue a colossal drunken roar and Matt looking as if he’d swallowed a triangle.

“Obviously we’re live and apologies. It’s different snooker, but it’s not that different,” he said, as a power goat was brought onto the stage and sacrificed for the blood-thirsty natives. Okay, I made that last bit up.

It may take a while to catch on and if it helps a dying sport then it’s to be applauded but the World Seniors Championship is just around the corner and is likely to be more successful because of one simple fact — it has players who are characters.

Mind you, I worry. Will Cliff Thorburn and Dennis Taylor be ushered onto stage with flashing lights on their zimmer frames, accompanied by women in surgical stockings while fans wave tartan rugs in the air, down beakers of Bovril and overdose on Sanatogen? More power to them I say.

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