Leading female players Reanne Evans and Nutcharut Wongharuthai are among the eight wild cards to be awarded places at the BetVictor Shoot Out to take place in Watford later this month.
The tournament has a unique format with all matches lasting a maximum of ten minutes within a single frame, with a shot clock of 15 seconds for the first five minutes and ten seconds for the last five.
The world ranking event runs from February 20 to 23 at the Watford Colosseum, with every match televised live on Eurosport.
In all there are 128 players in the field, including 118 professionals, eight wild cards and two from the Q School ranking list.
Evans won the Women’s World Championship for the 12th time last year and is top of the women’s world rankings. The 34-year-old played in the Shoot Out last year as well as the recent Champion of Champions where she ran Shaun Murphy close, losing 4-3.
Wongharuthai, age 20 from Thailand, was runner-up to Evans in last year’s world final and is currently ranked third. She also won the Australian Open last year and is the only female player to make a 147 in a practice match. The Shoot Out will be her first live televised match in the UK.
The other six wild cards selections, based in performance in the World Snooker Federation Open and the Challenge Tour, are:
Ashley Hugill. Age 25 from York. Won the recent World Snooker Federation Open.
Iulian Boiko. Age 14 from Ukraine. Runner-up at the recent World Snooker Federation Open.
Dean Young. Age 18 from Edinburgh. Won a Challenge Tour event this season and a former Scottish Under-21 Champion.
Sean Maddocks. Age 17 from Liverpool. Made a competitive 147 at the age of 15.
Aaron Hill. Age 17 from Cork. European Under-18 Champion in 2019 and a World Snooker Federation Open semi-finalist.
Robbie McGuigan. Age 15 from Antrim. Made his first 147 in practice aged just 13.
Leading pro players in the field will include five-time World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan, who last played in the event in 2015, Mark Selby, Mark Williams, Shaun Murphy, Mark Allen, Stuart Bingham, Jimmy White and Thailand’s Thepchaiya Un-Nooh who won the title last year.
The random draw will be made soon and announced on wst.tv
The tournament is the third of four events in the BetVictor European Series, with the leading money winner across the series to earn a bonus of £150,000. Current top two Neil Robertson and Judd Trump have not entered the Shoot Out, giving several others a chance to gain ground if they can win the £50,000 top prize and put themselves into contention going in the last event, the BetVictor Gibraltar Open in March.
There is there confirmation that Ronnie has indeed entered the event, almost certainly to try to qualify for the Players Championship, something that doesn’t look very likely as it stands for now.
I have very mixed feelings when it comes to the Shoot Out. Definitely, in my eyes, it should never be a ranking event. But it is, and if Ronnie were to qualify for the Players Championship because of a good run in it, I won’t complain.
If you accept it for what it is the event is fun. Every player plays in a one table setup, in a mix of glamour and razzmatazz. For the amateurs involved, it’s a great opportunity to showcase their skills. It’s different. There are inevitably twists and turns. The crowd gets involved…
The bad …
It’s a ranking event, which is certainly not right, and something that makes it less fun for players who really need the points. The crowd gets involded.
Yes, the crowd gettng involved, that’s both good and bad.
I went to the Shoot Out twice, at the Tower Circus in Blackpool.
It loved it the first year, in 2011. Players were in good spirit, mixing with the fans. The fans were in good spirit too, loud, some acting a bit silly, but nothing nasty.
Ronnie was there, he was the favourite, but was beaten by Robert Milkins in the SF. It was won by Nigel Bond of all players, not by one of the “quick” ones.
If my memory serves me right, Ronnie made three centuries during the event, including this one against Mark Selby. This was the highest break of the tournament. A lot of people thought that making a century in this event’s conditions would be impossible.
The next year, in 2012, I hated it. It was won by Barry Hawkins who beat Graeme Dott in the final. Dave Harold and his “motionless cue action” had reached the semi finals!
This time the crowd, or at least some in the crowd, became a problem. Some people became very drunk. Female referees were hassled and, at times, verbally abused. Janie Watkins and myself had beer and broken glass thrown at us whilst trying to take pictures. That was no fun anymore. Big Mark Williams from Worldsnooker security had to get involved in order to keep us safe to do our jobs.
Hopefully things like that won’t happen this time. Iulian Boiko, from Ukraine, is still extremely young (14), and Nutcharut Wongharuthai, is tiny and just 20 looking 15. It would be a ig shame if they were exposed to any inappropriate behaviours from some members of the public.