2020 Shoot Out – Day 2

It was another eventful day in Watford and here is the report by WST:

Ronnie O’Sullivan, competing in the event for the first time since 2015, beat Alan McManus to reach the second round of the BetVictor Shoot Out.

The Rocket meets Billy Castle in round two of the quickfire one-frame tournament at the Watford Colosseum on Saturday.

Breaks of 20 and 22 helped O’Sullivan to a scoreline of 54-10 against McManus, who had one clear chance early in the frame but missed the pink to a centre pocket.

On a day of dramatic incident, African Champion Amine Amiri lost to Michael Holt having failed to realise that in this event a ball must be potted or hit a cushion with every shot. On two occasions Amiri looked in control of the frame when he tried to roll up to the black to snooker his opponent. Both times Holt was gifted seven points and ball in hand, and he eventually won the frame 69-38.

Iran’s Soheil Vahedi came from 37-1 down to tie at 37-37 with Alfie Burden, then potted the blue in a sudden death shoot out after Burden had missed.

Ricky Walden had a chance to clear from 36 points down against Tian Pengfei, but missed the final black off its spot at 61-64. Tian potted the black to book his second round spot.

Ashley Carty trailed Noppon Saengkham 43-35 with less than a minute to go but potted red, blue and yellow then slotted in the green as the clock ticked to zero for a last-gasp victory.

Liang Wenbo trailed Oliver Lines 29-15 but snatched the result with a late break of 19, sealing it with a difficult thin cut on the pink to a corner pocket. Liang is one of 15 Chinese players among the last 64.

Ali Carter edged out Chen Zifan 52-50; in the last minute Chen needed to pot two balls but didn’t get a clear chance.

Reanne Evans, one of two female wild cards in the draw, was beaten by Ian Burns who made an excellent break of 62.

It was a good day for Irish amateur teenagers as 18-year-old Ross Bulman beat 2018 champion Michael Georgiou while 17-year-old Aaron Hill got the better of Robbie McGuigan.

Shaun Murphy made a break of 68 to beat Kishan Hirani while Jack Lisowski fired a run of 78 to beat Andy Hicks.

Here are Ronnie’s match and post-match at the counter …

Plus an interview with BetVictor

Ronnie clearly not too keen to give a definite opinion on the event ranking status then…

Ronnie was playing the last match of the last 128, and over the full two days of the round Eurosport had been bigging the match. When the time finally came for it, the crowd was in a frenzy.

There was an “incident” … of course there had to be one. As Ronnie was cueing the pink “over the black”, Judd Trump tweeded that he “thought” that Ronnie had touched the black, but that he wasn’t sure. You can see it in the above footage at 3’50”. The referee, didn’t call a foul. However a few seconds later, after her attention was apparently drawn to it by a member of the crowd, she shouted “Ronnie stop!”. Ronnie was on his next shot already and played it.

Judd almost immediately removed his tweet, but the seed was planted. All over twitter there were people, branding Ronnie a cheat – “surely he must have felt it” – and “he’s ignoring the ref”. And Desi got criticised rather harshly too.

Now, let’s get this straight. It was madness all over there. The noise was deafening. Ronnie was certainly trying to block it out and concentrate, as they all do, and he only had a few seconds to play his next shot as well. Almost certainly he didn’t hear the referee at all. If she had shouted “foul” maybe that would have caught his attention, but “Ronnie stop” was unlikely to be registered under the circumstances.

Rolf Kalb, the hugely respected German commentator and MC, took the common sense approach: he watched the video several times, still wasn’t sure AND he added that if Desi thought there was a foul, she should have shouted “Foul”, not “Ronnie stop”. End of story.

Amine Amiri “fouling” twice by rolling the white behind the black also triggered a lot of reactions. The commentators couldn’t quite believe it and the poor guy got crucified on social media. Even after the first foul, it was quite obvious that he hadn’t understood that he needed to hit a cushion on every shot – unless he potted a ball – even on safeties like this. I’m not sure how well he understands English. He’s Morrocan, his native language is probably Arabic, with French the second one. I do think that he had read, or been told about the alternate rules, because he took care to hit a cushion when playing his other shots, but, for some reason, hadn’t understood that it applied to all types of shots, including such safeties. In 2011, on the first year of the Shoot Out, there were quite a number of such incidents, by players who were native English speakers. Now they are used to this, but Amine is a rookie. Give the lad a break!

Soheil Vahedi waiting too long to play the red that would have given him the victory against Alfie Burden was another strange one. Asked after the match what had happened, Soheil explained that he had somehow been puzzled because the crowd remained silent whilst he was about to play the shot. He was expecting a cheer that didn’t come and just “froze”, waiting for it. He did win on the blue ball shoot out eventually though.

Finally, all credit to Barry Pinches, who DID call a foul on himself, when nobody had seen it, and knowing it could cost him the match as well. It did.



20 thoughts on “2020 Shoot Out – Day 2

    • I’m not sure how much of this is true, but there is truth in it. I have seen Ronnie in that state myself. And I was told by someone in the snooker sphere (not Jason) that Ronnie had split wit Laila right before the World Championship. I knew however that they were back together at the time I was told. But that explains his claims at the start of the season that he was going to reduce his schedule first, hinting that snooker had cost him relationships in the past. The thing is, when he prepares for a tournament that is important to him, he gets in a bubble and that can br quite demanding on those around him.

  1. To be clear, I don’t think Ronnie is under any obligation to lose on purpose. I just know that he cares about his reputation and status as a fair and honest player, and if he were to win the event (or at least, qualify for the PC based on ranking points from this event) then he would have to put up with a lot of (unwarranted) criticism from Ronnie-haters that he would rather not have to put up with.

    The only way to avoid that criticism for sure would be to lose before he makes it far enough for his ranking points to make a difference in PC qualifying.

    • Mark, I understand what you are saying, but have we (or anyone) established that there was a foul, or is it just someone tweeting that there might have been though he is not sure? I know I’m not neutral here in any way, but for God’s sake, someone tweeting it, then when the seeds are planted, deleting his tweet, well, I don’t want to be censored out for foul (pun intended) language.

      • It is interesting how some ppl of name who not even participating in the event are watching it at midnight and trying to put someone down being pointdexters. The notion of lesser complex springs to mind.

  2. Why would Ron have to lose on purpose now again? Did Barcelona lose on purpose the next round after Ovrebo robbed Chelsea for four penalties? Ron should just play as always and win all if possible. Cheers.

  3. Ronnie’s foul incident was very unfortunate. Perhaps the best thing that can happen now would be for Ronnie to lose his next match (maybe even quasi-intentionally, like he did against Mark Davis at the English Open) but then to still qualify for the PC anyway, based on the ranking points he had amassed prior to this event…

      • It would be silly for him to lose on purpose. It wasn’t like in the English Open last year when he did foul for real and was devastated about it and that might have contributed to his very lopsided loss to Mark Davis. Here there was no obvious foul and just because Trump thought there “might have been one” is no reason to jeopardize the PC on purpose.

  4. I didn’t see the Ronnie match, but it does look like a bit of a shambles. If it was indeed the ‘marker’ who called a foul, then they should have a STOP button, something very noticeable. Similarly for time fouls. I don’t even know if there is a ‘marker’ in any sense. But there probably has to be an emergency way to interrupt a game in extreme cases, even if that goes against the spirit of the shoot-out being non-stop.

    As for Amine Amiri, yes we don’t want to be harsh on such a player. However, as a ‘professional’ he should not only be aware of the rules, but also be aware that under extreme pressure things like that can happen, and be prepared. He should have played 30 or 40 frames under those rules in a practice session. For a player like him, winning a shoot-out match could have been a major boost to his confidence. But I don’t know Amiri, or whether he has anyone who can advise him.

    • I’m afraid that Amine Amiri has nobody around him with more experienced of the professional tour than himself. The issue is those “nominations”. I’m sure that Jason Ferguson must know that the level of snooker in Africa is nowhere near what’s required for the pro tour. Those guys are lambs for the slaughter. They should get a scholarship in a good academy instead , entries in the Challenge tour events offered, with the commitment play at least in half of them. Then, depending on results, they could get on tour after one year.

      • The problem with that is that if a really brilliant player from African comes along, then delaying their entry into Pro snooker might hold them back. Ultimately it comes down to opportunities and money. It’s also seen as a positive thing to have an African player on the tour, no matter how bad they are.

        But Amiri himself has played in a few events now. He must at least try to make friends with some players, ask for practice matches, talk to them. His predecessor Basem Eltahhan was based at STAR under Keith Warren, and had Luo Honghao and Rodion Judin as practice partners. OK it didn’t do much for his results, but something like that would be a minimum.

  5. The referee put the yellow back on the green spot as well; this may have been the source of the, “Ronnie stop” comment?

  6. Thus was one of the most atypical interviews with Ronnie saying he doesn’t want to speculate or get into anything. Usually he is a lot more outspoken. 🙂 But I truly appreciated that winning this is not the way he wants to break the record. But however I detest this event, he played good snooker and it was good to see him play.

    (It is true I didn’t consider its being a Eurosport event or Ronnie working for them and as such not advised to voice things.)

    As to the “incident” we noticed nothing of it as we could only bear watching it with the sound muted, I braced myself to watch it now, but the referee said it once “Ronnie stop” and then went on doing normal referee work, so she wasn’t that adamant about it. Of course in a normal tournament she could have asked to see the video footage or whatever, not here, and yes, if she thought Ronnie fouled, she should have said that and immediately, not being alerted by the crowd. The commentary did not say anything about the potential foul, so I only wonder now why, oh why did Trump think it important/necessary/appropriate to tweet it at all, but especially tweet he “thought and “wasn’t sure”?

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