2021 Shoot Out – Day 1 – Last 128

Let’s the madness commence…

There has been madness indeed, but not the usual one.

There have been no less than 21 withdrawal so far. That must be a record and we might have more today if some players test positive for covid-19 or have been in conctact with someone who does. You can seen the full list of withdrawals, the replacements for them, and the results so far on snooker.org.

Despite the absence of a crowd, the day was not short of drama… including, players being caught because they didnt know or remember the variant rules

Shoot-out variant rules

On thing that is not on that “summary” is the fact that failing to hit a cushion, or a “time” fault results in a 5 points penalty.

Let’s start with WST reports.

Afternoon session:

Allen Makes Record Shoot Out Break

Mark Allen beat Jimmy Robertson in the first round of the BetVictor Shoot Out with a 142 total clearance, the highest break made in the ten-year history of the event.

The Pistol’s tremendous break eclipsed the previous record of 139 set by Thepchaiya Un-Nooh in 2019. Allen goes through to the last 64 of the world ranking event in Milton Keynes.

There was no shortage of drama in the first session of the tournament which has a unique set of rules; all matches lasting a maximum of ten minutes.

Sam Craigie led amateur Phil O’Kane 38-33 with just a few seconds on the clock. Thinking victory was secure, Craigie carelessly tapped the cue ball at a red, but neither ball hit a cushion, which meant his opponent was awarded five penalty points, leaving them tied at 38-38. That meant a sudden death blue ball shoot, and a relieved Craigie came out on top.

Matthew Stevens provided another thrilling finish with a last gasp win over amateur Fergal Quinn. With less than 30 seconds remaining, Quinn led 53-37 when he missed a long pot on the final blue. Stevens was left with a tricky blue to a baulk corner and slotted it home before adding pink and black to book his second round place.

Defending champion Michael Holt got off to a strong start by beating Jamie Jones with a break of 87. That was Holt’s 14th win in his last 15 matches in this event.

Rebecca Kenna, one of two female players in the draw, was beaten by Germany’s Simon Lichtenberg. Kenna was unlucky at a crucial moment in the match as the ‘beeps’ which count down on the shot clock could not be heard in the arena and she committed a time foul.

A WST statement explained: “The players both agreed that they did not hear the ‘beeps’ in this incident, so it would appear that there was a temporary fault in the sound effects in the arena. The lights in the arena were working so the players still had a warning when the time was ticking out. The referee is able to hear the ‘beeps’ in his ear piece. He made the correct decision that there was a time foul. It is an unfortunate incident for the players but the rules were followed.

here is Rebecca Kenna after her match:

Rebecca was a good spots in her interview, but she was really aggrieved, and it showed on her social media. Given that there was clearly a malfunction, and that this was her first ever appearance in a ranking event on television, she could have been offered another chance? Maybe being top resserve in case someone tests positive today?

Despite the win, and the high break record, Mark Allen is not a fan of the format:

Asked if it’s an event that could kickstart a season, Allen said: “It would be a completely false kickstart as this is not snooker.


“But I won’t enter an event without trying to win so I am here to win.”

Here are some short videos that were shared on twitter by WST and Eurosport:

David Grace’s outrageous fluke

Matthew Stevens’ last minute steal

Sam Craigie and Phil O’Kane blue ball shoot out

Evening session:

Selby, Murphy And Williams Through

Big guns Mark Selby, Shaun Murphy and Mark Williams all survived the first round of the BetVictor Shoot Out on Friday evening.

They are through to the last 64 of the one-frame knockout world ranking event in Milton Keynes. The event concludes on Sunday when the winner will bank £50,000.

A deep run in this event would be handy for Murphy as he currently lies 19th on the one-year ranking list, with only the top 16 after the next event – the  BetVictor Welsh Open – to qualify for the Cazoo Players Championship. He saw off Luca Brecel thanks to breaks of 32 and 29.

Selby has never been beyond the last 16 of this event

Selby got the better of a cagey frame against Billy Castle by a 41-31 scoreline. Williams might have lost if his opponent Paul Davies had not missed a tricky red to a top corner late in the frame, but in the end it was the three-time World Champion who won 58-37 to get his name into the hat for round two.

Ian Martin, a 38-year-old businessman from Bury, was one of five amateurs to win on day one, as he beat Robbie McGuigan 59-16. The other amateurs to score victories were Michael White, Leo Fernandez, Declan Lavery and promising English 18-year-old Connor Benzey, who beat Stuart Carrington 43-0.

“I’m over the moon, it makes all the practice worthwhile,” said Benzey. “My safety was really good which is something I have been working on. It was my first time in front of the TV cameras and I felt great, I really enjoyed it. I’ll be going for Q School later this year and trying everything I can to get on tour.”

Fightback of the day came from Martin O’Donnell as he recovered a 34-0 deficit to beat Ben Woollaston with an excellent break of 41 – albeit helped by a fluked red on 17.

Rory McLeod saw off former World Champion Stuart Bingham, while Robert Milkins made a rapid break of 73 to beat Anthony Hamilton.

I quite enjoyed the Eurosport app add-free broadcasting, with Ronnie, Jimmy and Andy in the studio, Rachel interviewing the winners between frame. I definitely prefer this event without the so often rude crowd.

Ronnie might be critical of fellow players at times, but he’s also the first one who will defend them when they make the odd mistake and he did on several occasions yesterday. Just like Mark Allen, as a player and a snooker purist, he doesn’t like to play in this format, but admitted that he enjoys watching it.



9 thoughts on “2021 Shoot Out – Day 1 – Last 128

  1. It is a lot better without the crowd giving out animal sounds. And yes, I can mute it, but it is a bonus that also does not show those horrible people from whom the animal sounds originate. Otherwise sure, some of the rules are despicable and it is not the shot clock that bothers me, but there is at least the possibility of seeing players I would not see otherwise. But mighty-mighty happy Ronnie is not the situation he feels he has to play it. It was terrible last year. It is ridiculous to be a ranking event and even those feel/know it who won it.

    • how can you be so terribly arrogant? where do you even find the courage? “animal sounds”? “horrible people”? what kind of boring, lonely witch are you then? do you really think that people who have a fun night out drinking with their friends are horrible? look into your sad life befor commenting

      • Is your notion of “having a fun night drinking with friends” also involves throwing beer and broken glass at two mature lady photographers doing their job? Or abusing the female referees?
        Because the first is what happened to Janie Watkins and myself at this event a few years back, and the second what I witnessed in the arena. Yes, most are there to have a good night out, and nothing wrong with that, but every session there are a few being just rude and even violent and they ruin it for many. Last year there were a few in the crowd that were really annoying to say the least. And, unfortunately these are the ones people remember.

      • I don’t care if you two are boring or not. But it doesn’t make it right to call people horrible and compare them to animals. If you go to a darts match or a football match, these things happen all the time and people don’t even notice. Let alone whine about it. So yes, relax a bit.

    • Thank you, Monique.

      Juan, FYI I do actually like animals (so no offense there), but they do have the tendency to give out inarticulate sounds that in a crowd indeed sounds like howling, just like people at the Shootout. There is a continuous noise and shouting there. Maybe it is the fault of the whole setup and of the MC who instructs them to act this way, but it all ends up being a rather unbecoming sight. After a certain age (approximately out of primary school) most don’t feel that a good night out needs to include shouting and throwing things. That I find rather unbecoming. I don’t even understand why I should care that such things happen at a darts or football match. Many things happen in many places which are not to be endorsed/liked just because they happen there.. (Some unsavoury examples come to mind, which I’d rather not share lest I cause more excitement.) Altogether the point is that the Shootout has many problems as it is tampering with the rules and its ranking status is ridiculous, but the lack of noisy crowd certainly makes it more enjoyable.

      • I disagree because it attracts a different audience once a year and it has a unique atmosphere. However, I agree that it should never be a ranking tournament. That is ridiculous…

  2. Surprisingly I really enjoyed it, especially watching the less known younger or amateur players. The Eurosport app add-free broadcasting really is a bonus, and I hope Eurosport continues to offer this broadcasting feature (original comment, complete studio coverage and interviews) for the oncoming tournaments.
    The withdrawals of a lot of young Chinese players is bit worrying, hopefully they are not COVID related.

  3. I was more entertained by this than I expected, the added crowd noise adds to the drama. And maybe we can get a Friday evening with less drunken mayhem. It is not a star studded field, but who cares, it’s still fun. Let the youngsters and the amateurs have some spot light, I say. Some of them will probably reach the QF’s. Good for them.

    I don’t mind it being a ranking event, there is certainly enough skill and pressure involved. But they need to watch the prize money carefully, 50k for the winner is the same as in the Riga Masters. Maybe 30-40k would be more sensible.

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