Overall I enjoyed my day out yesterday at ONEFORSEVEN in Cardiff, even if the city resembled a giant ice rink.

The harsh winter conditions undoubtedly had an effect on crowd turnout and a few big names also pulled out but several top stars took part, including Mark Williams, Mark Selby, Ken Doherty, Mark King, Matthew Stevens and the eventual winner, Ryan Day.

This was not, as some had predicted, the ghost of Pot Black Timeframe (for which many in the snooker world have undergone therapy to forget).

The format pitted eight players playing a single frame against one another. Each frame could last no longer than 21 minutes. The aggregate score for each player over the seven frames was used to calculate the overall winner.

The miss rule and free ball were thrown out and players had ball in hand after fouls, which certainly speeded things up. Not one of the 84 frames played lasted longer than the allotted 21 minutes.

Music was played throughout and the crowd were encouraged to make noise. This made it more a snooker club atmosphere and didn’t seem to put the players off.

I dare say ONEFORSEVEN wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea but it would be wrong to write it off without having seen it.

The players I spoke to enjoyed themselves. I’m sure Ryan will enjoy the £14,707 winners’ cheque he received – not even a semi-final prize in some ranking tournaments.

Players don’t just want to play hard tournament snooker and nothing else. They want to let their hair down (those that have any) from time to time and relax, just as spectators like to see them in less serious mode every so often.

The challenge now for the ONEFORSEVEN organisers is to gain interest from broadcasters. This may be harder than they think. The four table set up would be difficult to cover, although one appealing aspect for TV is that, unlike major tournament snooker, it is possible to discern how long the action will take.

There will, of course, be howls of protest that anyone had the nerve to tamper with the traditional form of snooker.

But the bottom line is that variants on a theme such as this and Six Reds do not threaten the established game in any way. They are merely offshoots that may have a role to play in broadening snooker’s appeal.

Most other sports have tried similar experiments. Some work, some don’t but not trying at all doesn’t get you anywhere.

Certainly the kids in Cardiff enjoyed being given the freedom to get up close to the players rather than sit silently in their seats for hours on end – not a pastime most children enjoy.

At the end, where Day, Liam Highfield and Alfie Burden were all in realistic contention for first place, there was a genuine sense of excitement and everyone got to their feet and gathered around the respective tables to see how it would end.

And remember: snooker was originally invented by messing around with the rules of other cue sports.

I’ve no doubt there were those hidebound to tradition who were appalled by this in the 19th century. If they’d had their way we’d still all be playing billiards and nothing else.

I don’t think ONEFORSEVEN is going to replace what we see at the Crucible any time soon – it’d be hard bearing in mind there is barely sufficient room for two tables in the famous Sheffield theatre.

Personally speaking, my favourite form of snooker is in major tournaments of the 15 red variety, just as I prefer Test cricket to Twenty/20 and one day internationals.

But if experiments such as this can help snooker’s future fortunes, even in a small way, then they should be given a chance.


Anonymous said...

This was a brilliant, exciting spectacle and something that Hearn should implement for some ranking events. Anyone who says different is living in the past and wants snooker to die.

Anonymous said...

I don't know why people keep saying with such certainty that all these gimmicky formats pose no threat to the real game.

Already someone has put a post up here calling for this 147 carry-on to be used in a ranking event, and in the process thrown reasonable debate on it out the window by asserting that anyone who disagrees wants the game to die.

This sort of stuff - Six Reds, 147 - is all nonsense in my view, but that doesn't mean it won't pose a threat to the real game.

Only a few months ago, the West Indies cricket captain said he feels Twenty20 could bring about the death of Test cricket, and that he wouldn't mind it that did happen. Beware.

Anonymous said...

onefourseven is what it is fun but if people start to talk in terms of ranking events etc snooker will become a sporting laughing stock and will pale in to insignificance the mess Rod Walked did.

jamie brannon said...

Sounds better than I first thought, but still feel that could become a threat particulary if they draw better crowds than 15 red snooker. Incidentally has Ryan Day ever won a title, I know he has no major ones?

shaun said...

im all for promoting the game and experimenting but we dont want to go to far and mess about to much.What worked for darts i dont think will work for snooker i mean come on do we really want lady ga ga belting one out in a black ball decider ;)

Anonymous said...

Snooker © The Fine Art Method
A secret is wasted if not shared
Hello Dave
How are you! This new format sounds exciting and will create a very different way of coaching or should that be “Preparation”.

Potting Balls continuously off the spot seems like the ideal way to practice. It gives you movement after each pot like break building. Going down correctly with out the many “Insa and Outseys” Plus finding a balance first time when bending your back.

The secret in this new format Dave is to play as quick as you can “Think” not as quickly as you can move. That sadly was dear ole Tony Drago’s only life long problem.
Mr hey you

Anonymous said...

Comment 1 at 10:38am is clearly on the wind-up. I need to see it for myself, but disco snooker is most definitely not the future.

Anonymous said...

Until the organisers can come up with a match schedule which can completely alleviate any possibility of collusion between players at the end of these events they will continue to struggle to get it off the ground.

Yesterday you had the third place player needing lots of points playing a good friend with nothing to win, you do the math.

Greg said...

Can you give us examples of what kind of music was played? Like... was it just the typical Radio 1 stuff?

Anonymous said...

Of course it would be typical Radio 1 stuff! It's snooker for idiots!

Anonymous said...

Snooker Loopy maybe?

Anonymous said...

Oh dear! Traditionalists appalled at the thought of a non-15 red event just being talked about becoming a ranking event. Talk about heads in the sand! The 15 red event is most definitely moribund; Hearn can salvage something from the older, established events but new tournaments will almost certainly be in different formats.

Hearn talked about a similar set up to darts, where the top players play two events over the weekend. Trying something similar in snooker will mean shorter matches and/or less reds and/or new, quicker formats.

You will not get many more 15 red events. The paying public, and most importantly, the sponsors, just don't want it. This is a fact that has been obvious for several years.

Please, stop being so blinkered and realise there's more to the sport out there than your 15 red version. Week after week of this will have even more people turning their backs on the sport.

Anonymous said...

"You will not get many more 15 red events. The paying public, and most importantly, the sponsors, just don't want it. This is a fact that has been obvious for several years."

I don't know who you are but you are clearly another wind up merchant who doesn't know the first thing about snooker. Snooker does not need people like you anyway so go away.

And Merry Christmas to the rest of you!

Claus Christensen said...

IF there is a crisis in the UK, rest assured that it well contained. Mainland Europe and other parts of the world are still madly in love with 'old' snooker and this as of yet untapped market (except China of course) could bring loads more tournaments. I wouldn't personally mind the players being allowed more freedom but the idea of music is terrible. I cringe at sports like handball where in between every point scored there is awful, AWFUL tunes cranked up. If only it was metal but it isn't. I love to watch snooker but The Black Eyed Peas - or snooker loopy for that matter - would be a real joykiller.
Having said that, I wasn't there.

snookerfanatic said...

Claus - get joined up at snookerfanatic.com I could do with some more people who like metal and traditional snooker!

And everyone else is welcome too. Happy Christmas!

Monique said...

The event was extremely enjoyable and relaxed. It gave kids the opportunity to get close to their heroes, very close, and without the constraint of keeping immobile fo hours. The players did enjoy it and more than one stayed after they were out to watch the others and take in the atmosphere. The bar was open but no one went out of order. Audience was free to move around and chat ... but again no one went out of order.
This is not about replacing traditional snooker, it's about a fun way to involve a larger audience, in particular the young audience or the not so hard core fans. I do think it's important and I do think as well that this, in combination with other formats, can help to raise the interest in the game again.

And I'd like to mention Ken Doherty's contribution... coming to Cardiff from Ireland, after the Killarney 6-reds WC and despite the weather conditions. Hats off Ken!