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Snooker – The Shootout Preview

Mark Williams begins his challenge for Snookers’ wackiest event – ‘The Shootout’ – at the Morningside Arena in Leicester this week, a tournament which aims to speed up the game by introducing shot clocks.

The Welsh wizard opens his account in ‘The Shootout’ up against Englishman Craig Steadman, just days after his excellent run in the Masters Championship, where he lost out to Judd Trump in the final.

The unique shot-clock competition features 128 players competing for a £50,000 top prize from January 25-28.

Players have 15 seconds per shot in the first five minutes of each frame; then 10 seconds per shot in the remaining five minutes. If there’s a tie, the winner is decided by a blue ball shoot-out.

Hossein Vafaei defeated Mark Williams by 71 points to nil in last year’s final.

But no player has ever captured the Shootout title on more than one occasion since it began in 2011, while only 21 players have registered a century break.

Williams will join up with the likes of Mark Selby and Mark Allen, as they compete in the tournament which involves seven rounds of frantic one-frame matches, which are limited to just 10 minutes.

Defending champion Vafaei returns to open the tournament in a corker against Shaun Murphy. The Prince of Persia has enjoyed an excellent year or two, as he continues to pick up wins against top ranked players.

Vafaei defeated Williams in the final of The Shootout last time and picked up another big win against Mark Selby, defeating him 6–4 in the 2022 UK Championship.

Williams will be looking to pick himself up after another final loss, after he fell to defeat against Trump in the Masters’ final..

Despite the setbacks he has enjoyed a strong season and is currently ranked seventh in the world rankings. Although the Welsh Potting Machine will have to get through Steadman in the first round, he looks set to try and avenge last year’s final defeat.

Stuart Bingham is another player who will be confident after finding his form during an excellent run in the masters, before falling short against eventual winner Judd Trump at the semi-final stage. Bingham has won this tournament before it gained ranking status back in 2014, and was a quarter-finalist in 2019, before reaching the third round last year.

Mark Allen also arrives in Leicester in great form, surviving a late Trump comeback to win the World Grand Prix. The Northern Irish Snooker player has been criticised by Stephen Hendry for his ‘slow play’ tactics, but Allen knows he will be forced to play a lot quicker in the Shootout and hopes to silence his critics.

The 2023 Shoot Out will take place at the Morningside Arena in Leicester from Wednesday, January 25 to Saturday, January 28.

Session times each day will be at 13:00 GMT and 19:00 GMT.

Schedule and Results

Hossein VafaeiShaun Murphy
Vladislav GradinariNg On-yee
Jamie O’NeillRyan Thomerson
Liam GrahamCao Yupeng
Ian MartinThepchaiya Un-Nooh
Luke SimmondsSam Craigie
Robbie McGuiganHammad Miah
James CahillJordan Brown
Joe PerryLuca Brecel
Lukas KleckersRod Lawler
Joe O’ConnorDylan Emery
Barry PinchesMichael Judge
Anthony HamiltonBen Mertens
Andy HicksRory McLeod
Jack BorwickAli Carter
Mark WilliamsCraig Steadman

7pm Schedule

Jack LisowskiMark Allen
Martin GouldJamie Clarke
Alexander UrsenbacherAaron Hill
Robbie WilliamsMink Nutcharut
Mark JoyceVictor Sarkis
Robert MilkinsAndy Lee
Sean O’SullivanDean Young
Andrew PagettAshley Hugill
Stephen MaguireKen Doherty
Jamie JonesJenson Kendrick
Ben WoollastonSanderson Lam
Muhammad AsifGerard Greene
Louis HeathcoteOliver Lines
Jimmy WhiteAdam Duffy
Peng YisongDaniel Wells
Barry HawkinsJackson Page

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