The Snooker Shoot-Out event in Blackpool over the weekend was great fun - but no one was smiling more than Martin Gould, who saw off Mark Allen in the final to take the crown.
The event has been notoriously hard to predict over the past two years with outsiders Nigel Bond and Barry Hawkins mastering the one-frame, shot-clock format, and few would have named Gould among their list of favourites from the field of 64.
However, the Londoner performed well in this tournament last year, making a total clearance on his route to the quarter-finals, and beat Ronnie O'Sullivan in the final of a similar competition, Power Snooker, in 2011 - so he clearly comes into his own when he has to improvise.
Some players take a few shots to warm up but if you try to do that in Snooker Shoot-Out you may well be beaten before you know it. But credit to Gould because he gets into his game very quickly and thrives in this format.
Snooker Shoot-Out has really shone a light on some of the players we don't often hear about or see on TV, and that can only be good for the game.
Quotes of the week
He's a quirky character, someone who loves playing the game and he's got the spirit of the amateur in him. It's great to see players such as him come to the fore at these events; Snooker Shoot-Out has really shone a light on some of the players we don't often hear about or see on TV, and that can only be good for the game.
In fact, a player unfamiliar to many was responsible for one of the best moments of the weekend.
World number 48 Jimmy Robertson made probably the best clearance seen in this event against China's Tian Pengfei in round one. There were only two minutes left on the clock and the balls were in a terrible position, but he cleared up with a 57 break to win the match. You would have laid up any odds of him doing it but he pulled it off and it was a great moment.
The semi-final between Stephen Maguire and Allen was also a highlight. The scores were level and it looked like they were going to go to a shootout, but Allen cut in a thin black to win the match, which was quite superb.
So there were some really good matches over the weekend and I'm sure anyone tuning in with just a passing interest in the game would have been intrigued.
It's definitely an event everyone looks forward to and, although I'm not sure a series of these events would work, it's great to have something a bit different on the calendar.
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Steve Garner says...
Absolutely brilliant weekend. Had tickets for both Saturday sessions as part of my Christmas present off my fiancee and we both thoroughly enjoyed it. Had never been to anything like this before and it was a great experience. Great organisation as well. Had to laugh at the Nigel Bond songs that were coming out - however rude and crude they were - and watching his face as they were being sung was a picture.
Posted 07:17 29th January 2013
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