The snooker final has just been on television and I’m fascinated by it. I know to some people this may seem like one of the most boring sports in the world (some may not even classify it as a sport!), but the accuracy and precision required, as well as the amount of money and sponsorship each player receives, is astonishing. The runner-up left the competition with £90,000 while the champion won £250,000 for winning the tournament, as well as a title for setting a new record by winning it for the seventh year!
The television programme showed how snooker had changed over the years and become a big sport, and it made me wonder how big snooker is internationally and if anyone outside of the UK had heard of it. I used to get snooker confused with pool, but pool is a completely different game with much smaller balls and different rules. The snooker table is 11 feet, 8.5 inches long, so sometimes it is really difficult to see the other end of the table.
Snooker’s rules are fairly simple. You have a snooker cue, which can only be used to hit the white cue ball. You have to pot all the balls on the table into the six pockets, which are located in the four corners of the table and with two halfway along the long sides of the table too. Each coloured ball gives you a certain number of points. There are 15 red balls and every time you pot a red ball, you must pot a coloured ball before you pot another red ball. The other ball colours and the number of points they give you are: yellow (2), green (3), brown (4), blue (5), pink (6) and black (7), so realistically, every time you pot a red you want to pot a black, to give you the maximum of 8 points in total (1 for the red ball plus 7 for the black). Once all the red balls have been potted, you must pot the colours in the right order, explained above. If you miss potting a ball, the other player gets a turn.
The idea of the game is to pot as many balls as you can in succession, that is, without letting the other player have a turn. If you are unable to pot the correct ball, you can try and ‘snooker’ your opponent by hitting the ball so that it finishes behind another ball, making it impossible for them to pot the correct ball. It is very important that they do not miss the ball they are aiming for and that they do not pot the cue ball, so each player has to try and plan which ball they want to pot next to ensure the ball finishes where they want it to!