Snooker: Thai star gives a much-needed dose of character at the Crucible

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We saw the good, the bad and the downright ugly of snooker this week, as Graeme Dott overcame Peter Ebdon - finally - in a seven-and-a-half hour first round marathon here at the Crucible.

Following his victory, Dott raised the possibility of a ‘shot-clock’ in the World Championships, as seen elsewhere in the World Snooker calendar at previous events like the Premier League, Power Snooker and the Snooker Shootout.

That idea looks unlikely to ever come to fruition - as snooker’s supremo Barry Hearn, who can hardly be accused of over-respecting snooker’s traditions, has ruled it out.

“We would be opposed to a shot-clock in the World Championship on a matter of principle; I don’t think it requires that,” Hearn, the man who shortened the length of matches in the UK Championship and introduced the Shootout in Blackpool, said.

But, as Hearn has said many times since his appointment as World Snooker chairman in December 2009, times are a-changing.

He admits that he was beginning to find snooker ‘boring’ before taking charge - and a first-to-ten-frames game taking seven hours will do nothing to change that.

That’s why it is such a welcome sight to have characters like Dechawat Poomjaeng grace the Crucible floor.

The 34-year-old Thai star is a veteran in years, but a mere novice in terms of professional experience.

Poomjaeng, known as ‘Jack’ across the curcuit, trains under the tutelage of Keith Warren and Garry Baldrey at Star Snooker Academy, based at Sheffield United’s Shirecliffe training academy.

He only joined the main tour last season, came through four rounds of qualifying to reach the Crucible - and then reached the second round with a shock 10-9 win over world number five Stephen Maguire.

But Poomjaeng earnt as many supporters at the Crucible for his antics off the table, as he did for his audacious play upon it.

First, he got lost backstage at the Crucible, delayed his walk-out entrance and then made his way to the wrong table.

He then spent the ensuing session smiling, laughing and waving at balls, before knocking water all over his seat in the penultimate frame.

Referee Michaela Tabb stepped in to wipe up the mess, and Maguire said: “It was the most bizarre match I’ve ever played in.

“I don’t think he’s a full shilling if I’m honest - there’s definitely something missing somewhere!”