The main talking point here at the Crucible is whether snooker’s showpiece tournament will ever have a shot-clock?
The answer – and I’m 100 per cent convinced about this – is an emphatic ‘no’.
Victorious after a gruelling seven and a half hour first round victory over grinder Peter Ebdon, Graeme Dott suggested the only way to eradicate slow play is a potential crackdown with a shot-clock. Dott wasn’t getting personal with Ebdon for his slow play. But the frustrated Scot was determined to make his point, having been branded a slow player ever since the pair’s infamous 2006 world final. Dott won that match but the best-of-35 final didn’t finish until about 1am the day after it had started.
“It’s hard to bring a rule in for slow play, but maybe we should think about having a shot clock and giving us timeouts,” said Dott. “It’s the only thing I can think of because it [slow play] is killing the game.
“None of this is against Peter because I really do like him, but I got the impression that 95 per cent of the crowd wanted me to win my match because of how slow he plays.
“Other snooker players would probably want me to win because they know he’s taking way too long.
“Is Peter cheating? No, because there’s not a rule. But the standard nowadays is very high and there’s no need to be as slow as Peter was.
“I got criticised when I won the World Championship [in 2006]. I got tagged for being slow. Now if anybody tags me for that match being slow, I’ll sue them because I feel I’m playing quite quickly.”
A 25-second shot-clock has been used successfully in snooker’s Premier League, as well as a shot-clock spin-offs tournaments such as Power Snooker and the Snooker Shootout. But Barry Hearn, the World Snooker chairman, has said: “We would be opposed to a shot-clock in the World Championship on a matter of principle; I don’t think it requires that.”
*Latest: Judd Trump leads Dominic Dale 6-3, Marco Fu leads Matthew Stevens 6-3, Ding Junhui leads Alan McManus 7-2.
*Today’s first round matches: 10am – Trump v Dale, Junhui v McManus – both matches play to a finish; 2.30pm – Stevens v Fu – plays to a finish, Neil Roberston v Robert Milkins – max of 9 frames; 7pm – Stuart Bingham v Sam Baird, Mark Selby v Matthew Selt – both matches play to a finish.
*Results: Ali Carter 10-4 Ben Woollaston, Dechawat Poomjaeng 10-9 Stephen Maguire.