x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Going to pot in a hurry? Try Power Snooker

It is a revolutionary new form of the game which launches tonight in London and, if successful, will be followed up with tournaments in the Middle East, China and Singapore.

If ever the name of a sport cried out for an exclamation mark, it is this one.

Power Snooker!

See what I mean? It is even better if you adopt a gravelly voice and elongate the syllables, a la Hollywood voice artist Don LaFontaine.

Pooowwwweeeer Snoooookeeeerrr! Now you're feeling it, right? Power Snooker(!) is a revolutionary new form of the game which launches tonight in London and, if successful, will be followed up with tournaments in the Middle East, China and Singapore.

The revolution will, of course, be televised, and although I have not yet seen the pre- and post-commercial break idents, I anticipate the Power Snooker(!) logo in a metallic font, spinning towards our screens with a whoosh effect before landing with a thunderous clank, and hopefully a fiery explosion.

Pooowwwweeeer Snoooookeeeerrr! Whooosh! Clank! Boom!

Intended as snooker's version of Twenty20 cricket - a shot of adrenalin to pump young blood around an increasingly feeble organ - the Power Snooker(!) rules are not so much crowd-pleasers as baying-mob-stokers. Each frame starts with the usual coloured balls plus nine reds in a diamond formation, instead of the usual triangle of 15. The centre red is marked with the Power Snooker(!) logo, and its potting commences a two-minute period of Power Play(!), in which all points are doubled.

If the player misses a shot during Power Play(!), the remainder of the period goes to their opponent. This could make things very interesting during the changeover, as body-checking has never previously been advantageous in snooker.

Other rules include penalties for slow play, which is defined as 20 seconds per shot - an amount of time Terry Griffiths would have needed simply to think about chalking his cue.

Bonus points will be awarded for long pots and century breaks, no game will last longer than 30 minutes and it has been suggested that players wear microphones to encourage interaction with the audience. Yes, a bit like a pantomime.

Finally, the entire match will be staged on a moving bus that will blow up if its speed drops below 80kph, with control of the bus undertaken by whichever player is not at the table. During Power Play(!) periods, the driving player must be blindfolded. And he must jump the bus over a shark tank. While the bus is on fire. As is the shark tank.

OK, that last bit was made up, but it is hard to tell the difference. And one gets the impression that Barry Hearn, the snooker impresario behind Power Snooker(!), would stop at nothing to revive his glory days of the 1980s, when millions would set aside entire weekends to stare at coloured balls clicking gently across a rectangle of baize.

Baffled by its declining popularity, snooker has traded its epic sagas - those marathon wars of attrition in which advantage was won or lost inch by inch - for slim volumes of pulp fiction. No room for sagas in the modern world, you see. Just crash-bang-wallop bursts of full-tilt action, preferably watched on your iPhone while simultaneously downloading Lady Gaga's latest podcast, using Twitter to disclose your plans for a mid-afternoon snack, and Google-Mapping your way to the nearest flash-mob event.

Power Snooker(!) is snooker for people who are too busy for snooker. But what if you are too busy to even find out? Instead of watching tonight's inaugural event, simply take this quiz - sorry, I mean this Power Quiz! - to decide if Power Snooker(!) is the sport for you. Please note: this page will explode if you do not answer questions within 20 seconds.

 

What did you have for breakfast today?

a) Prunes, with prune juice.

b) Cornflakes, with sugar.

c) Sugar, with cornflakes.

How long is your attention span?

a) I will sit through anything, no matter how dull, for fear of being labelled a flibbertigibbet.

b) Long enough, thanks.

c) Sorry, what was the question again?

Imagine a glass of ice-cold cola. What are you thinking?

a) No thanks. Not with my prostate.

b) Yes, the occasional glass of cola is very nice.

c) Cola? Gimme a hit. I need a hit, baby. Just gimme that sweet cola kiss, man, I'm twitchin'.

What is Ritalin?

a) Wasn't she a singer during the war? Of course, it was proper music back then, not like that noise they listen to nowadays.

b) A drug used to treat hyperactivity in children.

c) Mom calls them my "Calm Down Candies".

How did you score?

Mostly As: You are likely to be a snooker traditionalist. You probably got upset when players started wearing coloured waistcoats and entering the arena to their own music. Do not attempt to watch Power Snooker(!) without first seeking medical advice.

Mostly Bs: As a sane adult, you can probably watch Power Snooker(!) without needing to breathe into a paper bag and think of Stephen Hendry. You will conclude that it is a bit of silly fun which could never replace the traditional game.

Mostly Cs: Congratulations! You are in the target audience for Power Snooker(!) Sadly, you will never know this because too many words make your head hurt, so there is no way you reached the end of this article.

sports@thenational.ae