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Snooker: The Musical

January 10, 2010

Entrance music, dancing on the way to the table and introductions for referees. It’s snooker, but not as we know it.

This is Barry Hearn’s idea of Snooker.

Hearn, the chairman of the Professional Darts Corporation and owner of Leyton Orient has been tasked with revitalising snooker after his appointment as head of the World Professional and Biliards association last December.

Barry Hearn is hoping to bring the glory days back to Snooker

The Wembley Masters represents Hearn’s first chance to make his mark, and he did so before the tournament even started, awarding one of the wildcard places to snooker legend and now reality TV star Jimmy White.

As White and opponent Mark King started their match on Sunday evening, the match felt like an occasion, with a raucous London crowd, including Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood and several I’m a Celebrity contestants behind the Whirlwind. 

But the atmosphere may have come at a cost for some Snooker purists.

King danced with “Boys on the Baize” man, Rob Walker, as he entered to rap music and even referee Jan Ver Hass got an introduction. “He’s tall, he’s dutch and he’s very,very good,” announced Walker.

King defeated White 6-2 to book a second round match with Stephen Maguire on Monday evening.

While some snooker fans might not be sure about the PDC Darts-esque music and dancing, Ronnie O’Sullivan is.

The Rocket told the BBC: “I was at the darts and watching the operational side of it and the production involved is good. I think that will come into snooker.”

There is no doubting Hearn’s immediate impact, getting Pokerstars.com to sponsor the Masters at the last minute.

O’Sullivan, a four-time Masters champion, has been given a purple to cue to use during the tournament. It remains to be seen whether he will use it in his first round match with Australian Neil Robertson.

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