The drive to improve table conditions will crank up a notch at the European Tour event in Gibraltar in December when a ball-polishing machine is trialled.

It might not have been quite up there with the launch of the iPhone 6, but after weeks shrouded in mystery a device intended to slash the number of kicks in play was unveiled from a cardboard box at the Barbican Centre during the Betway UK Championship.

Tucked away in the officials’ room next to the tournament office away from (most) prying eyes and accorded the status of a table to itself, ‘PeeWee’ takes the place of referee Pete Williamson, who at last year’s Lisbon Open performed the entire operation by hand.

Never before can one man have been so happy to see a machine take over his job.

Inside Snooker was given special access and a full working demonstration of this feat of engineering, which theoretically will see balls perform better, and last longer at that level of performance.

Reaction to the polishing experiment last year was surprisingly mixed, with some players saying there were far fewer kicks, and others complaining that the balls played completely differently.

So about par for your average tournament, then. With other initiatives ongoing, including a trial of a new cloth on practice tables in York, feedback from Gibraltar is awaited with interest.