It’s fair to say there’s an eclectic field for the Sangsom Six Reds World Championship in Thailand this week.
Gathered in Bangkok are star names, hopeful amateurs and some old stagers not seen since the Jurassic period, chasing down the trophy for the short form version of the game.
There’s a strong representation from the top players. Stephen Maguire is defending his title with the likes of John Higgins, Judd Trump, Stuart Bingham, Mark Selby, Joe Perry, Marco Fu and, at last making his debut appearance this season, Ding Junhui heading the other groups.
Established names like Mark Williams, Michael Holt, Matt Selt, Anthony McGill, Ken Doherty, Michael White, Liang Wenbo, Ryan Day, James Wattana and Matthew Stevens are also in the hunt.
So too is Mark Davis, something of a specialist at this form of snooker, having won a world title in Ireland and two in Thailand.
Yan Bingtao, who sensationally partnered his fellow teenager Zhou Yuelong to victory at the World Cup earlier this season, could be a real handful.
Among the various amateurs is Peter Francisco, nephew of Silvino, who achieved a highest world ranking of 14 before his professional career was ended by a five year WPBSA suspension following an investigation into suspicious patterns of betting prior to his 10-2 defeat to Jimmy White at the 1995 World Championship.
Also playing is Alan Trigg, a Yorkshireman representing Ukraine through residency. Trigg is a renowned coach in Ukraine and has had success at IBSF seniors events.
Trigg’s professional career is perhaps best remembered for a fit of anger which proved costly – and painful. During ‘block’ qualifying at the Norbreck in Blackpool he was so frustrated by one defeat that he punched the wall, breaking his knuckles and thus ruling him out of the next few tournaments.
Another blast from the past s Craig MacGillivray, who never quite made a breakthrough as a professional but who has enjoyed recent success on the Scottish amateur scene.
MacGillivray was well known for his impressions, particularly of Alex Higgins. He drives a taxi now but still plays competitively and it will be interesting to see how he fares against some of snooker’s elite players.
There are eight groups of six players with the top four qualifying from each from the knockout phase, so it would be a surprise if the pros failed to advance.
Six reds has two main rules differences compared with traditional snooker. The maximum number of misses that can be called is five and players cannot roll up behind a colour after potting a red. This latter rule usually catches more than one player out.
The six reds version of snooker hasn’t taken off hugely in Europe but is quite popular in Asia and without the pressure of rankings and seedings etc, the players can enjoy the week before the really serious business of the Shanghai Masters next week.
There’s no television coverage in Europe but the TV table is available to view on World Snooker’s live streaming service.
Photographs by Monique Limbos.