Michael Georgiou inspired by Shoot Out success


Michael Georgiou beat former world champion Graeme Dott in the final of the Snooker Shoot Out

Instinct has served Michael Georgiou well.

Four years ago he was working in banking recruitment and watching on while many of the contemporaries from his junior career were making a more than healthy living from snooker.

It just seemed wrong.

Something told him that he should not be looking on from afar as players such as Judd Trump, Mark Allen, Ben Woollaston and Kyren Wilson were challenging for the biggest titles and heftiest pay cheques – all for doing something they love.

“It just made me question things,” snooker’s latest first-time ranking event winner told BBC Sport.

“I was part of all the human traffic travelling to work and back on the Tube, but I felt like I was missing out.”

The 30-year-old Londoner had given up the sport he loved in 2011 because he could not make a living on the fringes when there were “only about eight or nine tournaments a season”.

See ball, hit ball

Following his heart certainly paid rich reward as the world number 73 progressed through six rounds before beating Graeme Dott in a thrilling climax to snooker’s still somewhat controversial Shoot Out event in Watford on Sunday.

The sport’s glitzy one-frame knockout format features a shot-clock and raucous crowds, with the aim of appealing to a younger audience.

A rushed approach certainly simplifies things, with no time for anything other than a “see ball, hit ball” style of play.

It is fun, accessible and entertaining, but it is far from a universally popular event.

The sport’s hardcore supporters are pretty disgusted by the ticking clock, the hollering and hooting from the crowds and seeing world champions aplenty having to run around the table as they desperately look to claw back a 15-point deficit with 45 seconds remaining.

Georgiou reached the third round of the UK Championship in 2016, in which he lost to Ronnie O’Sullivan

But the instinctive, thrill-a-minute nature of snooker’s “T20” equivalent brings a refreshing new twist to the sport. And it certainly suits Georgiou.

“It’s the overthinking that can cause problems, and it has done for me at times,” the London-born Cypriot added.

“So much of snooker is on the mental side and when you spend time sat in your chair watching your opponent scoring heavily, or are worrying about an easy miss, it can really affect you.

“I feel my game is in a good place and although the Shoot Out is a totally different format, this win has given me lots of confidence and inspired me to take that into the next tournament.”

That next tournament is the small matter of the World Grand Prix on 19-25 February,