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English 8-Ball Pool promoters STRN will showcase their innovative Taom Shootout event this Saturday at the Players Lounge in Atherton. 

This one evening extravaganza is set to be something different for the sport of Blackball Pool. With an added emphasis on entertainment, creating a theatrical like environment and increased crowd participation, the eight invited players will be aiming to keep their cool and bank a slice of the prize fund on offer.

A straight knockout tournament with short races to 5 frames all the way through, matches can not last longer than 30 minutes, regardless of the score. Should the scores be level at the end of the alloted time, the tie will be decided by a Black-Ball Shootout.

There will be additional pressure on the players with a shotclock in operation throughout. For the first 15 minutes of a match this is 30 seconds a shot, although limits are then lowered to just 20 seconds per shot there after. Brutally, there are no time extensions whatsoever. Whilst a lot of high tariff events on the English Pool scene have time restraints at some point, they are generally more forgiving than this.

The two reigning World Champions of the discipline, Ben Davies and Liam Dunster, will be joined by some of the sport's other top talents and well-known characters; Jordan Shepherd, Matt Lawrenson, Craig Lakin, Simon Fitzsimmons, Seb Web and George Tierney.

VIP tickets for the event have already sold out, but you can still grab standard tickets via Eventbrite here.

Former Mosconi Cup walk-on girl Jade Slusarczyk will accompany players during walk-ons, whilst Kevin Moyles will be working his magic on the microphone as the Master of Ceremonies.

The STRN team were keen to build on the success of last year's STRN Open (which was won by Davies) that was broadcast live on the world renowned UNILAD Facebook platform.

Zac Leonard, one of half of the STRN duo, told us at The Cue View what the thinking behind the concept was and what he hopes for it to achieve - 

"We came up with the idea after looking at various sports and how they present the game to their audiences. We looked at other Pool formats, Snooker, Darts and Wrestling to name a few.

We wanted crowd participation to be a main factor. With events like the Mosconi Cup and Premier League Darts the crowds are very active and play an important role in the event. UK Pool at tournament level seems to be poorly supported at the venue, whereas live streams can have a couple of thousand watching.

So, we wanted to create an event that people would like to come and watch for the atmosphere and great pool on offer. The shootout format is designed to be exciting and put the players under pressure. Races to 5 are nothing new, however there is a 30 second shot clock which reduces to 20 seconds after 15 minutes play. There is a time limit to the match of 30 minutes. If the scores are equal after 30 minutes a blackball Shootout will decide the winner. All these elements combined make it a unique event that the crowd will love."

Leonard also explained the reasoning behind the eye-catching line-up that they hand-picked for their debut show - 

"​The players we have chosen have been for a variety or reasons. Initially we chose 7 players because they all played in our last tournament, the STRN Open, of which Ben Davies is the current champion.

Needing another player to complete the octet, this player could only be George Tierney, who has a huge social media following and is very much a marmite character that adds another dimension to us.

All the competitors have different skills that they bring, but all of them are great players in their own right. We have two current World Champions, whilst Simon Fitzsimmons was the 2017 IPA World Championship Runner-Up. The other players have won numerous events and cash games."

In regards the future direction of the STRN brand, Leonard also said - 

​"Our future plans have always been the same, and that is to bring the game of pool to a wider audience. An audience that may not normally watch Pool, but who like to be entertained.

Depending on the feedback from the Taom Shootout we are looking to roll the format out to theatres across the country."

Thank you to Zac for taking time out to talk to us at The Cue View.

Article written and published by Michael Day on the 24th October 2018