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Ssb - pass it on

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  • Ssb - pass it on

    First off, well done to Robert Milkins, a player who seemed to have completely fallen away but who yesterday produced arguably the win of his career over Neil Robertson.

    This was a tense old afternoon’s snooker. Robertson was unable to dominate early on, grew visibly edgy and Milkins held his nerve to win 10-8.

    Second round matches continue this morning but there are also activities going on around the World Championship.

    Snooker, as a professional sport enjoying much TV exposure, has a platform by which to reach beyond just blokes potting balls.

    Yesterday, World Snooker launched an initiative to get snooker into schools.

    Those with a Daily Mail view of the world will tell you nobody under 20 can spell or add up and that this is all down to the fact you can no longer belt kids with, well, a belt and probably colour television as well.

    It plainly isn’t true but maybe sport can be about more than physical activity and be used to bolster maths teaching and also pass on the values of sportsmanship and good mental attitude.

    Today is ladies day at the Crucible, a new idea to encourage participation from women and girls.

    Reanne Evans won her ninth world title a couple of weeks ago. She made two centuries in the final but received just £400.

    20 odd years ago a promoter by the name of Barry Hearn got the women’s World Championship on TV with a five figure first prize. Its dominant player Allison Fisher, beat several leading men but, when the game went open, failed to make much impact in ranking tournaments and headed to the USA to play pool.

    Back in 1997, the WPBSA took the ladies game under its wing. Major finals were staged during World Snooker tournaments, including at the Crucible.

    There were two problems. The conditions were so different to the usual clubs the women played in that they could not produce a very high standard. In turn, public interest was low.

    The women were cut adrift in 2003 and have organised themselves since but the number of entries has dwindled this season.

    Many women watch snooker, both on TV and live in arenas. However, there has been an historic problem in the UK with participation, largely due to the nature of snooker clubs in years gone by which were distinctly male domains.

    Any woman can turn professional. Evans has been on the tour before but struggled. She has entered Q School this year.

    Also today, Street Snooker returns to Sheffield in Millennium Square. This is a target practice game that involves kicking or throwing a ball against a snooker-inspired green wall to strike round snooker ball coloured targets, earning varying points. The aim of the game is for players to build a highest break by hitting the red triangle followed by a colour to see who can achieve the highest consecutive score.

    The idea is to combine snooker with physical activity and has been played by thousands of people around the UK already. Alfie Burden, himself a former junior footballer, is one of their ambassadors.

    On Sunday there will be activities for Paul Hunter Day linked to the Foundation linked to this much missed player’s memory.

    All of which is very laudable as this great championship continues. There are many people who have supported snooker so it’s good to see the sport support people who need it.