The number of snooker players on the sport’s global tour with an average shot time of more than 30 seconds has fallen from 12 to four over the past two seasons.
Data was made available on snooker’s live scoring website during the 2017/18 season, showing the average shot time of all 128 players on the World Snooker Tour.
Joe O’Connor has improved his average shot time by nearly six seconds
The number of players averaging over 30 seconds dropped from 12 to six during the 2018/19 season. And in the 2019-20 season so far it has dropped to just four players: Lee Walker, Rod Lawler, Martin O’Donnell and Peter Ebdon.
The 14 slowest players from the 2017/18 season all significantly improved their shot times in 2018/19. For example, Joe O’Connor quickened from 33.23 seconds to 27.27, while Mitchell Mann went from 31.38 to 25.66.
World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn said: “Two years ago we decided to make this average shot time data publicly available, in order to make this information transparent for the players, officials and fans.
“It has had the desired effect because players don’t want to be near the bottom of the list, and many of them recognise that playing more fluently actually improves their performance.
“Our governing body the WPBSA recently published an updated version of the rules of snooker, and for the first time there is a separate rule on Time Wasting. This helps make it clear to players that taking an abnormal amount of time over a shot will lead firstly to a warning and then to loss of the frame.
“These measures are helping to eliminate slow play from our sport. The vast majority of players prefer to keep the game moving, as we are in the entertainment business. We are pleased to see the clear message getting through to the small minority who need reminding of these principals.
“We will continue to review the average shot times, and we are also reviewing the number of times that players leave the arena in between frames.
“While of course we recognise that toilet breaks are necessary, again players must appreciate the importance of keeping matches moving, especially live televised games. The frequency of these interludes must be kept to a minimum and we will be monitoring this closely in the current season.”
Average shot time, 2019-20 season so far:
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 16.66 seconds
Zhao Xintong 18.42
Jack Lisowski 18.55
Robert Milkins 18.80
Mark Williams 18.90
Tian Pengfei 29.95
Peter Ebdon 30.04
Martin O’Donnell 30.53
Rod Lawler 31.98
Lee Walker 33.78