Dominic Dale won the 888casino Shoot-Out in Blackpool, snooker’s quick-fire one-frame knockout event, beating Stuart Bingham in the final.
Colourful character Dale, nicknamed the Spaceman, won six matches to take the £32,000 top prize, the third biggest pay-day of his 22-year career.
Cheered on by an enthusiastic crowd, 42-year-old Dale rose to the challenge of the exhilarating tournament, deadly potting and quick thinking his key attributes. The Welshman, sporting a peroxide blonde hair-cut, knocked out Fergal O’Brien, Barry Hawkins, Mark Allen, Andrew Higginson and Ryan Day to reach the final before getting the better of Basilson’s Bingham.
A superb break of 61 put Dale in control, though he missed a red to a centre pocket to gift Bingham a chance. But having made just 15, the Essex cueman missed an easy pink, allowing Dale to wrap up victory by a 77-19 scoreline.
“In the last few years at this event I have been a nervous wreck, I found it hard to strike the cue ball,” admitted Dale, who has won two world ranking events, the 1997 Grand Prix and 2007 Shanghai Masters. “But this time I felt very calm and I potted a lot of good pressure balls.
“The crowd adored me because I’m an extrovert and I relish this type of occasion. It’s wonderful to be popular and I wanted to win it for them. It’s a fantastic venue and a one-off tournament so to win a prestigious trophy at the age of 42 is very special.
“I have practised harder in the last three or four years than I had done in my whole career. We have so many tournaments now and that gives me motivation to do well. I’ve won a big cheque today and that will keep me going for a while.”
Dale, who sang a few lines of ‘My Way’ after collecting the trophy in the arena, plans to keep his hair blonde for the time being. “It must be lucky so I won’t change it until I have a bad run!” he joked.
The tournament, first staged in 2011, featured frames lasting a maximum of ten minutes, with a 15 second shot clock for the first five minutes and 10 seconds for the last five.