Massey Takes Third Trickshots Title

Mike Massey

America's Mike Massey put on an assured display of trickshot mastery to lift his third World Snooker Trickshots title following on from victories in 1993 and 1997. Massey clinched the win by the narrowest of margins over a high quality international field in front of an 800-strong crowd at the prestigious Dome in the heart of Doncaster.

Tournament organisers Matchroom Sport had re-jigged the event's scoring system placing more emphasis on technical merit and success rate and less on jokes and banter. The judging panel consisted of chairman, Paul Collier, the snooker referee; Mickey Walker, the assistant manager of local heroes Doncaster Rovers FC, and funnyman Steve Womack.

In the unenviable position of first on was Canadian trickshots veteran Cliff Thorburn, who had something of a nightmare as trick after trick went down the pan. Thorburn's only success came with his celebrated chopsticks routine but other than that he drew a blank.

From there things could only get better and it was French pool ace Vincent Facquet who set the tone with a quality routine that included plenty of magic and juggling as well as some well thought out tricks. Although much of Facquet's routine was not strictly trickshots, he had enough savoire faire at the table to impress the judges.

The final act before the interval was Tennessee's Mike Massey, who is acknowledged by his peers as being one of the worlds best. Massey was recently inducted into the BCA's Hall of Fame and not having played in this event for four years, had something of a point to prove.

He opened up with a five balls in one shot effort, which went off first time and then hit his stride. Trick after trick went well and the degree of difficulty was exceptionally high. The pace slowed in the second half as a few went awry but a wonderful piece de resistance that saw Massey send the cue ball sailing through the air and into a cowboy boot 15 feet away brought the house down.

After the interval, the appearance of Steve Davis drew a long round of applause but the Nugget failed to make any impact as a succession of unambitious tricks went off like the proverbial damp squib. There were high spots though as Davis' razor sharp humour took over but it was not enough to influence the judges unduly.

The penultimate act was Italian pool ace Fabio Petroni who started off strongly with a difficult five-balls-in-one shot. He followed that with a brilliant jump shot over six balls, pocketing a further two balls in opposite pockets. More tricks followed before Petroni played his trump card when he donned a football boot and juggled the cue ball for a minute before volleying it onto the table and into the far corner pocket.

The last man out was the six times champion Bogdan Wolkowski. The master of elaborate set ups, Wolkowski came prepared but unlike previous years, the old magic began to unravel. Some of them worked and some of them didn't but by half way through his allocated 15 minutes it was clear that the Pole would struggle to match Petroni or Massey. He met with some success but it was a case of too little too late as the judge's votes came down in favour of Mike Massey, the 2005 World Snooker Trickshots champion.

Final Results
1st Mike Massey 162 points
2nd Fabio Petroni (Italy) 160 points
3rd Bogdan Wolkowski (Poland) 155 points
4th Vincent Facquet (France) 145 points
5th/6th Steve Davis, Cliff Thorburn 105 points