STUART BINGHAM admits he never enters the Shoot-Out with any expectations at all.
Ballrun will get underway against fellow former world champion Graeme Dott at 8pm on Thursday, February 20, in an event which will see 128 players compete in one-frame matches over ten minutes, with a 15-second then ten-second shot-clock in place.
He said: “It’s not the sort of event you can really practice for. You can break off badly or foul and that can be it for you.
“Funnily enough I was tipping Graeme to do well in this before the draw was made, and now I’ve got to play him.
“I think with the shot-clock you do have more time than you think, although those beeps do hurry you up!
“And there is a lot to it because you have to use the table to your advantage in terms of where you need to be to take your next shot. The crowd also plays a huge part and it can be good to get them onside.
“Because it can be over and you can be out so quickly, I guess you just have to treat it like your stage for as long as it lasts.
“It is still a ranking tournament and therefore important but it is one where you can’t have too many expectations. For a couple of years I got knocked out after flukes, and in another I made the final. So I’ll just take it as it comes.”
Bingham will arrive at the Watford Colosseum on the back of a hard-to-take black-ball final-frame decider defeat in round three of the Welsh Open to Yan Bingtao, who lost in the semi-finals to eventual champion Shaun Murphy.
Former Welsh champion Bingham had progressed with wins over Martin Gould (4-2) and Chen Feilong.
And the Essex-based pro started in Wales on the back of a first-hurdle defeat at the Grand Prix to John Higgins – a player who has been a thorn in Bingham’s side many times already this season.
The reigning Masters champion added: “It was tough to take against Yan because I left him needing a snooker with four reds left and I was 34 up with 27 on. I think if I’d potted a black we would have shaken hands and that would have been that.
“But he got me in three awful snookers and stayed calm to see it through. So well done to him.
“I think he is the best player in China at the moment and the fact he only lost to Murphy in a decider shows you how much he has improved. So it was just one of those days, but it will hurt for a while.”