Mitchell Mann is battling to keep his snooker career alive, but he was able to put the pressure to one side and enjoy a moment of fun with the crowd at the Snooker Shoot Out.
Mann arrived in Leicester this week ranked 92 in the world, well below the top 64 who earn cards for the following season.
The 30-year-old has a little breathing space, as he came through Q School last year – meaning he will remain on the tour in 2022/23 irrespective of his results this season.
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But the pressure is still high, and he knows the importance of victories.
The Shoot Out divides opinion, as some players are unhappy that it is a ranking event. But the one-frame, 10-minute nature of the tournament means it can be a leveller and hands those further down the rankings the chance to take the scalps of top players.
For someone like Mann, it is a potential lifeline. But as well as the snooker, the Shoot Out is famed for its raucous nature and player interaction with fans.
In his match with Xiao Guodong in the first round, Mann took the interaction to new levels.
Ronnie O’Sullivan is known as the Rocket, but he may have to share the moniker with Mann as he was serenaded with a rendition of Elton John’s Rocket Man. We’ll be honest, Elton does not have much to worry about in the singing stakes.
After potting a black, Mann cupped his ear asking for more from the crowd and he continued with that throughout the frame.
It did not impact on his concentration, as he claimed a 32-21 win. So expect some more songs at the weekend.
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