World of Sport

Snooker fans left in the dark…literally, after Ally Pally black-out

It was a case of camera but no lights and no action as an untimely power cut saw play dramatically delayed for around one hour and 15 minutes at the Masters snooker tournament on Tuesday afternoon.

Former Masters champion Ding Junhui and Shaun Murphy were about to hit the green baize at London's Alexandra Palace when the area surrounding the North London venue experienced a rare black-out.

After a period of uncertainty that left fans, officials and pundits - including legends Steve Davis and Stephen Hendry - wandering around in the dark, World Snooker decided to make their own entertainment at an event that has a prize fund of £600,000 and consists of the game's top 16 players.

In a moment comparable to the time pop singer Cliff Richard serenaded rain-drenched fans at the Wimbledon tennis tournament, a BBC cameraman called Jim played a couple of tunes on his guitar.

Okay perhaps more Ricky Gervais as David Brent in The Office than Cliff, but certainly heart-warming on a cold January afternoon.

One fan was treated to a rendition of 'Happy Birthday' as the crowd sang in the dark before a local Health and Safety rule ushered the one thousand or so fans out to the main foyer. A chorus boos was the reaction among the snooker diehards.

Meanwhile, BBC2 had to show an episode of Flog It rather than the scheduled lives snooker coverage.

The panic was over a few minutes later as the power returned to the 'Ally Pally' and Ding and Murphy finally took to the table at 2:15 pm rather than the 1 pm start.

Not only will fans have the unique memory of being at the first snooker match in history to be delayed for a power cut, they will also have sounds of Jim and his impromptu acoustic set on the guitar.

Who said all the personality had gone out of snooker?