Michael Holt memorably won the 2020 Shoot Out (Picture: WST)
Michael Holt is one of the names most synonymous with the Snooker Shoot Out and the former champion is delighted to get an unexpected shot at the chaotic event this week.
It was something of a shock to the snooker world to see the Hitman drop off the professional tour at the end of last season after an unbroken 24 year stint as a pro.
The 44-year-old’s snooker journey is not at an end as he is competing on the amateur circuit this season, while keeping very busy with coaching, and aims to return to the pro ranks later this year.
Holt gets a shot in a pro tournament this week in Leicester and it is an event he has proved to be as dangerous as anyone in over the years.
The one-frame Shoot Out is as unpredictable as anything in snooker but the Hitman reached back-to-back finals in 2019 and ’20, lifting the trophy on his second visit to the showpiece match.
He may only be back in the competition this year because of a number of professionals not taking part, but he warns his opponent Lei Peifan: ‘He’s had a nightmare because he’s drawn an amateur but he’s got the GOAT!’
Of course Holt had tongue firmly in cheek with that statement, but he is looking forward to getting out there in front of a crowd again in a tournament he enjoys and has conquered in the past.
‘At the start of the season I just wrote all the tournaments off because I’m way down the ranking list, so anything is a bonus, so it’s nice to get in,’ he told Metro.co.uk.
‘I need to get my cue out because I’ve forgot what end to use. I’ve tried to have a few games here and there to see how I go, we’ll see. It’s obviously a format I’m decent at, but you never know, you can always get dusted very quickly.
‘It’s a free hit but to be honest I feel like that most of the time at the Shoot Out because you’re always so close to losing. You don’t put much pressure on yourself to do well because you know it can be over so quickly. My mindset will be pretty similar to what it normally is, just be ready to pounce if you get the opportunity. Fingers crossed I’ll get a go.
‘I’m looking forward to it, I’ve got no pressure on me, we’ll see how we go. It’s a bit of fun, I enjoy it. I obviously keep in touch with people on the tour and get involved with the gossiping, but it’ll be nice to see a few people.’
Holt takes on China’s Lei Peifan on Thursday (Picture: Getty Images)
Holt has been playing on the Q Tour this season, amateur competitions that provide a route back into the professional ranks, but results have proved difficult to come by for the former world number …read more