What is, or was, ‘Snooker Plus’?

‘Snooker Plus’ was a variation of traditional snooker invented by 15-time world snooker champion Joe Davis and introduced, professionally, at the ‘News of the World’ Snooker Plus Tournament at Burroughes Hall, London in 1959. As the name suggests, ‘Snooker Plus’ included two additional colours, purple, worth ten points, and orange, worth eight. The purple ball was spotted equidistant between the brown and the blue and the orange ball was spotted equidistant between the blue and the pink. According to Davis, ‘This will make scoring possibilities far greater for the average player and will greatly increase the technique required of the top-grade player’.

Indeed, the inclusion of the purple ball meant that the ‘maximum’ break became 15 reds and 15 purples, followed by all eight colours, for a total of 210 points, rather than 147 points in traditional snooker. Aside from the break-building possibilities, the only other innovation of ‘Snooker Plus’ was that, in the event of a tie, the purple was respotted on the black spot. Only Joe Davis and two other former world champions – his younger brother, Fred Davis and John Pulman – contested the ‘News of the World’ Tournament, played in round-robin format, much to the displeasure of other professional players. The tournament attracted little interest and the ‘Snooker Plus’ format never really gained any traction, despite the Billiards Association and Control Council stating that it should have a ‘fair trial’.