Sheffield city centre businesses pocket cash boost as World Snooker Championship returns

Sheffield businesses are on cue to pocket the cash as the snooker World Championship returns to the city.

Wednesday, 24th April 2019, 22:24 pm
Updated Wednesday, 24th April 2019, 22:39 pm

The game’s top 32 players are battling it out at the Crucible Theatre with fans from across the globe setting up base in the city for the 17 days it runs for.

And with the competition just a few days in, businesses around the venue – labelled the ‘home of snooker’ are certainly reaping the rewards.

Staff at Lynne's Pantry, Surrey Street. Picture: Sam Cooper / The Star

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Amelia Casson, waitress at Lynne’s Pantry said: “The snooker is a big thing for us. We get lots of different people, with lots of different accents.

“We have to plan a lot for it because it’s very busy. We get extra staff in and it’s a very busy two weeks.”

Amelia said players and former greats of the game now involved in media duties often pop in for breakfast and lunch.

Fay Jones, of Sheffield Scene. Picture: Sam Cooper / The Star

She said: “Ken Doherty comes in all the time, we’ve had John Parrott in, John Virgo and Ronnie O’Sullivan.”

A little bit further down Surrey Street, Paul Taylor of Taylor Taylor Barber Shop, paints a similar positive picture about the effect of the tournament.

He said: “This bit of the city centre is buzzing. The snooker is fantastic.

James Cahill celebrates after beating Ronnie O'Sullivan 10-8 during day four of the 2019 Betfred World Championship at The Crucible, Sheffield. Picture: Nigel French/PA Wire

“There’s lots of different people walking about and over the years we’ve had loads of players in.

“We had Alex Higgins in once and cut his hair while he had a fag, John Parrot comes in, Ken Doherty, Stephen Hendry – they’re all brilliant people who love Sheffield.”

The city centre has been transformed for the duration of the tournament with World Snooker branding masking the Crucible Theatre.

A big screen has been installed in Tudor Square and the Cue Zone has once again been set up in the Peace Gardens, which also includes the BBC studio.

Snooker fans watching the action on screens located in Tudor Square and the Winter Gardens. Picture: Steve Ellis

Fay Jones, of Sheffield Scene gift shop, said visitors from all over the world often pop into her Surrey Street store.

She said: “I get two Australian men in who have been coming for the last 20 years. We get a lot of returning customers from all over the world.

“It’s very busy and there’s a lot more people walking around than normal.”

As thousands of fans, players, staff and media from around the world descend on Sheffield, restaurants also see a boost in trade.

John Hall has run Mama’s and Leonies with his wife Catherine for 14 years since taking it on from previous owners Bernard and Janice Green, who opened the restaurant in 1968.

He said: “The snooker is always good for us. The atmosphere is fantastic and there is a real buzz around.

Tudor Square has been transformed for the tournament. Picture: Steve Ellis

“We rely a lot on the theatres so this gives us a great opportunity.”

The restaurant is another city centre venue proud to display pictures of snooker greats who have visited.

John added: “John Higgins was in on Saturday and they’ve all been in over the years.

“I think the the Masters Snooker coming every August will be good for Sheffield because the theatre is normally closed at that time of year.”

The World Championship runs at the Crucible until Monday, May 6 with the second round due to get underway on Thursday.