Group bet on Irish snooker star to lose after bender

John Sutton
John Sutton

A BOOZY weekend has left one of Ireland’s leading amateur snooker players facing a lifetime ban from the sport he loves.

John Sutton (34), Ireland’s No.7 ranked amateur, is being investigated over allegations of irregular match betting when he qualified for a professional tournament.

He said the nightmare situation started when he returned from a drinking session with pals last September.

The next day he had to catch an early morning flight to the U.K. to face pro player Jamie Burnett in a tournament in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, on September 22.

“This whole scenario has come about because I went on the lash with the lads, that’s the reality of it,” he said.

For the three days before, he had been playing in Nenagh, Co Tipperary, and enjoying the local hospitality there a little too much.

“Being unprofessional is all I am guilty of. I arrived home on the Monday and went to play with TJ Dowling. I was in a terrible state, I don’t think I completed three frames.”

A couple of experienced gamblers spotted his dismal practice session and decided to place a bet on Sutton to lose his opening game.

“I never knew they had laid the bet and certainly never benefited from it,” said Sutton.

The gamblers stood to win €37,000 if he lost to Burnett by 6-0, 6-1 or 6-2, but bookies suspended betting before the game, which Burnett won 6-0.

Officials wrote to Sutton to tell him the allegations have been proven and plan a hearing to impose a punishment.

“I sense there is a lifetime ban coming down the line, and I am determined to appeal that,” said Sutton.