A FORMER snooker world champion has told of the moment "most of the snooker tour" descended on a York pub - to the surprise of "one poor man" having a pint.

Shaun Murphy, currently seventh in the world rankings, decamped to the Edinburgh Arms in Fishergate on Sunday evening, after smoke from an overheated ventilation fan delayed the start of his first-round match in the UK Championship against Hossein Vafa at York Barbican.

Shaun was  among a group of players and commentators - including, he said, ex-world champion Steve Davis - who ended up in the nearby pub.

Shaun said: “I was first in and there was one poor man sat in there with a pint watching the darts, you know, just having a quiet Sunday night in his local, and then most of the snooker tour descended into the room.

“We walked into one of their other rooms that was absolutely empty – they had some entertainment setting up – and then in the side room we walked in and there was just one man in there.”

York Press: Edinburgh Arms is less than 100 metres from York BarbicanEdinburgh Arms is less than 100 metres from York Barbican (Image: Kevin Glenton)

Sunday evening’s session was scheduled to begin at 7pm and the players had been minutes away from resuming the first-round action as the alarm sounded and the fire brigade rushed to the scene last night (November 26).

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Shaun said: “You warm up, you’re practising, you’re eating, you’re fuelling ready to go at seven, only to be told at ten to seven, ‘we’re not going anywhere’.

“The referee had just been to tell me backstage that we were getting ready to go.

“Then before we knew it, we were rushed out the back door.

“We were welcomed into the Edinburgh Arms with open arms, of course.”

Shaun went on to say that over a 20 year period of coming to York he had a good rapport with the pub, a stone’s throw from York Barbican.

He said: “The guys in there know us well, we socialise in there and when we needed a bit of a safe haven, they were there for us.”

Play eventually got underway in the evening session of Murphy’s first-round match with Hossein Vafa at around 8pm.

Vafa, ranked 18th in the world before the UK Championship - one of snooker’s ‘triple crown’ along with the World Championship and UK Masters - won the first round match 6-4.

Shaun, who won the tournament in 2008, was clear that the delay did not play a part in the result.

He said: “I’ve been round the block too many times to let something like that get in my way.

“I wish I could blame my performance on the fire.

“Unfortunately, it was my fault.”

The player will remain in York to carry out his role as a BBC analyst during its coverage of the tournament.