Irish snookerist Alex Higgins, 78, turned a charity snooker match into a charity boxing bout, and then a charity wrestling event, after he punched a referee in the stomach at the Spennymoor Leisure Centre on Monday night.
Two-time world champion Higgins, who is the father of current world champion John Higgins, was playing Jimmy White, who has never been world champion.
As the legendary beer guzzler tried to get out of a snooker set devilishly by the chirpy White, referee Terry Riley called a 'miss' on Higgins, and the two squared up to each other. Riley explained:
"He missed by a distance. He was drunk as usual, and told me he was going to teach me a f*cking lesson. Then he punched me hard in the stomach, I grabbed hold of him, and we fell onto the table."
Shocked onlookers told reporters they were astounded at the sight of the ex-world champion grappling at close quarters with the referee on the green baize.
Fanny Hare, 91, who claims she watches snooker on TV 'until the dot goes out', said:
"It was terrible. The balls went everywhere. The match needed spicing-up a bit. It had been boring up to that point."
Higgins is no stranger to controversy. In 1986, he headbutted a referee, after the official laughed when Higgins missed an easy black to win a frame. Then, two years later, he received a warning from the WPBSA, snooker's governing body, when he became "intimately involved" with a female referee at the World Championships at the Crucible in Sheffield. Said Higgins:
"We'd both had a few, but my behaviour was inexcusable. I'd had so much to drink, I couldn't tell the difference between the pink and the brown. She was most upset."