March 12, 2010

Backlog of News Items – Brief Update

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 10:35 am

A leaked copy of the front cover of the BBC2 Entertainment Strategy 2010-2020

With all the excitement and frantic activity in Sheffield there was little time to catch up on some of the news stories happening in the world of snooker last week.

I will bravely attempt to sum up in one item the points of interest that have occurred during qualifiers week for those interested in the goings on off the green baize.

The BBC and Snooker

Featured in that bastion of truth the ‘Daily Mirror’ last week, Mark Thompson, the Director General of the BBC, or as faithful snooker fans know it better the ‘Bring Back Clive’, was ‘quoted’ as saying that he wanted ‘snooker and darts off BBC2’ . Though, strangely, the Daily Mirror then go on to say that he didn’t actually say that in so many words they do go on to quote a strategy paper which states that the BBC want to reduce the number of hours of sport on this channel.

As snooker is one of the few alternatives to watching Cash in the Attic, Vets in Random Fields Live or some programme about a smug couple with far too much time and money on their hands, kids left home and hardly ever visit, moving to a house that is too big for them and is really just a smokescreen for their fading relationship and sex life on this channel, it doesn’t take a genius to work out that our beloved sport might be adversely affected by this strategy. I mean, who wouldn’t rather watch some backward villager sticking his hand up a cows backside than watching an intricate safety battle between Steve Davis and Mark King? Well, I suppose if you put it like that…

It’s not clear if this will affect the red button viewing, if it doesn’t, I suppose it isn’t a major catastrophe, apart from for Hazel and Rishi that is. But I’ve thought for a long time that the Grand Prix might be at risk, as well as the Welsh Open which is limited in coverage anyway. But it would be a great shame to lose the UK, the Masters and the World Championship as I’m sure they more than justify their place in the slots they are allocated. Anyway, Barry Hearn went to see them last week and I can’t imagine Tiger Thompson standing up to our Bazza and his heavies, he’ll have been putty in his hands by the end of that meeting I reckon. I’d hazard a guess that the Grand Prix will be revamped next year to a new viewer friendly format and perhaps be given a year to prove it’s worth while the others will be put on a stay of execution for a bit longer.

Pro-Challenge Series Axed

The WPBSA last week announced that it has axed the Pro Challenge Series, the last one of which was won by Barry Hawkins in Liverpool a few weeks ago. They say this is because of “low entry levels for the first four events.”

According to WPBSA chairman Barry Hearn, next season there is likely to be ten Pro Tour tournaments staged over weekends. Perhaps this may lead to further betting opportunities for us poor snooker punters. It will have its own order of merit and the top 16 or 32 players at the end of the tenth event will take part in a televised Players Championship, as happens in the PDC darts. It’s not clear what channel this will be on, but I’m guessing it’s not going to be on BBC2. 


Even the training for referees these days is intense. Pictured is a young hopeful at Ref Boot Camp.

Chamberlain hangs up his White Gloves

The normally sedate, well mannered, extremely still and quiet referees circuit was rocked last week by the shock resignation with immediate effect of Alan Chamberlain, the circuit’s longest serving referee. Big Al, 67, decided to hang up his white gloves on Monday a day before the end of the world qualifiers.

He is understood to be exhausted by the long hours the refs were required to work for little financial reward and was quoted as saying ‘I’m not standing f*****g still for that c*** any longer’ after officiating on a match involving a bemused Barry Pinches – (ok that last bit isn’t true). But he was clearly upset to time it in this way and apparently it came as a shock to his colleagues.

As my own personal small tribute to Alan, I thought I’d just share some of my favourite quotes from the great man himself:

‘Graeme Dott, one’

‘Foul, four and a miss, Rodney Goggins’

‘Fifth Frame, Mark King to break’

‘Thank you ladies and gentlemen, quiet please’

‘Can you please turn off your mobile phones, thank you’

We will never see his like again. Let’s wish him all the best. But I secretly think he is scared that the footie shirt man who sits in the front row at the Crucible every year is going to try and settle an old score he has from the Dott v Selby match a couple of years ago – I thought he was going to chin Al at one point here . 

I think that’s all for today, I’ll be working on Part Three of the Countdown to the Crucible today and tomorrow and then it’s China all the way. Only a couple of weeks until it starts.  

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