May 20, 2010

The World Open – FA Cup draw, Short Formats, Good or Bad?

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 10:22 am

The SECC Glasgow. Can it cope with the influx of Barry Pinches fans?

Tickets went on sale yesterday for the replacement for the Grand Prix on the ranking list, the ‘World Open’ in Scotland in September.

The ranking tournament runs from September 18 to 26 at the SECC in Glasgow and replaces the tired old Grand Prix which was beginning to look like a bit of a lame duck on the calendar and would no doubt have been consigned to ‘red button only’ coverage by the BBC without some changes, might still be.

My personal opinion is that the main problem with the Grand Prix was the venue, watching on TV it has the feel of them playing in an aircraft hangar and when it was empty, which it was a lot, it looked like a very desolate place to be with very little atmosphere.

The current venue is just too big and I would have thought this might have been the first change that Barry would have considered as a more intimate venue would have given it a more atmospheric feel in my opinion. It must also cost them a packet to stage it there.

But instead he has decided to revert to the short format while keeping the random draw after every round. I can’t imagine that many of the players will be too enthralled by the possibility of taking a trip up to Scotland to lose three frames and then going home, but Baz has spoken.

..........will play number 6 Si-Ting Chi-Lee

The new format is:

  • A ranking tournament open to amateur players for the first time
  • A completely random FA Cup – style draw for all rounds, raising the possibility of top seeds going head-to-head early in the tournament.
  • The action promises to be fast and furious, with all matches best-of-five frames, up until the final which will be best-of-nine.

Bazza is doing his best to rack up support for his first big idea and has said:

“We wanted (meaning he wanted) to come up with something really special to replace the Grand Prix event, and we believe (he believes) we’ve done just that (he’s done just that) with the World Open.

“It will be fascinating (apparantly) to see how the best amateurs fare against the professionals. We could get a rags-to-riches story of an unknown player getting to the business end or giving one of the top stars a shock”. A bit like snooker’s very own Rocky Balboa.

Will we find snooker's Rocky?

The random draw has worked well in the past and the best-of-five matches will provide virtually non-stop action for the fans”.

“I’d recommend anyone who loves snooker to get their tickets booked straight away because THIS EVENT CANNOT BE MISSED!” he barked to the startled reporter. Alternatively you could just turn up on the day if you’ve nowt better to do as you’ll probably be ok.

“The tournaments we’ve staged in Glasgow in recent years have been well supported but we want to see a full house this time! I can’t wait to see all the fans cheering their heroes on.” He was then seen exiting the door to his left in a cloud of smoke with this booming in the background.

Paul Bush OBE (this is a proper one from the Queen, not the OBE that Baz has got which stands for Old Big ‘Ead), the Chief Operating Officer at EventScotland, the national events agency, said:  “Snooker generates hours of valuable broadcast exposure for the city of Glasgow and is watched by millions of people around the world”. 

Anyone can have a go at winning the World Open.

Without a hint of desperation in his voice he continued: “We’re delighted to be hosting this new and exciting tournament in Scotland and we’re confident that it will attract impressive spectator numbers from across the UK” he said with his fingers crossed behind his back.  “The new format of this event also means that amateurs will be given the opportunity to play against and alongside legends in the world of snooker which will ensure exciting clashes and fierce competition for spectators and viewers.”

As it is open to amateurs the take up I’m sure will be big across the country from those hopeful of making their mark. If anyone reading this is thinking of entering keep me posted on your progress and perhaps we can even start a diary feature for the hopefuls. No matter if you are serious competitor or a hopeful hacker, you will be assured maximum exposure and support on the blog.

Blog commitments mean that unfortunately I will not be coming out of retirement to give the top boys a good hiding. However, the qualifying phase will run from August 21 to 24 at the World Snooker Academy in Sheffield. The competitions run by Rileys and other clubs will be completed by July 31 – details on how to enter will be available soon at www.

Tickets for the main event are available through Big Jock the kilted ticket tout, Glasgow Hardman’s Club just next to the Haggis and Porcupine Pub, he’ll be seating at the end of the bar with a pint of Whiskey and Irn Bru with a Dark Rum chaser. Just say the word ‘Sporan’ to him and he’ll know what you want. If you say you know me he might give you a 2% discount.

If you don’t fancy coming face to face with 38 stone red bearded Jock you could always visit the equally dodgy sounding racket

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