October 21, 2010

Robbo: World Championship ‘A Little Too Long’

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:31 am

Neil propping Graeme up after their late finish.

The relatively new chestnut of an argument, as opposed to ‘an old chestnut’ raised it’s head again yesterday as Neil Robertson voiced his opinion on the length of the World Championship saying that it went on ‘a little too long’.

He told The Sporting Life:

“The World Championship goes on for just a little too long (especially when he’s in the final…). The format of the event is fantastic but the semi-finals and final should be first-to-13 as well, not first-to-17 and first-to-18”.

“That would be good enough.”

Neil does however urge caution and then seems to have something of a rethink

“I think you’ve got to be very careful not to reduce the format too much.” But surely reducing the last two rounds by a session apiece is reducing the format quite a lot Neil?

“Snooker is a gentlemen’s sport, we can’t just turn it into boxing and turn it into a circus, just to get more people watching it.

“You have to stick with the guidelines of what the sport actually means. If we don’t get the viewing figures or the money that football does, then so be it, we can’t force the issue and turn the sport into a bit of a mockery.”

I kind of agree and kind of disagree with him. That last bit I would wholeheartedly agree with, snooker has to be realistic, it isn’t soccerball and it never will be, but that’s not to say there isn’t a huge audience out there that remains untapped.

Snooker fans remember when ‘they fell in love with the game’ or ‘they got hooked’ to the point that they, like me, can recall exactly where they were, how old they were etc. often in sufficient enough detail to bore everybody senseless with their memories. But snooker fans are also loyal, when you’ve got them, you’ve got them for life. OK, they might flit in and out sometimes and bemoan ‘it’s not like it used to be’ but they come back, they can’t help it. I couldn’t.

One of the constants throughout my snooker lifetime has been the World Championship, a tried and trusted format which captivates the snooker public for 17 days. They tinkered with the semi final format a few years back in the days of the potting machines like Hendry and lengthened it. Perhaps now is the time to shrink it again in the new age of tactical prowess.

Hurry up Jeeves I'm due at the Billiards in an hour.

I agree with Neil that the semi-finals are too long but I think the final is perfect and should be the test of stamina that it is. Reducing the semi’s to a three session best of 25 match just like the matches in the previous two rounds would be my preferred change. But leave the final as it is, but for crying out loud start the final day’s two sessions earlier to avoid us all having to use matchsticks to keep us awake in the event of a close finish.

You never know, by doing this it might even allow some kids to watch the end. But of course this would entail the ‘men in suits’ who turn up at the end to get off their collective arses a bit earlier to take their free front row seats.

Or better still, dispense with these freeloaders and let footie-shirt man and the real fans sit at the front. Viva La Revolution!

What do you all think?

Anyway, to more current matters. Apparently there is some positive snooker news going to be announced later today, when I know exactly what it is I’ll let you know, but it sounds good.

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