January 17, 2011

A Weekend to Remember

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 12:36 pm

On my way home

I’m now on the train heading back home to see my much missed wife and our two dogs and thought I would take the opportunity to give you more insights into my time at Wembley.

Firstly, I have to say a massive thank you to World Snooker for allowing me the opportunity to access all things baizey. It was a weekend that I will never forget, a real experience and I met some great people. Special mention has already been made of Clive, but I’d like to also tip the nod to Phil, Dave, Hector, Ivan and everyone else I met while I was there.

Yesterday was another great day. I was a bit worried that the final might have been an anti-climax but given the Asian ‘angle’ this proved unfounded. Reporters and the like from far away climbs descended on the press area for last night’s session, assuring a cracking atmosphere. It would have been nice if Marco could have maintained the momentum after ‘that snooker’ and I’m sure had he won that frame the match would have been very different. But Ding was a worthy winner in the end and it is nice that such a prestigious title has gone to one of the modern day greats of the game.

As for my day, it started in the press area with the usual good morning to the ever-present Clive who was still ploughing through his book. Having spoken to him a little about his thoughts on it I can’t wait to read his review in Snooker Scene, it’s John Virgo’s new one about the Hurricane.

I then had about four cups of coffee whilst in the background a particularly dodgy movie was showing on the TV, I think it was called ‘The Dark Jewell’ or something and looked like it was about the days of the Raj, but also looked to have been filmed in Wales. Unsurprisingly, it’s corniness aroused the interest of Rob Walker, who I have to say is quite a character. He was composing some of the lines with which he was to get the audience going but kept on getting distracted by the utter tripe that was in front of him on the TV.

Anyway, eventually Rob got his lines sorted out and left the room promising ‘Chiili Con Carne all round’ later in the day that his other half had been cooking for the hungry journos and hacks. In fact, coming to think of it, every day I was there Rob brought in goodies, for a man who obviously loves his food I don’t know where he puts it as he’s pencil thin, but he’s very rarely still or quiet and charms everyone he meets with his patter. Often referring to ladies he meets as ‘Cupcake’.

After the first session I met up again with a new friend and had my first decent meal since I got there, a good old pub Sunday roast. It was then back to the press room for the evening.

As there was a rather big gap between the end of the afternoon and the start of the evening, everyone was getting involved in a sporting quiz. Lots of sports were covered and there were clearly some in there (Phil Yates) that knew a lot more than others (me), but my highlights included two boxing answers that nobody else knew, both about Mohammed Ali and Clive often interjected with answers that only he could possibly know about obscure sports and names from yesteryear.

All I needed was a bit of notice

During the mid-session interval in the evening John Parrott did a feature for the BBC with a couple of the Chinese reporters that had come over for the day. This was a momentous moment in television as it also involved the first known sighting of Snookerbacker to the wider audience. Mrs Snookerbacker and Mother Snookerbacker both caught a glimpse of me, though sadly, it all happened too quickly and at such short notice that I couldn’t even organise a cheerleading chant in the background with scantily clad girls and pompoms with the blog address on. More notice next time please.

If any of you use Twitter you may have seen that during the press conferences at the end I was doing instant quote reports. It’s a really convenient tool for such things. Talking of Twitter, I notice that Stephen Fry tweeted about the snooker last night, perhaps a sign that we are re-entering the public consciousness? I don’t know, but welcome all the same.

Then came the post tournament drinks and a free bar for all of half an hour before it reverted back to the extortionate prices that any of you that have been to Wembley will be familiar with. I chewed the fat with Dave Hendon, another cracking bloke who I met in person for the first time yesterday. Mutual interests of snooker, Carry-On-films and bottled lager ensured that we were very nearly the last people to be escorted from the building, followed only by Michaela (who I also had the pleasure of meeting last night) and a few of her chums.

It was then time for goodbyes and off I went back to my digs.

On reflection, I was a little unsure as to whether to go this weekend. I wasn’t sure that getting ‘too involved’ with the behind the scenes things and famous faces was the way to go in terms of writing the blog. But I was absolutely wrong and I would do it again like a flash. I think everyone understands that writing, whether it be for a newspaper or a blog is something that is essential in promoting the sport

Whether it be writing about the high level politics that has dogged the sport for years, but which for now at least seems to have taken a back seat thanks to Bazza’s intervention, or writing about players seeking discounts in kitchen utensil shops, we all want the same thing. We want snooker to be great again and you know what? After this weekend I think we might just be on the up.

So, I look forward to another year of leg-pulling, mickey-taking, gratuitous use of German girls and betting. It’s a year to the day since I sat up in bed and decided to start this for something to do and now I’m on my way back from the Masters, it’s been quite a year and I couldn’t have done it without you guys or the patience of Mrs SB.

Right, that’s enough of that, I’ve heard a whisper that Shaun Murphy has been seen trying to negotiate a two for one deal at the local KFC, now where did I put that pen….

Happy Birthday to Me: 1 Today!

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 12:01 am

The blog is officially 1 year old today and may I take this opportunity to thank everyone for your support and contributions to what started as a hobby but has now turned into a way of life.

Gee thanks Hoff.

I’m just off to give myself the bump(s).


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