September 23, 2015

Flawed Draws and Penned Plans

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 10:09 am

Bit of a Balls Up

Yesterday once again saw some slapstick off-table action courtesy of World Snooker as they again attempted to stage a draw live on the internet for everyone to watch. This time for the International Championship which gets underway in Barnsley at the end of the month.

It was brave of them to set foot back into live streaming territory in the first place. Who can forget the shambolic World Championship ‘live’ draw when they forgot to turn on the camera until it was finished? The stars of the show were oblivious to the fact that their best one-liners weren’t going down a storm with the baize hungry fans tuning in to know who would face who at the Crucible. The only thing we ended up seeing at the end was Shaun Murphy, presumably unhappy with his draw, menacingly approaching Bazza with a golf club in his hand before Mark Pearson of Betfred was cut off half a millisecond before he could say ‘fuck’ live on air. Apart from that it went really well.

So it must have been with much trepidation that the powers that be decided to do the whole thing again, this time in the more sedate surroundings of World Snooker HQ in Bristol. They opted to keep it simple, no big names involved, no bells and whistles, just five bags filled with balls and a board with dints on it with which to rest said spherical objects. What could possibly go wrong this time? The usual suspects on Twitter anticipated that something would, but surely these harpingers of doom were simply scaremongering?

The first hints of there being a problem/fuck up came when a particularly eagle-eyed German on Twitter spotted that two top 16 players, namely Stephen Maguire and Michael White had been mistakenly drawn to meet in the second round should they win their first matches. Hints that the penny had dropped in the studio could be seen when a panic-stricken hand reached into one of the bags only to find it empty, no amount of rustling could muster up a ball. The brief look of confusion/horror on the faces of the two stars of the show confirmed what the anoraks had already spotted, namely that they’d made a total balls up of the whole thing with the first error creating a domino effect of mistakes which couldn’t be explained away in the face of the tidal wave of insults from the trainspotting viewers who took to their keyboards in disgust. You have to hand it to World Snooker, there’s not many that can bugger things up quite like they can.

What followed were apologies aplenty from the culprits, players like Mark Allen and Matt Selt demanded that the draw be done again. Angry tweeters called for mass resignations, bloggers took different approaches, one who shall remain nameless mercilessly took the piss while Matt from Pro Snooker Blog sought to clarify what could be done to rectify the problem without the need to draw it all again. World Snooker claimed that the integrity of the draw was intact and would be compromised if it was drawn again, instead deciding to re-number the matches to ensure that it was drowning in integrity, which had me for one reaching for a dictionary to look up what integrity actually meant.

So once more the live draw generated discussion for all the wrong reasons and that’s why I’m really looking forward to the next one. It will take some creativity to come up with a way to royally fuck up three on the spin, but if anyone can do it, World Snooker can.

On to a more personal matter now. I hinted last week that I was about to embark on a project which I was quite excited about and I’m delighted to say that I can now tell you all what it is. For a few months now I’ve been chatting away with Ali Carter, having approached him a while ago about writing an autobiography. Ali popped round to SB Towers at the weekend to go through what remained as well as a few bottles of red and some delicious fayre laid on by Mrs SB and we’re now hard at work getting all this down on paper. So hopefully in a few months time you’ll all be rushing out to buy a copy. I’ll promise you now that it will be full of surprises and a real eye-opener into the world of a player who very few know anything about. 

Watch this space.

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