February 16, 2016

Good Moaning? The Welsh Open Continues…..

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 10:37 am


There is nothing us Brits like more than having a good old moan. Yesterday, I kicked off my very limited coverage of this season’s Welsh PTC/Open with a moan about the format, the amount of players, the short matches and the lack of prestige this once great event carried. Little did I know that this was just the beginning of what can now be legitimately referred to as ‘Moaning Monday’.

Of course, snooker’s greatest moaner is Ronnie O’Sullivan. His own harshest critic; Ronnie can always find something to moan about if he’s in a bit of a mood or just feels like causing trouble. Yesterday the mischievous little tyke caused social media uproar with his almost perfect break. His 146 was mesmerizing, all the more so because just half an hour earlier he was looking for all the world like a man on the verge of meltdown.

But rather than applaud his cheeky genius, swathes of keyboard warriors took to their tablets, rather than taking their tablets, to proclaim that he was ‘disrespectful’, which seems to be the default word in the dictionary of the easily offended these days. 

I disagree, the break wasn’t disrespectful at all, it was superb and played out with a comedic air by snooker’s biggest draw who likes to ‘leave them wanting more’ (bit of poetry there). The nonchalance with which he did something that mere mortals could only dream of being able to do was testament once again to his utter genius and magnetic showmanship. As the old cliche goes, we have run out of superlatives.

Sure, you could argue that he deprived the crowd of seeing a maximum, also something I haven’t seen mentioned anywhere but for me is equally as important is the referee, knowing referees as I do this is a big deal to them aswell. But all of them at least can say ‘I was there’ when this arguably far more memorable feat was performed.

His accomplishment, or rather lack of it, was hysterically and somewhat ironically challenged by the Ringleader himself Barry Hearn, who accused Ronnie of disrespecting the paying fans who want to always see players at their best.

This was presumably said with pound signs in his eyes while sporting a huge grin thinking about the viewing figures, news coverage and column inches that were to follow. The irony of a man talking about pleasing the poor old punter on the street who has paid his hard-earned to watch on one hand and giving tickets to touts for snooker’s biggest showpiece with the other was not lost on some thankfully.

What I take issue with, and where I am firmly in Hearn’s camp, is Ronnie’s gripe that the 147 prize isn’t more financially lucrative. First of all, they are far more common these days, largely because of him and the prize money is indicative of this. Secondly, if he’d have got off his arse and entered the UK and made one there he’d have had at least a share of a far bigger rollover prize, just ask Neil Robertson if he is happy with the 147 prize and I’m sure you’ll get a very different answer.

World Snooker is not a charity and sponsors can no longer insure against the eventuality that a maximum might happen, it therefore makes perfect sense that the prize money is no longer at the heady heights of a decade or so ago. There are far more playing opportunities these days and while percentage wise, the ratio may still be the same (I haven’t checked), in terms of how often it happens now, it definitely isn’t. All Ronnie did in saying this, as well as drumming up publicity, was prove if he actually meant it, that he isn’t very good when it comes to business, which won’t come as a shock to anyone who has been reading his recent financial dealings with a certain Sheffield wannabe gangster.

But he’s done it again, he’s stolen the show. Who knows he might just make one now for the heck of it and give it to charity, which while a very noble thing this would be to do, isn’t really Ronnie is it? We’ll miss him when he’s gone, the barnpot.

The Welsh Open continues today and the schedule is here.    

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