May 2, 2017

Downtime Musings

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:22 pm

It’s good to talk

It’s that time of the year again when snooker fans around the globe have to put up with that sinking feeling that it’s over. The World Championship has come to an end and we’re all a bit fed up aren’t we?

Regular readers of this rubbish will know that I don’t do congratulatory posts to winners, so I’ll get it out of the way that I think Mark Selby’s achievement of winning a third world title in this day and age is up there with one of the greatest in the sports history. Whatever you think of him, he’s got fierce competition in numbers these days to beat, something a couple of the other multiple world champions may not have always had.

I’ve just decided to write a few musings on snooker in general on a whim, because I feel like it and because it’s my blog and I can. 

My overriding feeling after this world championship is that I have possibly rediscovered something that I’d lost in the game. As a blogger I can’t stand the wall to wall season but as a fan it really makes you focus on the big events a lot more, which I now enjoy more than I have for a while.

My own personal World Championship experience makes me realise how lucky I am. I get to go to and see places that only a fraction of fans ever do. I meet the nicest and strangest people along the way, some who, through snooker, are now lifelong friends. That’s quite something isn’t it?

On the business side, Barry Hearn has increased prize money to levels that could only have been dreamt of a decade ago. He rubs people up the wrong way, he speaks his mind, he is sometimes incredibly rude to fans (and to me), but the fact is he has looked after the winners the way a professional sport should and for that all those who have benefited should thank him and those around him who secure the lucrative sponsorship deals.

I’m also glad that Barry (and more importantly Jason Ferguson) have realised that the sport needs help at grass roots level. Jason has pioneered some great work in the junior game, the WPBSA has also done great work promoting ladies snooker and snooker for people with disabilities, which should be applauded as they bid for Olympic recognition.

Where they have fallen short is the amateur game, which many of you know has been a passion of mine for a few years now; the SB Classic has produced quite a few new professionals who arguably, may not have got the exposure, sponsorship or confidence they needed without it. So Barry’s announcement last week of a new Challenge Tour, starting at a date after May 2018 is welcome, but we await the small print. On a personal level, it would have been nice to have been consulted on this as it’s basically an idea I came up with, but obviously it’s in hand at the WPBSA end so I wish them well and have no axe to grind as long as it benefits the sport at the right level.

Anyway, the amateurs and fallen professionals are off to The Guild Hall in Preston next week to take part in the brutal Q-School, where twelve of them will leave triumphant. I might pop along if a few of my good pals reach the business end, but it’s a very tough school this year and I wouldn’t be surprised if a few of the qualifiers come from further ashore. 

I’m still not sure what the point of this post was. As pointless posts go it’s up there. But I hope it’s helped a little for those who like me, miss our April routines, yearn for longer matches at the UK Championship, lament the demise of tiered structure qualifiers and the Welsh Open, get angry at wildcards who join after the first round of qualifiers and even angrier at that ranking Sh*****out nonsense; who want flowers back in the main arenas and think best of sevens in ranking events should be criminalised. There are more of us than you think – we cherish our anoraks.

Over and Not Quite Out of Baulk.


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