Snooker has through the years enjoyed many great rivalries, from the very early days of Spencer and Reardon, through Alex and The Nugget, through Hendry and White then O’Sullivan who then battled with Higgins and now, with Mark Selby.
It’s astonishing even writing that first paragraph just how Ronnie has maintained his position in the sport for so long, the last three truly great rivalries have all involved him and he’s there today, looking for yet another big title against his current nemesis.
The fans of both are fiercely loyal to their man. In the age of social media where seemingly anyone can say anything to whoever they want that they wouldn’t dream of saying to their faces, the insults fly. ‘Slowby’ is frequently used by the politer fans of Ronnie to describe Selby, the less polite ones will just call him a ‘fucking boring twat’.
Meanwhile, Selby’s fans goad their enemy by simply telling them to get over the fact that Selby has Ronnie’s number and knows how to beat him, pointing to the recent history books to rile their foes.
The truth is that these two remain the best two players in the world and their match-ups are always fascinating to watch because they are so different. This is what makes the best rivalries, if you look at the ones I mentioned above, it’s easy to see why they worked so well for the sport.
I’ve gone from thinking one will win to the other and I’m still not sure if I’ll even have an interest bet on it, there are so many different scenarios that can play out and I wouldn’t be surprised if one of them totally dominates from the start and runs away with it, but I hope that doesn’t happen.
Selby to me this week has looked very much like the player that won two world champiosnhips and Ronnie dodged a bullet which was even bigger than Marco’s watch last night to get here. So if someone had a second one in the barrel and it was pointing at my head, the name I’d give is Selby. I’m actually quite surprised that Ronnie is such a clear favourite with the bookies.
I hope it’s a great final, let battle commence.