I’m actually quite enjoying this, I wasn’t intending to get that involved in it but there is so much going on in Belfast it seems silly not to at least blog about it once.
The fact that it is being held next to a busy airport runway is one thing but add to this the fact that they appear to be playing in a tent in the windiest corner of the globe and you have probably the noisiest venue ever visited by World Snooker, at one point yesterday it actually sounded like the whole place was going to cave in.
I suppose it’s all very apt given the frequent references to The Hurricane, in whose honour the trophy (not the tournament as Jimmy keeps saying) is named. If there is an afterlife (there isn’t) then Alex is having a ball up there turning on the wind machine to remind them all why they are still earning, what happens today might not have done had Alex not been the player and character he was.
Talking of characters, what’s all that about with Mark’s Allen and Joyce? Allen says he’s a ‘dick’, thinks ‘he’s something that he isn’t’, ‘isn’t even a good player’ and generally ‘is just not a nice person’ while Joyce says nothing in retaliation. Talk about one way traffic?
I’ve tried in vain to find out what the background is to this, I know that Allen spent a bit of time earlier in his career around Joyce’s neck of the woods so maybe they have some previous from then, if anyone knows what the blazers this is all about please feel free to let us know. It’s even got a few of his fellow professionals baffled with one saying to me he thought it might all be a big act on Allen’s part for the benefit of his home tournament, but it looked pretty real to me so if it is I think Mark has a back up in the acting profession if the snooker goes tits up.
Last night saw snooker’s very own shrinking man Jimmy outplayed by The Rocket, beforehand the two had a look at a few old photographs together while struggling to remember where they were taken. In one, Ronnie can be seen gazing up at his hero in an almost doe-eyed fashion, however he was later to reveal that he’d had no sleep and been out on the lash for 24 hours before it was taken, Jimmy confirming in a rare moment of clarity that Ronald was indeed in quite a state that day and was struggling to even stand up never mind play snooker.
Another photograph led Dafabet Ambassador Jimmy to start reminiscing about a time ‘when I used to like a bet’ as he recalled scuttling around the qualifying venue tables on the balcony of the Guild Hall checking on his 8 match accumulator. Thankfully now Saint Jimmy has seen the light, as well as cutting out the pies he now just leads people off the betting cliff rather than jumping off himself with his ambitious morning accumulators delivered as part of his ambassadorial duties, no wonder Dafabet are so fond of him, he’s making them a packet with those tips.
Just before last night’s spectacle John Higgins had continued his mercurial recent run with a 4-1 win over SB Classic Champion Sam Craigie, topping it off with a maximum break to earn another 10 grand on top of the zillion quid he has already won over the past few weeks, it would be a brave man to bet against him lifting his namesake’s trophy come Sunday.
Anyway, it’s a 12 noon start in the Big Top today, I haven’t looked at the forecast but if the wind gets up again they are going to be lucky to get this finished before the venue collapses, then Alex really would have had the last laugh.
The schedule for the rest of the tournament can be found here.