Thursday, 31 May 2007

Snooker: Prize Money Finally Climbing

I was reading Billiards Boutique today as Pete Williams always has something good to say. He's seen that:

"...prize money will increase by £250,000 this season (assume he means 2008) with over £1 million available at the World Snooker Championships, including £250,000 to the eventual winner.

The additional prize money will see an increase in the payouts to the winner, runner-up and semi-finalists of the Royal London Watches Grand Prix, the Maplin UK Championship and the SAGA Insurance Masters."

This year was the first time we've seen an increase in the winner's cheque for the World Championships since 2003 when it was at its highest of £270,000. It certainly goes to show how much of a barren spell snooker has had to endure since the banning of tobacco sponsorship.

Going back to 1983 when Cliff Thorburn won the World Championships and in the years running up to 2003, the winner's cheque increased approximately 10 to 15 thousand pounds per year. It's no wonder every kid in a snooker club wanted to be a professional snooker player. I guess you could say that with growth like that, - even though growth was clearly declining - ...something had to give. And it did! People were starting to complain when Jimmy was the only one allowed to smoke in the snooker final. Not only were people complaining at the Crucible, there was a national non-smoking movement gaining pace, and people were complaining all over the country.

2006 was the worst year in recent times for a professional snooker player when the World Championship prize money (or at least the winners cheque) dropped 20% from £250,000 to £200,000 from the previous year. This was, of course, when Embassy were no longer allowed to advertise on the telly and World Snooker were ill prepared in finding a new sponsor. That's one hell of a pay cut! That meant that the winners cheque was the same amount in 2006 than it was 10 years earlier in 1996!! Coincidentally, in those two years, Peter Ebdon was runner-up, sods law, he missed the biggest runner-up cheque by a year. Of course this was a time when professional snooker players were moaning like crazy at the World Snooker Association as they thought - and in some cases rightly - their careers were falling apart around their ears!

If Billiards Boutique is correct, 2008 sees a massive jump in the winners cheque, a £30,000 increase! And last year we saw a £20,000 increase, that's an increase of 10% in 2007 and 13.6% for 2008. The last time we saw a similar kind of increase was way back in 1990 when Hendry beat White in their first final 18-12. That year Hendry took home £120,000, an increase of 14.3%

The biggest increases we've seen in the modern game are in 1973 where we saw the sponsor at the time, Park Drive, increase the winners cheque by a whopping 375%, from £400 to £1,500!! Ray Reardon, the winner that year must have been delighted! Conversly, Alex Higgins, who won the championship the previous year and only a measly 400 quid must have been a bit miffed! And he only won £25,000 in 1982! There might be your reason as to why he's been so bitter and twisted over the years (I am an Alex fan by the way)! More recently in 1993, Embassy increased the winners cheque by 16.7% from £150,000 to £175,000.

Let's hope the prize money stays on the increase for a good few years to come, it should help to attract some real talent.

Oh and by the way,'s worth noting that past performance is no guide to future performance!!! :-)

Thursday, 24 May 2007

Snooker: Malta Cup

I've heard that there's still a chance the Malta Cup could be added to the 2007/2008 season, but it's "doubtful". Let's hope it happens, the more ranking events the better!

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Snooker: 2007 BetFred Premier League

One of the 8 players featuring in this season's BetFred premier league will be current World Champion, John Higgins. Higgins hasn't played in the premier league for the last 3 seasons, but let's face it, BetFred can't really do without the World Champion!

Ronnie will be returning to defend his title after winning the last 3 leagues. This tournament really suits him and who says he can't win it again. But there are some great quality players there this year, with Higgins, Ronnie, Neil Robertson, Ding Junhui, Stephen Hendry, Steve Davis and Jimmy White.

With the 25 second shot clock, you would think the tournament would favour the naturally flowing players like Ronnie, Robertson, Ding and White. But as shown last year, pretty much all the players can play under this kind of time pressure, ...including Graeme Dott, who has a more measured approach.

For the players that are invited, this tournament can be quite lucrative. In the league stage players will receive £1,000 per frame and £1,000 per century break. The total prize money is a minimum of £226,000.

In the initial league stage, everybody plays everybody with the winner in each match receiving 2 points, and 1 point is awarded to both players in the event of a draw. The top 4 in the league will move into the knockout stage.

All the matches will be played on various nights from September through to December with the knockout stages taking place on the 1st and 2nd of December.

I look forward to this event every year, it really is a refreshing change from snooker-as-we-know-it! Last year Jimmy White threw his cue to the other side of the arena on national TV and we didn't see anything about in the press the next day. And it was the first time the world saw Ding Junhui completely lose it against Jimmy White, throwing his head back against the advertising hoardings and smashing the balls each time he got back to the table. This was a long time before he lost it at the Masters in London earlier this year.

Also, last year, even though Ding qualified to get to the knockout stage he had to pull out because he had committed himself to the Asian Games. Let's hope nothing like that happens this year.

I'll be watching all the matches and commenting on them when I have time, the earliest something will be up will be the following day. All the matches will be shown on Sky as well as other selected channels around the world. If you know of any other channels the league will be shown, please post a comment.

Here's the line-up with their World Rankings:

John Higgins – Scotland (1)
Ronnie O’Sullivan – England (5)
Neil Robertson – Australia (7)
Stephen Hendry – Scotland (8)
Ding Jun-hui – China (9)
Steve Davis – England (15)
Jimmy White – England (60)

Snooker: 2007/2008 Season, Provisional Dates


August 6-12
Shanghai Masters at a venue to be confirmed

October 6
Pot Black Cup at a venue to be confirmed

October 13-21
Royal London Watches Grand Prix, Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre

November 4-11
Northern Ireland Trophy, Waterfront Hall, Belfast

December 3-16
Maplin UK Championship, The Telford International Centre, Telford


January 13-20
Saga Insurance Masters, Wembley Arena

February 11-17
Welsh Open at a venue to be confirmed

March 23-30
Beijing Open at a venue to be confirmed

April 19-May 5 World Championship Crucible Theatre, Sheffield



June 26-29 - Shanghai Masters, Pontins, Prestatyn
September 7-11 - Saga Insurance Masters, World Snooker Academy, Sheffield
September 17-23 - Royal London Watches Grand Prix, Pontins, Prestatyn
October 23-25 - Northern Ireland Trophy, Pontins, Prestatyn
November 25-30 - Maplin UK Chgampionship, Pontins, Prestatyn


January 4-11 - World Championship, Pontins, Prestatyn
January 22-25 - Beijing Open, Pontins, Prestatyn
February 5-7 - Welsh Open, Pontins, Prestatyn
March 7-10 - World Championship, World Snooker Academy, Sheffield

Originally sourced from the Snooker Scene blog

Well looking at these dates, it looks like there won't be a Malta Cup! That's a bit of a shame because I was planning on going to the Malta Cup next season!

World Snooker have announced that China will host two world ranking events. The first event (and a new event to the calendar) will be the season opener running from 6th-12th August.

The new tournament will be known as the Shanghai Masters and will be underwritten by the Chinese Billiards and Snooker Association. The contract that has been signed between the WSA and the CBSA means that these two tournaments are secured for the next five years.

The second ranking event will be the China Open in March where Graeme Dott will defend his title.

Some of the information above has been sourced from Billiards Boutique

Monday, 14 May 2007

Snooker: A Davis Maximum

Check out this old footage of Davis knocking in a maximum in a Budapest exhibition. Good stuff!

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Snooker: Top 16 for 2007/2008

2006/2007 rankings in brackets.

Big names in: Junhui, Selby, Day
Big names out: Hawkins, Stevens, Hamilton

Davis has hit his goal of being in the top 16 at 50 years of age!

1 (4) John Higgins
2 (6) Graeme Dott
3 (5) Shaun Murphy
4 (2) Ken Doherty
5 (3) Ronnie O'Sullivan
6 (7) Peter Ebdon
7 (13) Neil Robertson
8 (1) Stephen Hendry
9 (27) Ding Junhui
10 (9) Stephen Maguire
11 (28) Mark Selby
12 (8) Mark Williams
13 (10) Stephen Lee
14 (15) Allister Carter
15 (11) Steve Davis
16 (17) Ryan Day

Snooker: Higgins Takes a Fantastic Final

Mark Selby pushed Higgins all the way in the World Snooker Championship Final. In a great match that swayed both ways over 2 days, Higgins finally managed to pull himself and his game together for the last four frames that took him to the title.

Higgins deserved the victory and Selby was a great runner-up. He made Higgins fight all the way and is now certainly a big name for the future.

Selby's display of cue power was awesome but he didn't quite manage to buzz the same way he did when he knocked in his 3 consecutive centuries earlier in the tournament. Selby was really looking to grind out the victory and I thought he might do it as Higgins, for me, looked the more tired of the two players.

Higgins said Selby put up and great fight and played great, he also said that when he played Selby two years ago, "he wasn't that good!" :-) a comment much appreciated by Selby who played the whole match in good spirits. But last year Selby beat Higgins and Higgins said he could see that Selby was a different class of player. Over these last 2 weeks, Selby's shown himself to be a different class again.

The last word has to go to Higgins, he's always been a class player who came onto the professional stage at the same time as O'Sullivan. He beat Ronnie to their first titles and look to move on quickly to becoming a dominant force in the game. For various reasons, probably only known to him, it didn't happen. He's a truly great player that I think hasn't achieved to his full potential over the last 10 years, but I'm really happy to see him back at the top where he belongs. I think he's got more World titles in him, and although I've lost money with him winning this year, I hope to see him winning a lot more titles in the future.

I may edit this article a little more tomorrow, but that's about it from this season's snooker on greenbaize, but add us to your news readers using the red XML or RSS links to the top right of this page and we'll be updating the site regularly with Cue Sports News! We'll keep you informed with the gossip and other non-ranking (as well as ranking) snooker events. Jonni will be blogging on the Eurotour and we will be posting interviews with players.

Monday, 7 May 2007

Snooker: Selby Storms Back

What an unbelievable session! Selby has stormed back from 12-4 down to 12-10. There wasn't even time to finish the 3rd session, ...and just as Selby was well into his stride. He may have made 12-12 the way he was going but now he has to keep his focus for a couple of hours and hope Higgins doesn't gain his composure.

This could really knock Higgins for six if he doesn't get it together and if Selby comes back to take the match. But there's still a long way to go!

By contrast Selby looked to be having a great time, joking with the crowd and Willie Thorne in the commentary box throughout the match and genuinely looked like he was having a great time.

It was a bit of a collapse by Higgins as well, not just great play by Selby. Higgins' potting and position was all over the place. At times he looked shell shocked in his seat. He really needs to relax and regain his composure before the final session starts.

Hopefully there's more drama to come in the final session..., more later. I'd love to see a maximum, it would be fantastic, well as earning me a few quid! ;-)

Snooker: Higgins Takes Control

Well great solid match play snooker has put Higgins in a commanding overnight lead against Selby.

Higgins started slowly but managed to take the first 2 frames. Selby then took the next 2 with a break of 67. Selby also took the first frame after the mid-session interval with a break of 116 to move into the lead by 3 frames to 2. The Selby century seemed to wake Higgins up and he took the next 7 frames with breaks of 97, 75, 70 and 100.

Selby scraped another frame but Higgins was too strong and finished the day's play with another century, a 106.

Selby looked a little inexperienced and impatient. His safety wasn't quite up to scratch but he didn't necessarily play badly. Higgins was in devastating form and really looks up for it this time, his third final, having lost and won one title.

If Selby wins tomorrow, it will be the greatest comeback of all time!! Let's hope he makes a game of it. I'm certain he won't be giving it up just yet.

Sunday, 6 May 2007

Snooker: Snooker Scene goes to Hollywood

Found an mad tongue in cheek article on the web about Snooker Scene going to Hollywood. It was worth a post, ...just!

Snooker: O'Sullivan and Selby

Mark Selby has won the Silver Chip award. Members of the Snooker Writers' Association have voted his performance in reaching the last four for the first time the most meritorious achievement of the tournament. More information can be found here and here. Congratulations to Mark and all the best to both players in the final over the next 2 days.

On another note, Ronnie O'Sullivan's hearing for walking out of the UK Championship will be held later this month. Ronnie needs a good slap on the wrist for this one if only to demonstrate that players cannot get away with this kind of behaviour. I'm sure Ding was influenced by Ronnie's actions while playing Ronnie at the Masters. Ding looked like he was trying to walk out of the match but Ronnie looked to save the day. If the WSA would have acted quickly, decisively and punished Ronnie for walking out, Ding might have thought twice before trying to do the same.

No player is bigger than the game and the WSA need to show the snooker world that this cannot happen. It should also be made public as the public partially fund the sport/players one way or another. I first read about this on Dave Hendon's blog.

Saturday, 5 May 2007

Snooker: Selby Steals Final Place from Murphy

Mark Selby has won a fantastic semi final. He beat his good friend Shaun Murphy 17-16 after been 16-14 down. The pair put on a great match in a very good spirited game.

Selby looked down and out at 16-14, especially as it looked like he might win the 30th frame and take the match to 15-15. But he managed to get a difficult blue that he missed out of his mind and take the next 3 frames.

Selby let a one of his quips drop in the studio when being interviewed by Hazel Irvine, he said he was so nervous and shaking so much that he felt like he had Parkinson's disease, ...he might be apologising for that one later!!

Selby said that Murphy will be sticking around to support him in the final which shows how much support each of them have for each other.

Selby now plays John Higgins in the final, and let's hope it's a good as what the two semis were.

Snooker: Higgins in the Final

Maguire will be really disappointed having held a commanding lead going into the final session. But John Higgins played very well to win 7 out of 8 frames to get the final where he will play Mark Selby or Shaun Murphy.

From 15-15 the players began to get very nervy but Higgins eventually stumbled over the line. Who will do the business tonight to earn the right to play Higgins in the final. I think Murphy has to be favourite but Selby has surprised many pundits to get to semi final and currently the match is finely balanced at 12-12.

Snooker: Semis Final Session

Selby and Murphy are locked at 12 each going into the final session. This is a match that just might go all the way. Both players are playing pretty well and both look confident. I think Murphy might just win it through experience.

If Selby wins the World Championships he will be the Snooker and Pool World Champion.

Higgins has a lot of work to do to beat Maguire and I think it might be too much. However, you can never write him off and I'm looking forward to a good final session. It's just started now!

Friday, 4 May 2007

Snooker: Last 4 Popularity Contest

Posts that contain "John Higgins" per day for the last 30 days.
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Posts that contain "Stephen Maguire" per day for the last 30 days.
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Posts that contain "Shaun Murphy" per day for the last 30 days.
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Posts that contain "Mark Selby" per day for the last 30 days.
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Get your own chart!

Snooker: Eurosport Article

This is a good article on the Eurosport website. I had no idea that Maguire didn't like Murphy so much!! It would be interesting to know why!

American Pool: 9-Ball Eurotour Germany - Day 1 Trials

Eurotour really is awesome! Today I got to see just how cruel Eurotour can be. Even though I'm the no. 7 seed, the person you play in the first few matches is chosen at random from anyone outside the top 32 in Europe. My first match was David Pascarsi, he's a relative newcomer on the Eurotour, but a huge talent! I've played better pool and lost the match 10-5. Now I hear you asking... excuse me? well... if you know 9-ball, you'll know just how cruel it can be.

My next match, which I had to play at midnight tonight was against a young Marco Schmidt, an up and coming young German player. I must admit I was very impressed with the way he played. However, I played an almost flawless game. I made 2 mistakes in the whole match. in the first rack, I underhit a positional shot, not knowing the table very well, didn't get the bounce off the top rail I expected, and the white got stuck against the 8 ball. Then for the rest of the match I played perfect pool. Any chance I was presented with, I ran out. I then had one semi possible bank, normally I'd make it 80% of the time, but missed it on the knuckle and stuck the balls up for him. I lost 10-9 and I've made 2 mistakes in the entire match. Such is the level of Eurotour Players! This is a particularly bad result for me.. not just that, it's my worst ever result. Not to fear... I'll be back in Austria and hungrier than ever for a good result.

Note also another early victim of the eurotour random draw, Oliver Ortmann!!! yes.. the no 1 on the Eurotour is out! so some big points dropped there for him. That should really jam up the top 8 now!

Anyway... Since I'm now out of the event, I can concentrate on getting some good interviews and blogging some of them here tomorrow!

Thursday, 3 May 2007

Snooker: Semis First Session

Didn't see much of the matches. Saw Maguire and Higgins at 3-1, looked like a great quality first session semi. All frames had a 50+ break but more importantly Maguire was 3-1 up.

The match finished 4-4 with only the last 2 frames with no breaks over 50.

Saw Murphy Selby from 5-1, I think Murphy will be a little dissapointed to only finish 5-3. It was interesting because in the final frame Terry Griffiths said, "I don't agree with this" referring to Selby and Murphy having some laughs in the last frame. I thought it was fantastic, great to see snooker players having fun and giving some entertainment to the paying public. It was like the 80s all over again, except the quality of the snooker was a little better. :-)

It looks like Selby should now be in a position that he's reasonably happy with. He's got through his first one table situation against a former world champion and is only 2 frames behind going into the second session of a four session match.

Maybe Maguire and Selby will cause upsets after all! To be continued...

American Pool: 9-Ball Eurotour Germany - Day 1

A quick shower and shave and on the road yesterday at 9am for my 5 hour drive from Geneva to Sindelfingen. On the way I had to collect my break cue, which had been in the shop for fixing, and then stop in Zofingen (home of snooker in Switzerland) to catch the end of the Ronnie - Higgins session. After a quick coffee and few frames of snooker with Bakki in his fantastic pool and snooker club, I headded off again at about 4:30pm on my way to Germany.

I finally arrived at the club at 8pm, so a total of 5 1/2 hours on the road; not too bad. I met up with the usual crowd: Paul Kellett, Racks (Mohammed Ahasan), Craig Osborne, Dave McCarthy and a few others. We played a few racks of pool to try out the tables; all Brunswicks. I'm much happier about the pockets for this tournament. Although big, as usual, they are definitely not as generous due to the slate fall being a bit deeper this time. I think these tables are definitely better suited for the better cuists.

Right now it's 11am and I'm sitting in the hotel lobby watching the German world go by. Lots of top players wondering around the place as usual. just said hi to Marcus Chamat, he'll do an interview with me later. Will also get interviews from Kevin Uzzel and Daryl Peach when we have time.

The hotel is great, it has a nice gym downstairs with a pool and jacuzzi! I think I might go and relax in there for a bit before I prepare for my match at 3pm. So will leave you for now. Don't forget to check out the draw on:

and also the live feed from the match table can be seen here:

Snooker: Selby downs Carter in final frame decider

The final match of the day topped off a great day of snooker. Carter pulled Selby all the way back to 12 each before Selby finally kept his nerves in check a little better than Carter and stumbled over the line to win 13-12.

It's 1.15 in the morning, ...I can't be bothered saying anything else about the match apart from it was a thriller and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm tired. Feel free to comment and goodnight!

Oh, semi line up:

Higgins vs Maguire
Murphy vs Selby

I won't miss so much snooker now because the sessions don't start until the afternoon and we're down to the one table situation. The boys that have been there before should handle it better than the ones that haven't.

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Snooker: Higgins defeats O'Sullivan

In a very good match John Higgins beat Ronnie O'Sullivan by 13 frames to 9. Higgins won the match in the middle session which he won 7-1 to go 11-5 up.

After the first 3 frames of the final session the score was 12-7 and looked freekishly like the match might go the same way as the Murphy vs Stevens match.

Even with Higgins only needing one more frame, Ronnie didn't look like he had given up which was good to see and was actually playing quite well. But in the end Higgins got the chance he needed and polished off the match. He'll now play Maguire in the semi final.

Snooker: Magnificent Murphy in Dream Comeback!

Well, ...this happens to me pretty much every year, yet again it looks like I've missed the match of the tournament through having to work for a living.

But somehow I don't think I'm as devastated as Matthew Stevens! When I went to bed last night, Stevens was 11-5 up and looking comfortable to go into the semi finals.

What a fight back Murphy has produced, winning the match 13 frames to 12 and winning 6 on the trot! By the looks of things he was 12-7 down.

This means that Stevens will be out of the top 16 next year and must qualify for all of the ranking events. He will also be out of the Masters unless he gets a wild card, ...and with all the new talent we've seen at the Crucible and Jimmy White out of the top 16, it will be less obvious that ever who will get one this time round.

Who knows how this will affect Stevens in the future, it's a pretty scarring defeat and I think this one will hurt for a long long time.

Murphy goes through to play Selby or Carter in the semis. Feel free to comment if you saw the match. Here's the BBC report.

At the time of writing, Higgins has put himself in a great position against Ronnie O'Sullivan and is leading 11 frames to 5. We can't exactly say the match is over though after what we've seen happen in the Stevens Murphy match. Maguire has beaten Hamilton by 13 frames to 7, and the Carter Selby match stands at 5 frames each.

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Snooker: Another Maximum

Not at the World Champs, but our other contributor Jonni knocks in another one before he heads off for his Eurotour event...