Friday, 31 August 2007

Snooker: Premier League Snooker Kicks-Off on Thursday

This years Premier League Snooker starts on Thursday the 6th September. The first matches will be Jimmy White vs Ding Jun Hui and Ronnie O'Sullivan vs John Higgins in Haywards Heath.

It looks as if Betfred are not sponsoring the event this season, contrary to what I suggested in this earlier post. There was someone who suggested this would be the case by commenting on my post, unfortunately he/she commented anonymously so I can't credit him/her with a name! :-) After I saw this comment back at the end of May I contacted Matchroom for the official line on who would be the sponsors. They sent me an email back stating that they were still in negotiations with Betfred, ...but at this point in time, it looks like no agreement was finalised.

I've updated the Snooker Season 2007/2008 calendar with the Premier League dates, venues and who will be playing. Subscribe by clicking here or you can always subscribe at a later date using the Google calendar link in the right hand column at the top of the page.

It looks like all the matches will be broadcast live on Sky Sports!! Great news!!

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Snooker: A Conversation, who will dominate the season?

I asked an old friend of mine that I used to play snooker with, Gwyn Jones, now living in Ireland, who would dominate this season. He's kindly allowed me to publish our email gibberish! Thanks Gwyn!

Gwyn kicks off the conversation.


It's obvious Dale is going to dominate the season.... only kidding!

Hard to say what's going to happen. Higgins is the new no. 1 and has had his strongest couple of seasons for a while. That's quite ominous when most of the other established "big names" seem to be going the other direction.

Looking at the rankings, I think we know what we'll get from the top 6; Dott, Murphy, Doherty, Ebdon will be there or thereabouts, but problably with only one or two tourney wins between them. Ronnie obviously remains an enigma - unbeatable one event, uninterested the next.

The two biggest movers are Robertson and Ding, and they're the most likely to achieve great things this year, if they can keep grafting as well showing undoubted flair. It will be interesting to see if Selby can keep up his momentum, and I've still yet to be convinced if Maguire can keep up a sustained high level.

It's sad to see Williams and Stevens falling down the rankings. This year will be make or break for both of them. Unless they can reverse the trend now, I don't think they'll ever get back to the top.



It's quite interesting with Dale because won't he have to qualify for most of the tournaments anyway? I thought he played brilliantly well, he was actually a pleasure to watch in the final. Something I can't say of him when watching him in the past!! I was a little disappointed with Day. I thought he collapsed a little bit and I think it should have been a much tighter finish!

Higgins looked hot in the World Champs, I can see him winning a couple of tournaments and to be fair, it's about time he pulled his finger out. I was amazed to hear he's stopped drinking completely. I've heard that he was once one of the party animals on the main tour. Still it clearly looks to have done him some good. I think Selby will keep up a good standard this season. He always looks so concentrated when playing and the changes he's made to his cueing action should hold him in good stead.

Out of the newer guys in the top 16, I can see Dott and Murphy doing some damage this season. Murphy looks deadly when on a roll with his pinpoint cueing action. And, I don't believe I'm going to say this, but Dott looked fantastic when he won the tournament in China last season. He was pretty fluent, entertaining to watch, and actually looked like he was enjoying himself for a change. He can really come across as a bit of a miserable so-and-so from time to time.

Wouldn't it be great so see Davis do win a tournament this season, in his 50th year! Great stuff, ...he still looks top quality when on form. And who can forget his magnificent 146 last season, ...or was it the season before!? :-) I think Ebdon and Doherty will feature at the thick end of the tournaments but I can't see them winning anything.

The 2 brand spanking new fresh top tournament winners, Robertson and Ding, ....well I can see Robertson having the better season. He's a real talent and doesn't get flustered in times of despair unlike Ding. For me, last season was the season that Ding showed his true colours, out of the blue he's begun to show real petulance, apparently this was shown again in the Shanghai Masters, banging the balls about like good old Quentin Hann. As I've said before, I was really surprised to see this when I first saw it in the Premier League last season. Let's hope he's got some good people round him that can keep his head screwed on right. I would like to see him do well this season. But I don't know if he's capable of becoming the youngest world champion this season at his last attempt like many have predicted.

I would also really like to see Judd Trump and Jamie Jones do well this season, they're both great to watch, especially Judd Trump, a real exciting lefty! Maybe he'll be the guy to pick up the youngest world title record in the next 3 years.

As for Williams and Stevens. I am completely shocked with Williams, ...I just don't know what's happened with him. He's sliding down the rankings faster than Jimmy White on a glacier! I think Stevens will get back into the top 16 this year though. He still looks too good to be out of the top 16!




Maybe I've not been paying enough attention to Murphy. I agree at times he looks deadly, but he seems to also have aonoymous outings. I guess it's all down to his attacking style of game - when he's hot, it's very effective, but if he's slightly off, it leaves him open to defeat. The standard is so high these days that you have to have a decent plan B.

I see your point about Ding but he's still very young, so he's still got plenty of potential, even if he's not the finished article yet. He might ultimately be a better talent than Robertson though, who tailed off a bit at the end of last season and didn't start great this year.

It will certainly be interesting to see how fast Trump can move up the rankings. From what little I've seen, he seems like a great talent, but it's hard to get a clear view in this over-hyped media age we live in which over-sensationalises everything. Don't know anything about Jamie Jones.

And yes, you're right about Stevens. To be fair to him he had a solid season - it was the previous poor year that has left him down the rankings. I've always thought that it must be very hard though for well-established top-16 players who drop down to have to pound round the qualifying events. It must be very hard for the ego - it will be interesting to see how Stevens copes.

And if Davis wins a tournament, I'll eat my hat....!


Sunday, 19 August 2007

Snooker: Dale Defeats Day in Season Opener

In a very successful season opener in China, Dominic Dale defeated Ryan Day by 10 frames to 6 to take the £48,000 first prize. Personally I didn't think Dale had it in him to get to the final, never mind win the event, but to my surprise, Dale played brilliantly to come back from 6-2 down.

With a new cue, his game looked very good and Dale looked very relaxed. In the 10th frame, Dale knocked in a very well constructed 143 to take the additional £2,000 high break prize.

The tournament as a whole turned out to be a great success despite the absence of the flawed genius Ronnie O'Sullivan. The matches were shown live on Eurosport and, unfortunately, because of the time difference between Europe and Shanghai, I missed the majority of the matches. Eurosport replayed the best matches in the evening but I tended to know the results already as I was following the matches at work though the BBC website! :-)

Still, great to see 2 unexpected finalists battling it out in a ranking event final and I'm looking forward to the next one!

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Snooker: New Season Blasts Off Without Rocket!

The season is under way with the Shanghai Masters. Already there's a little bit of controversy with - guess who - yes, our friend Ronnie O'Sullivan. A statement on Ronnie's official website says that he has injured his back. This looks like a legitimate complaint so nobody's really in a position complain. Although I'm sure the paying public are not too pleased and my natural cynicism is throwing a few doubts my way!!! How many of you have got your doctor to write you a not-entirely-true doctors note and how many times as Ronnie stated publicly that it's pointless travelling all the way to China for a tournament?

The statement reads as follows:

"We regret to inform you that Ronnie has had to withdraw from The Shanghai Masters, this is due to a back injury sustained while training. He has been advised by his doctor not to travel as sitting on a plane for several hours and stretching over a snooker table will significantly delay his recovery and he feels that he wouldn't be able to give the tournament 100%. The injury occurred several days ago and although Ronnie hoped that he would recover in time to appear in Shanghai he informed us this afternoon that this is not the case and he is unable to attend."

Moving on to the snooker, Monday saw 8 wild card matches with 8 Chinese players competing against 8 of Europe's "regular names". There were 3 shocks with Yu De Lu defeating Mike Dunn, Xiao Guadong defeating Michael Judge and Yang Qintainn defeating Scott Mackenzie.

The first round included a few tricky matches with Higgins having to play Jamie Cope, Stephen Lee vs Marco Fu, and Dave Harold vs Ebdon. Unfortunately I'm not getting to see many of the matches due to work commitments. I saw some of the wild card matches on Eurosport yesterday evening but none of them (that I saw) were particularly spectacular.

Feel free to comment on this blog if you see any of the matches, ...I'll add a few more posts as the tournament progresses.

It's great to see the snooker under way again! :-)