Monday, 10 December 2007

Snooker: Ranking Event Catch-Up

Apologies if you read my blog and expect reports immediately after matches/standard ranking events. Unfortunately I have to work for a living so I can't produce content as often as I would like to! Be sure to add my blog to your feed reader using the links to the top right of this page and you'll see immediately when new content is available.

We are already into our 4th ranking event of the season (the UK Championship) and the first 3 events have produced 3 surprise winners. Last year was an open season producing 6 different winners from the 7 ranking events. Neil Robertson was the only man to win more than one ranking event and many of the big names including Hendry, O'Sullivan, Davis, Doherty and Maguire could not manage a ranking event victory.

Our winners so far this year have been Dominic Dale with the Shanghai Masters, Marco Fu with the Grand Prix and Stephen Maguire with the Northern Ireland Trophy. All 3 winners have played exceptionally well to win their respective tournament which goes to show the kind of standard we're now getting from tournament to tournament. I've already talked about the Shanghai Masters and Grand Prix, but haven't said anything about Maguire winning in Northern Ireland.

Maguire played solid snooker throughout the even to take his first title since 2004. He must be delighted to back into the winner's circle as he had a serious dip in form throughout 2005 and 2006. Fergal O'Brien was a shock finalist but played some great snooker to get there; particularly against John Higgins where he was 4-3 down but knocked in 2 centuries to win 5-4.

Ronnie O'Sullivan had a moment of brilliance in a record breaking match against Ali Carter. He knocked in 5 centuries including a maximum, a feat that will be difficult to equal.

Now we're already onto the UK Championships, the second biggest tournament in the game. The shocks continue with Hendry, Ebdon and Doherty already out, ...and in an even bigger turn of events, Mark Williams has made it through to the next round! :o) At this moment in time, Higgins is 5-3 down to Jamie Cope but there's still a long way to go in these longer, first to 9 matches.

Hendry looked to get well beaten by new up and coming super star Mark Allen. Hendry seemed miffed in the interview, he thinks his game is great but his confidence is gone. Mark Allen was extremely happy with his win saying he "had just beaten my childhood hero!" I think Mark Allen will go a long way, I was at the 2004 European Championships in Austria when Mark Allen took the title and he certainly looked first class back then.

The Ebdon vs McCulloch match was a real tense affair. McCulloch was 5-0 down and came back to win 9-8. He was 8-7 up but Ebdon leveled with a good break. McCulloch showed great determination and nerve to knock in an 80+ break in the decider.

Could we have a differerent winner for each tournament this season, I'm looking forward to finding out.

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