Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Snooker: Selby's First Ranking Title

Mark Selby claimed his first ranking event of his career in the Welsh Open on Sunday with a great win over Ronnie O'Sullivan.

The first session was a bit scrappy with Ronnie really struggling to find his A game. I thought Mark should have capitalised a lot more and when it finished 4-4, I feared Mark had probably blown a good chance to get a good lead and put himself in a commanding position for the evening session.

I was expecting Ronnie to come back a better player in the evening session, and he did, winning 4 of the first 5 frames in style, and leaving him one frame from victory. To me, Selby looked dead and buried and I was pretty astonished with the fightback that ensued.

Selby said he had to resort to his B game and ground out the next 3 frames to take it to 8 each. Ronnie came flying out of the blocks in the decider and, early on in the frame, looked like he was going to blow Selby's fightback to smithereens, but he broke down and Selby knocked in a break taking the match to the last 3 or 4 reds. Ronnie got back in, tried to move a red off the cushion but missed a solid cannon. He got down quickly to back double the same red, a match winner if it went in, not necessarily a match loser if he missed but the white flew round the table and went in off! This left Selby with a sitter and he didn't need a second invitation.

Ronnie was clearly devestated and seemed to struggle to comprehend his loss. The Welsh interviewer/commentator didn't help, "Great match, highest break, congratulations", I was shouting DUCK!! at the TV in fear that Ronnie was going to hit him! What a plonker. Ronnie came out with some comments which I think were due to the heat of the moment: "Mark was very tactical" and "I don't know if Mark's talented; he plays a very negative game. He doesn't take a ball on unless he's going to leave it safe.". The media have obviously stirred the comments up a bit, but Mark has subsequently come out and dismissed them with diplomacy I don't think even he's used to. Let's face it, it can't be easy giving a live interview when you've just lost a major final from a very commanding position.

Selby didn't only beat Ronnie at the Welsh Open, he beat 3 other past World Champions in Hendry, Higgins and Doherty which has to make his vctory even sweeter. I'm really pleased for Selby, he's a very funny guy as I found out when he came to the Swiss Open a couple of years ago. He can stand up in front of an audience and tell jokes all night long. He's a fantastic character in the world of snooker, ...not a bad player too!!

Well done Mark!


Douglas said...

Fair comments there Andy. I only saw the last frame and didnt listen to the interview at the end. Second time in a row Rocket has blown it in the last frame of a match. He tried to flick the last red over the middle exhibition style where the percentage shot was to come behind it and have it into 3-4 possible pockets. With the double he just got down and slapped it, so he'd obviously had enough of the match at that point. He gets wound up by people like Dott, Ebdon, and now Selby. There is no comparison in class or ability but O'Sullivan needs to get his head right and finish these styles of player off, I fear in the WC he'll lose another one of these types of matches against players he doesnt like to play against. Hope not...

andy said...

Yeah I think there's more to snooker than Ronnie O'Sullivan. I enjoy watching other players too! :o)

I especially like Selby, he's not super fluent but he knocks in the centuries and he's a great character. .....That's my view anyway.