Friday, 20 February 2009

Snooker: Ronnie or Snooker

A good friend of mine, and an excellent snooker player himself, decided voice his opinions to me about the O'Sullivan vs Fu match. His email went something like this.

Did you see that lazy sloppy performance from O'Sullivan last night. Missing easy shots when well ahead against Fu. The *expletive deleted* deserved to lose. He said he only picked up a cue 5 times since the Masters, and that he's not bothered. If he hits a bit of form he'll win otherwise he doesn't really care if he goes out.. complete *expletive deleted* head.. couldn't even be *expletive deleted* to wash his hair before the match, in a dishevelled mess.


RIP snooker

I've kept his identity secret just in case he ever bumps into Ronnie in a dark alleyway in foggy London.

It got me thinking, and nudged me into writing an article (which is kind of a reply to my good friend as well) before greenbaize ends up on Hermund's Death List.

Firstly, unfortunately, I didn't see the match, some of us have to work for a living, ...who said slavery was dead!

Secondly, I see my friend as a Ronnie fan, whereas I see myself as a snooker fan, I can be just as happy watching a variety of players, not just Ronnie.

Ronnie is a player with boundless natural talent, probably the most talented player to ever pick up a cue. He's not a player who goes into tournaments consistently with a killer instinct, he's not the best at that, that was Hendry's and Davis' realm; they were the masters of demolishing opponents. Ronnie shows flashes of this quality but is inconsistent with the mental side of his game. Ronnie is like a cleaned up version of *Mad* Alex Higgins. The crowd always makes a Ronnie/Alex match a more tense affair as well, especially in London.

For me, Ronnie's not necessarily the best player in the game to watch, he doesn't really take many risks. He's quick, clinical, economical, has a fast snooker brain and probably the best cueing action to grace the green baize. Apart from his tantrums, antics and crazy statements, he's pretty monotonous as a player, as monotonous as Davis, but quicker and infinitely more stylish. His perceived arrogance and on-the-table disrespect for other players puts me off watching him from time to time, but I will always watch him hoping to see that moment of genius

I would much rather watch Hendry, White (in their primes), the late Cliff Wilson, Drago, Neil Robertson, and Mark Allen. I also equally enjoy watching the late Paul Hunter, Judd Trump, Selby, Ding, Stevens, Mark Williams, Walden, Wenbo, Milkins, and Liu Chuang (reminds me of a young Hendry).

I loved watching Hendry play when he was in his prime, it was if his opponent was an inconvenience in the match, like a fly buzzing round your head on a hot summer's day. If a shot was on, he would go for it and invariably get it. A real all out potter and someone that would destroy his opponent in almost every match.

Alex Higgins was just mad, his twitches, temper outburst and adventurous style of play always had you on the edge of your seat. Along with Alex Higgins; Robertson, White, Wilson, Allen, Williams, Wenbo and Milkins are always very adventurous with their shot selections, playing shots with varying degrees of spin and flair to try to entertain the crowd. You don't really see that style of play very much with Ronnie these days. Just look up some of the stylish shots that people have put on YouTube from the players I've mentioned and then you might start to see what I mean.

At the end of the day, I believe snooker is in very good hands with or without Ronnie, but by the same token, Ronnie is still very good for the game and officially still the biggest draw in the game.

I love snooker, not Ronnie, I'll leave that to his missus!

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Snooker: "Mad" Alex Higgins

Thought you might be interested in this:

Snooker player Alex Higgins has been dropped from a charity event in Limerick next month after he allegedly threatened and verbally abused spectators and a referee at a separate match.

The Belfast-born former snooker world champion is reported to have reduced a 10-year-old boy to tears, threatened to smash a snooker ball into a spectator’s face and told the referee at last Thursday’s exhibition match in Kildare that he would stick his cue “up your a***”.

Higgins’ latest debacle took place in Athy, Co Kildare during a game against Jimmy White.

As a result, Limerick and North Tipperary Carer’s Association, who had arranged for the 59-year-old to play in a charity match in Limerick next month, have dropped him from the schedule and replaced him with seven-time world champion, Stephen Hendry.

Sports Editor with the Kildare Nationalist newspaper, Brendan Coffey, acted as referee at last week’s match and experienced Higgins’ abuse and threatening demeanour at first hand.

Mr Coffey claimed Higgins behaved like a “mad man”.

“Alex didn’t seem drunk. He wasn’t acting like a drunken man, just a mad man,” he said.

“At one stage he picked up the cue like someone with a spear in Braveheart and said that if anyone annoys him, he’d stab them in the chest with it.

“He shoved a ball in front of one person’s face and said he smash him between the eyes with it if he distracted him again,” Mr Coffey claimed.

Higgins was also alleged to have scolded a 10-year-old boy sitting in the front row for apparently distracting him. The boy was reduced to tears.

Taken from the Belfast Telegraph here