Had the BBC had a camera in the pressroom today the resultant footage would have resembled a farce of Brian Rix proportions.

Professor Stephen Hawking would have struggled to work out the various machinations of the round robin groups.

We huddled round computers studying the group tables tossing out different scenarios with little real clue what was going on.

In short, there are too many variables in this system and it makes it far too confusing for people to follow.

An example: we were told that Stephen Maguire, who played his last match on Monday, had been eliminated regardless of what happened in the rest of the group.

Then, the officials changed their mind and told us he would be out if Joe Perry won a frame against Ding Jun Hui.

We were puzzled by this and asked for a re-check. The result: Maguire was out after all.

The TV commentators struggled to keep up, as did the viewers no doubt, and quite what the paying public made of it all I’ve no idea. Presumably, they didn’t understand the varying importance of frames won here and there and what they meant in terms of group standings. How could they?

So, in a sense, almost every match here meant nothing from an audience point of view. It was merely a succession of players playing each other, with the results unclear until the very end.

Mark King had booked his flight home, assuming he was out. In fact, because Shaun Murphy lost to Ali Carter, King qualified alongside Ryan Day from group B on frame difference ahead of Murphy.

Steve Davis, a professional since 1978, has seen more tournament snooker than any other player, is better qualified than most to comment on all of this.

This is what he said: “I think it’s a bit messy. Not to say it isn’t fun for the players and spectators but it’s messy in that certain players have produced good standards and not got through and other players have sneaked through.

“Players may welcome the change but would prefer a best of nine match so they know where they stand.

“If it wasn’t a ranking event it would be absolutely fantastic. But because we don’t have that many ranking events players are very aware of their position and what the points mean.

“It’s a long-winded way to get down to 16 players. It’s a pity it couldn’t have been the Masters instead.

“There are players going home who have played very well. There are all these anomalies and waiting on other results. If it continues there will be bad feeling somewhere down the line for whatever reason, maybe a player not trying as hard as he should or the possibility of two players seeing who they would play in the next round if they won and not wanting to win.

“It’s been good fun to play in but the trouble is it’s a ranking event. If we had 12 a year it wouldn’t be so bad but there are limited chances for players and some of them will be going home cursing whoever made the change.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Not in the later highlights, but during the live action, I think the BBC could have worked a lot harder in putting up the scores along the bottom of the group match they're showing and a as-it-stands table with regards the match.

This would have helped a lot more, than the confusion 8 tables they showed at the end. I gave up after Group Z...

Thanks, Joe