The Malta Cup, which starts tomorrow, is the 200th ranking event ever staged.

The first, for those keeping score, was the 1974 World Championship, although nobody knew it at the time because the first ranking list, in 1976, was determined by the previous three stagings of the sport's biggest event.

It's now far harder to predict who will win the major tournaments than it was in the 1970s when Ray Reardon was dominant, or the 1980s when Steve Davis reigned supreme, or the 1990s when Stephen Hendry was the undisputed king of the green baize.

One man who may be worth backing at the Hilton Conference Centre, though, is Mark Williams. The Welshman has won six ranking titles outside the UK, earning him a deserved reputation as one of snooker's best travellers.

Williams, 31, has won three Thailand Masters titles, two China Opens - including last season's - and the Irish Open.

He's not won a title in Malta but has been in two finals on the Mediterranean island.

The left-hander generally shuns the limelight. He's not big on doing interviews or pushing himself forward. Neither is he worried about what others think - or how he'll be remembered.

He told me: “I don’t really care how people will remember me or what my legacy is. I’m just proud of what I’ve achieved.

“I’ve come from a little town in South Wales and didn’t even think I’d win one tournament when I started, let alone all the titles I’ve picked up.

“I’ll never be as motivated as I was when I was coming up through the ranks but my last ambition is to win one more World Championship. That’s what I’d really like to do. Apart from that, I’ll try as hard as I can in every tournament. I want to win as much as possible but if I don’t it won’t make that much difference.”

Williams starts out against Dubliner Fergal O'Brien, who brought his remarkable run of 48 straight opening round victories in ranking events to an end at the 2003 UK Championship.

The Malta Cup is live all week on Eurosport. You can follow live scoring on www.worldsnooker.com.


Craig said...

Hi Dave,

Enjoyed reading your 'blogs', good work, good on you. You may remember me I used to do some writing for Clive a while back and on the Snooker Scene website, about the time where it looked like TSN would take over and there could be opportunities for work.

Would love to get back into the game and to make a career out of it but not really sure if there are any openings or how I would do it. Any advice?

Dave H said...


It's not an easy business to get into but if I hear of any openings I'll let you know

Anonymous said...

Thanks Dave,

That would be much appreciated if you could keep me in mind. So much to offer but noone to offer it to lol.

Really enjoyed the commentary this week with you and Joe Johnson, keep up the good work! Hope the weather in Malta is nice!