I'm in Dublin this week for the vcpoker.ie Irish Professional Championship here at the Red Cow Exhibition Centre.

It's a competitive field featuring all of Ireland's top pros and enlivened by the presence of Alex Higgins, who plays tonight.

The Irish players are all agreed that it's a source of pride that they have a national professional championship while the likes of England, Scotland and Wales do not.

Years ago, these events were subsidised by the WPBSA but, to cut costs, this subsidy was withdrawn in the early 1990s and the English, Scottish and Welsh Championships all came to an end (to be fair the tournament in Wales became the Welsh Open).

I recall Stephen Hendry electing not to play in later Scottish Championships because it was basically too easy for him. How times change. Can you imagine Hendry, John Higgins, Graeme Dott and Stephen Maguire battling it out for their national title?

Or how about Mark Williams, Ryan Day, Matthew Stevens and Dominic Dale fighting it out for the Welsh title?

England have a horde of players who would make their event competitive.

Broadcasters, sponsorship and venues need to be found, not to mention someone to organise them, but the return of the national championships would be a welcome step forward, with players competing not just to be the best at a particular tournament but the best in their own nation.


Anonymous said...

Sorry Dave but why would a National Championship be a step forward?
Obviously national championships cannot be ranking tournaments so what would be the point?
Perhaps the top players feel differently but surely Hendry and co would rather battle for ranking titles than in a tournament where only a handful of professionals would be playing?
I'd rather see the World Cup brought back.Thanks to Eurosport snooker is a hit in many countries now and an annual world cup would be a big draw.

Anonymous said...

but the world cup couldnt be a ranking event either