News update...

Jimmy White will qualify for the final stages of the Northern Ireland Trophy if he beats Tom Ford at Prestatyn this afternoon.

Jimmy is starting the new season at a career low of 65th in the world rankings and so has to start in the very first round of each event.

When you’ve played in the great arenas of snooker this is a comedown to say the least but Jimmy is not too proud to go to Pontin’s and has already pulled off two good victories.

He came from 60 points down to win the decider against Atthasit Mahitthi in the first round and then edged the methodical Paul Davies 5-4 in the second.

If Jimmy does qualify for Belfast he may have to swim to the Waterfront Hall as the city currently resembles a modern day Atlantis.

Torrential rain has seen roads flooded and parts of Belfast are cut off.

Hopefully the waters will subside before the Northern Ireland Trophy kicks off a week today.

Lee Spick may face disciplinary action after conceding his match against Joe Delaney after going 4-0 down.

Sportsmen and women get frustrated at all levels – you should see me on the rare occasions that I lose a game of pool – but there is nothing to admire in giving up early.

For the opposite attitude, look at Britain’s Paula Radcliffe in last night’s marathon in Beijing. Severely affected by injury, she was nonetheless determined to finish the race, and that was over 26 miles.

In golf, Sandy Lyle walked off the course at the Open this year before completing his first round. He later apologised.

Of course, Ronnie O’Sullivan infamously chucked in the towel against Stephen Hendry at the 2006 UK Championship.

All sort of excuses were made on his behalf but the harsh fact is that no matter how fed up you are, you just have to take your punishment.

Any sport would crumble in terms of spectator appeal if this became the norm rather than the exception.

(Not everyone agrees. A player told me he didn’t see anything wrong with what Ronnie did and that he himself had felt like doing it many times. I reminded him that though he may have felt like doing it, he never actually had. He made a good point, though, that in athletic sports such as tennis, players can feign injury to get off the court if they’ve had enough.)

One man who is definitely not a quitter is snooker’s MC Rob Walker who has been bringing his unique brand of enthusiasm to the BBC’s sailing coverage at the Olympics.

Rob has spent many an hour perched on a boat in choppy seas where I keep expecting him to fall into the water mid-sentence.

To his credit, he is yet to use the phrase ‘let’s get the boys on the boat.’

Quite a few of you may be wondering why snooker and other cue sports aren’t part of the Games.

I honestly believe that had Ding Junhui been born five years earlier than he was then snooker would be in the Beijing programme. When the Chinese won the rights to stage the Games seven years ago they immediately identified the sports they were best at and ploughed money into ensuring they had the best possible chance of winning medals.

Snooker would have been one of those sports.

This article offers an excellent summation of what has gone wrong. As they report, the earliest snooker will be in the Olympics will be 2020.

The Sunday Telegraph today carries an article reminding us that it is not only snooker that is struggling for sponsorship in the current economic climate.

Some really good news. Jack Lisowski has had his last cycle of chemotherapy and is now in remission from cancer.

It leaves Jack free to get on with his snooker career once again. Good luck to him.

Finally, happy birthday to Kirk Stevens (pictured above) who turns – would you believe it – 50 today.

Kirk, in his white suit (although I've managed to find the only pic of him not wearing it), was one of the great icons of the 1980s snooker boom. He will forever be remembered for his stylish 147 at the 1984 Masters.

His career went off the rails when he became addicted to drugs and he returned to Canada where he has had a number of jobs, including selling cars and working as a lumberjack.

But Kirk can clearly still play as, right now, he is taking part in the Canadian national Championship in Toronto where he’s already made a break of 110 in the group phase.


Anonymous said...

Indeed, two nice wins so far by Jimmy White! And note that he rallied yesterday from 2-4 down to beat Paul Davies 5-4.

BTW: White is now 2-2 at the interval against Tom Ford _ coming back from 0-2...


Anonymous said...

And Jimmy White now HAS qualified for the final stage of a ranking event for the first time in over two years! He beat Tom Ford 5-2. Well done, Whirlwind! ;-)


Scott said...

People learn from their mistakes. Just like Paula Radcliffe, who four years ago you will remember quit the marathon when she realised there was no chance of winning.