The way he has played this last year, it was obvious Ali Carter was good enough to win a ranking title but before he actually managed this feat the doubts, perhaps his own self doubts, remained.

Well, not any more. Ali was sensational in recovering from 5-2 down to beat Joe Swail 9-5 and win the Welsh Open in Newport last night.

You wonder now if the floodgates will open and he will become a regular tournament winner, or as regular as the skeleton calendar allows.

He will certainly be among the favourites to lift the World Championship trophy in May although to do so he may have to pass one final test: beat Ronnie O’Sullivan, which he has failed to do in 11 meetings.

I was very impressed with his performance last night. Who wouldn’t be?

I think Terry Griffiths, his coach, deserves credit for helping to restore his positive attitude because late on in the first session Carter was clearly feeling fed up.

But his comeback included some terrific snooker and his victory was much deserved.

And it brought to an end a week that did snooker the power of good.

The atmosphere for the final was electric as Carter and Swail fought it out in front of a packed and enthusiastic crowd.

Indeed, crowds were good all week and it goes to prove two things:

1) People will come if you play tournaments in places where snooker is popular – and Wales is an established stronghold.

2) People will come if you tell them a tournament is on – and World Snooker did work with the local press to build up interest before it began.

Unfortunately, though, anyone who enjoyed the event and is looking forward to the next televised tournament will have to wait five weeks for the China Open.

The Championship League is on the internet in the interim but the world qualifiers aren’t.

Snooker needs to bolster its profile to attract sponsors but this is difficult when there are such big gaps between tournaments.

Anyway, that’s not something that will be sorted out overnight. For today, let’s pay tribute to Ali Carter for his first ranking title.

On the form he displayed last night it won’t be his last.


Anonymous said...

So after deservedly winning his first ever ranking event with an immense performance, Carter is standing there in his moment of glory, expecting plaudits from all sides and what is the first question from the interviewer - "Can you tell us about you pilots licence?"

I nearly fell out me bloody chair! Get that daft get on a course!

Brilliant Carter but that bloke almost ruined the whole climax!

Mat Wilson

Sir Toby Belch said...

That guy is just in a league of his own. Even Ali Carter seemed unable to believe what he was being asked.

Anonymous said...

Agreed, his response 'I'd rather talk about my first ranking title win' said it all. I'm not one for getting personal so I won't, but I'll just say I hope he does the decent thing and steps down. Snooker will never appeal to a new audience with people like him commentating.

Anyway, well done to Ali!