16.3.09

THOUGHTS ON THE SHOT CLOCK

I’ve always been opposed to a shot clock in snooker because it would create a false kind of the game.

I would defend its use in the Premier League because it is a non ranking invitation event and distinguishes it from all the other tournaments. It creates a unique 'brand' for the League and that is fair enough.

However, players play at their own pace. Some are fast, some are not so fast and some are slow.

A true test of a player is how they cope against all styles – including the grinders.

A shot clock doesn’t take into account the different forms of snooker. Many people enjoy watching bouts of safety play because they demand high skill levels.

If every frame was long red followed by century it would soon become boring.

Also, when players rush they tend to make more mistakes. There is a rule on time wasting at the referee’s discretion if he thinks a player is deliberately dragging a match out.

And would the conclusion of the Dennis Taylor-Steve Davis world final in 1985 have been more exciting if they were running round the table?

A permanent shot clock of 25 seconds would rid the sport of its many nuances. It would be, to use the modern phrase, 'dumbing down.'

Yes, the Premier League usually has full houses but it did before the shot clock was introduced.

Sky's viewing figures for it aren't much different to when they used to show ranking events.

So they are the arguments against, but my position has softened a little through commentating on the Agipi Masters, a 3 cushion billiards event.

In this, the shot clock is 40 seconds rather than 25 as in the Premier League.

It does make for a satisfying pace of play but players tend not to have to rush. They can take two time-outs per match.

Very few shots in snooker require longer than 40 seconds of thought. If a player is snookered, it seems logical not to impose a time limit but a clock would cut out some of the needless time wasting we have seen in recent years (no names mentioned but if you watch snooker regularly you can probably remember particular matches where this has been the case).

A 40 second shot clock would encourage positive play and without meaning that safety is a thing of the past.

Overall, I’m still against a shot clock of any length being introduced for all tournaments.

But I’m not quite as against it as I was this time last week.

Your thoughts, please…

81 comments:

Anonymous said...

i am totally against it

some players think at a slower rate and are naturally more cautious. just because they take their time shouldnt mean punishment of failing to abide by a clock.

this all comes about because ronnie o sullivan plays fast IMO.

if he played the exact same way, but took 10 seconds on average extra per shot hed still be loved but "fans" wouldnt be "obsessed" with shot time

IMHO of course

Sparky said...

I'm DEFINITELY against a clock. The most interesting and exciting part of a game is often when you read: "Shot time: 1:58... 1:59... 2:00... 2:01... 2:02..." Then you know that this is a really REALLY important and/or difficult shot that could turn the match around.

If every shot took 25 secs, then you would loose the nuances of how difficult the shot is. And then you can't cut the tension with a knife...

Need I remind everybody about Cliff Thorburn's glass of water during his 147 break, or Graeme Dott kissing the trophy during his final break of the World Final? WE LOVE THAT!

kserauer said...

If you look at the average shot time of the top players in matches, there's hardly any occasion when it's more than 30 seconds.
In a fluent break it will be some 15-20 seconds. So the shotclock would have nearly no effect on breakbuilding.
There also won't be too many safety shots which take more than 40-45 seconds. Maybe there'll be 2,3,4 shots a frame where you need some 1 to 2 mins. But if there are allowed 2,3,4 timeouts it wouldn't affect the safety game too much either.
So, a rather generous shotclock would have a very slight effect on the game. Compared to the administrative efforts of introducing a shotclock, the result woulb be modest.

On the other hand a 25-30 second shotclock would change the nature of the game completely. This would make necessary players, coaches, and local leagues adapting to some extent. 12 year old prospects would have to adapt to the new rule. Naturally slow, methodical players would disappear gradually from the circuit.

In my opinion,a tight shot clock isn't really necessary,for the new players generation wil get faster nonetheless. What would be necessary is that pondering over shots more than 2 minutes disapeaers. That's a thing that really annoys me when watching snooker. So introduce a 1 min 20 1 min 30 time limit for every shot, without exception. Violations against the time limit should be punished with seven points and the opportunity of a ball in hand for the oponent. Also the referees should be taking a closer look if somebody plays deliberately slow to break the focus of the opponent and warn them more frequently if they do so. If the real grinders get punished a few times they'll have to change this hideous tactics.

It's a real problem if you turn on the telly and there's some guy standing, nearly motionless, and does nothing for 2 minutes, plays some containing safety, waits for the other shot and again does nothing for 2 minutes. No one will want to watch that kind of stuff even if it's for free.

andy said...

I love Premier League Snooker. I think one of the reasons has to do with the shot clock, but I don't think it's only the shot clock that makes the tournament so good, other factors do come into it.

I believe Matchroom have only got the formula right in the last 3 to 4 years, when Dr Martins were sponsors and even before then, I wasn't that interested in the event, it's not just the shot clock that makes it a great event.

I remember seeing the shot clock for the first time many years ago and hated it. I could not believe what *they* had done to my beloved snooker and I had always seen myself as a bit of a purist when it comes to snooker.

But it has to be said, I now love the shot clock in the Premier League, it really works well with this event. I have been converted, it wasn't done over night, it took a number of years but I'm definitely a converted shot-clock fan!

I don't see too much of an issue with the shot-clock in ranking events, but rather than introducing the shot clock into a ranking event, they should introduce ranking points into all events. I enjoy the ranking events and the premier league, so my allegiance is split between shot clock and classic snooker.

Ultimately, for snooker to prosper globally, I think it will change in some way, the introduction of the shot-clock is one of the small changes out of many that will happen over the next 10 years (whatever they maybe). Now there's a prediction for ya! :o)

Andy

conventional wisdom said...

I love Premier League snooker too but think it's totally wrong to introduce a shot clock into ranking events. It's definitely a case of dumbing down and overall would lower the standard of play significantly.

All the points against have been well articulated already:

- shot clocks cause players to rush and make mistakes
- pressure of the shot clock affects concentration and the decision making process
- if shots take more than one minute to think of it, it usually means the player is in trouble. Take Mark Selby for example - the game would be robbed of his inventiveness in safety if he were forced to hurry up and not be allowed to come up with his tactical masterpieces

At the end of the day if you are in favour of a shot clock of ANY kind you do not understand the game of snooker in all it's glory. Period.

Anonymous said...

well said 10-59

all thats needed is refs reminded to pay attention the anyone deliberatley timewasting, which they should be doing anyway

"penalising" becuse you cant play a sport quickly isnt FAIR, imho

can you imagine in darts if they said youd to throw all 3 darts within 10 seconds? PMSL

Anonymous said...

If you haven't got the attention span to appreciate this great game then go elsewhere for your entertainment like pool for example.

Mig said...

One thing I don’t like about shot clocks is that those things are blind to what is going on at the table. A beep at the wrong time can ruin a shot, for example when a player is about to cue.

Anyway, in my opinion, if players have to be rushed somehow that should be a referees’ task. At least they have the common sense to concede a few more seconds when a player is down the table about to take the shot.

Rules against stalling aside, I think referees should warn a player every time a minute passes. This wouldn’t mean players would be penalized if they passed that time, but maybe if they realized how much time they were taking they might take less time to take a shot. Just a thought.

snookerfan92 said...

Shot clocks would kill all tension in a match, and ruin the quality of play in my opinon. It would put pressure on players who never played under timed conditions.

snooker147 said...

I agree there is no point in rushing players. Some have a pace, some have another. I don't think that players play deliberately slower in shots longer than 40 seconds, they just need to think about the perfect shot.

JohnH said...

I agree with the above- I have to add that I wonder if Ronnie would of won ALL the recent premier leagues without a shot clock in play- it certainly provides quicker players with a slight advantage

Anonymous said...

I think the shot clock discriminates against certain types of player. Why not balance it up with a tournament in which players are not allowed to play there next shot until 30 seconds have passed and see how well they can keep their rhythm!

Anonymous said...

"And would the conclusion of the Dennis Taylor-Steve Davis world final in 1985 have been more exciting if they were running round the table?"

Exactly.

Another example - the Masters final, what a wonderful match that was. Compare that to the final of the Premier League this season - it was the same two players, O'Sullivan/Selby. I struggle to remember any memorable frame or shot in that match. All I remember is that it was 7-2 to Ronnie.

Monique said...

yes but I wouldn't say that it was 7-2 to Ronnie because of the shot clock: after all Selby came top of the table in PL and was undefeated in it until there. He definitely coped very well with it. He was just of of touch on that day and it had nothing to do with the shot-clock.

I'm not advocating shot-clock in rankers but I think clearer directions are needed to the referees that they HAVE to penalise if excessive time is taken - especially if it happens repeatedly in a match. What is excessive time? Several factors come into play: the difficulty of the shot, the importance of the match and the player's natural pace. I'm sure enough statistics could be gathered (and are actually gathered) so that the refs could have an idea of the player's "profile" ... particularly at the top. Fergal O'Brien or Rory McLeod are naturally slow players. Ebdon and Selby aren't. So when Selby dragged his 2007 quarter final against Carter in the 2007 WC, taking unduly long time over every shot it was gamemanship in my opinion and should have been penalised. (Not to mention I really struggled not to fall asleep then - just like Carter BTW.)

Today refs almost never warn the players for that. Actually I can't remember having seen it.

Anonymous said...

My view is that we should all calm down and not bastardize the sport as has been the case with cricket.

Anonymous said...

No thanks. Snooker doesn't need a facile gimmick to "improve" the game.

The only thing a shot clock does is irritate me whenever the bleep goes off as a player is delivering the cue.

Although I'm not a fan, I can understand it's use in one-off tournaments like the Premier League, but not for ranking tournaments. There is nothing wrong with the game of snooker, it just needs better work on the commercial side. Not the sporting side.

andy said...

Monique,

Thank you for talking some sense!! :o)

I've seen this kind of penalisation before with slow players and I just don't think it's easy an rule to implement in the pressure-tank environment of a snooker venue.

I saw it with Dean Reynolds years ago and it completely broke his rhythm and concentration in the match. In fact, he was in tears in the post match press conference.

Ebdon broke down when Hazel Irvine interrogated him about his slow play against Ronnie in the world championships a few years back as well (Ebdon beat Ronnie). If a rule were to be enforced (like people have said, there's already a rule in place), it would have to be very fair and consistent, ie., a shot clock of some sort.

At the moment, I like things the way they are, but wouldn't be too disappointed if the shot was implemented in the occasional tournament that carried ranking status. But I would rather have a lot more tournaments carrying ranking status first!!!

Andy

Anonymous said...

Why should slower players be penalised and not fast players? In my opinion playing fast is as every much a tactic as playing slow.

Dave H said...

Monique - I think that's unfair on Mark Selby, who is one of the fairest players in the sport.

In the match you mention, he tightened up but I believe this was as a result of the pressure stemming from how close the match was and the stage of the tournament.

kserauer said...

"If you haven't got the attention span to appreciate this great game then go elsewhere for your entertainment like pool for example."

Fair enough. I would also be an opponent of the shot clock, if it was all about my opinion on the sport. But I don't want to watch the best world final in terms of playing quality if the audience is a half a dozen of old people, of which a half is asleep. If the audience is noisy, not really klowledgable, and only there because they want to do Ronnie or Selby. What does it matter for me, if they enjoy the match and I feel as if the outcome does matter. If you want to be one of the old chaps, no problem, but it's no good seeing the best snooker of all time if nobody else sees mit.

No offense, but sometimes it seems to me that diehard snooker fans are a little vain and think they're very special because they understand the game and anyone who isn't this purist and conservative about the game is seen as philistine out of the jungle.

"And would the conclusion of the Dennis Taylor-Steve Davis world final in 1985 have been more exciting if they were running round the table?"

Well, let's put it another way: Would the conclusion of the 1985 world final have been this exciting if there were two dozen local nerds in the crowd, no BBC, they play in a gym, and the winners prize is a coupon for pizza.

And yet another way: Would the final of 85 transfuse the same excitement today?

I feel some changes in the game have to be made, let alone the promotion, publicity gags, players talking with the yellow press, stage fake scandals etc.

The ultimate goal for snooker must be to fill halls with passionate watchers. If they love the game a priori, they have a crush on a player, they are just fans or enemies of a certain player, or if they are just there to watch the balls being potted.

The purist establishment can and must only be the base of the sport, but not its purpose.

Dave H said...

Excdept none of that's true.

I was at the world qualifiers which were packed out despite the fact there wasn't a single top 16 player in action.

Take snooker to places where people will watch it - and Sheffield has always been such a place - and they will come.

The idea that the Crucible will be half full for the world final is laughable.

andy said...

I think Monique tried to say earlier that the shot clock doesn't really have a negative impact on the perceived "slower players". If there's a difficult shot, ALL players, including Ronnie, require more than 25 seconds to execute the shot. That's why I don't think quicker players necessarily benefit from the shot clock. In all the post-match interviews, I don't remember one player saying they lost because they couldn't keep up with the shot clock. The player that I remember that had the most problems with it was Neil Robertson, not a so called "slow player".

The shot clock's main effect is the spectacle it produces for the audience and the viewers, ...in my opinion. I guess the payers would confirm for sure. Dave, what do the players say about this?

Andy

Dave H said...

They're almost all against it. Even Ronnie O'Sullivan has criticised it - and he is thought to benefit most from it.

The main reason Sky brought it in wasn't to 'freshen up' the game as has been widely perceived but to pretty much control the length of matches ands therefore the length of their broadcast.

Anonymous said...

If Peter Ebdon wants to do his stupid little gamesmanship/tricks, does it really matter that much? Let Ebdon have his little moment. As much as I like Ronnie, and salivate over his matches, I wouldn't want to see him win the WC every damn year.

And anyway, today's "slow" players are nothing compared to some of the grinders of the past. Can you imagine how Ronnie would cope against Cliff Thorburn, or Terry Griffiths, or Eddie Charlton?

andy said...

Ah, well fair enough. :o)

I remember Ronnie being against it in the beginning, but then later saying it was a good idea. But then again, we know how Ronnie likes to change his mind from time to time.

I seem to remember Stevis Davis saying it was good for the occassional tournament too, ...or do you think he was just being diplomatic on the telly and because his best mate arranges the tournament?

Is it possible that I've heard pro players saying it's a good idea in public (on the telly), but behind the scenes, to people like you, they say it's not such a good idea??

Andy

Anonymous said...

I have said many times that I am against a limit on individual shot times.

However, if some perceived problem exists with slowness of play, then why not have an average-shot time, such as the BBC routinely gives among its stats.

Say an average shot time of 30 seconds. If at the end of any frame your average shot time is 28 seconds or more, the referee will warn the player that should it reach 30 at the end of any subsequent frame, the player will be docked a frame.

Even with a shot clock, if there's a lot of safety, it'll still be a long match! A frame won with a total clearance may consist of as few as 37 shots. A drawn out safety battle could consist of 100, which even at 25 seconds each is still a long frame!

Regards
Chris D

andy said...

Chris, that's not such a bad idea. Maybe 30 seconds is a little quick but I certainly think a rule could be developed around that basic premise. It would take inconsistency of the application of a rule out of the equation which is the most important thing.

I don't necessarily believe the game needs a rule like this though... :o)

Andy

kserauer said...

"Excdept none of that's true."

Of course not. Thats a fictional scenario to illustrate the crossroads snooker will and must face.
My point is that if the sport declined (and i think it will do) I wouldn't enjoy a fantastic match if there was no audience neither in the venue nor in front of the telly, and if the public didn't care. I love the sport, but it would make me suffer beyond consolation.

"The idea that the Crucible will be half full for the world final is laughable."

Of course it is laughable. For now. This year it'll be full. Next year it'll be full and maybe it'll be full in ten years time, but let's face it: It's the only venue in Britain, which is constantly filled.
But people act like it was a necessity for the crucible to be sold out, just because of tradition. Well, you'll live to see changes.

"Heard the sound of a clown who cried in the alley,
And it's a hard, and it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard,
And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall."

andy said...


"Heard the sound of a clown who cried in the alley,
And it's a hard, and it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard,
And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall."


Hmmm, I don't quite think the translation from German to English has worked there... :0D

Made me smile though.

Anonymous said...

Andy

No, nor do I. Just saying that IF there is a perceived problem (which I don't believe for one moment), then look at an average-time rather than an absolute shot-time limit.

Chris

kserauer said...

"Hmmm, I don't quite think the translation from German to English has worked there... :0D

Made me smile though."

There was no translation, and it's perfectly true, as it stands.

conventional wisdom said...

Fair enough making referees aware of the rules for deliberate slow play but in all honesty what the hell is this arguement all about? Why is anything needed at all? Even if you increase from 25 to 40 seconds how will that improve the game?

As far as I'm concerned there is absolutely no valid case for a shot clock and I take offence at being classed as "old" because I understand the game better than someone of limited attention span.

Again I point to the example of Mark Selby. This player has revolutionised snooker for me with the standard of his safety game. It was that good that he pushed O'Sullivan (also with a great safety game) to an over 30 second shot time average during the Master final. In the end O'Sullivan was taking more time than Selby and making out Selby was the one slowing play down!

And to counter Moniques version of the Premier League final - of course the shot clock was the reason Selby lost so heavily. Don't be so naive. Yes he topped the group but with only 25 seconds thinking time against a great safety player who thinks and plays quickly how the hell was he going to get himself into the game?


I can see I am on the side of common sense, all the players and the majority of posters so I'm reassured there will be no shot clock in the near future. However I can see this topic being brought up in future in which case people like us need to be on our guard to stave off the onslaught from the inferiors!

conventional wisdom said...

And for the average shot time idea suggested by Chris I have to point out the following scenario - if one player dominates play and pots all the balls and leaves his opponent in all sorts of trouble whenever he comes to the table it will push up that players average shot time. You see happen it all the time. That is why the idea won't work, and as you yourself pointed out there is no need for it!

Anonymous said...

the time limts of man are all in the mind........

Monique said...

@Dave ... I don't want to be unfair to Mark Selby but this is genuinly how I percieved it at the time and still do. My posts on TSF dated back from the time can testify this.
Once again I'm not pleading to have shot-clock in ranking tournaments (even if I like the PL).
I don't mind long tactital battles neither. But unecessary slow play is a form of gamemanship and the rules do address it. Plus it doesn't do any good for the interest of the match or the entertainment of the audience.

Anonymous said...

Try telling that to the many people who cite Ebdon v O'Sullivan in 2005 as an all time classic.

Anonymous said...

Try telling that to the many people who cite Ebdon v O'Sullivan in 2005 as an all time classic.

Matt said...

Personally I would be entirely against a shot clock, even at 40 seconds because I don't have any problem with the game as it is. While the quicker matches might be more exciting or more thrilling to watch, I find the slower matches equally as absorbing, but in a different way.

I don't have a problem with players taking 2-3 minutes to consider a particularly difficult safety/escape, they all do it, even ROS at a tournament recently and rightly so.

Yes they might have time-outs but if they have run out and have to rush a difficult shot later on then I don't see who benefits from it. I would rather wait a few minutes for a brilliant and well-thought out shot rather than have them potentially rush and make a hash of it.

I don't really see anything wrong with how Selby played to win the Welsh either, quite the opposite in fact. If it were me and I was facing an opponent who plays quickly and loathes the slow frames, it would make perfect sense to slow him down and get him out of his comfort zone. Just part of the strategy and the tactics for me like in any sport (like lesser teams turning up at Old Trafford or the Emirates in football and playing 4-5-1 to get a draw), it's up to his opponent to respond and deal with it.

In any case as Dave says, he also had to deal with the pressure and the situation of the match coming to a conclusion with the title on the line too.

But maybe that's just me.

Anonymous said...

No it's not just you Matt. I think this whole issue should be put to bed. I've been enjoying snooker as it is for over 20 years and the variety you get now makes it a far superior product than the one dimensional wham bam snooker seen in the Premier League

John A

Anonymous said...

Ticking away, the moments that make up a dull day.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,

I do agree with what Monique is saying about Mark Selby.

Regardless, of what the context of the match is, he seems to figure in long frames/matches (v Fu/Hamilton/O'Sullivan). I do hope this isn't his modus operandi to achieving his ultimate goal in Snooker.

As it stands, am happy for the shot clock to be played in the Premier League and left out of the tour circuit. But, what does worry me is, to what extent would World Snooker change a tournament to try to re-market the game? The group stage didn't work at the Grand Prix...But they should definitely consult Mr Hearn.

By the way, how is the relationship with PA Sport and world snooker going at the moment? (I hope you can talk about this in more depth on one of your next podcasts.) Do you remember snooker radio? Around the time of TSN - but I cannot remember what happened to it?

The updates on ceefax/teletext are virtually non-existent now. I remember when Trevor Baxter used to call them through. Does he, like Clive, still have a news agency?

And if Janie Watkins is reading this, please can you tell me what is the deal with the people who have bought and taken over Global Snooker Centre. The scoresheet/updates arent as good anymore, even though it is more polished than before. Keep up the good work...

Thanks, Joe

Dave H said...

Hello Joe

The hook-up between the PA and World Snooker has been disastrous, just as I predicted.

The amount of coverage has gone down and what there is is both misrepresentative and often inaccurate.

Trevor sold his agency and set up a new one but doesn't do much snooker now.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the information, Dave, much appreciated.

Does Trevor have a website address for his agency?

By the way, did you see one of the report's in yesterday's nationals about the world championship match between Wenbo and Ding? It could supersede the Ding v Hendry China final for TV ratings. Interesting stuff.

Finally, are you 'Twittering' snookerscene live from the Crucible next month?

Thanks, Joe

Anonymous said...

Hurrah

at least the high majority of folk on here seem to be against something that wont make snooker appeal "more" to the majority.

very few players take excessive time, and of those few who do do it do it very rarely.

in this instance the refs do warn them. it hasnt happened much over recent years, but it does occur.

folk who have only been into snooker for a few years may not have seen it

at least we arent pandering the the RonnieO'Sullivin speed players in all tournaments except the PL, which although i agree 100% with davie as to why it was introduced on sky (cos hes correct) just because a lot of his fans think the rest are crap cos they dont attack like mad and play with great speed and walk round the table 100mph telling the refs to get out their way, when the refs arent.

Anonymous said...

I would agree with the majority on this one, except I would re-jig the miss rule accordingly.

Anonymous said...

what's the miss rule got to do with shit?

Donal said...

I am totally against it for reasons that have already been mentioned ad nauseum in both the comments and the original post.

Monique said...

@Matt I wasn't talking abot the Welsh final, I was talking about the WC 2007 QF against Carter.

Anonymous said...

its nice to see those who are pro shot clock (in some events) use a player who naturally doesnt play too fast and also performs better when he stabalises himself and plays methodical as an "arguement" for the shot clock.

everyone is different.

if you like swift players then fine

DO NOT try to alter our beautiful sport to try to make everyone even more like a particular mould. that is why snooker is so good.

players play at the pace they want.

if a player wants to take 45 seconds on average per shot in a ranking event becuase thats the way they play, they should not be penalised because some folk are obsessed with speed and players who "run" around the table as if it matters what speed their match is played at.

let us change darts to 10 seconds maximum for three darts.

let us change tennis to 30 seconds per "rally" or the umpire calls a let.

let us change boxing to you must hit the other person 5 times per minute or you lose.

no lets not, because that would entirely change those sports and in some cases suit a type of player more than others.

some people just cant see the wood for the trees

stuartfanning said...

Snooker need to attact more non-anoraks. So the pace of the game needs to be speeded up. Everyone knows that some players use slow play as a tactic against players who are better and faster than they are. If Snooker is going to attact sponsors in the future it has got to bring back the audiences it had 20 years ago, and in some ways the Premiere League is showing the way forward for the sport.

Anonymous said...

the players of 20 years ago were on average slower than todays (young) crop, so erm, i disagree with your NON FACTUAL opinion

kimball said...

50 comments, phew!
Slow player as a downer.. and first prize goes to... dave Harold-
Shaun Murphy!!!
First time for Shanghai Masters
and there were a new worldrecord for slow play, 90 min. for the deciseve frame. Not much to do about it but I am sure there were a
huge bunch of the young spectators
and especially girlfriends tagging
along to see what it was all about,
who will never watch snooker again.
But rules are rules and goes for
tennis on clay too.
At home we have a 40 min/frame rule
for kids under 15, works well with
kids, but no suggestion to bring it
into the protour:-)

Anonymous said...

there used to be lots and lots of long long frames 20 years ago when snooker was at its peak, and loads loved it.

IMO folk like you think you know what other people want, when it is not the case.

stuartfanning said...

I suggest you re-read my comment 'Anonymous' as I said nothing about players being faster 20 years ago!!! My point is that now 2009, if the audience and sponsors are to be brought back the game has to be made more attractive. Slow play will not do it and is only appreciated by some anoraks!

Anonymous said...

i think you need to re-read my comment stuart. i never said you said anything about players being faster 20 years ago.

thankfully your opinion seems to be in the minority if on here and other forums are to be believed (especially if you take out diehard fans of Ronnie)

Kimball said...

Dear Dave, I listend to you and the
co-commentator (who) for the match
Blomdahl-Sayginer. Semi and final
I had to watch without sound because of a snookermatch being in progress.
However, I know that Blomdahl finds
the shotklock working to his advantage at several occasions and
can be used as a tactical weapon if
you are skilled enough.
2.I think you and your collueage were of the mind that there are not
very much tactical or defensive game in 3-cushion.
As a matter of fact, there are quite a lot and the more you watch
the easier you see different kinds
of shotselection, like not using
your opponents ball as objectball
when frozen to a cushion, et.cet,et.cet.
Blomdahl said in the intevju, after the final-" maybe I let down
my guard a bit early"
Meaning, he went all out in offensive game instead of having
Jaspers sweat a bit longer to struggle with finding the rythm.
Jaspers made 6,7,9 and 4 in a row
and Blomdahl felt he let him in.
Keep up the good work:-)

Anonymous said...

If you want to speed it up, that's one of the reasons for the use of a shot clock, play the game with six reds only. Dave, do you think this will be done in an official tournament (Higgins was in favour of this I thought)?

Monique said...

Higgins proposed to introduce it in the early stages of the World Series for practical reasons and also to "level the field" a bit between the locals and the top players.
6-reds would deprieve the game of its tactical facets just as much as shot-clock. With only 75 as a maximum, chances for frames to be over in one visit are extremely high at the pro level. It may be that a different tactical approach is needed and would develop;. But then again, it would be a different game.

Dave H said...

Six reds is fine for new, one-off events but the levellling of the playing field is why I don't like it.

The best players deserve to win, nobody else.

To take up Stuart's point about the Premier League: it's always had good crwods because you're guaranteed to know which players you will be seeing, unlike in ranking events after the first round.

kimball said...

We all have to adjust to the klock
ticking away and hope that the new
generation (cope,trump,Allen,Wenbo,
Walden,Junhui,Robertson,Higginson,
Gilbert,Gould a.s.o.)start to make
an even stronger impact.

Time is running out for all the stars of the 80-90,s
O'Sullivan,Higgins and Williams will last a few more years,that,s it.

kimball said...

We all have to adjust to the klock
ticking away and hope that the new
generation (cope,trump,Allen,Wenbo,
Walden,Junhui,Robertson,Higginson,
Gilbert,Gould a.s.o.)start to make
an even stronger impact.

Time is running out for all the stars of the 80-90,s
O'Sullivan,Higgins and Williams will last a few more years,that,s it.

Anonymous said...

Tony Drago once completed a frame in 202 seconds against a former dustman.

Anonymous said...

People,

Having read all the comments above I cannot help wondering at why many people seem to single out Mark Selby as the exponent of "slow snooker".

When he's in amongst the balls his shot time is as low as the next player's...in general (and with some exceptions). I cannot help but wonder that it's a trifle unfair on him. When he played Shaun Murphy in the semis he was equally fast in most departments and no one mentioned it at all.

IMHO, I love the game for both aspects: the high, frame-clinching breaks AND the tactical side of it.

I only find it logical that a player should be entitled to look at a situation should he decide to do so, whether it be in a break in order to look for a better alternative to create more options later on in the break, or whether it be to play a snooker or escape from one.

I do agree with 1 comment made previously as well by the way. If "we" are going to penalise players for slow play (by means of a shotclock or so) I think we should also penalise the fastest players by introducing a minimum shotclock, or something like that.

Fast or slow or intermediate play...it's all part and parcel of the game. So penalise 1 and not the other category seems unfair to me.

Cheers.

Dave H said...

Yes, I think the criticism of Selby is unfair.

Commentating with Joe Johnson on the 2007 World Championship, Joe made a good point about the pace of Mark's play:

"He sometimes takes a long time over a shot but, whenever he does, he plays a really good one."

snookerfan92 said...

Lolz, if shot clock was introduced to more events, Peter Ebdon may burst out crying again, just like 2005.

Anonymous said...

I think the criticism of Selby has some merit. The 2007 world final finished later than the 2006 final, even though, in frames, it was only 18-13 in the end. And Selby did slow it down a lot. He also had one of the longest ever frames of snooker in that year's UK Championship against Marco Fu, at something like 79 minutes.

But his reputation as a "grinder" has subsided and I myself have no complaints about him since the 2007 WC. His encounters with O'Sullivan, in my opinion, has been the biggest attraction in snooker in the last couple of years... the Masters final, the 2007 UK semi final. I think for some people, playing against the rapid O'Sullivan that makes him look like a grinder by comparison. He's not really a grinder. I can't wait for their next match.

Dave H said...

We're doing a feature in the April issue on Terry Griffiths as it's 30 years since he won the world title.

I was looking through the Snookere Scene issue that covered his win and read the report of his semi-final against Eddie Charlton.

Now THAT is grinding!

In fact, Eddie made Terry look like Tony Drago.

Monique said...

"Eddie made Terry look like Tony Drago" that's no mean feat! lol!

I fully agree with Anon just above Dave's last post. Actually I like watching Mark play and some of his recent matches have been real highlights in the game, especially the Masters Final and the PL Semi Final. I don't consider him as a natural slow player at all.

bongo@TSF.com (The Snooker Forum) said...

There has been some really intelligent thoughts on this so far. Very interesting to read indeed.

Not everybody will agree. As with any of the big debates in snooker: what causes the kick, miss-rule, 6 reds...not everybody will agree whatever decision is made.

Also, as I have read this, there are many opinions, ideas and thoughts that I have never thought of before. I've learnt a lot myself from reading the comments. It's of course very popular and causes lots of arguements between lots of snooker fans.

I agree with David, I think his thoughts are very true and it really depends on what tournament it is for example.

There are so many thoughts here, too many to respond to, but many have been very good.

It's one of those topics where there's no real answer. Also, I look forward to the podcast with Jan Verhaas on refeering debates!

bongo

Anonymous said...

i enjoyed it because the majority of comments seem to be against it as it is plainly unfair to some players who play slower, naturally.

Anonymous said...

There were loads of grinders in the 1980's. A lot of the "characters" certain folk reminisce about were dull as ditch water to watch. Eddie Charlton deserves a special mention.

Then along came Hendry who brushed the old crowd aside with one visit attacking snooker making the game look ridiculously simple.

Following Hendry the emergence of other stars - O'Sullivan, Higgins, Williams, Doherty, Ebdon, Stevens, Hunter - took on the new attacking brand of snooker (no doubt helped in part by the tables but moreso the natural progression of the game born out of maximum tv exposure during the 1980's) where tactical safety play lost its prominence. Of course they all knew how to play it and Williams and Higgins in particular were fine exponents but it wasn't used on the whole as much as it once was.

The next step had to be the player who was capable of consistently killing off a frame if the balls were there but number 1 priority was to be limiting the chance for your opponent to kill you off as quickly as they do everyone else.

Graeme Dott deserves a mention for his 2006 World title - he proved that a grinder could still win in todays game. The final against Ebdon (who ground out day 1 due to fatigue after grinding out a 17-16 win over Marco Fu the day before) was a breath of fresh air despite the horror amongst those worried about viewing figures. After years of attacking snooker we finally had a World Final dedicated to two determined players prepared to slog it out for the biggest prize no matter how long it took. It was blood and guts and it was a classic!

Then enter the next generation. It's been said already but it's worth emphasising. Mark Selby.

Mark Selby came of age the match after Monique was protesting aimlessly about his tactics. In the semi-final he beat Shaun Murphy and in the final session he played some of the grittiest and damn right classy snooker I've ever witnessed to come from agonisingly close to 15-15 to 16-14 behind then a 17-16 victory.

The reason I'm writing all this (and I apologise for the length but bear with me) is because there are too many idiots who berate Mark Selby and don't appreciate what he brings to the game of snooker.

In the balls he's as quick as anyone and always has been however when he runs out of position he stops. He doesn't play a rash safety shot, he doesn't go for a shot he knows is long odds against (save them for when you really need them!). He asesses the state of the frame and thinks of the best shot he can possibly play under the circumstances. These are the sort of moments he takes in excess of 1 minute to ponder and as Joe Johnson said (and as I've said many times down the club) the next shot will be a very very good shot. Even if he gets it wrong, when you work out what he was trying to play everything falls into place and you realise why it took so long to think of.

The last point I want to make is about the slowing down tactics. There comes a time when it is too much, everyone knows that and the referee knows it too. Ebdon v O'Sullivan in 2005 was on the limit for a few frames (and it was fascinating tv right folks?) but the tactic he was using is a genuine snooker tactic which has been used for as long as I've watched the game.

Before the Masters final started I was willing Selby to mess a few frames up early on to unsettle O'Sullivan in the way a boxer smothers his opponent to stop him landing a punch. O'Sullivan got a few early chances and took an early lead in no time but Selby soon found the measure of his man. In no way did Selby use the Ebdon tactic of wasting time over obvious shots. That's what the Ronnie fans want to believe. What happened is he ground Ronnie down by consistent, intelligent safety shots with each shot designed not to leave O'Sullivan a sniff. The fact that O'Sullivan also possesses one of the best safety games ever when he puts his mind to it meant the frames would last a long time.

It was the best terrestrial tv final for years. Selby threw 4 frames away from winning positions but only lost 10-8. He is the only player who can compete with O'Sullivan at his best.

Now if you tell me snooker should introduce a shot clock to aid the faster players and bring in more viewers then you should now see why people like me look down on people like you with scorn. In effect you want an end to the fascinating tactics of this wonderful game, you want future grinders never to take up the game and only to see players who can pot quickly without thinking. And rather sadly, most of you want rid of Mark Selby instead of appreciating how damn good a snooker player he really is.


John A

Anonymous said...

ru his agent or pr person.

he's nothing special...yet

Anonymous said...

I think the fluency was grinded out of him by society.

Monique said...

@John A.
Did I complain in any way about the Masters final? No. Did I mention the Welsh 2008 as many do? No. The match I mentioned as a prime example wasn't against Ronnie neither. This is not a fangirl rant. May I reperat it: I quite like Mark Selby. I certainly like watching him play and I must have been one of the very few who enjoyed the recent Selby-Hamilton match (there were quite a few battles of the wits there ...)
But I invite you to rewatch the footage of the Carter-Selby 2007 WC QF 3th session (and the third session of the 2007 WC final aswell although there one might argue that the pressure of the moment did it) if you can find it... this was painful and unecessary.

Anonymous said...

sounded like a fangirl rant to me ;)

i dont think it was painful and unnecessary. i enjoyed it. some folk like sausage, some steak, some both.

the key here is that maybe not every snooker fan appreciates all types of play and all player playing to WIN. i do, even though some get drawn out. if youre not enjoying the odd match in 50, then its no reason to advocate a shot clock. just stop watching that game. simple

Monique said...

I'm not advocating a shot clock, certainly not as the general rule. I don't mind drawn out matches neither and enjoy most of them. But I dislike what I perceive as gamemanship and think the refs should actually apply the rule more stricly although I understand it might be difficult to judge and in case of doubts they should of course abstain to "punish".

I would like to point out I wrote "percieve" not "is". Yes we are different as persons and that's why we have different perceptions and hence different opinions. That's what makes debate interesting.
Ali was "done" in that match and evidently in pain ... Mark did what he had to do to win and as long as the ref didn't say otherwise he was within his rights. I found it painfull nonetheless.

Anonymous said...

i think the refs are better qualified than you (or most on here) to decide on what is gamesmanship and so would go with their opinion.

mark never broke any rules. not that youre saying he techincally did, but youre implying he "bent" them, when all he did was play snooker, within the rules, in the style he wanted, trying to win. if you dont like that, then thats fine, but if you have a problem with referees not cottoning onto what you think is gamesmanship then its be better to contact WS directly instead of "complaining" about it on an unrelated blog about a shot clock very few want, except fangirls ;)

Monique said...

I have no problem whatsoever with refereees and I accept they are certainly better apt than me to judge the situations. I also never said Mark broke the rules. As for bringing them to the limits I'm sure it's been done by pros in all sports occasionally, and Mark certainly isn't the worse I have seen, far from it. All I did is express an opinion on a certain match as so many do, not all better qualified than me I'm sure, and have done here and elsewhere, often in a much more agressive way than I did.
As for the shot-clock, I'm certainly not asking for it to be used as a rule in all competitions (how many time must I write it?). I like it in the PL certainly because it gives that tournament a distinctive dynamism and it allows to make sure I can watch the match to its conclusion and not as so often on ES being left frustrated because there is footy or biathlon to follow and schedules are to be respected (and of course it's right: they are to be respected).
I said that if we had many more rankers so that the season was able to accomodate a wide variety of formats suiting all styles of plays I would like to have one ranker under shot-clock (and then not 25 sec, but at least 30 and ample provision of time-outs). A discussion with a fellow fan made me think further and I accept it would be unfair to the slow players so I'm ready to even "drop" that idea.

There is no point to have debates and blogs if people are not allowed to give their opinions in a polite way without getting stick.

Anonymous said...

To Monique - I wasn't having a dig at you, I was having a pop at the people who think snooker needs a shot clock. There aren't many in this discussion but there are quite a few voicing this opinion in other outlets.

I mentioned you because you singled out Mark Selby in his quarter-final match against Ali Carter in 2007. I watched the match and don't remember any deliberate slow play. However I do remember vividly his very next match and I can't see how someone who did what you said he did wouldn't do the very same a couple of days later when in a similar tight spot, and he didn't!

To Anonymous at 9:46pm - no I'm not his PR person, I'm just a typical snooker fan who has followed the game for years and studied many many players styles and Selby stands out from the crowd and deserves more appreciation from other snooker fans for what he brings to the table.

Roll on a Crucible semi-final between him and O'Sullivan!

John A

Anonymous said...

having ANY ranker under shot clock would be BIASED toward fast players and UNFAIR toward slower players

the rules of the game dont dictate you need to take less than 20 seconds on average, so THAT IN ITSELF is why changing them for even one ranker WOULD BE TOTALLY UNFAIR

how any intelligent person cant see this and would still want this is beyond me. entirely

Anonymous said...

And that concludes this evening's debate. Thank you for participating.