28.4.09

I DO LIKE MONDAYS

Well you can’t fault the players for the drama they served up yesterday. It was another thrilling day’s snooker that has set up one of the best quarter-final line-ups we’ve ever had at the Crucible.

The John Higgins-Jamie Cope match was pulsating all the way through and climaxed with the twice former champion showing his class to win from 12-10 down in the first decider of the championship.

I felt sorry for Cope, though, who had his bid for victory derailed through no fault of his own.

In frame 24, he attempted to trickle the cue ball up to the yellow but it quite clearly rolled off. It may have caught the join between the slates but, whatever, it was most unfortunate and obviously got to Jamie as his next shot was slapdash and he barely got a chance in the decider.

It’s very warm in the Crucible arena and the heat may have played a part in two spectators – now thankfully OK – being taken ill and thus holding up play.

Both times Higgins returned from these unscheduled breaks with tough pots; both times he knocked them in.

He now plays Mark Selby, who has had the upper hand over him ever since their Crucible final two years ago.

Selby won another dramatic battle last night, 13-10 against the ever determined Graeme Dott.

This match included a bizarre incident during the morning session where both players were fouled for the same shot.

Dott played a shot and saw the cue ball running towards the green pocket. Quite often in such a situation the player will catch the white but he put his fist in the pocket. This was interpreted by referee Alan Chamberlain as interfering with a ball in play.

So Selby should have played from where it came to rest. However, he was – understandably – unaware and picked it up to place it in the ‘D’ whereupon he was also fouled.

Ultimately, it had no bearing on that frame or the match. Also, under the letter of the law Chamberlain was correct.

But here’s a question: what’s to stop players doing what Dott did so as to gain an advantage by not allowing their opponents to have the white in hand?

Stephen Maguire battled through a generally unattractive match against Mark King and will now take on Aussie Neil Robertson, who he has beaten seven times out of eight.

Robertson was one of a number of players seen fist-pumping and roaring into cameras.

This from a sport we are constantly told has ‘no characters.’

Personally, I’m all for it. There’s nothing wrong with some emotion as long as it doesn’t spill over into gamesmanship.

So, a great day and a great finish to the tournament to come. And then you open The Guardian and are confronted with a stream of drivel from Simon Hattenstone, who I have long suspected has an obsession with Ronnie O’Sullivan that borders on the unhealthy.

His column is a predictable mishmash of clich├ęs and in any case contradictory – he says the championship is no good without O’Sullivan having already stated he regards snooker as the most boring sport.

Fine, Simon. Don’t watch.

But those who do tune in are likely to witness one of the best conclusions to any World Championship you could wish for.

47 comments:

Anonymous said...

he never won from 13-10 down, did he???????

Anonymous said...

Chamberlain's ruling was daft!
Next time my white is going in-off, I'll just knock it with my hand into a safe position!

Imagine doing that in a league match, you'd end up with a cue over your head!!

Anonymous said...

oh and i agree about his fixation.

he is like an out of control teenage fan of RoS

Anonymous said...

very poor journalism by the Guardian.

read the comments after the article and vast majority disagree with his unjustified slagging of the game and the championships.

Oneball said...

"Both times Higgins returned from these unscheduled breaks with tough pots; both times he knocked them in."

Actually Dave I was there and the Crucible was certainly not too warm, in fact I wore a fleece top during the Cope v Higgins session so the two incidents with members of the public weren't down to heat exhaustion! Whatever, the quote above is because during the second incident I had a closer look at the table to see what Higgins faced, and immediately wanted to leave the arena. It was an absolute sitter and there was no way Higgins wasn't going to win the frame at that visit, only a mug would've messed up that chance.

I think Higgins is a top bloke but Cope was well and truely robbed of victory there. From 12-10 he did nothing wrong except carry some anger into the next shot (and boy was he angry with that drifted roll up to yellow, he was absolutely fuming!). He played superbly and deserved to get a chance but he didn't get a sniff in the last 3 frames. It can only be fate. Had the roll up to the yellow not drifted it could very well have netted him that single crucial chance he was looking for.

I was also at the Selby v Dott final session (front row, best seat in the house) and probably not caught on camera was Selbys quip to Dott in the first frame at 10-6. Dott played a similar safety shot to earlier in the day and went in-off in the green pocket. Just before the white dropped Selby quipped "Aren't you going to stop it?". Dott was clearly not amused which made it even funnier.

Anyway, agreed - that was the best day of the tournament so far and the quarter-final line up is the best for years even without O'Sullivan.

However for me this could change dramatically if the semi-final line up is Day v Higgins (yawn) and Hendry v Maguire (yawn)

:-)

Monique said...

I usually quite like Simon's articles, but not this one. Really not. There is footie today Simon ;)
And I hate you Dave! Why did you have to bring this to attention? Now I'm almost certain someone will come with this on ROS forum - which I carefully avoided to do - and I will be left with the modding job.







(tongue in cheek, but yes ...)

Anonymous said...

if you dont post it Mon, i might. ;)

Greg said...

I'm the biggest O'Sullivan nut here, and even I despise those cheesy Guardian hacks...

I can't remember the last time I even read a Guardian opinion piece on *any* topic that I agreed with. (Then again, pretty much all British newspapers are rubbish these days anyway).

Anonymous said...

This idiot in the Guardian sums up his own ignorance by saying Steve Davis only became interesting when he retired.

The fact that Davis is still a relatively high-ranking player has obviously passed him by. Indeed he played in this championship, and the fact Hattenstone doesn't know this shows how little he knows about the subject of his piece.

The most disappointing thing of all is that this appeared in a proper newspaper. It would take most of the day to point out all the flaws and absurdities in it, and I'd rather spend that time watching TV. There's some great sporting entertainment on from Sheffield.

Matt said...

One thing Dave, it was freezing in the Crucible yesterday because the air conditioning seemed to be full on. I was shivering in there all day is unusual because it usually is warm as you say.

Matt said...

One thing Dave, it was freezing in the Crucible yesterday because the air conditioning seemed to be full on. I was shivering in there all day is unusual because it usually is warm as you say.

stuartfanning said...

To be fair remember this journalist is writing for the general public, most of whom only have a fleeting interest in Snooker - and watch only when O'Sullivan is playing, not Snooker anoraks.

Anonymous said...

to be fair the uk public, who are the majority of guardian readers, tune in as much to other matches as detailed by viewing figures, so thats another point which isnt correct.

Supaselby said...

David;

All these reports from various reporters/sources are claiming that due to Ronnie O'Sullivan's loss to Mark Allen that the Championship is finished and that the public will lose total interest - if that is the case why doesn't The Crucible have any returned tickets for tomorrow afternoons session? The one, according to the seedings would have pitted Ronnie O'Sullivan against Ryan Day on Table 1.

Interesting!

Ryan

Monique said...

Well I suppose Simon will have missed Stephen Hendry's fantastic 147! ;)

Anonymous said...

thats why he (statistically) is the greatest ever snooker play of the modern era...doing that at 40 years old

mtfh

jamie said...

another dig at an o'sullivan supporter!! i doubt you will agree Dave but he is the finest sight the sport has had if not in all sport, but no doubt you will say Hendry, who I admire and like greatly, but is not more pleasing on the eye than Ronnie

Anonymous said...

what a crap guardian article

Dave H said...

Jamie - the most exciting player to watch I've ever seen is Alex Higgins

The best in terms of pure talent is Ronnie O'Sullivan

The greatest in terms of marshalling his talent to be a winner is Stephen Hendry

And Jimmy White is in there somewhere as well

RichP said...

On the subject of the Dott foul you could stop the white going in to gain a safety advantage but obviously the other player could always put you back in so there's no advantage of stopping a white going in.

Anonymous said...

well said dave

Anonymous said...

in certain rare circumstances there could be an advantage rich, so youre not correct on that

if you want time to think on it, then ok. if you want me to post one ive thought of already then say so

Anonymous said...

btw dave i see you edited the post so that it says hig came back from 12-10 instead of what you had put - 13-10.

just explaining to those what i meant in my first post.

dont mention it ;)

jamie said...

so dave you would have him number 1 in active players? also i imagine you dont agree with what clive said on your blog about when he is in full flight being the best sight in sport today clive's words not mine?

Dave H said...

You're being oddly over defensive.

Ronnie's the most naturally talented player the game has ever seen. When he's in full flow he's an absolute joy to watch. My favourite commentary moment was calling home his five centuries against Ali Carter at the NIT last season.

But he's not going to win the World Championship this year and as he's only won one ranking title from the eight played I don't agree he's head and shoulders in front of everyone else.

How can he be if he's out of the World Championship already?

Anonymous said...

Higgins was awesome yesterday and it was good to see Dott nearly back to his best -which of the top16 will want to face him in the first round of a tournament?!

jamie said...

the best sight is diferent to who the best ever is. I mean Mickleson is more pleasing on the eye than Woods but I would never say Phil is better. My question is do you think he is the best to watch in snooker today?Also do you agree with Clives comment or is there someone in another sport you prefer to watch say a federer? He also has won the Masters, Premier League and been in Shanghai final, plus he only played in seven events. I agree he is not now miles ahead last season he was, but he is still number 1 the rankings don't lie. After he won the masters you said on one of your posts that he was comfortably the number 1 player.

Anonymous said...

Well done to Rodney Walker for keeping the WC in Sheffield until 2014. He deserves a big pat on the back - maybe even a bonus for all his hard work in securing this deal.

Anonymous said...

dave please just put him out his misery and say Ronnie is the best ever, even though its statisticaly far from correct, at least he can harp on about it for months or years that our host here agrees with him

Anonymous said...

Another Guardian article for people to slag off.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/blog/2009/apr/27/snooker-sex-jerry-seinfeld-stephen-hendry

The 7th comment down did make me laugh - an excellent observation:

We need more discussion on Rob Walker. I can't look away, but in a David Brent / Alan Partridge sense. Excruciating. He popped up at the London Marathon as well! He seems to be a really dull guy who's totally overexcited. A bizarre incongruous state and absolutely riveting and painful in equal measure.

James M said...

RichP, there would often be an advantage.

For example, if the ball is going in-off and there will be an easy pot from the D, you knock the cue ball to a position from where the pot is a bit harder. Your opponent could put you back in, but then he gives YOU a chance of the pot. So if the ruling is to be believed, the opponent is just going to have to play it from the more difficult position you knocked it into.

I think the ruling was clearly wrong. Either (a) the ball was in-off, or (b) Dott deliberately moved a ball which was in play. Case (b) is normally treated as a concession of the frame (with good reason, otherwise we'd all just move the ball every time we left a pot on).

Better ruling: in-off, and warn Dott never to do it again in a serious match....

Anonymous said...

Can someone possibly clear something up for me please? I often hear commentators describing a player as 'a good match player'. What do they mean by this? All players play matches, so why the emphasis by including the word 'match'.

Anonymous said...

jm

you cant just change the rules mid match

Anonymous said...

a good match player is someone who isnt only good in practise and at exhibitions (a bit like jimmy white these days)

Anonymous said...

hahaha

RichP said...

On the cueball in-off subject i'd make sure that when I knocked that white back out I didn't send it into a position that would leave a pot.

Anonymous said...

very dishonest rich but at least youre honest enough to admit it ;)

MJ said...

Regarding the cue ball issue, people seem to be forgetting that a referee has the power to award the frame (and in extreme cases, the match) to the opponent, in the event of ungentlemanly or unfair conduct.

RichP said...

In reference to my other post, obviously I wouldn't actually do that in a match situation or any situation as i'd get a cue around my head.

Anonymous said...

Jamie - the most exciting player to watch I've ever seen is Alex Higgins

The best in terms of pure talent is Ronnie O'Sullivan

The greatest in terms of marshalling his talent to be a winner is Stephen Hendry

And Jimmy White is in there somewhere as well


Need to act Jimmy White is up there with O Sullivan in terms of natural ability but gets out-psyched more often than not at crucial moments

Anonymous said...

Hendry is more naturally talented than ROS if you compare how much they won in the 15 years since the first picked up a cue

ok, now youre all gonna say he worked more, but thats just not true. everyone knows ros practically lived at a snooker club playing for hours

in the first 15 years after each first started playing hendry was much more succesful

how do folk know how naturally talented ronnie was or hendry without seeing both of them without coaching? you cant, but in terms of getting to winning first, hendrys record suggests he was more natural at playing the game as in much less time he was winning titles that mean something...and more of them - cue the, but it was easy back then brigade

Ruthie said...

Glad The Grauniad isn't famed for its accuracy. The fact that the tournament keeps getting better and better is enough vindication for me though!

I always thought a "good match player" referred to the ability to scrap it out, balance defence and attack and produce the goods.

And regarding The Crucible, I sat at Table 2 for a couple of sessions last week and it was very warm - definitely sips of water needed. Table 1 seemed to have air conditioning much closer and was a little chilly.

Anonymous said...

thats a good player you described ;)

Betty Logan said...

Dott wilfully interfered with a ball in play in a non-legal manner which is technically misconduct so at the very least he should have been given a warning by the ref. If Chamberlain had warned Dott then Selby might not have implicitly assumed the ball was in-hand. Chamberlain looked like he was loving it.

Booker Snacker said...

"Betty Logan said...
Dott wilfully interfered with a ball in play in a non-legal manner which is technically misconduct so at the very least he should have been given a warning by the ref. If Chamberlain had warned Dott then Selby might not have implicitly assumed the ball was in-hand. Chamberlain looked like he was loving it."

100% CORRECT! Amazing that Dott got away with what he did. Even more amazing is that so called snooker "experts" (including John Parrott) were suggesting that Dott should have just fouled again. Who on the planet thinks a player can get away with comitting 2 deliberate fouls in a row!?
Finally... Rishi's question to Steve Davis afterwards was as hilarious as it was ridiculous...

Rishi - "So, Steve, what's the solution? Do you think it's best if players just don't do that sort of thing?" (ie put their hands in pockets to stop balls going in)

Steve - slight look of bewilderment, followed by a huge guffaw - "Erm... YES, probably!"

Bring back David Vine & sack Alan Chambermaid.

Anonymous said...

Re the temperature inside the Crucible on Monday - it was definately freezing and not warm.

Mal said...

I agree that hendry's talent is generally underrated. Ronnie started playing at 7s. Stephen started the month before his 13th birthday. Just over 5 years later he was reaching world Championship quarters and winning ranking tournaments. At 40, he has just played his best snooker since 33 and still plays the attacking style. Ronnie has become more tactical over last couple of years as his long potting has deteriorated.