So I spent the day in Prestatyn for the Grand Prix qualifiers.

To make it clear from the off, I was there for an interview and did not see a ball struck, in anger or for any other reason.

However, it was noticeable how upbeat the atmosphere was, which is not always the case at the dog-eat-dog environs of Pontin’s.

There’s no doubt that 110sport’s coverage of the qualifiers has created a buzz on site. Players are now getting recognition, either through match coverage or interviews, that they rarely receive elsewhere during the season.

And they deserve it. Most of these guys will not come close to becoming world champion but they are professionals and they play their part in keeping the circuit going.

They are all talented and it’s good to see them finally getting some exposure.

I was shown round 110’s operation and it is indeed impressive. There's a general feeling that a light has been shone on a part of the tour which hitherto existed in relative darkness.

It’s days like this that remind me why I like snooker so much after time spent with so many interesting folk – players, officials and others – that make up the travelling circus that is the professional circuit.

All those ignorant folk who say there are no characters in the game would do well to spend a day in North Wales.

There are characters here who you simply would not meet in any other walk of life.

Meanwhile, Ken Doherty’s resurgence continues apace. The 1997 world champion has now won five matches from six in ranking events this season – three more than he managed throughout the whole of the campaign just gone.

Any player rubbing their hands together at the thought that he is now an easy draw has been swiftly disabused of such a notion.

Some other well known faces struggled. There were defeats for Alan McManus (albeit after a five hour struggle with Rod Lawler), John Parrott (also 5-4, to Ian McCulloch) and Anthony Hamilton.

Prestatyn is a great leveller. Past reputations mean nothing. All that matters is grafting out a result.

Thursday is the big day when 16 players will earn their places in the main draw with the top 16.

I promise you, those who finally make it through will more than have deserved their place.


Anonymous said...

Did you get the job? Or were you doing the interviewing?

Anonymous said...

I agree Dave it is good that the qualifiers are being covered on the internet, however realistically unless you are an enthusiast I would imagine they are only making limited money from charging people to watch it as I don't think many people would pay for this unless say possibly a few more interesting matches in the final round of the World Championship qualifiers. Do you think it will be the case if many people don't buy into it they will stop or are they making the bulk of money from advertising?

Janie Watkins live from Pontin's! said...

Yes you're right Dave, there is much more of a buzz about the qualifiers this season.

The 110 operation has given encouragement to a whole host of players who are rarely seen otherwise.

Additionally because the monitors are set up in the players lounge, many more players than usual are gathering together and chatting and watching the tv matches and are all rapidly becoming "commentators".

In fact listening to half a dozen or so players all commenting, I never realised just how many ways there are to play just one shot!

No characters!! With folk like Rob Walker and Dominic Dale around, and Tony Drago et al, there are plenty of characters associated with the sport.

Nottingham Snooker News said...

Buy it! I've been watching it all week and at just £8.99 for the lot it's great value. The quality of the broadcast is excellent! Invest in 110sport.tv now and their coverage will only get better, eg. more matches covered, pre and post match features etc. Definitely the best thing to happen to snooker for years!

Anonymous said...

Snooker The Fine Art Method
A secret is wasted if not shared.
Hi Dave
What’s the big secret to your visit to Ponts'? Must the grif be kept as a news "special" for Snooker Scene next month?
I sometimes wonder Dave if you are really "Speaking Back" to Clive as you are now a real live PAID commentator and possible working without strings or obligation. (I Hope).

I'll take 6/4 Dave that Clive will have your job or another commenter job be fore the start of next season, no professional player will ever be sacked or outsider given preference.

Clive has that cultured tone that kids people like the BBC and TV into believing he must know something about the game. You know where the bodies are buried Dave and aware of the games limitations on any originality or copyright articles on snooker technique.

Seriously Dave you can get Hazels job or even Steves or big Johns if you can figure out how to make copyright symbols null and void. You could Dave start off with a new edition of Charlie Potter. Mr hey you

Dave H said...

I can't decide whether this is madness or genius

Dave H said...

Actually I can

Anonymous said...

Snooker The Fine Art Method
A secret is wasted if not shared
Hey Dave
Talking of Genius! I think Mr Albert Einstein had snooker in mind when he said: You Dont really understand something if you cannot explain it to your Grandmother.
Mr hey you

Anonymous said...

well done to world snooker for getting 110 sport to broadcast the qualifiers on line