Three years ago today the snooker world was stopped in its tracks by the death of Paul Hunter, one of the game’s best and most popular players.

Paul was 27 when cancer claimed him. He hasn’t been forgotten and some very good work is being done in his memory by the Paul Hunter Foundation.

Sport, as it did in 2006 and as it always does, goes on and the quarter-final line-up at the Grand Prix leaves us with a tournament that is hard to call.

John Higgins was given the fright of his career by Mark Allen at the Betfred.com World Championship last season and will need to be on his guard to keep his title defence going today.

Allen is someone for whom major silverware is surely not far away. It’s his bad luck he’s drawn the world champion but it might be Higgins cursing the random draw by the end of the afternoon.

Joe Perry and Neil Robertson were sat together as the draw was made. They once played a final qualifier at Prestatyn for which Perry drove them down from Cambridge.

Robertson won the match and they then drove back. I imagine the radio was probably on most of the way.

Ding Junhui looked confident and relaxed in dispatching Stephen Maguire last night but Peter Ebdon will provide a stern test.

Ding needs to dig deep. Sport is often ultimately about what attitude you show in adversity and he can’t allow frustration to get to him if he is to come through.

Mark Williams hasn’t been in a ranking event semi-final for three and a half years, since he won the 2006 China Open.

The Welshman scrapped through yesterday against a below par Stephen Hendry and now meets Robert Milkins, the surprise quarter-finalist.

The only other time they’ve played – at the Crucible in 2005 – Williams beat him 10-1, finishing off with a maximum.

It should be a high quality final lap to the tournament, for which crowds have grown since its disappointing start.

All eyes will be on the action, but many thoughts today will also be with Paul Hunter’s family.

They, like the game itself, must miss him terribly.


Monique said...

I'm sure Paul will be alive in the players and fans memory and heart today ...

Regarding the audience, yes it has picked up a bit, but only for 2 matches: Higgins vs ROS and Hendry vs Williams... that's understandable but doesn't mean much IMO.
If Higgins was to lose today (I'm not wishing him to!) I wonder if people will be bothered to turn up over the week-end even if they have a tix.

@SnookerOracle said...

Nice tribute Dave. Gone but never to be forgotten.

Anonymous said...

RIP Paul. Snooker could really do with the likes of you now.


I said it last evening, i'll say it again now. I am sure Paul Hunter will be with us in spirit. R.I.P PAUL ALAN HUNTER... ( THE BECKHAM OF THE BAIZE.) I hope we find a way of paying tribute to him today on the BBC and Eurosport. Thanks David.

jamie brannon said...

Hunter is most definitely missed still. Enjoy following your twitter feed, and have to agree leaving at 4.30 when Ronnie led Burnett 4-3 seemed pointless. However I still think people in general should not get at the BBC, as EuroSport have done the same thing and they are a dedicated sports channel, it has to be rembered BBC 2 is not. As I have said before if the BBC go then the sport may as well open the coffin lid,and to be honest despite the treatment of Clive they are still doing a great job covering it. Off track, but I'm surprised to see Mark King following me on Twitter I don't know him, but I'm pleased he is a funny character. The final frame against Walden was the moment of the event so far. Finally my predictions for today are Higgins, Ebdon, Robertson and Milkins.

Editha said...

We never forget Paul Thank you Paul for coming to Germany and bring Snooker to Germany.


Thankyou for the Paul Hunter, BBC tribute David. It was emotional and great to see. Thanks so much David.

Dave H said...

It was very good but I had nothing to do with it

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,

The tribute the Beeb showed was nearly a year ago. Which begs the question: What is happening now to the foundation. Any idea on it's future projects?

As for the GP, apart from the draw - which is a great innovation, I fear for the sport.

Thanks, Joe