3.11.09

RORY ROARS...AND OTHER NEWS

So well done to Rory McLeod for winning the Masters qualifying event.

His career seems to have blossomed much later than you would expect. Rory’s 38 now but in the last year made three successive centuries against Ronnie O’Sullivan at the UK Championship, qualified for the Crucible for the first time and is now Wembley bound.

A Wellingborough boy of Jamaican parents, McLeod now lives in Qatar.

During the Masters qualifiers he spent time between matches listening to verses from the Koran in an attempt to relax himself. It obviously worked and he now waits to see whether he will play Mark Williams or Mark King.

This will depend on who the other wildcard is. Liang Wenbo is hot favourite and will surely only miss out if there is a shock winner of the UK Championship.

You will recall McLeod and King played out a long, often tedious match at the World Championship last season that went into an extra session, so if they are paired together again I fear for the sanity of whoever is making the decision.

Better to pair McLeod with Williams and King with Liang.

Not that Rory will care who he plays. Snooker professionals at all levels are well used to the setbacks and disappointments that inevitably come as part and parcel of a sporting career.

This, though, is a moment to relish.

The Masters is the game’s most prestigious invitation tournament and to many players second only to the World Championship in terms of prestige.

Stephen Hendry won it a record six times and has appeared in a record nine finals.

He likes a record, does Stephen, just as he likes a trophy.

On Sunday he won his 74th in defeating Ken Doherty 5-3 to win the first 110sport Legends event in Glenrothes.

I can report it was a fun weekend, although the action was serious as the old warhorses locked horns once again.

I was alarmed by the sight of a frail Alex Higgins unable to produce any sort of form but cheered by Cliff Thorburn’s warmth towards him and the Canadian's general charisma.

Hendry was a fitting winner, given that his legendary status can’t be questioned.

He remains snooker’s greatest ever player. Tony Drago, with whom I did some commentary, also pointed out that he has profoundly changed snooker.

“Stephen is the most attacking player I have ever played. All the players who have come since have copied him,” he said.

While we were enjoying ourselves in Scotland, Ricky Walden was out pounding the streets as he completed the New York marathon in a time of four hours, 17 minutes.

That sounds pretty good to me and Ricky raised around £1,500 for the Teenage Cancer Trust.

Meanwhile, the WPBSA board member, Jim McMahon, made an attempt to broker peace in the civil war afflicting Scottish amateur snooker and came very close but the old order, having agreed on a way forward with the rival group, reneged on it at the last minute.

The WPBSA understandably withdrew from the mediation process and have now taken away the main tour place for Scotland.

While I was in Scotland I heard nothing but bad things about those who have been running Scottish Snooker for the last few years.

Their actions have now resulted in the young Scottish players they are supposed to be representing suffering the ignominy of not having a place on the circuit to play for.

If this doesn’t galvanise action north of the border, surely nothing will.

Next up in November is Pro Challenge Series event 3 in Leicester, followed by the UK Championship qualifiers.

Also, the IBSF world amateur championship takes place in India, starting on the 15th.

Snooker fans may also want to tune into ITV’s jungle-based humiliation-fest I’m A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here.

68 comments:

southerner said...

Why?

RichP said...

Does I'm a celeb not clash with the UK qualifiers for Jimmy?

Anonymous said...

"On Sunday he won his 74th in defeating Ken Doherty 5-3 to win the first 110sport Legends event in Glenrothes."


Oh come on now Mr Hendon! How can you classify that as a title? It was a glorified exhibition with no contenders apart from Hendry and Doherty who arguably should never have been there in the first place given other competitors consisted of Cliff Thorburn, Tony Knowles and Alex Higgins!

Next thing you'll be counting this onefourseven thing in December as a title to be counted with career records when really it's the worst idea in snooker history and the players taking part should be docked ranking points for encouraging it!

:)

Anonymous said...

I've heard Jimmy is a certain contestant, but somebody also said that Willie Thorne was.

Dave H said...

Actually, the competition was tougher than for some of the other titles Hendry has won

The old Scottish Professional Championship anyone?

Anonymous said...

OK I'll give you that. I also see the word in the article is "trophies" and not titles so I apologise for reading it wrong. :)

The bottom line though is that we should be talking about ranking events and not cobbled together at the last minute exhibitions and half baked schemes to change the game to appeal to darts fans.

It's depressing beyond belief that we are down to just 6 ranking events and have only 1 sponsor for 1 of those events. All these side projects just reek of desperation to me. There's only so much of 6 reds and meaningless exhibitions you can take between tournaments.

At the end of the day, competitive (not exhibition) 15 red snooker is where it's at and without ranking points or decent money, where is the incentive for players to perform at their competitive best?

shaun said...

give jimmy white the wildcard hes coming back into a bit of form and it would be great to see him back at the masters anyone agree

Dave H said...

Actually, the relatively recent obsession with 'ranking' events is part of the reason snooker is struggling

Hendry has won 38 non-ranking titles. It's inconceivable the likes of O'Sullivan or Higgins could beat this, not because they aren't good enough but because there isn't anywhere near the number of small events there once were

Ranking events cost fortunes. Small events don't. Every single ranking event outside the UK started life as an invitation tournament. If no invitation tournaments are staged then how will the ranking events follow?

And why are ranking events deemed to be the only game in town these days?

It never used to be like this

Anonymous said...

I strongly disagree. Liang Wenbo should get the wildcard. Think future not past if you want the game to survive.

Wenbo will be adored by the crowds.

Anonymous said...

Ranking events are the backbone of snooker. Without them, most lower ranked players would not have a chance of a career.If you can call 6 events a career.

Its great having all these invitation events for these top players, but how about inviting a few wildcard lower ranking players to these events, to help promote them and give them a chance of earning a few extra bob.

The Chinese always seem to get their players invited as they put up the money, same with Malta, Northern Ireland etc, but you never get the lower ranked pro's!

Anonymous said...

Ranking events have a status others don't, and all the players want to win them and all the professionals enter them. There is nothing to compare right now.

You have a point about the number of invitational events in the past though. I have no idea why there aren't as many. You have the legend that is John Higgins and his manager staging these World Series events in new places, and nothing afterwards in the way of follow-up from the WSA. At least the Paul Hunter and Jiangsu Classics appear to be establishing themselves year on year but they are in a select few.

I am all for invitational (non-ranking) events but you need a field of at least 16 to make it worth while and bring out the competitive juices of the players involved and to get the publics interest up.

Look at December after the UK finishes. We have a oneforseven and a 6 reds event taking place in different locations. I'm sure most people would rather see a return of the Irish Masters inviational from Dublin with traditional 15 snooker as the game. Anyone agree?

Dave H said...

Case in point.

The Irish Masters was ruined when it became a ranking event.

Anonymous said...

Snooker players like any sportsmen are competitive and want to win any frame they play- they may relax a bit in exhibitions but put them in any situation with a match and a place in the next round and (with perhaps 2 or 3 exceptions who admit to needing help in this area) the competitive juices flow.

Bring back the top invitation tournaments and we get top quality matches between top players. If lower ranked players dont like it they have a way to get in- it is called winning enough matches to improve your ranking and then people will pay to see you play and promoters will invite them.

Dave H said...

This last point is a good one. The top ranked players are there on merit and ability.

Sport should reward success, not showing up.

Trevor said...

hi dave can u give me the offical amount of titles won by steve davis and stephen hendry.i taught steve davis had won the most with 73 i heard somewhere.does this now put hendry ahead hope you can clarify dave. Cheers

Anonymous said...

How was the Irish Masters "ruined when it became a ranking event"?

jamie brannon said...

I echo Trevor who has the most Dave Stephen or Steve? I agree invitation events have their place, but ranking events are in a way more important as you dont see no one not turning up for the qualifying like you had with the Masters. I wouldn't count Hendry's win here though as it included retired players.

Anonymous said...

Great news round-up Dave, thanks.

Dave H said...

I'll have to count Steve's but I think Hendry is ahead

The Irish Masters used to be a great annual event - for the elite

Then it became an unwieldy ranking tournament and it pretty much killed it off

Anyone remember the Ebdon v King final?

No, didn't think so

Dave H said...

Thorburn, Higgins and Knowles are still professionals. They are still on the ranking list.

jamie brannon said...

Im sorry but they are not full time. I mean I bet Hendry will stay say at the UK Championship he hasn't won a title since February 2005. Ranking events count for more other than the Masters as they include everyone on the tour.

Trevor said...

i see you say thorburn higgins and knowles are still professionals on the pro list.in fairness when was the last time any of there qualified for a major tournament?.higgins at the 94 worlds if i were to guess.

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to see what the players think of WTs Leicester next week for Pro Challenge event - another "mickey mouse" event to make it look as though the WSA are actually doing something for their members!!

Chris said...

Really David? Where?

Betty Logan said...

Wikipedia lists all their single professional titles and has Steve Davis on 75: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Davis

It has Stephen Hendry on 72, not including the "Legends" event: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Hendry

You had Hendry down for 73 previously so if you're feeling generous Dave could you tell us which one we've missed. It would be great to have a comprehensive record :)

Betty Logan said...

Sorry we have Davis down for 81 so he's still quite a bit ahead of Hnedyr in professional single titles.

Anonymous said...

I wondered how long it would be before the poster at 1:56 had a 'comment' to make.
Does he not remember Bahrain last season?

Dave H said...

Betty - you've missed the 1994 Top Rank Classic

Betty Logan said...

Thankyou Dave that is extremely helpful. I found a reference for the Top Rank Classic but it says Hendry won this twice on the trot: http://www.cajt.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/misc3.html

However, that would take Hendry's tally up to 74 on Wikipedia prior to the Legends event (which will be 75 in total including that win). Have we got one that wasn't technically a pro event? (I'm sorry to be a nuisance)

Dave H said...

According to my records it was only held once

Betty Logan said...

Ah thanks. I've just added them both in too! I will remove the second one unless someone can give us some details. Chris is usually thorough but he doesn't even supply an opponent for the 'second' one.

Trevor said...

my this is all getting a little confusing now.if you read davis'wiki page it actually says he has won 79 pro titles excluding 2 eng pro titles.why are they excluded?.they also have 4 pot black titles included.surely you cannot include a tournament played over a 1frame basis.can you shed some light dave?.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,

I agree with most of the comments about invitationals, but surely they should be the 'cherry on top' of a) becoming a member of the top 16 and b) included in when there is, say, a dozen world ranking tournaments.

We don't have to go that far back, when we had the Irish, Scottish and Masters, on top of the 'charity shield' type tournament; the nations cup. There should be a plethera of invitationals to choose from, but we must get more world ranking tournaments on the calendar. Its imperative. The guys outside the top 16 would be living on next to nothing for there livelihood, if we ended up with a calendar that had 3 invitationals and 4 world ranking tournaments.

Speaking of which, what month is this new world ranking tournament taking place? If its this season, my long shot would be a march start for a european/malta open.

If not, China has another to the list. Am I close?

Thanks, Joe

Betty Logan said...

I'm not sure why they are excluded. Personally I don't think they should be. They should be included in his fully tally if Hendry's Scottish professional titles are.

Thanks for the help Dave.

Trevor said...

betty im afraid if you check hendry's wiki page that top rank classic is included,so you are still missing one !

Dave H said...

Joe - I'm not saying ranking events aren't important and I'm not saying there shouldn't be more of them

What I am saying is that people seem to be advocating a 'ranking event or nothing' policy and that can only be damaging for snooker

Ideally there would be a tournament of some sort every week, but that remains a pipedream for now

Anonymous said...

Cheers, Dave.

I totally agree with that statement. But is it world snooker or others who 'advocating' this. And it would damage the sport.

We're keep dreaming....

Are you embargoed on this new tournament, Dave?

Thanks, Joe

Betty Logan said...

Trevor, I just added the Top Rank to the Wiki page about 20 minutes ago, which takes Hendry's tally up to 73. I will find a source for the Legends of Snooker event and add that, so that will take Hendry's total count up to 74 which will then tally with Dave's records.

Betty Logan said...

I'm with Dave on this. Ranking events are expensive to run, you're looking at a quarter of a million just for the prize money regardless of hiring the venue, the cost of running etc.

Similarly the traditional top 12/16 invitationals exclude lower ranked players which need to earn a living too.

I think the World Series and Championship League offer an interesting direction for snooker, smaller events with players from different qualification tiers, with the events running for 3/4 days.

I don't think having ranking events are such a big deal, even with six a year you still have 12 events to rank from - the ranking system was crudely effective when they used to rank just off three world championships. Dave's right to point to the Irish Masters - it was turned into a ranker and now there is simply no tournament!

Trevor said...

betty my apologies i did not notice that the latest title was not added good work !

Anonymous said...

I think the world would be a happier place if every snooker tournament had some ranking point gravitas.
Whether it be the World Final or the Louth Xmas handicap where the first prize is a string of venison sausages.
Its gotta mean something in my opinion, and is a crumb of comfort to the lower ranking players.
As a former player once said "Its tough at the top, but even tougher at the back end of a pantomime horse".

Anonymous said...

A string of venison sausages? How do I enter?

Anonymous said...

Write them a letter stating DEER sir :)

Dave H said...

You could also combine it with a stag do

Anonymous said...

Deer me. Please stop stringing this one out.

Anonymous said...

Will the prize be presented by ex-Liverpool defender Barry?

jamie brannon said...

I know Dave wont agree, but a tournament every week would spoil it a bit, because of the gaps I anticipate events more and has made some events feel more important. Having said that some of the gaps are laughable and I understand the players need money, but less is more sometimes.

Dave H said...

You're right I don't agree

The big events would stand out more, just as they do in golf and tennis

Anonymous said...

To say the Irish Masters no longer exists because it became a ranking tournament isn't accurate.

It no longer exists because there was no sponsor anymore. The Irish government backed it for five years after Benson and Hedges had to withdraw. But when the government deal came to an end, it was always unlikely that another sponsor would emerge at the appropriate level of funding within a country the size of Ireland.

The same thing would have happened even if it had stayed as an invitation tournament.

jamie brannon said...

I do agree with that the Big events will always stand out whatever the schedule. What I was saying Dave is that the Grand Prix, China Open seem to feel bigger because there is not a lot to win. Also as there is gaps you do end up appreciating having some snooker to watch. I love this sport enough to watch week in week out, but it could lose that special quality from overkill. I mean the best footy events are the World Cup as it is every four years. Also golf have events every week but do people care that much outside the Majors and a few other events. Also due to the limited schedule it is always the best against the best every event, more events would mean players picking and choosing. I am speaking from a fans perspective here, from a business point of view I can see what you are saying. My point is though that something you love can be better if your not getting it all the time.

jamie brannon said...

Without wanting to contradict myself I want more, but I thought you would understand that in a way the gaps just make you saviour an event more as you know there is wait till the next one.

Anonymous said...

"a tournament every week would spoil it a bit, because of the gaps I anticipate events more and has made some events feel more important."

You're on your own with this one mate!

Dave H said...

We could go back to the 1930s and just have the World Championship, which we could spend 11 months looking forward to...

Trevor said...

any joy with who has won the most titles dave?

Dave H said...

It seems Davis is still ahead

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have a link to this ranking list that supposedly includes Thorburn, Higgins and Knowles?

Dave H said...

There's no 'supposedly' about it.

Higgins is 100th, Knowles 107th and Thorburn 136th.

Contact World Snooker and ask them for a copy.

Trevor said...

so what is the head to head count between davis and hendry?

Trevor said...

higgins is ranked 100th in the world it doesnt say much for the game then does it.if there are 96 main tour pros and a man that hasnt played in a major event in over 15years is no.100 in the world.

Mike said...

What on earth is Jamie going on about? If he wants less events then that maybe fine for him - just don't watch the new 7th ranking event. Us real snooker fans want as many events as possible!

Anonymous said...

Really surprised that Higgins is ranked 100th and above Knowles. TK got through a couple of matches in last years World Championship, I'd have thought that would automatically put him above the Hurricane.

Dave H said...

It's actually done on alphabetical order because none of them have any points

Knowles wasn't eligible for any because he isn't a tour player

Perhaps he should change his name to Andrew Aardvark!

jamie brannon said...

I you read my post I said I want more events, but not every week. Dave is being silly with that 1930's example. I want more events as well, but not overkill, even in tennis they dont play every week and the players want more of an off season. All I'm saying is that the current situation makes you saviour things a bit more, that doesnt mean I wouldnt want to see more, I cant understand why Dave and others dont get what I'm saying. Simon Barnes the best journalist in the country has written pieces about it is not the quantity of sport but the quality of it. He made the point that Twenty Twenty is threatening to hit the overkill point if carries on flogging too much of it.

Anonymous said...

Is this guy for real?

jamie brannon said...

So if Higgins is on the ranking list he could enter the qualifiers?

Betty Logan said...

Anyone who's a member of the professional body is presumably on the ranking list, but you can only enter tournaments if you're on the tour (apart from the WC). However, to qualify for the tour, I think you have to be an amateur, so players who drop of the tour have to resign their professional membership if they want to requalify I think. It's quite bizarre. I'm not sure of any of this though so don't quote me.

Dave H said...

It is utterly bizarre.

Ask Tony Knowles about it - then stand back!

Anonymous said...

Snooker The Fine Art Method
A secret is wasted if not shared
Hi Dave
You have quite a post there Dave! They truely love the game. The WPBSA board could do with your "Thinkers" lad as opposed to the current "Slackers" that are in deep thought for fresh excuses.

The game of snooker will never die Dave but the professional game; like the snooker books for sale and for hire in every library will become obsolete and "Die Off" for a few years.

The person that resurrects the game may not have a great love for the beauty and finesse of snooker but have clear commercial “Know How”. There are some things Dave that never die or can be taken away. Mr hey you