So the totesport.com Welsh Open semi-finals will feature four of the world's top five ranked players - this for the supposed poor relation of the world ranking tournament circuit.

Ronnie O'Sullivan was sensational in putting away Mark Allen 5-2 yesterday. He must have been: even he was happy with how he played.

But John Higgins represents a different challenge altogether. I don't need to remind anyone of their finger-nail shredding UK Championship semi-final just last month.

If today's clash produces anything close to that sort of excitement it should be a great spectacle.

First up are defending champion Ali Carter and Stephen Maguire, who was very impressive last night in beating Mark Williams 5-1.

Maguire did a proper job on him. Conscious of how well Williams was playing, he was properly focused throughout, mixed attack and defence with deadly efficiency and outplayed the in form Welshman.

It was a reminder of how well the world no.2 can play when he's in the right frame of mind.

Carter hasn't had to play his very best stuff yet but he's still going. The Welsh Open trophy - a piece of slate - is aesthetically unpleasing but he obviously likes the way it looks on his mantelpiece.

Carter may need to up his game against Maguire but if the O'Sullivan v Higgins match proves to be another epic the winner of the first semi-final could benefit, just as Ding Junhui did in Telford.


Anonymous said...

Dave would you agree that given the sparse attendances at the welsh open,apart from ronnies matches,that ronnie is indeed the only show in town,and without him snooker would be in a lot of trouble?We keep hearing that there is a lot of characters in the game today,but it is obvious that the paying public think otherwise.

Dave H said...

To a degree, but I suppose the converse argument would be that if there wasn't so much attention on him all the time it would give the other players a chance to showcase themselves and their personalities more

Anonymous said...

"the supposed poor relation of the world ranking tournament circuit"

Dave, news for you - it is. Less ranking points than any other ranking tournament means it is 'poorer'.

Anonymous said...

Agree with you dave,but the problem the players have is no current player comes anywhere close to the talent ronnie has.The reason there is always attention on ronnie is because of the way he plays the game.Snooker is in the entertainment business,and unfortunatley for snooker,ronnie is the only real entertainer it has.Selby,higgins,ebdon,carter ect all great players,but how many people would pay good money to see them.Not a lot as we have seen.

Monique said...

absolutely true Dave. And it would probably do ROS good aswell. Even the top players feel the pressure and at times the expectations and pressure put on him are absolutely unreal. It certainly has been his undoing on a few occasions.

stuartfanning said...

The number of spectators at the Welsh Open has been derisory, apart from tha matches involving Ronnie. Especially given Newport's position by the M4 which means the urban areas of South Wales and the Bristol area in England are well within driving distance.

I don't think this is because of the media focus on Ronnie but the general media and public disinterest in Snooker these days. Barry Hearn has a lot of work to do!

Anonymous said...

Did all the people decrying the crowd turnout buy tickets then? If not, why not?

I used to go to snooker years ago and the crowd figures were poor then. This was in the so-called 'golden era.'

The fact is, snooker is a more comfortable watch on the TV.

Anonymous said...

Snooker © The Fine Art Method
A secret is wasted if not shared
Hello Dave
How are you! The way player “A” beat Player “B” and the way Player “X” beats Player “Y” is always a conundrum to the snooker professional, not only to the average player.

The way that Mark Williams performed, like an artist and seemed like a trophy winner, yet his easy victor Steven McGuire is probable third favourite for the title. The dear ole bookie is laughing his head off whether he sponsors a tournament or not.

The only positive factor in snooker is: Players don’t know what they are doing “Right” nor do they know what they are doing “Wrong”. The amazing fact is; players play only on “Form” or by force of habit, something acquired in practice.

The only branch of technique practiced is a “Stance and Balance” that feels comfortable as opposed to being correct, plus the value of “Keeping still” on the shot.

Professional snooker is almost one hundred years old and still in its infancy. Players will get even better and more and more 147 breaks, but the game will remain a mystery to the average player, and especially to female players.
Snooker needs change and snooker positively needs women players entertaining with elegance and at an advance level. Mr hey you.

Anonymous said...

Well, Ronnie has been very consistent in ranking tournaments this year. Nobody has beaten him, except John Hingins. And because of these two defeats (Grand prix and Uk), each time before the final, and each time in the final frame, he will lost the place of number one. I Hope they won't play again in the same part of the drawn next year. And what about the WC 2010 ? Again together before the final ?
Sorry for my poor english. I write from France.

shaun said...

no matter what the subject we end up talking about o sullivan we survived after alex higgins and we will survive after mard arse the game of snooker is bigger than any one player

Anonymous said...

How about one qualifying round. 65-96 plays 33-64. Winners play 1-32 in first round, with 3 tables all the way to the final playing 3 sessions daily. first round to final would take 7 days. It would throw up a few new faces and still give tv the opportunity to feature star players. It would make a pleasant change to selby, maguire, etc.

Claus Christensen said...

Mr hey you:

Are you then saying that the present day skill level is only a sign of what is to come once the game matures (if it is in its infancy as you said)?

How do you imagine that coming about and what would specifically improve?

Sorry for the off-topic response.

stuartfanning said...

The Welsh Open is now available online on BBC Sport website and on the Red Button on BBC2 throughout the UK.

jamie brannon said...

I think the half term thing is a factor this year, but In general outside the Crucible, British event attendances are dwindling.

Dave H said...

Attendances for the Masters were up on last year

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,

If that is the case, maybe they should focus, geographically, on placing more tournament's under Hearn's regime in the Capital or around the South region.

Apart from Premier League Snooker and the old British Open around Bournemouth and Brighton, there is nothing.

Thanks, Joe

Anonymous said...

ticket prices are too high - but never mind the all the negativity - what great snooker I have been enjoying this week!

Anonymous said...

Brilliant brilliant Higgins

yyyyeeeeehhhahhh !!!

Anonymous said...

Snooker © The Fine Art Method
A secret is wasted if not shared
Dear Claus and Hello Dave
How are you both! Thanks Claus for your inquiry and interest in “Fine Art” snooker. The game is in its infancy and isn’t really getting better but more and more people find it easy to play at the games advance level.

The method of coaching is the same system laid down seventy years ago: “Watch Me” and I’ll show you again method. The game is dull Claus with a sameness and repetitiveness very similar to an army drill platoon.

First class snooker does not “Entertain” and needs change before sponsors will show financial interest. The most entertaining players to watch are outside the top thirty, (with the exception of Ronnie O)but sadly have been overtaken by the new robot like players after there indoctrination.

If the WPBSA was given 5% of all the money acquired by coaching snooker; there would be no need to beg for sponsors. The game could carry on in its own aimless way with at least ten top tournaments each year worth really big money.

The professional game will become extinct Claus as it becomes over run by coaches, as no permit is needed to neither coach snooker nor sell snooker diplomas to any students willing to pay the going rate which varies naturally from person to person. Mr hey you

PS A truth never mentioned Claus, the game doesn’t have a copyright DM

Anonymous said...

Snooker © The Fine Art Method
A secret is wasted if not shared
Dear Claus and Hello again Dave
Thanks Dave for allowing my posts as I seldom contributes to every day chatter like the “Miss” rule.
For the record Dave any rule is good for snooker as it always applies to both players.
A kind of personal heartbreak happens only when the referrer interferes. With the games best interest at heart Dave; a referee should not be able to declare a winner on an opinion.

About “Fine Art” snooker Claus! First, Snooker is the best “Game” in the world, but as a “Sport” the game part has to have entertaining value to compete with other TV sports. Sadly Snooker does not entertain except to us “Snooker Addicts”.

The ordinary viewers often think they have seen the game on TV as the dialogue and faces are the same as well as the shots played.

If the WPBSA had a copyright they would be a multi million pound industry over night by insisting on an annual fee for a coaching permit. The fee would never exceed 5% of the various hourly rates set by the teacher or coach. Mr hey you