Mark Williams hasn’t beaten Ronnie O’Sullivan for eight years but has a chance to do so today.

The Welshman trails O’Sullivan 16-7 in previous career meetings with his most recent win coming in the semi-finals of the 2002 Thailand Masters.

Steve Davis said on the BBC earlier this week that the standard has risen since Williams was world no.1 but I think that if he today regularly produced the form he showed back then he would be winning tournaments.

In various reviews of the decade – though not on this blog – Williams was almost the forgotten man.

True, his game faded away as the 2000s went on but, for the first half, he was brilliant.

Indeed, Williams is one of only three players, along with Davis and Stephen Hendry, to win the game’s big three titles in the same season.

Today marks his first appearance in a Pokerstars.com Masters semi-final since he won the Wembley title for a second time in 2003. He hasn’t been in a final of any sort since he won the China Open in 2006.

O’Sullivan has played very well indeed, although he doesn’t seem to think so. He once said he would gladly pay for Williams to go on holiday so he wouldn’t have to play him again.

It promises to be a very interesting match featuring two of snooker’s all time greats.

Meanwhile, some more details are emerging about WPBSA chairman Barry Hearn’s future plans.

The calendar for next season will be announced next month, rather than trickling out in the summer as in previous years.

The WPBSA will give support to the World Series – another major change – and, as Hearn put it, “use it as a battering ram to get into countries not yet ready for a ranking event.”

There will also be a televised short form event designed to showcase the players’ personalities, details of which will be in the press on Monday.

Hearn, with trademark irreverence, describes the WPBSA chairmanship as an “easy” job.

In truth, it’s a lot of hard work but he has achieved the most important aspect of this: bringing together various promoters to work together.

This will mean more tournaments, more snooker on TV and a higher media profile for the game.

It needs the players to do their bit too, so let’s hope for a vintage final weekend at Wembley.


Anonymous said...

Williams played great against Murphy the other night . Best he's played for years. Didn't look like missing any easy balls and got soem good long pots at the right time (last frame he won good example)

He look good value to me today , 11/4 with Boyle sports.

I think he will take beating today by ronnie , if he gets chance he will take it.

The other side is ronnie might up his game as he has shown he can do in the past.

Looking forward to good match!

Greg said...

Let's have another Selby-O'Sullivan final. Seems like almost every match these guys have is a classic.

SupremeSnooker.com said...

That match was a classic and a brilliant advert for snooker.
Both players should be extremely proud of the way they played this afternoon.
I take my hat off to them both.

Anonymous said...

hi Dave, you didn't mention what an entertaining match the Selby/Allen one was! I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was great to see them interacting like that, and joking at times. That's what snooker needs. Well done to them both.

Anonymous said...

Snooker © The Fine Art Method
A secret is wasted if not shared
Hello Dave.
Thanks lad for showing most of my posts. I realise that there is a demarcation line I sometimes unintentionally cross. It is sad Dave that there are (as O.W. said); “Some truths that cannot be said” or words to that effect.
My further concern Dave is: Is “An incident compounded when repeated” after being warned or being made aware of?

The big punch line after a tournament is the usual moan “What am I doing wrong”? Never the question “What was I doing right yesterday”.
Analysing your game should not be one sided. It is so easy to rant “What am I doing wrong”, but it takes great courage to ask questions when playing great, with “A what am I doing right” as it may put you off the boil.

Snooker of the future will be all technique or branches of technique totalling 100%. The top players will be the best students whether male or female. Mr hey you

Dave H said...

I agree Selby v Allen was an entertaining match played in a great spirit.

Sporting end to the Ronnie v Williams match as well.

Anonymous said...

It looks like Hearn is trying to dictate the images of his new serfs; labelling RoS as miserable takes the spotlight away from the actual brilliant play. Hearn just craves the limelight and he'll be no better for the game than Walker was.

Dave H said...

No. His flippant joke about O'Sullivan stole the headlines but the other 40 minutes was much more interesting.

Walker and co would not recognise - let alone work with - other promoters.

Hearn will and that's why there will be more tournaments.

Greg said...

Quoting Hearn: "I had a chat with the young man and outlined what I want and he seems to have disregarded it, so I shall have another chat with the young man."


"I'm sure we will educate him."

You call that a flippant joke? What's your favourite comedy? Goodfellas?

Dave H said...

You obviously don't know Barry

Anonymous said...

Anyone not read the story its here, i agree with you Dave, its just Barry having a joke...


Anonymous said...


I haven't read anywhere about Hearn's comments being a 'flippant joke'. Can you point us to an article for a different take on what he said. Everywhere I look there is no mention of his comments being in jest.

From the BBC:


"Earlier this week O'Sullivan was labelled "miserable" at the table by new World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn, but he revealed his demeanour was down to a lack of confidence."

Dave H said...

You have to understand what sort of character Hearn is: brash, charismatic but also absolutely direct - a bit like O'Sullivan himself.

This is what he said yesterday: “For a young bloke with everything, he’s a miserable bastard. When you win a match, look happy. I’ve watched him and, like everyone else, I think he’s played tremendously. I’ll be talking to him about it.

“Ronnie is hugely important to snooker and a good lad. He gives the press more to write about than anyone and I need him to be my flag-bearer.”

He said it knowing it would make the papers and create a bit of a fuss.

Job done.

Anonymous said...


these blogs are posted on the Ronnie website.

Its no wonder his fans are here defending him against Hearns comments that any normal person would understand werent bad.

Demon Potter said...

It was quite obviously a tongue-in-cheek comment from Hearn, so why are people getting in such a lather about it? Barry knows what he is doing and he's hardly likely going to pick a fight with the game's most popular after five minutes in the chair.

I thought Ronnie supporters would be more interested in why their hero hardly ever acknowledges his fans after he's won (or lost) a match. Like against Williams, he walked off deep in conversation with the Welshman and never gave the crowd a second look despite the fact they packed the place out to see him. Totally arrogant attitude if you asked me. Look at Selby, he saluted the crowd and signed autographs afterwards – that's more like it.

Anonymous said...

I know what you're saying Dave, it wasn't meant to be offensive and was quite flippant, but bearing in mind Ronnie suffers from depression don't you think it was maybe a bit of a silly / insensitive thing to say?

Anonymous said...

i thought he was too sensitive, certainly not insensitive.

when you consider what Ronnie said to someones daughter at a press conference you have to stop and think why would anyone defend him against someone making a light hearted comment and accusing them of being insensitive. unreal

jamie brannon said...

I know Barry Hearn was not being malicious, but considering depression is an illness perhaps he could have thought more wisely. Also I like Ronnie as he is I don't see why he wants everyone to be smiling all the time. I find Selby's antics cringeworthy, his comedy is My Family standard! Where as Ronnie's interview on tuesday was as funny as an episode of The Office.