The manner in which Mark Williams won the China Open title for a third time yesterday served as a reminder of just how good he is when playing at the top of his game.

This was the sort of snooker Williams was producing in that golden period a decade ago when he was world no.1 and captured all of the game’s major titles.

What a difference a year makes. Last season he had to go to Prestatyn to play in the qualifiers having dropped out of the top 16 after a terrible run of results.

His confidence was low and there was a danger he would carry on sliding away while his contemporaries John Higgins and Ronnie O’Sullivan continued to be successful.

But Mark has always loved snooker and rededicated himself. The results came and he immediately earned promotion back into the elite group.

This season he reached the Grand Prix semi-finals, the same stage of the Wembley Masters and the quarter-finals of the Welsh Open.

In Beijing Williams beat Jamie Cope, Higgins, Marco Fu and Ali Carter and produced a fantastic final session display against Ding Junhui in the final, winning six of the seven frames played to complete a 10-6 victory.

His quarter of the Crucible draw includes Ronnie O’Sullivan, Mark Selby, Stephen Hendry, Liang Wenbo and Ken Doherty so it will be a hard slog if he is to land a third world title.

But on this form nobody will want to play him, at the World Championship or anywhere else.


CHRISK5 said...

ChrisK5 has got back from a gruelling 10K (6.25m) 'funrun'.

Fortunately - I still have enough health to say well done to Mark J Williams.

He now has 17 ranking titles - If he were to ever get to 20 rank titles in his career - That would be monumental for him - After his lack of form between 2005-2008 & the challenge of winning titles in this ultra-competitive era of snooker.

In this form - Mark J should make the Quarters or Semis at least at the Crucible - To go all the way would be tough though - As he hasn't done it in a long format event for sometime.

Mr Hey You - The best technique is a relaxed backhand grip - 2 backswings with the cue on an easy shot - 3 backswings with the cue on a tougher shot - I agree the cue should always stay in motion with no pauses.

Anonymous said...

if Mark was to make the Quarters Ronnie would be out of the way because they sqedual to meet in Round 2 so why not win it from there ?

Anonymous said...

I can't really see Williams getting to 20 ranking titles...this looks like a swan song one for me after all he is 35

moondan said...

For my money Mark is the finest touch player snooker has produced, maybe not the grace of Ronnie or the clinical brilliance of a young Hendry but he arrests the attention in the same way as the above 2 at their best.
I think the only 2 in snooker who wouldnt like to see Mark take a third worlds would be Ronnie and John, I dont think their ego's could handle that.
If Mark can carry that form through 5 tough matches at sheffield then surely he would take it but age turns your form patchy, so its a really a big ask but heres hoping.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to Mark Williams! Really glad to see him win. Once we got to the quarters, I was rooting for him to win, so am really glad. :)

- Ru.

Anonymous said...

Snooker © The Fine Art Method
A secret is wasted if not shared
Dear Criks @ 12:PM Hello Dave
How are you both! Thanks Mr C for the plug you’re very kind. Your opinion on the number of “Insa and Outsys” sadly is not original but your detail is really unfinished.

Why sir two “Threats” and then three “Threats” on the cue ball? What defines an easy shot and a hard shot? Please don’t misunderstand my reply.
I sincerely think that coaching snooker is often better explained by a forty or fifty break player than a professional trophy winner.

Every technical suggestion you give to a student should be explained in words and then demonstrated with the stick. The student that sees the successful pot enter the bag is probable moving on the shot. Many successful shots are played with a fault. Mr hey you

CHRISK5 said...

Mr Hey You - 2 pullbacks/threats of striking the cueball either when - the frame is clinched or it's a 9 out of 10 shot certainty.

3 pullback/threats for everything else - Which is the vast majority of shots or any safety situation.

In my earlier years - I did experiment with 5 or 6 pullbacks like a Thorburn,Ebdon or Griffiths - Not to say that technique is wrong - It just didn't
give any obvious advantage to my game.

In a breakbuiding situation - when you are thinking 2,3,4 shots ahead - 20 to 25 secs per shot is all that's necessary.

I'm also a firm believer of the cue gently brushing the chin - so you are as much 'in line' with the shot as possible.

Anonymous said...


"In my earlier years"

Anyone reading this will think your getting on a bit in fact are you not 30?

Also if your so much in the know about technique why dont you become a coach?

You write on this blog with the impression of just biggin yourself up i dont see anyone else commenting on there personal highest break, but you have to tell us your's is a 'mere 113'.


When do you enter the main tour all of us on Dave's blog wait with baited breath..

Or is it you just talk the talk??

IAN1959 said...

The standard of potting from both players was some of the best I have ever seen. I don't think Ronnie + John could have done any better.

Anonymous said...

I too am pleased for Mark Williams, he is one of my favourite players in the game, a bit sorry for Ding but he lost a couple of frames he shoulda won and lost control of the final from then on. Looking forward to the Worlds, I would have predicted a O'Sullivan/Higgins final but I hope Williams comes in and crashes the party!!

Anonymous said...

Snooker © The Fine Art Method
A secret is wasted if not shared
Dear Mr Cricks Hi Dave
How are you both! Snooker coaching is the easiest of all sports to enter. Every person that breaks into doubles figures feels like a coach.
Snooker has probable more coaches than there are “Century Break” players in the entire game.

There is no permit required to coach snooker. The many “ABC” “Doo Ray Me” and “XYZ” body’s are all self appointed organisations without copyright.
The ability to draw paying customers is the teachers’ only requirements to survive. A student pays money to be taught snooker not to be made a champion.

Snooker is dead Mr Cricks and will only survive with funds from the coaches. The empty seats in the China last week were people away coaching snooker. Mr hey you
PS The student punch line to all snooker coaches is: I’ve always known that, but just forgot. DM

Anonymous said...

cue brushing the chin?
any thought on a players dominant eye or anything?
of the top players only Steve Davis merely brushes the chin centrally with a 2 eyed look down the cue.

Janie Watkins said...

Great to see Mark back in the winners' circle

Great week for Tredegar Snooker Club as Mark brings home the China Trophy and Jak Jones brings home the European under 19 trophy.

CHRISK5 said...

Mr Hey You - Many people give you a tough time on this blog - But I think your'e quite alright.

I am glad you read my blog comments in such intricate detail.

In my teens,my HB was around 60 or 70 - but didn't put in enough hours of practice that was ultimately required to 'make it'.

If you ain't 'got it' at that crucial age - then you find something else to do!

Then again,I am chuffed to have improved in recent years - thanks to a more balanced lifestyle & better mental approach to the game.

You never know - I could take inspiration from the great Joe & Fred Davis & become a pro at a much later date!! lmao

jamie brannon said...

Personally feel that is the re-dedication of Williams to practice is the main reason for his turnaround which is now complete.

He is scheduled to meet Ronnie in the second round again at the Crucible, which is a mouth watering prospect.

Undoubtedly has been a true great of the sport, but still feel that he doesn't quite belong on the same pedestal as John Higgins and Ronnie O'Sullivan.

Anonymous said...

Rubbish. He's acheived everything they have and was a better player and at his best more dominant than them.

jamie brannon said...

Who does everyone think will become the tenth player to reach 200 carerr centuries?

Anthony Hamilton is the nearest, just five shy of the double ton. However, he is in decline and plays less than say Marco Fu or Ding Junhui. Fu is on 187 and Ding 169. I think it is a toss-up between these two Asian stars. I would favour Ding has he is proportionately making centuries at a faster rate.

jamie brannon said...

Last time I looked Higgins and O'Sullivan were ahead in ranking titles, World titles, century breaks, maxiumum breaks, all career titles and in Ronnie's case Masters titles and UK titles.

Clearly Williams does not have as much natural talent as Ronnie, and his all round game, is not quite as good as John Higgins.

Anonymous said...

a bit off topic but how many centuries was scored in the 1982 World Championship wikipedia sais 10 but Ted lowe was herd clearly saying 13 during the 135 Alex scored.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:58PM - please understand that Jamie WILL NEVER allow anyone to be held in the same esteem as his beloved ROS. He will never criticise him either irrespective of his behaviour, and usually brushes it off with: "It's just Ronnie" or "It's good to have people talking about snooker again". Not that he thought that when Ebbo ground him into the dust at Sheffield a few years ago.

Anonymous said...

a bit off topic here, but anyone know if billiards is an olympic sport?

seemed like a good random place to ask a question

Anonymous said...

jamie brannon

Mark Williams career went off the rails it happens it has nothing to do with talent or nothing you could say Higgins went walkabout 2001-2006 also.

he has natruel talent but sometimes other things mean more like family life.

Anonymous said...

Snooker © The Fine Art Method
A secret is wasted if not shared
Dear Mr Cricks@ 11:20, Hi Dave
Thanks mister for the plug, and thanks again Dave for the posts. You are half way Mr C to being a regular ton up player by admitting you are still a student of the game.

The secret in the “Fine Art” method is not to try and be a good player but a good student and don’t mix or copy others habits. Remember the old master only scraped the surface of the coaching game.

Good “Habits and good “Form” are impostors that come and go like Lady Luck. Form though good form can’t be grasped and practiced as if a branch of snooker technique. May the balls run kindly. Mr hey you

CHRISK5 said...

Anon @ 3.57pm

Wikipedia,The Crucible Almanac & my own counting 'skills' are correct.

It was 10 centuries scored in total in the 1982 Worlds. (not sure why Ted quoted 13)

Amazing really - Probably as many as 60-70 centuries will be the overall total for the 2010 Worlds!

Anonymous said...

A bit off topic with this but does anyone have the train departure time from London St Pancras to Sheffield on 17th April?

It seemed a random enough place to ask this so I hope you can help.

Dave H said...

Billiards is not an Olympic sport but it is a sport recognised by the IOC so could - in theory - be accepted into the Games

That ship has sailed, though

Anonymous said...

Train leaves St Pancras at 06:37 arrives in sheffield at 09:07..

CHRISK5 said...

Mr Hey You - Your'e right in respect to form being like 'lady luck' - much depends on your opponent at the time & your frame of mind. (luck also being the amount of unexplained 'kicks' too)

A good,regular,refined technique can consistently deliver 70-75% of your total game - even on a 'bad day'.

The other percentage of a players game is made up of aspects which are not so technical - but purely mental & physcological (ie) your preparations before matches or practice sessions.

The perfect coaching manual should focus on all these areas.

Though I agree that technique,poise & a routine method of striking the cueball are all quite important.

One of the biggest dilemma's is always - How much of the pocket you try to 'pinch' - For better position on the next shot!

If everything was plainball (with no screw or side) - less problems -The positional side of play accounts for the majority of missed shots. (which isn't really a technique issue as such)

jamie brannon said...

Are you not putting up some of my comments Dave? Icant see why you wouldn't be, but recently it seems like 50percent of my comments are not going up, I think it must be technical issue or Im not printing it properly.

Dave H said...

There was one of yours yesterday that I published but it seems to have vanished into the ether

I think there may be a problem but I'm not sure how to solve it

Anonymous said...

The chuckle brothers posts seem to get posted i notice ( mr hey you and crikes sake )

jamie brannon said...

Fair enough, as sometimes I'm having to print my comment twice I have noticed.

Surprised you say the music is pointless, as I enjoyed it at the Masters. I don't think the game needs tinkering with much, but the presentation and it's image I think need to be changed quite a lot.

I possibly thought you meant pointless only at the Crucible, as you are right the walk on is very small- perhaps they could somehow increase the area for the walk-on.

Anonymous said...

what difference would walking on for 30 seconds make to 20 seconds, even if you could see them a tiny amount longer?

wont exactly make me wet my knickers!

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