Hopefully the Barry Hearn revolution will result in some new faces appearing on our TV screens over the coming season.

A television debut is still a huge deal. Players are used to having friends and family supporting them at venues but the chance for wider exposure somehow makes all the hours and hours spent practising worthwhile.

It is proof that what they tell hairdressers, opticians and folk down the pub is actually true: they really are professional snooker players and, to prove it, you can tune in and watch them.

It can, of course, go one of two ways.

Martin Clark made his TV debut at the 1987 International against Dennis Taylor, winner of the World Championship two years earlier and the reigning Wembley Masters champion.

The result: Clark beat Taylor 5-0.

All too common, though, the debutant freezes. And it’s understandable. They’re not used to the cameras, the crowds or the increased pressure placed upon them.

This is particularly true of players who have spent almost all of their careers mired in the qualifiers in claustrophobic cubicles in front of the proverbial one man and his dog (and not always the dog).

The TV arenas take some getting used to, nowhere more than the forbidding Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.

I recall a Scottish professional, John Lardner, playing there one year and remarking afterwards that the TV cameras were so close that they ‘felt like Daleks.’

I seem to remember he was actually exterminated by Stephen Lee.

Ken Doherty told me that the first time he played at the Crucible he spent the first four frames in a daze, looking around the arena, not believing he was there.

Needless to say he went to the interval 4-0 down.

Some players have to wait many years into their professional careers before appearing before the cameras and it hasn’t always been the experience they were hoping for.

In the case of Ken Owers, a journeyman pro of the 1980s, his debut on ITV consisted of one frame in the recorded highlights.

Owers appeared on screen only once: a cutaway of him sat in his chair before the cameras panned back to show his opponent, Neal Foulds, clearing up to beat him.

There’s a good crop of new young professionals who have joined the tour this year. The qualifying set up is a jungle but it was ever thus.

I hope some of them make it through and show the world what they are made of.

Appearing on TV is a source of great pride for players and something that you can always look back on.

That said, Joe Johnson’s kids taped over much of his 1986 world title triumph with ‘He-Man: Masters of the Universe’ so it’s advisable to be careful where you store the recording.


Anonymous said...

John Lardner was 2-7 down to Stpehen Lee at the Crucible in 1999, and end up came back to 7-9 before losing the 17th frame. Not a shame at all.

Dave H said...

I don't recall saying there was any shame in him losing

kildare cueman said...

I notice you are commentating on the ladies world pool final Dave.

The current world pool rules allow deliberate fouls to be played. When I first played these rules I felt it was unnatural and it took me some time to get used to them.

Now I love them and think its time for snooker to adopt the deliberate foul or DF.

As the rules stand at the moment a player can play a DF and make it look like an accident. If theres no way back to baulk for instance, a player can catch the red a bit thick and go in-off.

Now I know theres a facility for the referee to judge on this kind of carry on, but it never happens.

There is also the situation where a player, maybe 12 behind on the yellow with the blue, pink and black on cushions, attempts to pot the yellow, misses and leaves his opponent in a fiendish snooker, then comes back to the table 12 in front as a result of his opponents unsuccessful escape attempts.

The DF would add a new tactical dimension to the game. If the non fouler doesn't like the position he can ask the fouler to play again.

It cuts out those irritating breaks in play where the ref has to check the monitor(wheres the remote) and eliminates all ambiguity regarding intention, and ends the dreaded miss rule once and for all

Anonymous said...

Dave mentioned Lardner in relation to cameras looking like Daleks and not because he flopped on his debut.

John McBride said...

Good article this & one which can create many good disussion points....

I remember Ronnie O'Sullivan playing at the Crucible for the first time & getting beat against Alan McManus something like 10-7 / 10-8

With no disrespect to Alan McManus meant here, Ronnie couldn't work out how badly he played & how he missed so many easy balls.

I again remember Ronnie O'Sullivan making his debut in Wembley in the B&H & playing Dennis Taylor in the prelim down there on the Sunday morning. I told everyone & their mother how good this kid was & to get down there & watch him, which they did. Again, he couldn't put a ball & got beat fairly comfortably something like 5-1.

I think....for players playing in front of the cameras for the first time, the analogy of 'rabbits being caught in the headlights' can quite easily be used here.

Footballers used to speak about the roar they hear coming up the Wembley tunnel & how players froze when they heard the wall of sound, which was what some Footballers referred to it too. Its the same methodology here. If your not mentally prepared & haven't got your tunnel vision on so to speak, get ready to start living the regrets & 'what might have been's.'

John McBride

Anonymous said...

Lardner shhhhmardner.

jamie brannon said...

"and not always the dog" Shouldnt that be never! Couldn't imagine them keeping silent for a best of nine!

CHRISK5 said...

I am sure Joe J took it with good humour.

Either by belching out his latest
chart hit or simply declaring....


Also look forward to seeing if
Rory McLeod can translate his practice form into a TV match win.

World Open & PTC Finals should
produce new players (to the audience) & give them a chance to make a name for themselves.

Thraxas said...

I now have a mental image of Joe Johnson standing in front of Castle Greyskull, dressed in skimpy leather battlegear, holding his cue aloft like a sword. Thanks Dave.

Anonymous said...

Those bloggers that complain about mr hey you should just stop reading it. I just scroll past him and chris5 every time. problem solved

CHRISK5 said...

The ultimate mid-80s TV day,
He-Man,Knight Rider & Snooker !

In fact,watching Snooker for just one hour can do more your arithmetic skills than 3 whole years at infant school !(true)

It made school ''maths'' seem so much easier in comparison - so a big thanks to Snooker for that !

Anonymous said...

605 is obviously as bright as a blackout.

i complained about who had posted the new comments AFTER noticing the amount of comments had risen since my last visit

you cant tell who posted what until you open up, only to find its the same regurgitated fine art rubbish, no matter the blog subject!

Anonymous said...

I argee with what anonymous 6:05pm said, that 2 guys know nothing about snooker.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,

Another new TV tournament being launched tomorrow by Ronnie O'Sullivan - Power Snooker?

Thanks, Joe

Anonymous said...

Snooker © The Fine Art Method
A secret is wasted if not shared
Hi Dave
This is a good blog lad! I hope it’s not spoiled by the negative comments by the Mr X @ 6:05 pm. I have always presumed the anonymity we enjoy was for “Shy and Bashful” people interested in the joy of snooker not as a hiding place for adverse comment.

May I make myself clear Dave! Mr 6 05 pm does not intimidate “Hey You” but sadly there is the strong possibility that the one sided conflict is lessoning the enjoyment of other members and for this I sincerely apologise.

I would be grateful if Mr X would refrain from using the “Past Tense” without proof of permission.
Take care Dave and may the balls run kindly. Mr Hey You

CHRISK5 said...

Anon 6.05 pm/2.32 am - The same person no doubt,agreeing with himself (how sad)

Mr Hey You has followed Snooker for 70 or 80 years,has actually coached afew players in his time & obviously loves the game - I don't always agree with his subject matter - But I respect him.

I have followed Snooker for
25 years since the 'golden era' &
now into the 'new golden era',
I have watched thousands of matches,seen hundreds of tournaments,practice at my local snooker club,been to snooker live at various venues - while being self-employed & having other activities to fill my time.

I also respect other regular contributors who display their name & have an opinion & a story to tell.

Not all,but many Anon's who send in critical one-liners,make wild accustaions about the game or swear - obviously have issues with themselves & we can't help them.

Dave H said...

Indeed, Joe

I shall be there and shall post my thoughts on it after it is launched, but not before

Anonymous said...

chris, i am neither of those two anonymous posters, though i have to disagree with you WRT the putting a small name next to posts.

it matters not a jot to me if i am replying to the same person each time or not. i reply to blog posts, or to comments about the blog, regardless of what the wee name bit says. (and i do not care if its the same person time and again or not)

also, because someone follows snooker for decades doesnt make their POV or opinion less valuable than someone of only a few years experience. facts are facts no matter the length of time a fan, and opinions and points of view are as valid as anyone elses.

likewise, if a player plays for 10 years in a club but keeps practising the same mistakes, not knowing they are mistakes, then i wouldnt go to him for advice before going to someone with less experience who is better.

remember, everyone posting here is not perfect, but if you put your point on a public site and post things that are wrong, lies or just plain silly, youre open to be corrected.

Anonymous said...

its a novelty event they got their place but unless players are women like that girl promoting it then it wont last.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,

Yup, I've already been filled in on it.

Should be fun tomorrow...

Look forward to see what you think of it.

Thanks, Joe

CHRISK5 said...

Joe - (I HAVE THE) Power Snooker is about to launch ?

It all makes sense now.

Would be cool if the players dressed up as He-Man,Spiderman,
Darth Vader,Superman & we have to guess who it is by their build &
cue action !

Seriously,I look forward to reading what wacky gimmicks or
novelty this event will entail !

CHRISK5 said...

Another website has 'leaked' details of the Power Snooker format already & I am impressed !

What are you going to do
with them Dave ?!

Still,I look forward to reading what the gospel of Snooker blogs
has to say about it all tomorrow !

Dave H said...

Well I respect press embargoes

Anonymous said...

Mr. Chris have followed Snooker for 25 years but is incapable of understanding a fairly simple rolling ranking system. That's all.

Anonymous said...

For the record they actually thanked me for doing the short piece and didn't mention an embargo. And that girl isn't their promoter!!

CHRISK5 said...

Anon - Yes,myself,World Snooker,
Global Snooker,Pro Snooker have yet to publish a definitive list,
Matt might have got it spot on originally - until he then added
future starting pts which don't yet count.

Dave - I think the 'Telly Addicts'
column & subsequent blog comments
gave away all the subliminal clues
for the next announcement !

Well done to all of us !

Dave H said...

I don't believe in subliminal clues

Buy Snooker Scene, buy Snooker Scene, buy Snooker Scene

Don't believe in them at all

Anonymous said...

chris5, i was one of the anons, not both, and im only speaking my mind about the rubbish you write. you seem to think its sad cos someone thinks your irritating. just read back on your entries and cringe at the juvenile mindset you have.

Dave H said...

Can we all stop this now, please?

CHRISK5 said...

I have been buying Snooker Scene Magazine for many years anyway &
formerly CueWorld & Pot Black,
out of my pocket money !

It should be......
Go On The Blog,Go On The Blog,
Go On The Blog....