The German Masters qualifiers kick off tomorrow but last night’s thrilling UK Championship final was the last live TV snooker of the year.
So what were your favourite memories of 2010? What were the best matches? What were the most memorable moments?
For me, the best commentary experience was doing the final session of Steve Davis’s dramatic defeat of John Higgins in the second round of the World Championship.
This was a match that resonated on many levels. It was a little like a Hollywood film in which an apparently washed up old stager gives it one last go and somehow triumphs against the best in the world.
2010 began with the Masters, which once again featured a close final and confirmed Mark Selby’s status as a master of brinkmanship.
In the end he held his nerve better than Ronnie O’Sullivan and his 10-9 win proved he can produce the goods on the big stage, even though he did not go on to win a ranking title.
The Masters final had been preceded by a match which still stands out nearly a year on – O’Sullivan’s 6-5 semi-final defeat of Mark Williams.
I was heartened by Williams’s general return to form, which he underlined by winning the China Open.
In terms of poise under pressure, one of the matches that comes to mind was an untelevised clash. Level at 8-8 with Ricky Walden in the final qualifying round of the World Championship, played in something of a bear-pit atmosphere at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield, Zhang Anda finished off coolly with two successive centuries.
At the Crucible itself he was beaten 10-9 by Stephen Hendry, who found inspiration at just the right time.
One of the best matches of the Crucible jamboree was the quarter-final between Graeme Dott and Mark Allen, which Dotty won 13-12 after a high quality duel.
And of course the eventual champion Neil Robertson rallied from 11-5 down to beat Martin Gould 13-12 in the second round. The scenes that followed his victory over Dott in the final were wonderful to observe given the sacrifices he had made to pursue a professional career.
Robertson also won the World Open over a sprint format that made a refreshing change from the norm.
Two matches at the end of the year proved that top level snooker’s capacity to produce sporting theatre over a longer distance endures.
The drama of Williams’s 9-8 defeat of Shaun Murphy in the semi-finals of the UK Championship was superseded by Higgins’s recovery from 9-5 down to beat him 10-9 in the final.
One of my other highlights was the World Seniors Championship where I got to commentate with some cold stone snooker legends such as Jimmy White and Dennis Taylor (highlights start on Sky Sports4 from December 20).
I’m sure many of you have happy memories of various other matches and moments. Please feel free to share them.