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The drama of Williams’s 9-8 defeat of Shaun Murphy in the semi-finals of the UK Championship was superseded by Higgins’s recovery from 9-5 down to beat him 10-9 in the final.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.


Sonny said...

Williams 10-6 Ding in the China Open final. I really enjoyed that match.

Obvious others have already been mentioned.

Williams 5-6 O'Sullivan
Selby 10-9 O'Sullivan
Selby 13-11 O'Sullivan
Williams 9-8 Murphy
Dott 13-12 Allen
Dott 17-14 Selby

Anonymous said...

The World Open 147 from Ronnie
O´Sullivan. It doesn´t matter what you think about his behaviour that frame is unforgettable.

Anonymous said...

It's copy + paste from me:

Steve Davis at the World Championship. His match against Higgins, especially the final shots and the press afterwards was the highlight for me. It will certainly stay with me for the rest of my life. Thank you Nugget.

A daily 'highlight' is this blog. It is indispensable

dzierzgul said...

For me it would have to be UK final; even without the whole context it was a memorable and classic match. They played superbly, but also they both made mistakes at crucial moments, which turned it into one of all-time snooker thrillers. I haven't seen a final like this since 2006 Masters.
Also, Williams winning China Open was really great. And Williams vs. Murphy. And his two matches against O'Sullivan (in Masters and World Champioships). Seems like Mark, albeit he "only" won one ranking title, was really one of most amazing players of the year, albeit he "only" won one ranking title.
And, as a Stephen Hendry fan, I cannot forget the pleasure of watching him play against Dave Harold in the opening round of Welsh Open. It was Hendry of old days, pure and simple, with terrific break-building skills and great potting. Pity it didn't last; in next round against Ryan Day he missed a straightforward green and collapsed, as he so often does these days...
Still, this glimpse of better days from Hendry gave me a great pleasure at the time. And I hope that I will get a chance to see him playing like this at least once more.

Anonymous said...

i disagree 254. very forgetable imo

this year has all been about 2 people for me

neil and john

both are the two best players at normal snooker at the moment and have been for the last 2 years.

bout time baza focussed on Higgins, Robertson, Murphy and Williams and forgot about the one speed trick pony ronnie

Monique said...

I was taking shot from the empty commentary box during that last session of Davis vs Higgins and the strength of emotions in the Crucible was just incredible.

Not an entire match, but the second session from Martin Gould vs Neil Robertson was something special also. Martin was in a transe and produced some snooker to remember!

Anonymous said...

every match that ronnie lost was memorable for me

Janie Watkins said...

My memorable moment was also the Steve Davis v John Higgins match. the drama and emotion being in the arena for the final stages were just amazing. Trying to capture the moment in still images was very hard and could never do justice to the occasion.

my funniest moment this year was also at the Crucible. The re-enactment of 1985 with Steve and Dennis was just hilarious and I laughed solidly for more than an hour with tears streaming down my face.

Last night's Uk final stages is going to live in the memory for a very long time. It was just superb. It was so sad in the end that there had to be a loser - It was a score draw for snooker, but not for Mark.
I was so pleased for John and especially for John Senior and the rest of the family.

MaximumSnooker.com said...

Some of my favourites:

Higgins in the Welsh final, amazing dominance of the final, he completely shut out Ali in that match.

Mark Williams in the semi and final of the China Open, some amazing potting from the Welshman, froze his opponents out completely.

Not seeing Gould before on TV and watching him dominate Robertson for the first part of the match, amazing potting.

Steve Davis beating King and Higgins, nuff said.

Ronnie's 147 in the World Open just for pure entertainment and shock.

Higgins v Lee in the first session of their UK clash, best session of the year in my opinion (both had atleast 96% pot success and 4 centuries)

And of course Higgins in the final of the UK, that was an amazing final and should be in videos that the BBC use in the future (best matches etc)

jamie brannon said...

2010 awards:

Player of year: John Higgins

Match of year: O'Sullivan v Williams at the Masters.

Performance of the year: Steve Davis beating John Higgins at the Crucible.

Break of the year: 147 by O'Sullivan at the World Open.

Tournament of the year: UK Championship
Screw your power snooker! This was 'proper snooker' at it's greatest.

Commentator of the year: Terry Griffthis, would have been usually Clive Everton, but barely heard him.

Moment of the year: Ronnie delivering a rare fist-pump after victory against Williams, forget the blase attitude, he wants success - most of the time, anyway.

Referee of the year: Brendan Moore

jamie brannon said...

Farce of the year!: John Parrott has a world ranking, even though he is retired!! Or is he?

Also, why does Michaela Tabb now always miss the UK and referee in the Mosconi Cup? I guess, money

Anonymous said...

my most memorable moment of 2010 was when Barry Hearn got controlling interest of the sport and at long last snooker has a proper future to create fantastic memories for years to come.

Anonymous said...

JB, its not solely about money, though cant explain it here as its personal info i have.

also, surprised you didnt have Ronnie down for every category, seeing as you are totally blinkered

anyone thinking Ronnie was needing mentioned ahead of (or as much as) JH, NR or MJW is obvioulsy stupid beyond belief, or a blinkered fan in love with ronnie

Matt said...

Pleased to see the Zhang match get a mention, that was a fabulous performance from him to down Ricky.

In fairness I can't really disagree with or add to a great deal there.

Betty Logan said...

That's nothing Jamie; I saw an interview with Alex Higgins where an interviewer said to Alex Higgins: "You're still ranked 120 in the world even though you haven't played in over a decade...that really is incredible" or something to that effect. Every player who retains professional membership is allocated a rank in alphabetic order if they no longer play. Obviously it's a farce, but the WSA has this dumb system where you have to resign your professional membership to requalify for the tour or something.

Anyway, best performance: John Higgins in the Welsh Open final. Every safety was played to perfection and he hardly missed a thing. One of the best performances we've ever seen in a final, and was on par with his 2005 Grand Prix performance.

Best match: it's a toss-up between the UK final and the Ronnie-Williams Masters match. I think the Masters was slightly higher quality, but the added drama of a final probably sees the UK shade it.

Best moment: Davis' victory over Higgins. After that first session we all knew Higgins would come back and win. Even Davis did. The writing was on the wall at 11-11. Somehow he pulled it off.

Best Ronnie moment: The 147. Possibly the greatest combination of arrogance and flawed genius you're ever likely to see in any sport.

Shot of the year: Davis' double and cannon to knock John Higgins out of the WC.

Anonymous said...

Never thought i'd say it but i agree with jamie, the UK has been my favourite tournament of the year, this is what snooker is about, no silly shot clocks, music, power balls or any gimmicks.

The Higgins/Williams final is my match of the year, i love Higgins but i felt so bad for Williams at the end.

Steve Davis beating Higgins at the Crucible and seeing how much it meant to him-my faourite moment of the year.

Honourable mentions to Barry Hearn and Brendan Moore.


Leon Mončiunskas said...

I liked the new 'speed snooker' event that was introduced this year. Time limits on potting and play of shot is good and the double points for power play really good.

Snooker need new idea and this was good. Must make game faster.

I also make several good break :-)

Anonymous said...

Jamie, perhaps the reason Michaela Tabb misses the UK to do the Mosconi Cup, is that she knows there's less to mess up in pool.

Didn't see any of the refs in Telford randomly lifting the cue ball off the table.

Leon Mončiunskas said...

I miss the female referee. She horny and good for sport.

It very cold in Kaunas and I go to bed and dream female referee.


Merry Christmas to all. I away to Latvia for 2 week and do sled race with my dogs who are very fit and want bitch.


Anonymous said...

Leon) You somehow fulfill a unique combination of being ignorant and hilarious at the same time.

Anonymous said...

most memorable match must be the ronster and maguire in the world open.

ronnie played to a level that Higgins and the rest of the consistent bores can only dream about

kimball said...

Year is not over yet and in Damascus
are the IBSF worldchampionship nearing it's end.

56 centuries in mmens division so
far and a max from Rodney Goggins.

Pankaj Advani - Rodney Goggins

and two thais in the other semi.

Daniel Wells not at his best in last sixteen match, 2- 6 vs. Deechawat Poomjaeng.

Merry Christmas present is confirmation that eurosport will
broadcast German Open live!

dzierzgul said...

Dave, one thing 'bout accepting that second Leon's post:


Matt said...

Best match- Higgins 10-9 Williams brillant comeback from Higgins undoubtly one of the best.

Steve Davis 13-11 John Higgins, had a tear in my eye when he beatHiggins.

Power Snooker was all right, once a year would be fine.

Best Walk-On- Mark King doing that hip-hop movement. Well done Barry for introducing music to their walk-on.

Best MC- Rob Walker and this classic 'It's get the boys on the baize'

Best player- Neil Robertson
Funniest moment- Taylor v Davis 25 years on

It was nice to see Jimmy White playing on the TV screens again.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the Shaun Murphy versus Patrick Wallace clash last week.
Tactical skills are much maligned in snooker.

Anonymous said...

10.48 get over yourself. Censorship may be commonplace in your country but here we have freedom of speech in place.

Anonymous said...

we have freedom of speech in uk


you can be reprimanded by law for what you freely say and where you say it

idiot !

jamie brannon said...

To be frank I was very critical of Ronnie's attitude concerning the break, but it was still a sublime piece of snooker.

The pick for the match would be backed up by others, possibly Dave judging from his article and I am a Ronnie fan, so nothing shocking about my favourite moment being a Ronnie one.

The second best match of the year was Ronnie's loss in the Masters final, so I am not blinkered and it is getting dull that I keep getting called that.

I thought not picking Robertson as player of year would cause more of a stir.

Anonymous said...

1st and second best match had ronnie in it

a non blinkered objective fan would have one of Johns two great matches at least in there before any of Ronnie, slipping down the ranking o sullivan

Anonymous said...

Brannon don't like it because his mate Ronnie hasn't got the stomach for the battle like Higgins and Williams have in abundance.

Ronnie only comfortable if he's 5 or 6 frames ahead of his opponent.

Any closer and a comeback is always possible from any number of players against Ron.

Urindragon said...

recent Hendry-White clash. not in terms of quality, just for the sake of hendry playing white on tv again plus there was a bit of old magic in the decider

Anonymous said...

Jamie ) We take your 'opinions' with a pinch of lopsided salt.

jamie brannon said...

The Higgins and Williams match was ultimately a classic, but the first session was no more than decent, the same can't be said of this year Masters final, which was excellent in both sessions.

Undoubtedly, O'Sullivan has at times lacked the stomach for the fight, but not always as he showed in beating Selby in the Masters final the previous year.

However, Higgins and Williams are in general better scramblers - Ronnie is the best frontrunner of the trio as Higgins can be prone to complacency in front, an example would be the 2007 world final, although he once again showed he is the best player in the world under pressure.

I don't know who saw it, but Steve Davis during the BBC coverage stated that he considered John Higgins to be the greatest player of all-time. I have never known such over reaction in the recency of an event than that, especially from someone who is generally a shrewd observer.

jamie brannon said...

I went for Higgins ahead of Robertson, just down to the fact that he occupied the number one slot longer than Roberston, who has had an annus mirablis.

Also, Higgins won one extra tournament, all this in a year where he couldn't play for six months.

I know it will be a minority decision, I read Dave describe Neil as the player of the year and at the time was in a total agreement, but that was before John clinched the UK title which swayed me.

Anonymous said...

Brannon - your beloved ROS wasn't a good front runner when Ebbo "done him" at Sheffield a few years ago from 2-8 and 6-10. Or when The Pistol took him out from behind again at Sheffield. Oh, and The Jester nailed him from behind last year at the home of snooker. Under extreme pressure your boy can't cope even when he's had big leads.

You ARE blinkered, and defend the indefensible so many times that we have no choice but to put tonnes of salt with your "opinions"

jamie brannon said...

In general, there is plenty of scope to suggest O'Sullivan is a proficient front runner.

Of course on occasions there have been situations where he has lost a mtach, where he had established a large lead, but all players have suffered defeats of this type.

If O'Sullivan was so vulnerable under pressure when leading and had never shown the stomach for the fight, then why is he the third most prolific winner of tournaments?

My support for Ronnie is a healthy passion. What worries me more is the amount of negative energy wasted by people on here spouting such vitriol at a player they have never met and in any case, is just a snooker player, were not talking about Adoldf Hitler or Ian Huntley, here!!!

Also, I may as get this prediction out of the way now, as we could do without another disagreement about whether I am in unrequited love with O'Sullivan.

I am tipping O'Sullivan to win the Masters, this is in part to his sensational record at Wembley, where he has featured in every final, bar one, since 2004 and also he usually has tendency to find some of his best snooker when people are writing him off and slagging him off, as is happening recently.

In 2007, following his walk-out against Stephen Hendry at the UK Championship, he came back the following month to win at Wembley, playing some outrageously high standard snooker against Ding Junhui in the final.

I sense something similar in the offing this January, particularly as a number of his key rivals have poor Wembley records.

John Higgins, who despite winning the event twice, has generally struggled to make an impact since 2006 and Shaun Murphy, Neil Robertson, Stephen Maguire have all failed to make the final in quite a few visits.

Mark Selby represents the real danger again, owing to a fantastic record in the event and a favourable draw.

I have tipped the winner of both the UK and World Championship this year, so would like to make it a treble of 'Big 3' events.

Anonymous said...

your support for ron is an obsession
your love for him is embarrassing
your defence of him when he does bad things is shameless
your biased view of him make all your other decent points count less cos others on here know you talk pure mince when it comes to ron and so take you with a pinch of salt on other subjects
shame, cos at least you are consistent, but there must be a few loose wires in your head for you to waste time on here trying to justify the indefensible ron and his failings at the game we love.

Anonymous said...

Brannon you didn't tip Robertson for the World Title so don't pretend you did.

As for the UK you were mentioning almost every name in the Top 16 so I suppose you couldn't go wrong there.

jamie brannon said...

If you go back to the April posts you would find I did tip Robertson and also Higgins, more recently.

The only other player I mentioned in reference to who might win the title was Stephen Maguire, but that was more about his value betting-wise.

Anonymous said...

Jamie, i agree with you that Brendan Moore is the referee of the year. He did the first ranking final of 2010 in Wales and the last one last week at the Uk Champs. It's nice to see someone mention another referee other than Michaela all the time. Although she is a good ref, she certainly isn't the only one.

Anonymous said...

How much money did you make on "your predictions". I'll bet it's nothing.