Stephen Hendry and Jimmy White both have free passes to snooker's hall of fame but after an electrifying start to their first round match in Telford yesterday, the standard plummeted.

Hendry looked embarrassed at the end to have lost the eighth frame, which he seemed certain to win.

At least at 4-4 the match is close, which should provide some excitement this afternoon. Indeed there are several matches poised nicely at the 12bet.com UK Championship.

Ronnie O'Sullivan had to win the last two frames last night to achieve parity with Stuart Bingham, who played very nicely and with great confidence but needs to do similar today to stand a chance of causing an upset.

Ali Carter did not produce the goods against Mark Joyce yesterday. I wondered if he felt the pressure of being such a big favourite or maybe he was unwell.

He will still be favourite to come through today but it could depend on whether Joyce can hold himself together if he gets close to the winning line.

Patrick Wallace also had chances against Shaun Murphy before ending the day trailing him 5-3 but, again, it's close.

The format means that only half of the last 16 matches can be played on the TV tables and, with so many top players through, this means a number of big names will be relegated to the outside tables.

This is a far from ideal situation and of course leads to fans of particular players complaining that they can't watch their matches.

The second round matches favoured tonight are Neil Robertson v Andrew Higginson and John Higgins v Graeme Dott.

Therefore, Mark Selby v Stephen Maguire and Ding Junhui v Mark Allen will not be televised.

I wonder if it might be time to start a day earlier and play the last 32 matches that are not particularly attractive on the Friday so as to free up space to put more of the last 16 on TV.


Anonymous said...

dave yet again i (as many others have followed) will ask you on your good blog why ws cant put one static camera on the other tables and make it available on interactive?

in the hope they read this or you and others bring it to their "attention" yet again.

surely the money they have saved by binning the WS cars could be put to this use.


Anonymous said...

Good suggestion Dave about starting a day earlier with some last 32 matches.

Who selects the matches do you know? Is it Bazza himself or eurosport? Do you have any say yerself.

How about some public voting?

Dave H said...

They are chosen by the BBC and World Snooker

Urindragon said...

how expensive can it be to put at least one camera on each table? i imagine something like eptc in Gloucester with one camera. It wasn't perfect but it was watchable. Then some radical Selby fans for example could watch their man in action.

MaximumSnooker.com said...

I think Ding/Allen deserves to be on the TV table more than the Higginson/Robertson match, even though he is the World Champion, TV viewers are more likely to know who Allen are than Andrew. It is stupid though that at the second most prestigious tournament even has non-televised tables in the second round.

Matt said...

Hendry missed 19 balls during the four frames this afternoon. Whoever wins plays Mark Williams. Viewers of BBC wales might remember Higginson because of him reaching the 2007 Welsh Open Final

Betty Logan said...

Why would TV viewers know Mark Allen better than Robertson?? Allen has never reached a final whereas Robertson has won five BBC tournaments including three of the last five. Even Barry Hearn at the Masters last January didn't know who Mark Allen is!

Betty Logan said...

Is Sean Connery watching the White/Hendry match? I could swear I just spotted him in the audience.


Hi David. Fantastic entertainment.

Demon Potter said...

I have two gripes with the BBC coverage so far:
– Why do commentators think that just because a player needs snooker he has already lost the frame? Too many times, someone like Virgo will go "and that makes it 2-1" when the frame – which stands at, say, 1-1 – is still in progress with player B trying to put player A in a snooker. Okay, they may not get the snooker/s, but the frame is not over until it's over.
– Ken Doherty.

Anonymous said...

Brannon,Got any tissues nearby ?

Greg P said...

Ronnie to fans:

Merry Christmas, here's a lump of coal

Anonymous said...

well done Ballrun

Anonymous said...

The Ronnsters got Barry Hearn running the sport and his old man reunited with him once again.

If those factors can't help to raise his game and his professionalism on the matchtable then nothing will.

Ron said afew days ago he's gonna sacrifice his ranking position for his kids.
Credit to him aswell for recommending Robbo and Murphy and Selby for the ambassador roles.

The Ronnster has some admirable qualities as a person.

Credit to Bingham for the win and it shows that increased match practice in the PTC can keep you sharp and focused.

Anonymous said...

Ronnie is a sap. Whats the point in going on like that in the match? Is he afraid to lose looking like he's trying. I dont know.

The only other pro player I can think of thats acted that way in a match is Hann...Does he want to be likened to Hann ??

Alex struggling or Hendry..Ok might go all out attack but not play as if they are not bothered.

Anonymous said...

Its simple: you put him under pressure in a proper tournament and he cracks

Anonymous said...

6.40 nail on head

opponents wont get as much credit beating him when he blows up, at least in his mind.

he has done this several times when losing, not to mention the infamous walkout...

professional? nothing professional about him, though i dont think he asked for oral sex at the after match interview, so thats one good point.

Anonymous said...

Of course they should put the defending champion, the number 1 seed on one of the televised tables. They cannot be deferring to BBC ratings all the time. World Snooker should arrange the TV tables according to seedings, or at least the top seeds... I understand the argument for showing O'sullivan or Higgins, and they feel bad not putting the World Champion on one of the TV tables... But surely they could find a better way to arrange all the matches, rather than jamming the top three seeds in the same time slot... Plus, there are TV in China too...

Anonymous said...

6:40 you may be right. When he is in a losing position he doesn't try to turn it around. It is a very puzzling trait. Maybe he could have fought back but we will never know. This change in mood comes from a clear sky every time. The danish commentator called it borderline disrespectful.

Congratulations goes to Hendry, although I'm sure he would agree there is little to celebrate. It was really painful to once again see this champion of champions struggle like that. Luckily he was up against an equally shaky Jimmy which made for great entertainment, especially towards the end of the match.

But Mark will butcher the legend unless he finds some confidence in a hurry. That cueing action has to be hidden somewhere inside Stephen but right now I find it hard to see him lifting the trophy.

Prove me wrong, please!

Anonymous said...

Well, I could be described as a Ronnie fanboy and I love the aura that surrounds him, but today he just behaved ridiculously.

Like so many times before. It seems that he just cannot understand he is devaluating the "passion" (his) fans feel for the sport. (Like the Telford crowd, which is such an inspiration for him).

He's no flag bearer, he's no ambassador; in fact he should be called "The Joker" for he would rather like to watch the snooker world burn.

I'll hate him for some time now, but hope he wins The Masters.

Anonymous said...

Anon 705,how sad to say you hate someone because of the way they preform on a snooker table.quite pathetic!

Anonymous said...

We know Ronnie gets frustrated playing the more methodical type of player.

But if he's getting agitated against freeflowing players like Bingham then it's hard to find a solution or excuse for it.

Anonymous said...

RE: O'Sullivan- you people didn't expect anything different did you?


Mr Perfect said...

It was great to watch so many players on Tv during World Open...

Of course it's a shame not to be able to even watch top16 players at the UK, 2nd biggest snooker event !
Sorry for Stephen Maguire fans, #5 and semi finalist of UK last 2 years.

Another problem to fix next season.

Betty Logan said...

So Robertson's streak of 16 frames? Anyone know what the record is in a ranking tournament?

Chessboard said...

7.05) I agree Ronnie will be back in the zone for the Masters with it's huge arena and lively atmosphere.

He has to be as it looks like the only Major now that he has any realistic chance of winning again.

Witz78 said...

Its absolutely simple to me and requires little effort at all compared to some of the other ideas spouted about....

All matches can be played on TWO TV tables and within the same NINE day window as present simply by adding a morning session and playing rolling sessions at 10am, 1pm, 4pm, 7pm (approx) so you can have 4 matches fully played each day.

Sat-Tue 4 days of Last 32
Wed-Thu 2 days of last 16
Fri - 4 quarter final
Sat - 2 semi finals (on 1 table)

kildare cueman said...

Could the players not rotate tables so you could have the first session on the non televised tables and the second session on the tv tables.

That way every tv match reaches a conclusion and fans get to see every player.

Not ideal I know, but a possible compromise.

On the subject of Ronnie, well, I suppose it just has to be accepted that for all his brilliance, he hasn't got the stomach for a battle.

While he doesn't care now, there will come a day when he looks back on a great career and deeply regret all the matches he threw away or didn't play.

He will finish behind Higgins and probably Robertson, when a bit more application and discipline would now have him on the verge of overtaking Hendry.

Dave H said...

Playing four rolling sessions is a complete non-starter: the production costs would be far more than the BBC would want to pay

Keith said...

>Playing four rolling sessions is a complete non-starter

The only answer then seems to be shorter matches (could still be multiple sessions, say 6/7) or just show the last 16 over the week (isn't that what used to happen in the UK?)

Betty Logan said...

Playing the first session on non-televised tables would make it pointless having two session matches, might as well ditch the format. The problem is that they're trying to play too many rounds on two few tables in too few days, so something has to give: if you played it (or at least televised it) from the last 16 stage with 4 first round hold-overs everyone could play on TV.

Anonymous said...

Forget about what I said regarding Mark Williams butchering Hendry.

Forget all about that statement.


Anonymous said...

Yes, maybe Ronnie will shine in the Masters but he has to vacuum some ranking points at some point.

He probably doesn't care but if he continues to be so careless and somewhat arrogant he could drop out of the 16. Who could have thought?

jamie brannon said...

In his interview following defeat by Bingham he said that he needs to play in more events, a bit late considering all the Players Tour Events have finished.

I think his attitude during the second session was diappointing to say the least, he can be exsaperating to support, at times.

It was a pleasure to see Stephen Lee back playing at his silky, smooth best in defeat to Higgins, who I would like to point was my tip to win the title, although Dave two tips are still there, so it may not be time for me to takeover your betfair column!!

One thing that no-one seems to have mentioned is there is no divide between the two tables in the way that we are used too. What do people who have visited Telford think of this change to the layout?

Last Thursday, I applied for tickets through the World Snooker site and when clicking the buy tickets icon for Sunday Dec 5th, it said tickets were sold out, clearly this was not the case, it ultimately meant we didn't go, which peeved me a little.