A good time – and in some cases a very good time – was had by all at the World Snooker Awards at the Dorchester in London last night, the first such bash staged for a decade.
It was attended by a number of players plus various other figures within the snooker world and staged in association with the Killing Cancer charity.
Ray Stubbs, formerly a BBC snooker presenter but now at ESPN, did a first rate job as host. Similarly, Willie Thorne was superb as charity auctioneer.
Entertainment was provided by Chris Difford, who ran through a few Squeeze songs, and comedian and satirist Rory Bremner.
John Higgins was unable to attend due to being in Italy for a family wedding but won the first award of the night, Journalists’ Player of the Year, voted for by the media. Higgins was later announced as the winner of the evening's main award, World Snooker Player of the Year, voted for by a panel which included Stephen Hendry and John Parrott.
Players’ Player of the Year – voted for by the players – was won by Mark Williams, who won my admiration for his elastic interpretation of the dress code.
Judd Trump won two awards. He was voted Fans’ Player of the Year in an online vote and won Performance of the Year for reaching the world final, although as Steve Davis said, he probably would have received this in any case for capturing the China Open.
Trump’s housemate Jack Lisowski spoke well after receiving his award for Rookie of the Year.
Rory McLeod’s fluked black to beat Tony Drago in the Shootout won Magic Moment of the Year and Rory gave an amusing speech in which he promised to play quicker.
Snooker’s new Hall of Fame was unveiled with inductions for the late Joe and Fred Davis, John Pulman, John Spencer and Alex Higgins as well as Ray Reardon, Stephen Hendry and Steve Davis, who received a standing ovation when he took to the stage.
The best speech came from Barry Hearn, the World Snooker chairman, who listed the steps forward the sport has taken in the last year.
It was a very sociable occasion and mercifully free from politics. Everyone knows who is in charge now and anyone with half a brain can see he is doing a good job. There is much to be positive about for snooker players and it was good to see them enjoying themselves after an intensive season.
Then it was all off to a nightclub to continue the celebrations, although at this point the memory began to fade...