So the season is over and that can mean only one thing: the annual Snooker Scene Blog awards, if your definition of ‘annual’ is something I did in 2008 and 2009 but not last year.

Like the Golden Globes, these awards are seen as an indicator - by me anyway - for the Oscars that are the World Snooker awards, which take place tomorrow at the Dorchester in London.

Anyway, a reminder to the winners that there are no actual awards, but plenty of cred, street or otherwise, to be gained.

Doubtless others will have their own ideas for who the winners should have been...

Winner: John Higgins

When Higgins returned from suspension in November there were dire warnings that he would struggle to recapture his previous form and that it would take him a while to win a trophy. In fact, he immediately won his first tournament, reached the final of the second and, on his TV comeback, landed the UK Championship crown for a third time.

He went on to win a total of six titles during the campaign, rounded off by capturing a fourth world title, exhibiting remarkable mental strength and determination.

Higgins’s longevity at the top has been considerable. He was the best player in the 1997/98 season and several times since. He lost his no.1 spot largely because of the tournaments he missed but he was the best player of the season by some distance.

Winner: Judd Trump

Trump has had to endure some pretty spiteful comments due to having the effrontery not to have been a world beater almost immediately that he turned pro.

But that all changed in Beijing when he mixed his awesome attacking game with some mature tactical play and displayed poise under pressure to win the China Open. More – much more – was to follow at the Crucible where his run to the World Championship final caught the public imagination.

Trump played the game with a smile on his face and his shot-making and general attitude were a joy to watch. And it shut up all those who doubted he could make it at the top level.

Winner: Jack Lisowski

Lisowski, a level-headed, dedicated young player, lost his first three matches as a new professional and fretted about possibly falling off the tour but the new PTC series came to his rescue. He reached the final of event three and flourished thereafter.

The Gloucester potter, who wrote a column for Snooker Scene throughout the campaign, qualified for the final stages of the German Masters and Welsh Open – where he ran John Higgins to 4-3 – and also the PTC Grand Finals.

He lost out 10-9 to Steve Davis in World Championship qualifying but ended the season inside the top 64. Lisowski will no doubt take inspiration from all this and from the achievements of his housemate – Judd Trump.

Winner: Stephen Lee (61)

There have been some great breaks – centuries, maximums – this season but Stephen Lee’s 61 clearance to complete his 5-4 victory over Mark Williams in the first round of the China Open was, in the context of what had gone before, a superb example of nerve under pressure.

Williams had made four century breaks in the match but Lee hung on in there and made it 4-4. He trailed 11-70 when he came to the table in the decider with three of the five remaining reds close to cushions.

Lee set about the clearance, developing the reds, but finished awkward on the black and needed the rest to pot it. Cool as you like, he did, and completed a remarkable victory in what was perhaps the finest best of nine frame match contested all season. You can watch it here.

Winner: Judd Trump

In fact, not one single shot but a series of them from Trump, who raised the bar for attacking snooker at the Crucible.

The amount of long balls he powered in was incredible, the embodiment of talent, self belief and nerve on the big stage, which is clearly where he belongs.

I have a few favourites: the red down the side cushion (which won the BBC’s Shot of the Championship) and the high pace black he rammed in to complete the century in the 12th frame of the final included.

Winner: John Higgins v Judd Trump

Yes, it’s a boring choice to pick the world final – and there were many other contenders – but Higgins v Trump was a great way to round off a successful season: the established modern great against the new kid on the baize, full of drama, intrigue, close frames and all played in a wonderful atmosphere in Sheffield.

Trump delighted his many new fans by building a 10-7 first day lead but Higgins found his form on the second afternoon when, trailing 12-9, he cleared blue to black after Trump had missed a tricky blue down the side cushion using the rest.

Higgins led 13-12 going into the evening but Trump continued to go for his shots and could have closed to just 17-16 behind only for Higgins to get the snooker he needed, double the pink and slot home the black to bring the curtain down on a great match, championship and campaign.

Winner: German Masters

The World Championship is always the best tournament so I have disqualified it from this category. Instead, the honours go to this new event which marked the return of big time snooker to Germany and proved that the game’s popularity here is no myth.

The final was attended by around 2,500 people, all of whom played their part in creating the unforgettable atmosphere for Mark Williams v Mark Selby. The prolonged, heartfelt standing ovation that followed Williams’s victory will live long in the memory.

Berlin witnessed some fine snooker but it was the audience that helped make it such a spectacular success story.

Winner: the new ranking system

Under the old ranking system, a player could wait months to see any improvement in their ranking if they won a major title. Players outside the top 16 winning ranking tournaments would still have to go to qualifiers. Players not winning matches full stop would be protected.

Barry Hearn’s new system has changed all this. Now, it is possible to make strides up the list for doing well – rewarding success and not protecting mediocrity.

It has made a huge difference to a number of players and even some of those who have lost out as a result – Mark King being an example – have applauded the changes. They have given the players the incentive of aspiration. As one said to me: “I didn’t start to play snooker to try and stay where I was. I did it to shoot for the stars.”

Winner: Power Snooker

In fairness, the idea behind Power Snooker was conceived with the best of intentions: to create a new, vibrant form of the game mixing tradition with innovation.

What we got, though, was an odd hybrid of snooker and stag-do, an event played before an increasingly drunk crowd shouting abuse so unpleasant that it left one of the referees in tears.

The game itself was entertaining enough but was trumped by Barry Hearn’s own short-form version of snooker, the Shootout in Blackpool, where the banter was better natured and the action more enjoyable.

Winner: Chris Lovell, the Paul Hunter Foundation

When Paul Hunter died of cancer at the tragically young age of just 27 in 2006, the sport was shocked and saddened. Snooker had lost one of its brightest stars.

Paul, though, was always such a positive spirit and those around him resolved to do something positive in his name. Thus, the Paul Hunter Foundation was born and it goes from strength to strength, giving young people who have had to endure disadvantages in life a chance to play snooker and build their confidence.

Chris Lovell and his team deserve great credit for their endeavours and for keeping Paul’s name alive in such a worthwhile way. Find out more about their work here.

Winner: www.snooker.org

Your view of websites depends on what you want from them. Some want information, some want opinion, some want a chance to express their own opinion.

In my line of work, facts are paramount and so I commend those behind www.snooker.org, a website full of constantly updated information including latest scores, results and rankings which together form an invaluable resource.

This was actually one of the first snooker websites, established way back in 1994 when the internet was not a major part of most people’s lives. It has flourished again in the last year and is now the first place I go to crosscheck information.

Winner: Matt, ProSnookerBlog

Twitter now has a fun, relaxed snooker community featuring players, referees, commentators and fans. If you’re wondering what the point of it is, well, there isn’t one really.

That said, at the World Championship qualifiers snooker fans starved of a chance to watch web streaming of the matches were treated to an invaluable service from Matt from Pro Snooker Blog, who gave a running commentary of the action.

It made compelling reading and was proof of the power of social media. The snooker authorities, not always the quickest to recognise the importance of such things, should take note.

Winner: Barry Hearn

Hearn, like so many of his predecessors who have run snooker, is full of big talk. The big difference, though, between him and them is that he actually delivers. In just one year Hearn has presided over a rejuvenation for the sport that has left everyone feeling more positive. New tournaments, new sponsors, new formats...Hearn has injected his considerable energies into making snooker- his first sporting love – big again.

This season was just the start. In 2011/12 the circuit will touch down in Thailand, Australia and Brazil and snooker is now becoming more in line with other sports – no huge gaps between tournaments, opportunities there for players willing to take them.

Hearn doesn’t do modesty. Neither should he. His achievements since becoming World Snooker chairman speak for themselves. For once, the game is in safe hands.


Hermund said...

Thank you very much for the Best Website Award!

I want to use this opportunity to thank Tore Skagestein for helping me out with the day-to-day operations, and for providing invaluable feedback.

I would also like to thank the Internet community as a whole for feedback and error reports.

My ambition for the next season is to keep adding content and functionality.

wild said...

yes in one season Barry Hearn has transformed Snooker.

its good times ahead.

although im a bit skeptical of trying to reduce the UK Qualifiers and i just hope in a few years we wont be watching best of 9 World Qualifiers.

Anonymous said...

effrontery = cheek

just to help those who needed to look it up

good blog david

Anonymous said...

what ref was reduced to tears?

Anonymous said...

Thanks Hermund for an acceptance speech! Matt, you're next.

The German Masters crowd also deserve the praise. That week was unforgettable.

Dave, nice way to celebrate Barry Hearn. I was glad to see that not only was he nominated but he actually won the Barry Hearn award. Well done.

Best completion of comeback from being in free-fall: Mark Williams

Awkward moment of the year: the WSC draw where Ebdon and Barry both took part.

Single worst decision: scrapping the 147 prize.

Anonymous said...

And the winner of "GAFFE OF THE SEASON" surely goes to...


Janie Watkins said...

Hermund = God of the Net. Well done Hermund, well deserved. The first dedicated snooker website and still the most informative.

Janie Watkins said...

You forgot some categories Dave.

Best Snooker Journo: Dave Hendon

Best Overseas Commentator: Rolf Kalb.

Matt said...

*steps forward*

Cheers for that, much appreciated.

The qualifiers were great. Tweeting during my Crucible trip was fun too and definitely added an extra element of enjoyment but the qualifiers were something else and demonstrated the interest out there that exists in them.

Funny thing is that I know the mass tweeting basically fills up everybody's Twitter feeds and that can be annoying but the more that I did, the more that people seemed to want!

All good fun anyway, thank goodness they staged them in the Badminton Hall this year.

Congrats to Hermund too, I know the WWW Snooker site has been around forever but in the last year or so it has really returned to the forefront, replacing Global as the place to go for results etc. Well deserved recognition there and I too will be praising it when I come to look at the best snooker websites on the net later this month.

A mention too for 'that' Stephen Lee shot from China in the Shot of the Season stakes.

Anonymous said...

I see the refs get overlooked, AGAIN. Why can't they have a referee of the year award? Jan Verhaas for the World Final, Leo Scullion for his first ranking final in Beijing, Eirian Williams for the Masters or Brendan Moore for Doing his first of the major BBC finals at the Uk Champs.

Who would you vote for Dave? And indeed everybody else, who would get your refs vote and do you think they should be recognised with an award?

Matt said...

Brendan Moore would probably get my vote, to be given his first major final and then get a match like the Higgins/Williams epic. He'll not forget that in a hurry.

It's a tough one though, they can all do the job which is probably why Dave didn't flag it up.

Dave H said...

I didn't want to choose a ref or, rather, not choose one of the others because the top ones are all excellent

Anonymous said...

I agree with most of the choices, however I would have given the player of the year award to Mark Williams: to be ranked 47th in 2008, to being end-of-season no.1 in 2011 is pretty impressive.
Best website would go to Pro Snooker Blog I was on there non-stop during the Worlds, excellent site Matt.
Best ref (and i agree there's no real need for an award because the top ones are excellent) would probably be Brendan Moore.

Anonymous said...

The top players are excellent yet you're picking a player of the year!! Why should the refs not get any mention?

Dzierzgul said...

Yes, it has to be said that in a season of many records Mark Williams made a special one: he became the first player to regain number one spot after dropping out of the top sixteen. That's sure something.

Anonymous said...

best yo-yoer = MJW

Witz78 said...

Commentator of the Year - Alan "Angles" McManus

i think hes been a breath of fresh air behind the mic on Eurosport and adds a lot of common sense to the commentary that some others could do with taking note of, and upping their game.

Talking of commentators, id hope there some sort of tribute / mention of Ted Lowe tonight.

And as for young newcomer of the year, id argue Jamie Jones deserves it ahead of Liswoski, hes came on tour and got further up the rankings than Jack. McGill also a contender it has to be said.

With these 3, Trump, Brecel, Guodong and a few others the futures bright.

Anonymous said...

If your goin to have ref of the year you will have to have scorekeeper of the year, tablefitter of the year, barman, security man, ticket seller of the year, indeed all staff could be considered.
Ref of the year is absurd. Cop on 9.55.

jamie brannon said...

Best commentator and best performance would have been possible awards, although get the feeling there might be a conflict of interest with best commentator.

jamie brannon said...

My awards.

Player of the Year
Winner: John Higgins

The rankings are fairer but the fact John Higgins is not number one I still find hard to fathom even giving his ban.

There would be no plaer in the game who doesn't see John as number one and a dominant one at that. He has won three of the four ranking events he played in (excluding German Masters due to his pull-out) and won a PTC event, with a runner-up slot in the other.

Spent a large part of season ranked number one, and is undeniably the man to beat going into 2011. The scary thing is how many victories he is securing playing his B-game against top players.

Breakthrough of the Year:
Winner: Judd Trump

The sport now has two box-office stars with differing personalities.

Trump will bring the glamour sex appeal and the say the tings Barry Hearn wants to hear as the falg-bearer.

O'Sullivan brings the rock'n'roll and is a more edgier and controversial character, which you still need. It is important to have someone who doesn't always toe the line and is liable to some bullish statements.

Judd is producing pots that take your breath away and hopefully he won't temper his game too much he gets older.

Rookie of the Season
Winner: Jack Lisowski

Looks easier on the eye than Judd Trump but without the same potting ability.

However, who is to say that in three years time we won't be eulogising over Lisowski like we are now with Trump.

Break of the Season
Winner: Ronnie O'Sullivan (147)

Did not see Lee's break so opted for this controversial maximum.

Did not agree with his crass comments afterwards, but as a moment of sheer self-confidence it was hard to beat. To declare you are going for it to the audience when you are on nine is testament to the unassuming swagger that O'Sullivan brings. Many maximums feel in doubt this one never did apart from his silly stance on not wanting to pot the final black.

Shot of the Season:
Winner: Judd Trump

A lazy choice but going for the one that the BBC chose. It typified Trump throwing the rulebook out on what is considered the right shot.

Match of the Season
Winner: Ding Junhui v Judd Trump, World Championship semi-final

The World and UK finals were both classics but for shher standard allied to visceral drama have to pick the semi-final between Ding and Trump.

At times, it was a breakbuilding orgy that was a showcase for how snooker should be played from aesthetic standpoint.

The tension towards the end was gripping. For me, this is the match that elevated Trump to another level of stardom.

Tournament of the Season
Winner: World Championship

Dont agree that it can't be considered as in other season it has not been the best event. Their is no doubt it's the most important and the one we most look forward too but in certain years I couldn't select. 2006 springs to mind.

This year was arguably the best snooker tournament I have ever witnessed.

The standard was brillant, the drama intoxicating and the story of Judd Trump gave it an extra frisson.

Also unlike recent years we got two classic semis and the first exciting final for six years.

Performance of Season
Winner: Ding Junhui v Graeme Dott, Masters quarter-final

A masterclass of breakbuilding that the tenacious Dott had no answer too.

Commenator of Season:
Winner: John Parrot

Avoiding cliches and prepared to say things that Davis and Doherty are afraid too. He is not prone to the excessive hyperbole that afflicts certain members of the otherwise excellent BBC team.

Tweeter of Season
Winner: Dave Hendon

Vital source of knowledge when it comes to events I have no TV access too. Don't want to sound like I'm brownnosing but do really enjoy this Blog. Along with Twitter, Facebook, Hotmail and BBC Sport the only sites I hit every time I log on.

Refree of Season:
Winner: Brendan Moore

Deserves a World final.

Betty Logan said...

Williams' rank is a bit artificial though, since Higgins would have been ranked #1 if he had entered all the tournaments. Still an incredible achievement given where he was a couple of years ago, but to win the UK and WC after a ban lasting half the year and personal tragedy is phenomenal.

My vote for match of the season is the UK final, what a final that was!

Anonymous said...

Jan Verhaas didn't have the best of finals to be honest, called a break wrong on 76 when it was 77 which he put right immediatly, then he forgot to re spot a yellow..

Anonymous said...

and how does that make him not have a good final?

if you watch snooker cosely you will be pick up tiny errors by even the best.

theyre human, not robots

Anonymous said...

Oh, best re-racker: Selby!

Greg P said...

Power Snooker was a debacle that was almost bound to happen.

I'm not talking about the format (which I can barely even remember). I'm talking about the stupid event with the drunken wankbags shouting awful rubbish at female referees (didnt actually see the incident myself, I tuned out after the afternoon session because it was so boring).

After all the babble in certain sections of the press over the last few years about how snooker crowds are too quiet and reverent, it was inevitable some idiot would set up an event where they encourage the crowd to get as drunk as possible and this kind of nastiness would come to the surface. Disaster waiting to happen.

I take it nothing has been heard from the "promoters" of Power Snooker since.

Greg P said...

Oh, by the way

RIP Ted the Master.

Now there's a man who would never agree to commentating on Power Snooker.

Also he probably wouldn't have approved of the word wankbag. Sorry!

I think he and Jim Meadowcroft deserve medals just for making sense during that epic 1985 final!

Betty Logan said...

It's taking the p*ss a bit John Higgins winning "player of the year" though. His achievements have been truely remarkable, but surely the WSA can't name a player that was banned for half the year as the "best player"? Surely conduct as well as playing skill should be taken account in these things?

Anonymous said...

bad conduct doesnt make you a bad player

player of the year isnt about who was best dressed or who was the most polite at interviews

get a grip of yourself betsy and be a real man

likahokeith said...

I have a special award:

The worst player: Stuart Pettman

Only "Poor" can describe the status of Pettman.For the series of PTC, he didn't take a good part(three victories only). And the ranking events, he only won two rounds only(World Open and World Championship), and a round of absence(German Masters).

Overall, Pettman only got 6785 opoints. Relatively, his ranking dropped from 35 to 77.

m_futekova said...

At least deserved winner of the season?

John Higgins