Let’s get the first complaint of the day out of the way good and early: it is wrong that Judd Trump’s match against Stuart Bingham hasn’t been given a TV table.

World Snooker have been handed a gift in the shape of Trump: an exciting young player who plays an attractive game but, crucially, someone who is also a winner.

That’s why he features on posters and advertising literature. But none of that is any use if he isn’t seen as widely as possible.

The governing body comes up with all manner of expensive marketing wheezes to promote the sport but there are much better ways of spreading the word...and many of them are free.

And Bingham won the last ranking title, so a case could be made for this being the tie of the round.

The reasons for the snub are two-fold. First, the hugely popular wildcard round took an entire day out of the schedule. Also, and needlessly, the top half of the draw was played yesterday and the bottom half today.

There’s no need for this. The best matches should be chosen for TV. One of the main functions of televised sport is to provide entertainment. That’s why it’s televised.

John Higgins, as world champion, and Mark Williams, as world no.1, have earned the right to play on TV, as has crowd pleaser Ronnie O’Sullivan and the two Chinese stars Ding Junhui and Liang Wenbo. I’d put Trump in that list too. He’s a massive attraction in China after winning in Beijing and his Crucible exploits.

More thought needs to go into formats and schedules. Mind you, this is the tournament that four years ago put Higgins v Mark Selby – a rematch of that year’s world final – on an outside table.

And relax...

O’Sullivan certainly entertained yesterday but his victory over James Wattana was little more than an exhibition as the Thai struggled badly.

There was no sign of how O’Sullivan would respond if put under pressure, but he looks in good shape both on and off the table.

Selby’s match against Nigel Bond tested the patience of even hard core snooker fans. Selby scrapped through, although to be fair to the players they seemed to have a large amount of kicks, thunderous ones at that. This could be down to humidity and therefore little can be done about it.

Usually you only have to play better than the other guy to win. Shaun Murphy yesterday played worse than Dominic Dale for most of their match but still won.

This is a credit to Murphy’s attitude. He didn’t bang his cue or smack the table or generally allow frustration to overwhelm him.

He just stuck in there as Dale began to fade and it’s one of those matches players who win titles often scramble through before improving.

So to today...Higgins faces Mark Davis, who is now a top 16 player after 20 years on the tour (although he needs to stay there until the end of the month to be seeded through to tournaments).

Higgins won the first ranking event played in Shanghai 12 years ago but does not have a great record in China, although I’d still expect him to come through.

Mark Williams, who got stuck in a lift for 45 minutes on Sunday, will hopefully make it to the table in time to play Andrew Higginson.

I trust Ding Junhui and Martin Gould will produce some entertainment in the second session in what is likely to be an open match, in which Ding can expect plenty of chances.

Another interesting match features Neil Robertson against Liang Wenbo. Robertson has never done much in China while Liang is enigmatically difficult to predict. He was runner-up two years ago but has since struggled badly.

Oh, and there’s Trump v Bingham as well.


Witz78 said...

i agree its a joke regarding the scheduling (or lack of it)

Bingham v Trump is 2 of the last 3 ranking event winners plus 2 of the form guys so was clearly going to be a good game to watch, plus as you say Trump should be being used as often as possible to promote the game.

No offence to Higgins and Williams who are long established names but neither of their games were as attactive on paper and sometimes i think certain players just get airtime cos of who they are rather than the merits of their game. Now the likes of Ronnie, i understand why he does, but some of the other "big" names i struggle to see this.

ONE SOLUTION to stop this farcial situation happening though would be to implement PROPER ROLLING RANKINGS so 2 "top 16" players dont meet in round 1 though. I shudder to think what the WC 1st round line up will throw up given theres 4 full rankers before it not counting towards the rankings too.

BUT the real blame lies with the full day wasted with dead rubber wildcard games just so the Chinese can see some of their own players. Yet then, when it comes to the 1st round proper, there 2 biggest stars who are in the tournament by right, are scheduled to play AT THE SAME TIME. Utter stupidity.

Anonymous said...

I have a better merketing idea!
If they put Ebdon vs O'Brien on the TV table, they could do commercial breaks during the frames... ;-)

Anonymous said...

Rather than being a platform for a star name to perform I think it would be great with two tv tables to put a 'star name' on one table and what looks like the best actual match (hardest to call the winner) on the other table. Stevens v Lee is for me the 'tie of the round'. Judd for all his popularity remains erratic as to producing his very best (a bit like Jimmy in 1981) and needs to do a little more to justify selection for tv ahead of consistently proven 'stars'. I expect by the end of the season Judd will have properly 'arrived'.
A more telling point that you hint at Dave is the waste of a day on the wildcard round. Surely playing the last 32 over 3 days on 3 tables (this even leaves room for 2 wildcard matches) would be a better policy and would enable 12 of the 16 first round matches to be played on television tables (4 plus 2 wild card matches would stil be untelevised on table 3 but why not have live streaming from that table?. This would also enable the defending champion to start the tournament off on the opening session. If the wildcard round continues surely there is equally a case for the Welsh Open to have 8 wildcards for Welsh amateur players to compete in order to raise interest in the game in Wales - with the current interest boom in China it hardly seems necessary there and could be more justified in the valleys to encourage new talent to come through!

Anonymous said...

tv choices look simple- the top 7 seeds and Ronnie got to play on the tv tables! This means the best players and Ronnie appear on tv

Ashley said...

It's nothing compared to the situation if you happen to live in Australia. We get no coverage whatsoever, tv or online.

According to WS, the streaming is blocked because Fox Sports may show highlights at a later, indertminate date. If past history is to go by we will get these highlights around December.

It may be frustrating that one match (as exciting as it may be) is not on a tv table but spare a thought for those of us who get nothing... and WS don't appear to care either, judging by their ignoring of my emails and tweets...

Dave H said...

I believe it's live on Bet365

Ashley said...

Cheers for that Dave.

I can't say I'm 100% comfortable with the idea of the only way to watch it being via a betting site but I guess beggers can't be choosers.

Why no one could just tell me this when i asked is a bit confusing though.

Thanks again...

Anonymous said...

Superbly written.

Anonymous said...

No it isn't wrong because Bingham is a bore who would ruin it, and by looks of it.. did.

Bring shot clock to a few ranking events and let these boys like Trump shine instead.

Greg P said...

Surprised you haven't done a "Whatever happened to Liang Wenbo" article yet.

I miss seeing that guy do all his crazy stuff. One huge performance at the Crucible and then not much else. Slowing/tightening his game doesn't seem to have given him much more success.

Anonymous said...

Hendry is going to need a bloody good PTC 5 to stay in the top 16. He needs to make at least the quarters off the current standings, but that could change depending on further results in Shanghai, and that's not factoring in PTC 6...

Anonymous said...

I don't get all this complaining. Imagine Trump was put on table one and Higgins on table 3 - would it make people happier?

Shanghai Masters and China Open are the only tournaments where we have live coverage of all 4 tables. It looks logical that Higgins and Williams were put on main tables shown on terrestrial TV - but I think it's a great thing that everyone who wanted to watch Trump or Dott were given the opportunity to do so via online stream. All the action is being shown wall to wall, only at World Championship we get it better.

Anonymous said...

Seifer Almasybater Stop trolling.. Bore off!

Anonymous said...

Shot clock ranker!!!!!! Don't make me laugh, its only been going a few years in the premier league and already its needed 'updating'........flash in the pan tripe for retards.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Shot clock ranker!!!!!! Don't make me laugh, its only been going a few years in the premier league and already its needed 'updating'........flash in the pan tripe for retards.

Good to know that you are so open minded to having a tour which caters to both sets of players and fans, and not just what you think it should be and what you like. Keep it up..

Also Premier League didn't need updating at all, it has been messed with and is now ruined.

Anonymous said...

at last
something i and seiferiminlovewithrosalmasy can agree on (wrt the changing of the pl)

Anonymous said...

@ Seifer Almasy - what do you mean by "both sets of players and fans"? Since when did snooker have two seperate sets of players and fans?

Anonymous said...

he means ros fans are "special"

Anonymous said...

As in Both opinions. Some believe Snooker should be open and attacking like me, and some believe cautious defensive players prosper.

I don't.

I think sport should be about flair and attack and skill, not grinding. A tour with BOTH shot clock and traditional tournaments is how a real sport would operate.

Anonymous said...

i think the sport is fine as it is and i appreciate people are at different skill levels and have different attributes

that makes me love watching all types of players

and less narrow minded than some...