21.11.11

THE POWER OF GOULD

So Power Snooker is over for another year and, once again, has divided opinion pretty sharply.

I can only give my honest verdict, which is this: I thought it was better than last year but still don't think it is pitched right.

There are two aspects to Power Snooker: the game itself and the environment in which it is played.

The game can be entertaining if the match is close, as the final was. However, if it is one-sided then it peters out and the crowd loses interest.

In this way there is an unlikely correlation with billiards, whose timed format very often produces one-sided matches. Close finishes, on the other hand, are exciting.

It is snooker with some tweaks. As I've said before, as long as this is isolated to one-off events such as this then I have no problem with it.

But the mob of boorish drunks in the crowd add nothing but irritation to proceedings. They were not as bad as last year but for someone to loudly shout out "miss" while Martin Gould was on the green (which he duly did) was a disgrace.

It is a fallacy that reverential silence equals no atmosphere. In fact, the opposite is true. A hush descending at the Crucible adds to the atmosphere, to the feeling that something important is at stake, and thus intensifies the pressure on the players.

There's nothing wrong with crowds interacting more and getting excited but the comments that are apparently hilarious when you're drunk and shouting out in the arena don't come across this way on TV.

Snooker has always had a strong female following, not all of whom will be impressed with the use of page 3 girls to 'sex up' the event. In fact, by marketing Power Snooker at beery lads a large section of potential viewers are isolated.

Why should snooker dumb down at all? Why not instead take the game upmarket?

There is evidence on the continent of Europe that it increasingly appeals to an affluent, sophisticated demographic, and these people are the ones with money to spend.

This isn't the future of snooker, as some have claimed, but it may have legs as a sideshow if viewing figures are strong enough.

If Power Snooker organisers have the money and the players want to play in it then good luck to all involved.

And this debate will not matter a jot to Gould. Neither should it. He should be justifiably proud of winning a TV title and particularly in standing up to the pressure as Ronnie O'Sullivan, who grew stronger all day, twice missed the Powerball when well placed to defend his title.

Newly installed in the top 16, Gould is improving all the time. With the UK Championship and Masters to look forward to, he was full of confidence before a ball - power or otherwise - had been struck in Manchester.

Gould arrived apparently not knowing the rules or caring much, just determined to have a good time.

He leaves with £25,000 and a title. Not bad for what was basically a weekend jolly.

44 comments:

Anonymous said...

i personally enjoyed power snooker but you are right if its one sided you have to wait 30 mins but i unfortunately as a jimmy white fan had to watch hendry trash him in 1993.

how much prize money did the other players get and is their more tounaments in the pipeline??was it really that full dave from ticket sales?

Dave H said...

I don't know how many tickets were sold, but a national newspaper apparently gave away a huge amount.

I think there will be more - their problem will be fitting them into an already crowded calendar.

Anonymous said...

Gould had no problem with the crowd, in his interview said they were fantastic..

Betty Logan said...

You didn't even mention the worst part Dave: Michaela Tabb's giant bow on her outfit! I mean, scantily clad page 3 girls and live bands if we must, but do we really have to have Tinkerbell refereeing the matches??

Ayrshirebhoy said...

It's a new style of game so I'm sure there'll be a few tweaks to get it right. I never saw this years or last so know nothing about it. Was curious about the kinda shouting certain players got. In particular Higgins and lee. I agree shouting miss seems pretty distasteful but it's just a different type of distraction to that heavy silence we all love and I'm sure the players enjoyed taking on that different challenge. Hope I get to see next years and well done to the boy Gould in his win.

Anonymous said...

Dave I know I keep asking but any chance yet of an interview with the elusive Mr Hearn? I think you're very well placed to ask the nitty gritty detailed questions we want to know the answers to.

Witz78 said...

Talking of the busy calendar Dave dont you think the Premier Leagues days in its present guise are numbered as it effectively wipes out 3 months of the calendar where a full ranking event cannot be played.

Anonymous said...

I saw this power snooker for the first time last night on Eurosport. The game seems to be entertaining, but the drunk and shouting crowd was appalling. I for one hope that this is not the future of snooker.

Witz78 said...

As for Power Snooker and the crowds / atmosphere etc i think it was fine.
Snookers roots will always be with the working class male and to embrace this is a wise move. It may not be 'politically correct' to have drunk fans, power girls etc but as darts has shown theres a mass potential fan market out there that can be tapped into.
As for recent influx of female fans to the game, well as someone who attends events, im not going to complain about that, but the hardcore snooker fans shouldnt be alienated or squeezed out to accomodate a new niche.
And lastly on the drunken 'miss' shout outs, it may have Joe Davis turning in his grave but its a characteristic of the different pressure players face at events like Power Snooker. If there happy enough to play them and take home money, then they should accept the banter and heckling. He who blanks it out best will prevail, no diff to hostile football crowds during a penalty shoot out or scenes weve seen in darts with the likes of Anderson and Hankey.

Anonymous said...

i hated it.

the only good things were:

gould winning
mark allen having a pop at who 'may' have made the rules up
the good looking women.

joke format. not snooker. call it something else.

Anonymous said...

anyone else get the impression that all involved with the show were gutted ronnie didnt win (and didnt know what to say because he didnt?)

Anonymous said...

Good ol'Bazza. Power snooker, endless PTCs, an event in Brazil which the big-boys shunned, the reduction in frames of the UK. Hearn is giving the public what it wants - it's just a shame that neither the players nor the longstanding fans of the sport seem to matter to him.

kildare cueman said...

Had a good few quid on O'Sullivan outright after he beat Carter. Was gutted the way he threw it away.

I was pleased for Gould though. There are few players as entertaining than him in full flight and his attitude is magnificent. When he said he was more interested in the trophy than the cash, it was the kind of thing a professional should be saying. I have'nt heard that kind of sentiment since the Davis/Hendry days. Some of the other pros should be taking note.

I hope power snooker stays, but only once a year. I think best of 5 ten minute matches might be better in avoiding runaway victories and the shot clock reduced to 20 seconds. That 20 point penalty for a third foul is harsh. The 3 fouls cost Maguire 55 points plus ball in hand, although his expression of surprise was a bit farcical. If you're being paid to play a game on television, the least you can do is learn the rules.

The Blog said...

I thought the crowd "booing" whenever a player did a safety shot spoilt it a bit and was a tad moronic. Snooker is potting *and* strategy. You don't have to pot every ball even in Power Snooker! The crowd seemed to have the attention span of a goldfish. (rolling my eyes)

Anonymous said...

I watched very little of this but I did see some random woman (may have been a C/D list celebrity) being interviewed and her proclaiming how much she enjoyed this and that this event brings snooker into the 21st century.

When asked: "Are you a snooker fan?" she answered "No I can't claim that I am."

Are these the sort of "fans" we need? Lowest common denominator events designed for chav(ette)s aren't my cup of tea.

wild said...

i could have written that dave ok spelling is better and no swear words lol. but the content is how i saw Power Snooker this year.

Anonymous said...

I turned it on some time on Saturday afternoon, heard the commentator say "the Power Ball is out of commission for now", remembered how much I'd hated it last year, then turned it back off again.

Roll on the UK Championship.

jamie brannon said...

Martin Gould's soft touch, attacking style and even temperament enabled him to have the 'power' in Manchester.

Anonymous said...

It was interesting how even a 20-second clock doesn't work if players are simply allowed to "eat up" time when they are leading with minutes to go. Perhaps they need chess style - say, 15 minutes total table time per player?

jamie brannon said...

As for the whole concept, I think people need to chill out. It's no threat to the traditional format of the game.

And I think the final and O'Sullivan-Dott matches showed that the format can be entertaining.

I wholeheartedly agree with Dave about keeping the regular snooker atmosphere, but the whole point of this event is that it's something different, so makes sense to have crowd interaction in the way that darts does. On television, it doesn't come across that well, but to be honest I didn't really hear most of the chants. It just came through as incessant noise but nothing audible in regards to actual words.

The event should reain as a one-off though.

I read someone on Twitter say the abuse Michaela Tabb got was as bad as racist and homophobic abuse. Can anyone verify some of the things that were said?

Had no issue with the attractive women being there. Don't see it as dumbing down the game as it's just a cosmetic add-on to the presentation, which in recent years had become staid.

wild said...

Regarding these "Power Girls".

What was the Point ?

all they did was Walk half way to the table with the Player.

They were human version of the Sat Nav incase players got lost on the way lol

you either have them Dancing around the players or you dont bother it was totally Pointless.

Dave H said...

Witz - you make a good point about the Premier League, but I think it will stay in some form.

Taking out nine weeks of the year is, though, as you say, not ideal.

JAMIE O'REILLY said...

Hi David. Great event. I would not have that format for ANY other event at allthough. Well done to Martin Gould.

Betty Logan said...

Does the Premier league really take weeks out of a calendar. The PTCs are usually played over the weekend so the League doesn't interfere. Tournaments are usually played weekend to weekend, so that means you get a 'dead' week between tournaments i.e. Tuesday–Thursday. So in reality the Premier League doesn't take any time out of the calendar provided it is scheduled after the tournaments.

Also, it has to be said Graeme Dott blew his match against O'Sullivan. He was something like 100 points ahead with just the colours left with about ten minutes to go, and should have just played hide and seek on the colours. I'm pretty sure a top pro could keep the colours up if they wanted. Same with Ali Carter too; 100 points up after the first five minutes, and Ronnie couldn't possibly overtake him in that frame so he should have just kept it going. Some bad tactical decisions in there, and this format would actually be a great format for some like Davis who could probably score 70-80 and then kill the match.

Dave H said...

It takes weeks out of the tournamnent where you can have a full ranking event. The last one of those was getting on for three months ago.

Betty Logan said...

You're not going to have a ranking event every single week though are you? For instance, if we still had the World Open, the closest you would have them is Shanghai running to Sunday 1, and then the World Open starting the weekend of Sunday 2 running all through the week to Sunday 3. Even if you have a full calendar you get a dead few days in alternate weeks (in this example between Sunday 1 & 2, and then again between Sunday 3 & 4), which are ideal for the League. Even in a full all year calendar you would have about 25 'dead' weeks between a full ranker ending and another starting the following weekend. As long as the League is slotted into dead weeks and doesn't dictate the calendar I don't see the problem with it; in fact it give you something to fill the blanks with, unless you believe that players should have a full week off between events.

wild said...

yes its very clear here the reason the PTC is dominant over the last few months is because it fits in well with the PL Schedule and thats why they not spread over a season better.

witz makes a good point and to get the callender working well so that theres tournaments better spread over a season is to do something with the PL.

Ray said...

Dave, has Barry Hearn refused an interview with you or Snooker Scene? Or maybe he's only prepared to be interviewed if he can write the questions himself!!!!!!
So much for the new era of transparency of the new regime.

kildare cueman said...

Surely its the Championship league that needs to go and not the PL.

Dave H said...

Don't be ridiculous. Those CLS breakfasts for the commentators are extraordinary.

Ray: Barry gives Clive quotes whenever he rings him up, including quite a few in the new issue of SS. I will however attempt to track him down before the UK champs.

Anonymous said...

Some tinkering with Power Snooker will make this form of the game a winner, as follows:

All players should be allowed a time-out if they need coaching during a match.
The audience should be allowed to boo and hiss players, officials and commentators alike.
The tables should be painted gold.
There should be a purple ball on the table worth 10 points as in the old game "Snooker Plus" which should be placed on the baulk cushion in line with the spots.
Presenter should interview luminaries of a higher calibre than one of the Nolan Sisters, I recommend Freddie Starr.
Finally and crucially, potting a ball with the wrong hand (ie left handed if a right handed player) should double the points for that shot.
This means for example, Ronnie O'Sullivan potting a purple ball from the power zone in a power play would be 80 points.
That would be amazing.

Anonymous said...

dave, youre kidding me on that you dont have his phone number (and need to "track him down")?

Betty Logan said...

Well, until snooker's answer to Woodward and Bernstein get onto the case, we have the good old Daily Mail:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/othersports/article-2059958/I-guilty-blackmailing-OSullivan-stars-admits-Hearn.html

It seems to me he isn't a press dodger in regards to the PTC controversy, he's probably just a busy man; he gives his reasons, and they are pretty fair ones all things considered. As Barry rightly points out, the Brazil fiasco justifies his decision to "rape" Ronnie and "pimp" Maguire.

Anonymous said...

its a shame that the one person PS wanted to win didnt. oh well, only a year to wait to ignore this banana skin of an event

Anonymous said...

To be fair the earlier point about the Premier League dominating the early part of the calendar is moot because Hearn pushed it back a month to fit in new tournaments and space was made in the calendar to fit in the World Open at the end of October until it was moved to March. It's the PTC'S that are the problem, there are too many of them and they're not spread out across the season.

Gerard said...

One of the reasons darts changed was that it was relatively easy to pick up yourself, at home: nail a board to a wall, buy some beer, invite some friends and start aiming for triple 20. Do this regularly and a couple of years later you might play in proper competitions.

Snooker is totally different and should be treated differently. I dread the day BH will introduce Powersnooker elements into proper rankers he promised he wouldn't touch.

Dave, please ask him why he did touch the UK, apart from the TV argument.

squeakymom said...

Your point about alienating the female snooker fans was made much more eloquently than I could. My response to the "power girls" was unprintable, at least in a family snooker blog. (And for Witz78's reference, female snooker fans are not a "recent influx", many of us have been around for years.)

Anonymous said...

"So Power Snooker is over for another year"

Will some tell Michaela Tabb this please, she is tweeting there is another one in Febuary!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"So Power Snooker is over for another year"

Will some tell Michaela Tabb this please, she is tweeting there is another one in Febuary!

12:17 PM
-------------

oh f@€# no

Anonymous said...

A couple more tournaments are planned apparently later in the season.

Witz78 said...

squeakymom,

Theres no denying theres far more women following snooker now than even just a few years ago.

The stereotypical female snooker fan of the past was the old blue rinse brigade, infact similar to them lovely twins in the audience at the German PTC earlier this season.

Now whether its Equal Opportunities, Political Correctness or just the age of the Social Networking online, the female fans presence is far greater now, though to quote Snooker Backer a great bulk of them are "Snoopies" (Snooker Groupies) who are primarily there cos theyve the hots for a few players and hope to strike it lucky and become a snooker WAG.

Theres no difference between them and red blooded guys like myself who indulge in wine, women and song and enjoy the addition of the Power Girls to our snooker viewing experience.

Anonymous said...

Apparantly some American billionaire wants to finance a power snooker tour and Sky are interested

Anonymous said...

For all those wanting an interview with Hearn about the tinkering of the UK, there's an interview over on Pro Snooker Blog with the next best thing, Steve Davis.

Anonymous said...

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