Happy new year everyone.
The great thing about a new year is that it’s a time for looking forward, not back and there is much to look forward to in 2012, indeed in January alone.
From Friday there will be 24 consecutive days of snooker to watch either on television or through internet streaming, a smorgasbord of green baize action with something for everyone.
It starts with PTC 12 in Germany after which the final 24 for the grand finals in Galway in March will be decided.
Then from January 9-12 the Championship League returns for its fifth year at one of snooker’s most unlikely venues, Crondon Park Golf Club in Essex.
There has been much more snooker to play recently but I’m not surprised that most top players have once again entered the Championship League. It’s regular match practice against top quality players and carries good financial reward.
The World Open (which will be best of nines this year, by the way) has its qualifiers from January 11-14. There will be commentary on the final two rounds on liveworldsnooker.tv and the betting sites that carry coverage.
The jewel in the crown this month is of course the Masters, at its new home of Alexandra Palace in London, from January 15-22.
This is one of snooker’s most prestigious titles, a tournament with a rich history and a huge first prize (£150,000).
The next two groups of Championship League are from January 23-26 and then the Sky Shootout, which I thought was a lot of fun last year, rounds things off in Blackpool from January 27-29.
So that’s a jam-packed month of snooker to kick off 2012 and there is plenty more where that came from in the run up to the Betfred.com World Championship in April.
This blog will remain pretty much as it has always been: a mix of news, opinion and historical reflections, a few interviews and thoughts about tournament action. If you have any other suggestions for content feel free to offer them.
It will be a busy year and that can only be good, although players will want to arrive at the Crucible three months from now match sharp but not exhausted.
Like any other year there will be drama aplenty: great matches, shocks, spellbinding breaks, stunning shot-making, nerve-wracking close finishes, twitch-ups, heartbreak, joy and glory.
People will say things in the heat of the moment that they later regret. There will be controversy. There will be arguments. There will be cock-ups. There will be complaints.
In short, there will be snooker, and lots of it.
The battles on the baize will be a rollercoaster of emotions for players, fans and everyone else associated with this great game.
So strap yourselves in and enjoy the ride.