Stephen Lee’s capture of the Betfair PTC Grand Finals in Galway last night was the final proof that he has fully returned to form in the last year.

His 4-0 defeat of Neil Robertson in the final was hard fought and clearly very satisfying. It was Lee’s fifth world ranking title, six years after he won his fourth.

Lee came through to the professional ranks in 1992 during a golden Blackpool summer which also saw Ronnie O’Sullivan, John Higgins and Mark Williams start out on the road to the big time.

His career has not been as successful as those of these three world champions but it has been more successful than most.

Everyone raves about his silky smooth cue action but it has taken a lot of effort to make the game appear this effortless.

He credits his turnaround in fortunes to getting back in the top 16, which he believes happened because of the dramatic increase in playing opportunities since Barry Hearn took over the reins of World Snooker.

“I couldn’t be doing with six tournaments a year,” Lee said. “If you lost in the first you were counting down the other five.”

Since the turn of 2012 Lee has reached the semi-finals of the German Masters, quarters of the Welsh Open, final of the World Open and now won the Players Tour Championship.

And there’s no rest for the wicked. He is due to fly to China today to undertake a series of exhibitions ahead of the China Open next week.

After a spell in the doldrums he is once again enjoying life as a snooker player, more so now that he’s won another big tournament.

Robertson was meanwhile typically gracious both in the press conference and backstage, despite losing his first TV final from ten played.

The Aussie is a naturally cheerful sort of person. He always manages to look for the positives in any situation and take them with him.

So instead of leaving Ireland upset at a final whitewash he was merely pleased for Lee and happy with his own game a month ahead of the World Championship.

Robertson has flown over his brother, Mark, to help him prepare properly for the Crucible having by his own admission failed to do so last year.

Without elaborating, he described the run in to his world title defence 12 months ago as “typical Neil Robertson.”

He failed to get scoring last night and having lost the 47-minute opening frame was always on the back foot, whereas he had started his previous two matches with centuries in the first frame and got his opponents under early pressure.

So well done to Lee and a big thank you to the people of Galway, who made it such a memorable week for the members of snooker’s travelling circus.

It is such a friendly place and everyone was in agreement that snooker should return, in some form, very soon.


Anonymous said...

Great for win for Stephen. Incidentally, did anyone see the decent coverage in racing plus last week? And they tipped Lee at 28-1 to win the tournament.

olding said...

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Anonymous said...

Nice one Stephen Lee.

Robertson for World Champion this year!

Dave, great joy to listen to your comentary on the final yesterday. Compliments for your commited blogging as well. I think it's about a year since I started reading it regularly and it has been a snooker-joy-enhancing-experience. Even in between events (which used to months rather than weeks or days), there's interesting stuff to read here.

Anonymous said...

You sure wouldn't want to run into Lee at The Crucible this year, the way he's playing he is capable of doing some real damage. I don't fancy him winning it but you wouldn't bet against him coming through his quarter of the draw.

Anonymous said...

Great tournament. Snookers 20-20. Well done Stephen Lee. Nice to see the Eurosport team at the venue and doing the interviews. The gap between Eurosport and the BBC's coverage is narrowing. Icing on the cake - how about a dedicated Eurosport channel during tournaments - forget HD, use your Sky channel 412 :)

Norville Rogers said...

Although it was 4-0, it didn't feel one sided. We could have done with more frames as they were all intriguing, but overall a good tournament and it has gone to the man in form. Lee's performance against Selby was as good as I've seen him for ages.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to Stephen Lee on getting in the winners enclosure again - and at 37. Also, a word about Neil Robertson, who has it all as a player, with the heart of a lion who asks no quarter nor gives any. Win or lose he is a proper sportsman so full credit to his family and to him for showing total respect to the wonderful game of snooker.

Not being able to put the rest properly on the bed of the table with the cue ball tight on the side rail can be a real nightmare. Ask Shaun Murphy viz Premier League. Last night Stephen Lee had one such shot - good job it was an easy pot. Although it happens very rarely in matches you would think pro players would have all eventualities covered. All that is needed is a plastic crosspiece like Steve Davis uses instead of the spider. It can be put on the head of the rest as usual, turn it over and it takes the side cushion out of the equation because you are playing just above it. No need to faff about trying to get the rest in and finding it's at an awkward angle - it makes the shot a lot easier. One day this type of shot could be of huge importance to a player, especially in the World Championships, so why mess about.

Anonymous said...

go on big man. welcome "back"

Anonymous said...

So pleased for Lee but do feel the match should have been longer. If I'd bought tickets for a snooker ranking event final I'd want to see more than four frames!

Anonymous said...

Well done Stephen Lee. Best player of week by far. Has a chance to make a run in Sheffield this year I feel. Don't see him winning it though.

As for Robertson, I think it's a good thing that his record is broken. The more finals he won, the more we went on about his record, and it must have been putting some pressure on him. It's better that it got to him now rather than in a World final.

Anonymous said...


if youd bought tickets and didnt realise the matches were best of 7 then youre a dunderheid

Anonymous said...


Obviously you would know the length of the match beforehand. I suppose my point really was that I would want a ranking final to be longer than that. A final should be something special. And by the way you spelt dunderhead wrong, it does not have an i in it.

Anonymous said...

BBC website has no mention of this tournament, shame on them.


Hi David. Great event, Great performace by Stephen Lee. Neil Robertson's run of 9 televised wins, in professional finals, is over. He lost the 19th, to Stephen Lee, of course, last night.

I would again, like to say, that I thought it was a very fitting tribute you gave, regarding the fact, that yesterday was Alex Higgins, 63rd birthday yesterday, in commentary, last night aswell.

Anonymous said...


Obviously you would know the length of the match beforehand. I suppose my point really was that I would want a ranking final to be longer than that. A final should be something special. And by the way you spelt dunderhead wrong, it does not have an i in it.

9:10 PM

thats ok if that was your point, but that wasnt what your post said.

if you want a longer ranking final then you wouldnt go, as obviously *you* would know beforehand.

btw, i am scottish and dunderheid is a scottish word. you spelled it wrong!

i am also dyslexic, so would appreciate you not coming on here and giving me a spelling lesson.

Gerard said...

Well done Neil Robertson and Stephen Lee. A great final of 2 players whose mindset and commitment is exemplary.

9.26, I agree: shame on the BBC for not mentioning this at all. I'm very much looking forward to the WC, but not to Hazel and the gang pretending there hasn't been any snooker since the Masters.

We are all adapting to the changes in the sport, some slower than others, but the BBC is way, way behind in mentality.

Anonymous said...


I humbly beg your pardon. Can we be friends?