23.4.12

TORTOISE v HARE

Stephen Hendry got the result in the end even if he looked completely flat early on in the final session against Stuart Bingham, who played well to pull back from 8-1 down to 8-4.

Frame 13 was massive. Bingham failed to lay the intended snooker on the last red, Hendry potted it from distance, cleared up and made 96 to clinch victory.

This was the first time Hendry had beaten a player ranked above him in the World Championship since his semi-final defeat of Ronnie O’Sullivan in 2002.

He now plays John Higgins, another multi-world champion from Scotland. Remarkably this is the first time the pair have clashed at the Crucible.

Neil Robertson beat Ken Doherty and will now play Dave Gilbert, who within a few seconds demonstrated what it means to win at the Crucible and the essential fairness of most snooker players.

Gould already needed a snooker when Gilbert fluked a red. Instinctively, Gilbert punched the air in delight and relief and then immediately apologised to Gould for his display of emotion.

He apologised afterwards too but had no reason to. It was a natural reaction to surely the best win of his career.

I was impressed by Luca Brecel, who out-scored Stephen Maguire but was still left trailing 6-3 overnight.

Brecel got going towards the end of the session, winning the last two frames. In the last of these he potted a crazy black down the side rail which hinted at his talent and precocity. He may not win today but I for one hope he is back in the future.

Off table, Mark Allen enhanced his reputation as a rebel without a clue by taking another pot-shot at the Chinese after losing to one of their players, Cao Yupeng.

Not content with his wide ranging attack on the Chinese people at the World Open, Allen pondered whether cheating is “a bit of a trait for the Chinese players.”

As usual, many people completely missed the point as the row spilled over on to Twitter. If Allen felt that Cao played a push shot in frame ten which wasn’t called by the referee than he was perfectly entitled to say so, both at the time and afterwards.

But it was his bringing other players into it and then questioning the wider integrity of the Chinese which may bring him trouble, including possible legal action from the players involved.

Allen’s comments underline an unpleasant creeping attitude I’ve noticed this season of some people within snooker stereotyping the Chinese and indeed disparaging them, all through a basic cultural ignorance.

‘The Chinese’ do not all act in the same way. They are a vast population of people who are all different, just like anywhere else.

Furthermore, next season there will be five ranking tournaments staged in China. For the avoidance of doubt, if these events were called off they wouldn’t be staged anywhere else.

For all the interest in Europe, there is not yet sufficient sponsorship to sustain as many big events. There is in China.

So the choice is between 10-11 ranking tournaments, half in China, or to go back to just five or six in the UK.

Astonishingly, there are some who would choose the latter. Well, it’s pretty simple: if you don’t want to go to China, don’t go. The tournaments will continue without you.

And so to day three and Ronnie O’Sullivan v Peter Ebdon centre stage.

In the old Aesop fable of tortoise v hare, it was the tortoise who prevailed, albeit not over a best of 19.

Snooker’s own version of the tortoise won at the Crucible seven years ago in a much discussed encounter but Ebdon has not beaten O’Sullivan since.

Eirian Williams is the referee and it raises the issue of how slow is too slow.

If Tony Drago were playing and suddenly went up to 40 seconds a shot he would surely be warned because he is a naturally fast player.

Ebdon is not. So how slow does he have to get to be told he needs to speed up?

There is no slow play rule in snooker, only ‘time wasting.’ This is at the referee’s discretion.

Some shots do take time but, in the balls, there is no need for a player of great ability to be taking 40-50 seconds a shot.

Tonight, Stephen Lee, one of the players of the season, starts out against Andrew Higginson.

Lee is playing his best snooker since he reached the 2003 semi-finals. But this World Championship is already proving to be dramatic and nothing can be taken for granted.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

i hope allen gets a ban!

i hope ebdon wears trainers today

Anonymous said...

Regardless of what he said afterwards, to me it was clearly a foul by Cao. Allen also mucked up by saying it was a push shot. It was not a push shot but a double hit. This was evident on the replay.

The problem with Allen using the word "cheat" is that it has a rather different meaning outside the sport. If someone does not declare a foul on themselves then most snooker fans would describe that as "cheating", even though strictly it is not cheating because the referee is the sole judge of fouls - there is no requirement for a player to declare a foul on himself in the rules.

When he named Liang Wenbo I assume Allen was thinking of the time when Liang played Joe Swail where Swail put him back and the referee mistakenly replaced the balls in an easier position, allowing Liang a much easier shot. One can say that you should bring up these points at the time they happen but we know in practice that this is extremely difficult to do, especially when the other guy is on a break.

I have also seen Marco Fu feather a colour with the underside of his cue and not call a foul on himself.

Anonymous said...

It was a push shot, you know when you play them and Cao blatantly cheated. Allen is right to call him on it. There was the incident with Wenbo against Swail three years ago, which I guess is what Allen is referring to. I guess at the end of the day there is no obligation to own up to a foul, but it's shame if we lose the sportsmanship from the game.

Claus said...

Yes, all people are ultimately individuals but most countries have their own distinct cultures. And it just might be true that sportmanship isn't a universal trait.

The ridiculous wildcard rounds that China is allowed to force upon ranking events is a clear indicator of the rotten state of the chinese snooker boom.

If that is the attitude of their officials how would their players know how to play fair?

Don't dismiss Allen's claims just yet as he may have touched on something worth looking into.

Dzierzgul said...

I don't think that punishing Allen is a very good strategy - he only then goes on Twitter and rants about freedom of speach. Instead, World Snooker could demonstrate that he doesn't deserve to be treated seriously since he's not capable of serious behavior.

Just imagine the following report of his press conference on World Snooker site: "And Allen, always a funny chap, came up with an amusing joke during his press conference, accusing Chinese players of bad sportsmanship. Members of the press had a good laugh, as intended".

Or, better still, World Snooker could set up a permanent competition (with Parris cue as a prize): "What sort of 'scandal' will Mark Allen cause this month?" "Now, who had 'Barry Hearn is ruining snooker with his additional tournaments and increased opportunities for players'? Congratulation, we will send you a Parris cue signed by Stuart Bingham".

Ray said...

A bit of advice to Mark Allen - it's better to keep your mouth shut and let people think you're stupid than open it and leave people in no doubt!

Anonymous said...

1134 if you were any kind of player yourself, or could spell brain, never mind have one, youd know its quite easy to feather a ball with your cue and not notice.

ask any pro, or and local league player.

tatannes XI said...

Mark Allen made a stupid comment about chinese players.

Anyway, I don't see the point with Chinese sponsorship.

They are allowed to add a wild card round, which is totally unfair.
Different culture, yes, but why should the rules be different ?

Anonymous said...

1237 you sound like an apologist. You know when your cue comes into contact with a ball. It's possible to catch a ball with your cuff or something, but feathering or playing a push shot...sorry it doesn't happen!

Anonymous said...

As far as snooker is concerned sponsors and television call the tune otherwise there are no tournaments. It's about time some players realised this and engaged their brains before opening their mouths. The reason the game is thriving at the moment is that there have someone running the game who understands this only too well.

Anonymous said...

How many times in other sports do we see , with the benefit of action replays, doubtful decisions by officials. Snooker is not immune to this and the people concerned should acknowledge that snooker is one of the few sports where players call fouls on themselves. There are no cheats in snooker only bad losers.

Anonymous said...

"youd know its quite easy to feather a ball with your cue and not notice."

Sorry, this isn't true. A player always knows if he has feathered a ball with his tip, or accidentally hit the underside of his cue against another ball. In the latter case the vibration through the wood is clearly felt in the player's hand. It's like cricket - a player always knows when he's nicked it.

By the way, the Marco Fu incident was against Maguire in the 2006 WC.

Anonymous said...

103, youre obviously not a player of any standard.

completely clueless.

as i said, ask any pro.

Anonymous said...

130, i agree

it was a foul. double hit.

i dont know if cao knew it. he should have known, but nobody can no for sure.

allen said he was left in the balls had it been called.

thats a lie

allen said cao looked at the ref. i didnt see him look at the ref (even if he did, players often look at the ref as they walk by them)

allen potted the black and white and blamed the table for rolling off.

the cue ball off the 2nd cushion had side on it that was quite clearly taking it closer to the pocket. the table wasnt running that bad, if at all. it was a poor shot

a poor shot from a bad loser. a once nice wee guy from a good family has become a self centred egotistical pr disaster of a man.

Anonymous said...

another bout of complete ignorance from Allen .I bet he eats chinese food (well a dumbed down westernised version of it anyway).not that awful stuff the chinese get served in err.. China.He needs to think back 2 seasons ago when there were only 6 events and be grateful all these terrible cheating Chinese are making this game more popular.

Unknown said...

I don't know Mark Allen, but have had tremendous sympathy for him in the past, and don't want to throw around easy accusations.

If he makes a point about an individual incident, that's fine. He's entitled to his view, he's only human, he's also entitled to a bit of frustration when he's just lost at the Crucible.

But when you start talking about ethnic groups of people having negative traits inherent to their race, any valid point you have about an individual foul goes out the window. Given what he said at the World Open, I'm not sure how he thought he could talk of Chinese players as being of the long-standing "shifty Oriental" stereotype without questions, serious questions, being asked.

Snooker can't hope to expand its frontiers if those who fall in love with the game fear they have to deal with racism and abuse in response. The WPBSA needs to let any player guilty of racism know in no uncertain terms what is or is not acceptable, and I don't think a serious fine and docking of ranking points would be disproportionate in punishing anyone found guilty of such an offence.

Anonymous said...

Very sour grapes from Allen. He is immature and wrong.

Allen lost because he played bad. Not because of ANYTHING else. He will realize that in a few days time.

Anonymous said...

I still cant believe that there are ignorant people on here who dont know that even pros can skim a ball with a cue and not know its been feathered, especially when striking the cueball hard and focusing in another direction (off angle pot) to the one youre bridging over.

Total ignorance, just assuming people will ALWAYS feel it.

Anonymous said...

David

I am outraged by Allens comments

do you know an email / snal mail address where we can send our complaints to WS

?

Commander Bloore said...

Any player who fouls and does not declare it is entitled to be called a cheat whether he comes from England, Russia, China or Mars. There's too much money and too many players in the game now so expect more cheats to come through.
Soon there will be a player who fails a drug test what action will Hearn take then?
The sooner Hearn weeds out the cheats and stops picking on Mark Allen the better. Mark Allen is not the wrong doer in this instance.
The pockets are rather generous this year.

Anonymous said...

It wasn't a push shot as anyone who knows anything about snooker knows

Anonymous said...

818 we all know it wasnt a push shot, it was a double hit, but that is often referred to as a push as its often only in slow motion you can clearly see whether they separated then double hit, or were pushed together, like newtons cradle.

so, technically it was a double hit and not what lots refer to as a push

their point is still correct. it was a foul

JAMIE O'REILLY said...

Hi David. Another suprb day's play, in my view.

Maguire .V Brecel - 6-3 down, Brecel needed a good start, and got it, to trail, 6-4. Despite a sign of Maguire frustration, when Maguire lad 7-4, he won 10-5. Good win for Maguire. Brecel, though, is a great talent. I suspect the good Crucible Debut he showed, will not be the last we see of him, as a snooker player, on television screens.

Stevens .V. Fu - Session one - Fu was far from his best. Stevens, not at his best either, but strong enough to take the first eight frames. Fu won the last frame of that session, to avoid a session white-wash being put on him. Stevens 8-1 up, going into session two.

Stevens .V. Fu - session two - In tonight's second session, of this match, Fu, as he needed to, did start well. 8-2. Stevens won a important 11th frame. 9-2. The next two frames were shared. A 10-3 win for Stevens. The score-line, flattered him a bit, I thought. Playing-wise, in my view, though, Stevens was the stronger player.

O'Sullivan .V. Ebdon - An exiting start, a re-spotted black-ball, first frame, went to O'Sullivan. He powered on. With the help of big breaks, including one O'Sullivan century break, O'Sullivan led 6-1.

In Frame 8, Having needed a snooker, O'Sullivan got it, and led 7-1. A 90 break, by Ebdon, in frame nine. O'Sullivan leads 7-2, over-night. Great stuff.

Murphy .V. Jones - Murphy, leading 5-4, increasd that to 6-4, Jones, then won six ofthe next seven frames, to lead 9-7. Murphy, in trouble. Murphy made it 9-8, but Jones, superbly, cliched a great 10-8 victory. Murphy, another top 16 seed, to exit this 2012 championship.

Lee .V. Higginson - Great stuff. Lee led, 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2, with good play. Each time, Higginson levelled, 1-1, 2-2, and 3-3. Higginson then seemed to take control. He led 5-3, having, in some positive style, won three frames in a row, from 3-2 down, to lead 5-3. Higginson missed a chance to take a 6-3, over-night lead. Lee wins the ninth frame. Higginson leads, 5-4, over-night.


Stat of the day -

Today, is 23-4-2012, the 29th anniversary, to the day', of Cliff Thorburn's 147 maximum break, at the 1983 World Championship, at The Crucible, against Terry Griffiths. This was done,on 23-4- 1983.

Great play.

I can not wait for more, tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Well said. I am immensely irritated any time a commentator/presenter talks about "these new young Chinese players" or says "they're very hardworking"... positive stereotypes are just as ignorant as negative ones. Why can't we just appreciate all players as individuals, which is after all the only way of respecting the talent of each.