8.5.12

THEY THINK IT'S ALL OVER

The World Championship is always eagerly anticipated, always a great treat for snooker fans, but some are inevitably better than others.

The 2012 championship wasn’t the best ever as some have claimed but had many moments of drama on and off the table.

Stephen Hendry supplied the first on the opening afternoon with his third Crucible maximum. He drubbed John Higgins in the second round, was drubbed himself in the quarter-finals and promptly retired.

This was a dignified decision by a great champion. The ovation he received before last night’s final session was heartfelt.

Less dignified was Mark Allen, whose first round exit was followed by another rant at the Chinese.

More interesting, if less newsworthy, was the fact that Allen joined a list of tournament winners from this season in falling at the first fence.

Ding Junhui was another, as was Stephen Lee. Mark Selby also lost although was severely hampered with an injury.

There were new faces too. Luca Brecel provided signs of potential. Cao Yupeng reached the second round.

Jamie Jones was one of the real stars. I admired his attitude as much as his game (and of course his quiff).

Jones produced a gutsy display to reach the quarter-finals, mixing some mature tactical play with fearless potting. He is one to watch.

Players who had failed to pull up many trees during the season found form. Ryan Day reached the quarter-finals; Matthew Stevens was a semi-finalist.

Ali Carter did himself proud. He won the match of the tournament to beat Judd Trump 13-12 from 12-9 down. In that match and all others he displayed a steely determination.

How different his emotions must have been compared to a few months ago when, beset by ill health, he said he would retire.

There was no disgrace in losing to Ronnie O’Sullivan in the final. O’Sullivan was disciplined throughout the 17 days. His focus never wavered.

I think it did him a favour drawing Peter Ebdon in the first round. It meant that he came to Sheffield mentally prepared for a tough time.

His very first frame went to a re-spotted black. It seemed he held the upper hand right from the moment he potted it.

O’Sullivan had a very difficult route to the title: three world champions followed by two runners-up.

I think he would have beaten anyone in the game playing the way he did. Perhaps the last few days were not as exciting as in previous years because there was a sense of the inevitable that O’Sullivan would win, but that’s hardly his fault.

So the Crucible reverts to its day job as a theatrical venue and the snooker season ends.

I hope all those who have worked so hard to make it all happen enjoy whatever breaks they are afforded before it all starts again. Q School is coming and the Wuxi Classic qualifiers are less than a month away.

Until then, let us bask in the memories of another World Championship and another great feat in the remarkable life and career of Ronnie O’Sullivan.

36 comments:

Newsfox said...

yeah I barely wathed semis or finals (first time in years) due to that exact sense of inevitablity.

What an enigma Maguire is - he was the only one who could push Ronnie but he just seems to have lost his A game much like Shaun Murphy has.

A great first round but the qualifiers never really pushed on to the level Ronnie was playing at, as you would expect.

That said, I am not surprised Ryan Day has fallen down the rankings as he seemed to have already lost the form he had just regained.

Shame the world cup is not on again, won't be watching much snooker for a while. Hearn says he wants tournaments with identities but they are all looking pretty similar to me!

Anonymous said...

bask? are you for real?

great player. id rather bask in the sunshine being eaten by a crocodile.

Anonymous said...

For me (my 31st year of viewing it) an average tournament with some great moments outshining some tedium.

In the side poker match, it's advantage Ronnie as he lays down his terms to continue playing. Barry it's your serve, be careful what you wish for.

Anonymous said...

barry hearn really wont give a dam about Ronnie he will just say "close the door on the way out mate".

Anonymous said...

Has to be said I thought the best bit this year was the BBC documentary on Barry Hearn.

JAMIE O'REILLY said...

Great event David. Hendry's deserved ovation last night, got me emotional, wacthing and recording, as I was, from home. All things to talk about. Great event.

Anonymous said...

Not a vintage championship by any means. In fact after about Wednesday of the 1st week I'd say it was well below average in terms of interest and watchability.

What rarely seems to be mentioned is that the Final rarely seems to be anything special. I thought it was a poor final with a couple of exceptions (e.g. Ronnie's break of92). Perhaps the problem is that, in their efforts to make the Championships the ultimate "marathon", they ignore the fact that most players are pooped by the end of the 17 days and the quality of the snooker is rarely anything special in the final as a result. And there have been some absolute stinkers in recent years - Dott/Ebdon perhaps the most obvious.

Anonymous said...

The unequal parallels between the dignity of Stephen Hendry's swansong and the abject lack of dignity, grace, style, panache, class & worthiness of the Mark Allen exit after he lost was noteworthy.
His diatribe against the Chinese shows him up for what he is and yet another half apology afterwards shows the transparancy of this buffoon.

Bryn said...

Ronnie will always be many things to many people, although there are the darker moments, I am glad I did not have a ticket to see him play in Ireland this year, there is so much else.
For me his middle session against Mark Williams was little short of perfect. However where Ronnie stood proudest was in clearing the final balls, no banging tables, no screaming, no gestures, just a touching extended chat to Ali Carter when they shook hands, for a moment or two Ronnie ignored all but his beaten opponent and his later words were clearly heartfelt.
This was not just Ronnie the popular champion, but also Ronnie the gentleman.

Anonymous said...

345

I take it you missed the "Reardon at 80" documentary. It was a fascinating insight into the origins of a champion. I kept thinking though shouldn't they have saved this for next year, when he actually is 80?

Anonymous said...

Kind of funny how Hearn won't reduce the number of frames for the one tournament that probably could do with it — both for reasons of player fatigue and the fact that the longer the matches are, the more chance of it becoming a foregone conclusion long before the end.

Unknown said...

reply to annoymous 4:45 PM

I echo what this guy said; the quality is usually very poor by the time it gets to the final.

In fact, the second round and quarter-finals usually produce the matches of the tournament because anyone who has survived into the second round are already fired up with the first round nerves completely gone.

The semis is where you see players becoming a little bit worn out and missing simple shots here and there.

By the time the final comes round, the finalists are totally worn out.

I was just thinking it wouldnt do any one harm if there is a full day break in between the semis and the final. David, perhaps you could put forth to Barry Hearn this idea - we dun want to see utter dross in the final really just because the players are too shagged. Even Wimbledon has a Sunday break so why not do one at the Crucible too to let players recharge.

Anonymous said...

I disagree Dave that O'Sullivan had a very difficult route to the final, Robertson was an extremely difficult match for him other than that the rest were breeze cases. Let's look at the evidence:

- Ebbo - not a chance of ever getting near O'Sullivan, of the 16 I've looked at the list and say he was about the 3rd easiest draw he could have got

- Williams - the easiest of the lot as he cacks his pants every time he sees O'Sullivan anywhere near a table, that guy had class but totally ruined his chances by becoming embroiled in twitter and his interviews about hating the Crucible and only caring about money silly silly boy and will never be endeared by the fans the way an O'Sullivan, Hendry or Davis is because he doesn't recognise or acknowledge the fans

- Robertson - a class act, by far the joint best player in the tournament along with O'Sullivan. He's the only guy in the current era you could genuinely see reaching 3 or 4 titles

- Stevens - absolute joke to suggest a hard match for O'Sullivan, he won it in his sleep

Carter - poorest finalist we've had in a long time, again like Williams has no class in how he acts away from the table, talks about being selfish, talks about not caring about the game, a disgrace to the game


We all know O'Sullivan in himself is not perfect but at least he embrace the fans and is the last true blockbuster act left in the game - Higgins has gone now and won't come back, especially after his disgusting behaviour off the table which lead to a 6 month ban, never can be considered a true great.

Anonymous said...

The problem isn't the number of frames, the problem is the second semi-final having two sessions and possibly a late finish on the day before the final. There are a couple of steps they could take to alleviate this:

1) Knock the semis back down to 31 frames. The extra couple of frames may not look a lot, but can add an hour on the match, and it can be a killer if it's a late finish.

2) Play QF1 and QF2 simultaneously, so two sessions are played on the first day, and the last session on the second day: QF1/2-QF3/4-QF1/2, QF2/3-QF1/4-QF3/4. Then play the semis as 3:3:2: SF1-SF2-SF1, SF2-SF1-SF2, n/a-SF1-SF2 so each finalist only has one session the day before the final.

It aint brain surgery Barry!

Anonymous said...

to all those saying change the format...

its not broke. many played the same format for years and we had great semis and finals back then.

to all the members of the ronnie police....no need to have a go at all the other players. your guy has behaved worse than any player ive ever seen.

people in glass houses

Gerard said...

Strange that people start talking about changing the world championship and thus devaluating it. Don't want to watch because it seems boring? Fine, don't watch. But the one tournement Barry shouldn't change is this one. The exact thing people moan about is what makes this event so special and to win it still means as much to players now as it did 30 years ago.

Anonymous said...

@ Unknown at 9.15pm

Completely agree with you, especially wrt R2/QF being the best matches of the tournament with a declien in SF/F.

JC105 said...

Slightly off-topic: have you guys seen Hearn's reaction to Ronnie latest comments? Hearn's not impressed, as one could expect, see:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/othersports/snooker/9253284/Head-of-World-Snooker-Barry-Hearn-hits-back-at-world-champion-Ronnie-OSullivans-blackmail-suggestions.html

Anonymous said...

I just want to pick up on the Reardon comment and express my disgust at the 'legend'. Why? I shall explain.

A few years back, I took my dad and his partner to the Crucible and on this particular day, quite a few of the stars of the day made themselves available for autograph hunters. They were all pretty good, especially Stephen Hendry, who went out of his way to make sure everyone got his signature who wanted it. He was class that day.

Now, Reardon was a different case in point entirely. He walked past us towards the Crucible entrance and my dad politely asked him if he could sign his partner's programme (she was a huge snooker fan). He turned to my dad with a sarcastic grin on his face and said: "I have been here all week and if you haven't got it by now then it's tough." With that he calmly just strode off leaving my dad bemused and somewhat irate to be talked to in such a manner.

Reardon a legend? Do me a favour, he is a buffoon and I lost all respect for him that day. Hendry on the other hand is and always will be a class act.

Anonymous said...

1.04. Id safely say not one person read your 2nd paragraph. Back to the drawing board for you.

Unknown said...

It surprised me when the commentators said Ronnie's 141 break was the highest for a world final.

But on second thoughts, it is no surprise - the final is usually a weary affair with 2 players dragging their feet and cues to the table and hardly in the right frame of mind to play attacking snooker.


Putting in a day break between the semis and the final would be the best solution really. It builds up the suspense to the final even more i would say.

Anonymous said...

@JC105

I think the dodgy accountant in Barry is coming through there. 60 days out of 365 doesn't sound much but let's put it into context:

Snooker players are entitled to a couple of days a week off in lieu of the weekends they play, which translates to 261 working days per year. For each day of tournament play a pro probably has to put in at least a couple on the practice table, so in reality that 60 days translates to roughly 180 days of playing snooker.

However, those 60 days probably break down to about 20 separate engagements: seven tournaments, eight PTCs and five Premier League bookings. The 15 tournament events will add about 30 days of travelling to his schedule, and the Premier League about 5 (if he travels down on the day he plays), so that takes his 'working' days up to 215 days.

215 working days out of 261 days, leave 46 'holiday' days; the average worker has about 30/35 days a year off, so at most Ronnie is only working a couple of weeks less than the rest of us. In reality he probably has to meet with sponsors, do endorsements etc, so he probably has more time taken up by work than the average 'working' man.

JC105 said...

You really did think this through! Your calculation must be just about spot on. Hopefully the introduction of a (partial) money list-based ranking sytem, as announced by Hearn, will better suit -and be fairer to- Ronnie (and indeed other "older" players with a family). However, O'Sullivan, while acknowledging the introduction of that new system, seems to "blackmail" Hearn in order to force him to quicken-up the changes. Don't think this will have any effect though...

Anonymous said...

Davey, any chance you can put up one of those 'century of century' lists? The one at Chris Turner's archive doesn't get updated anymore, and I would like to see how everyone stands now we're at the end of the season.

kildare cueman said...

Why do world snooker continue to display important information using that PDF format.

The draws for Q school and the calendar are virtually unreadable. Can they not colour code TV ranking events?

A 10 year old would come up with a better presentation. Disgraceful for a company that turns over so much money.

The Blog said...

I think Stephen Hendry has more integrity than Ronnie O'Sullivan. During this year's semi-finals O'Sullivan said he planned to quit (or words that effect). He went back on that 'claim' when he won. Stephen Hendry lost his match and said "I quit!" and he did.

How many times has O'Sullivan threatened/said/hinted at/lied/made it up (etc) that he was quitting? Must be in the double figures!

Putting that to one side, congratulations to O'Sullivan for winning the title. :) I doubt he can look back in the future and claim he's underperformed. Four WC titles is great by anyone's measurement of 'achievement'.

jamie brannon said...

My awards for the 2011/12 snooker season:

Player of the Year: Ronnie O'Sullivan.

Was the only man to win two major ranking events. He also triumphed in five tournaments, two more than anyone else.

Tournament of the Year: UK Championship

A vintage staging of one of snooker's greatest events, capped off with a classic final. Would still prefer the best of 17 frame format but the quality and excitement wasn't diminished. The crowds in York were vindication of this.

Match of the Year: UK Championship final - Trump v Allen

A match played to a fantastic standard, initally by the audacious Trump, and then by a spirited, century-laden comeback by the pugnacious Ulsterman.

Break of the Year: Ronnie O'Sullivan making 92 in the World Championship final.

Can see why Hendry won the magic moment award for his 147, but in terms of the intrinsic difficulty of the break, O'Sullivan's 92 was different class. When Willie Thorne said he wouldn't make twenty, I thought he might be right, but you can never discount genius. A microcosm of the outrageous talent O'Sullivan has.

Most Improved Player of the Year: Jamie Jones

Enjoyed watching the fesity Welshman make a name for himself at the Crucible. A shock win over Murphy was backed up in the next round, and he did with a nice balance in his game.

Performance of the Year: Ronnie O'Sullivan beating Mark Williams 13-6 in the World Championship

The Rocket once again found his unplayable top gear for the first time in four years. It lit up a wet, wild and dull Sunday afternoon. Was at one point lauging in my chair about how great this man is.

Commentator of the Year: Terry Griffiths

Nice, dry humour, mixed in with good technical and psychological insight.

Referee of the Year: Leo Scullion

Moving up the ranks quickly. Handled his semi-final well.

Anonymous said...

jamie in love with ronnie brannon...

that 92 break was full of great shots and some equally as bad.

he was very lucky 3 times to leave himself on a ball

and you think that break, with no pressure was better than a 43 year old making a maximum for 50k£ or something, in his already made up mind last appearance?

blinkered and biased to the core!

jamie brannon said...

The seventh frame of a world final is still a lot of pressure.

I'm happy to take all the flak about O'Sullivan bias, but I've given him only one more award than he received at the official awards.

I will admit I used certain language that a fan might use, but was absolutely delighted he won a fourth world title, so a litle forgiveness please.

I was particularly pleased as fear it could be his last. In addition, to move level with Higgins on world titles and ranking events made it very sweet.

As for performance of the year, I looked at it on a single match basis. However, World Snooker seem to be looking at it on a tournament basis.

In this regard, would have selected Pter Ebdon for his battling China Open win at 41. More surprising than Bingham.

Anonymous said...

a world final frame when youre nowhere near the end, if you dont clear you wont be leaving much on and its that special.

nice to see you missed the part where he was lucky 3 times to land on balls or not snooker himself / in off

and just saying, thats still pressure? thats nowhere near the same pressure as a 147 in youre already determined last every wc.

i accept and know your biased, but not being able to put both these breaks in context shows stupidity, not fan bias.

yes, the break was excellent. it had many great shots, but they were needed as he played several kamikaze ones. and his opponent couldnt have cleared them with a brush.

pressure? pfft. wake up!

Anonymous said...

7.19. How can you denigrade that wonderful 92 break?
Luck? Breakbuilding is riddled with luck, you play the percentages and sometimes you get good luck, sometimes bad.
There were lucky shots in Hendrys max as well, especially at the start when he ended up on the only awkward red, with automatic position for the black.
And pressure? What pressure is on Hendry? Hes made loads of max's and 50 grand is only a few exhibitions for him. Max's are ten a penny these days anyway.

There have been ten or twelve miracle clearances over the last decade or so with all the balls safe and they have nearly all been made by Ronnie. Best breakbuilder ever, by a mile. We're not worthy.

Anonymous said...

hi 1205.

obviously a member of the ronnie police.

welcome

Anonymous said...

yeah, maximums at the crucible are more common than frame winning breaks in the middle of a match where your opponent would need a hoover to be able to clean up

same pressur, obviously

jamie brannon said...

A total failure to understand the difficulty of the break. Any luck he had was made by supreme positional accuracy.

Of course, Hendry was under pressure, but think we too often select maximums as best break. It would have been second.

Anonymous said...

jamie, ive forgot more about snooker than you will ever know!

youre usually in a minority of 1 v the rest on here and its not because you like to be different. its because youre clueless

Anonymous said...

I've just watched vthe break on u tube and I cant find any lucky shots, unless you call going into a bunch of reds and finishing on one lucky. 6.48, Your the clueless one. Brannon got it spot on.