A squawking crow could be heard somewhere in the Bendigo arena yesterday and tomorrow’s final will feature the Hawk.

At his fifth time of asking in a ranking event semi-final, Barry Hawkins today reached his first final with a high quality 6-4 victory over Mark Davis.

Hawkins is nicely settled in his private life having just got married and, judging by his suntan, the honeymoon was not spent in his native Kent.

This personal contentment may well have taken some of the pressure off the world of professional snooker. Also, Hawkins landed £32,000 last season for winning the Shootout, a televised event played against the clock.

Regardless of the nature of this tournament, it must have given him a boost of confidence, not to say bank balance.

The clock will tick away to its heart’s content when Peter Ebdon gets stuck in as he attempts to win a tenth ranking title, which would take him level on the all time list with Jimmy White in joint sixth place.

But Ebdon’s sedate pace of play isn’t why he’s in the final. You can play as slow as you like but you still have to pot the balls that matter.

He’s there because he isn’t missing much. He seems to have played better as the week has gone on.

Ebdon has only beaten Hawkins once in six ranking event meetings. But few players have greater self belief or deeper reserves of mental energy.

All that organic carrot juice seems to have made him even tougher, as if that were possible.

If Hawkins wins then it will be similar to last year when Stuart Bingham triumphed: a first time win for a popular player who has more than put the years in.

The crowd for the last couple of days has been excellent. The Australian snooker community get one chance a year to see the sport close-up and have embraced it.

Why? Because they are fans of the game, not cheerleaders for particular players. Neil Robertson’s exit, though disappointing, made no difference.

Let’s hope they get a final as absorbing as last year’s.


Anonymous said...

I don't the head to heads matter for this. Ebdon has horrible records against Ding and Murphy, and Fu is comfortablely ahead as well. When Ebdon has a run like this, he's very hard to stop.

Anonymous said...

Go Ebdon!

Anonymous said...

I think if Peter Ebdon wins this he will move ahead of Hendry in the list of all-time greats. As we keep hearing the standard is higher than ever, and while Ebdon was able to keep improving Hendry was sadly left behind. Ebdon had caught up with him by 2002, and had clearly overtaken him by 2006. If Ebdon was playing to this standard in the 90s I doubt Hendry would have had a look in.

Anonymous said...

Terrible advert for snooker in Australia when Peter "Sleeping Aid" Ebdon makes the final...

Those Aussies will be thinking what a boring sport it is seeing his kind of grind-it-out playing style...

Wont help put bums on seats nor encourage the youths there to emulate Neil Robertson


Hi David. Great effort by Davis, A Wuxi semi-finalist, two weeks ago. The 2012 Six Reds World Champion, last week, A Austrailian Open Semi-Finalist, today.

Barry Hawkins, did superbly well, to beat Davis, 6-4, and go into the final, against Peter Ebdon.

It should be a good one tomorrow. I can't wait.

Dzierzgul said...

Also worth noting that it is the first ranking final in 9 years not to feature a top 16 player, though of course many of them didn't show up in Bendigo and neither Hawkins, nor Ebdon had to play in qualifiers. Still, that's something. And by the way, I'd love to know when (if ever) was a last tournament in which there wasn't a top 16 player in a semi-final.

I'd tip Ebdon to win. He used to be my favourite player - not anymore, but not because I started to dislike him or something, I just placed my sentiments elsewhere. But the very first snooker match I remember watching was him playing Stephen Lee in 2004 UK Championship (I think). Lee had a big lead and then Ebdon pulled out a wonderful comeback, playing some terrific, fearless shots along the way. In the decider, if memory serves, Lee again was in front, and then Ebdon begun clearing the table with a chance of a narrow victory. On the colours he unexpectedly missed. And I vividly remember the look of terror on Stephen Lee's face, when he realized he somehow got another chance. It seemed as if, at that point, Lee didn't feel he deserved to win; like he knew he's going to take the match (Ebdon left him an easy shot) despite being the inferior player. That performance by Ebdon - and that face Lee made - were the reasons I truly fell in love with snooker.

Anonymous said...

i fell in love with snooker when michaela started reffing

Anonymous said...

Anon at 7.01

Ha ha ha hahaha........