There was heartbreak for local hero Neil Robertson in Bendigo last year when he lost 5-4 to Dominic Dale in the second round of the Australian Goldfields Open.

Worse still, he lost after Dale got the snooker he needed on the final pink.

Even worse still, Neil’s mother was in the audience and, afterwards, in floods of tears. Dominic, in his humane way, apologized to her but I’m not sure that made any difference. It was not a popular result.

Robertson is one of the main reasons this tournament is on at all. After he won the world title in 2010, negotiations began between Australian promoters and the new Barry Hearn regime.

The result was the first world ranking event staged in Australia.

In the build-up to the tournament, Robertson has once again been doing his best to spread the word in a part of the world where snooker is still finding its way.

Outdoor sports rule in Oz. Robertson’s boyhood pals were all out playing Aussie rules, rugby and cricket while he was indoors in his father’s snooker club in Melbourne.

His story is well known: turned pro at 16, spent a couple of years on the tour, fell off, won the world junior title, was given a wildcard and arrived in the UK with £500 in his pocket determined to give the game one more go.

His rise to the top is an inspirational story. Players who don’t like travelling should consider the sacrifices Robertson has made to achieve his dreams.

He is now nicely settled in Cambridge with his partner and their young son and is, of course, one of snooker’s very best.

Last season, he won the Masters. Like many I thought he could win a second world title but in the second session against Ronnie O’Sullivan he was a mere spectator.

Robertson isn’t easily intimidated but O’Sullivan did what so many have tried and failed to do: got him under pressure.

Hopes are high in Bendigo that he can go all the way this year. He starts out today against Nigel Bond, who he beat in the first round last season.

I think one of Neil’s great strengths is that he always accentuates the positives, always looks for the best in any situation, even defeat. His glass is neither half full, nor half empty: it’s full to the brim.

Combine this with sublime long potting, heavy scoring and an iron tactical game and you have quite a package.

The Australian snooker community is rightly already proud of him. There would be no more popular winner this week.


Anonymous said...

I think I said this last year but we are still in a position where the World Championship hasn't been broadcast at the time of this tournament. I was hoping to avoid finding out who won before it aired (not to mention the tournaments in between), but I had to give up on that to watch the one tournament (bar the Premier League) we do get live coverage of.

If Hearn wants to build an audience here they should focus on improving the television coverage. (We do seem to get excellent darts coverage.)

Daniel said...

McLeod once again refused to shake hands with Michaela Tabb!

NewsfoxSport said...

One assumes it is Rory's religious beliefs?

I am not religious but to some extent you should respect how people want to conduct their affairs.

Is it sexist? Maybe. But I think society has bigger worries eg domestic violence

Anonymous said...

2 very serious things mentioned in the reactions above.

1: indeed, the WC should be broadcast WORLDwide and live. Audiences won't grow otherwise.

2: Rory should be a bit more flexible with his style of play as well as style of dealing with people.

wild said...

Anon 8.04am

Liveworldsnooker.tv is broadcast all over the World showing Every single Event where there's no TV Coverage.

and the Prize is very reasonable at about £3.99 a Month

Anonymous said...

Paying for watching snooker is fine if you are already a fan, but new audiences won't be attracted this way. Easy and free exposure is key.


Hi David. A superb showing from Robertson agaist Bond. Knocks of 135,81,92 and 113, helping the home favorite to a 5-1 win.

Stephen Lee did well, having trailed 39, to lead Rory Mcleod 4-3 before winning, 5-4.

More to come tomorrow. I can not wait.

Anonymous said...

Yeah you can get coverage, but internet coverage usually only attracts enthusiasts. The trouble is if no-one watches broadcasters aren't interested, and if they don't broadcast no-one watches; classic chicken and egg scenario. But telling Barry he needs to get it on TV is like telling Andy Murray he needs to beat Federer.

wild said...

yea Fair Points.

You need to really expose snooker on to the World BUT then you have Snooker Players that has no interest leaving home.

Anonymous said...

Yea i agree wild bit fick init

Chris said...

Hi Dave, great article.

I know Neil's mother would want me to make a comment on this statement: "Neil’s mother was in the audience and, afterwards, in floods of tears"

After Neil's exit from the Bendigo event in 2011, Dom Dale did make an offhand/joking comment to the media about having to "apologise" to Alison (Neil's mother) about defeating the home-town favourite in such a dramatic finish. Dom intended it as a joke, and it was even funny at the time.

Over the last 12 months the story has grown and grown as various media outlets retell it: a few tears has grown into outright sobbing, then devastation, and perhaps now a "flood" of tears. Let's hope Neil doesn't lose this year or Alison might have to travel to the hospital under sedation :-)

So to clarify: there were NO tears in 2011 - Alison actually gave Dom a hug and congratulated him (I was there). Plenty of excitement/tension, lots of pride, and ultimately disappointment perhaps, but NO tears - that's just not in her character/nature. Alison and Dom get on famously - Dom was just having a laugh. Unfortunately various outlets took that ball and ran a marathon with it :-)



Anonymous said...

I don't know what influence World Snooker have on the way it is broadcast in Australia, it could be that they take that long to put the packages together and send them out, or it could be the broadcaster themselves (Fox Sports) delaying it. We have Eurosport but they don't show the snooker, presumably because Fox Sports has the rights in which case they should be able to put pressure on them to show it.

kildare cueman said...

Draw has opened up for Robbo with all the big boys in the other half. Bit like the 70's when Charlton was in one half of the draw and Reardon, Spencer and Higgins in the other.

Trent love said...

As far as the live streaming goes i refuse to pay for it as you only have access to the qualifiers in australia after that we get a message about not being in the right area. Alot of this is due to bbc coverage rights and having to be in the uk to view. Our eurosport shows no snooker either. We have 4 channels that show soccer over and over. And no one in australia even watches it as afl aussie rules and rugby dominate. I think that foxtel are just being lazy and putting up crap soccer games from japan sudan etc because they are cheaper. Anyway the online would be ok if we got to watch the final rounds