Mark Selby was, for the second year running, the winner of the Paul Hunter Classic but Joe Swail was its star.

The Belfast man has a long history of remarkable performances in the face of adversity but to reach the final from the amateur qualifying rounds proves what a real battler Swail remains.

He reached his first major ranking final at the Welsh Open just three years ago but dropped out of the top 64 at the end of last season and was thus relegated from the professional circuit.

He couldn’t face Q School. It must have seemed like an indignity after so many years as a well known name.

But, as the weeks ticked by, Swail realised snooker was still in his blood and, though not practising, entered the PTCs.

In Furth, he beat Jimmy White and Shaun Murphy and survived an extraordinary finish to his semi-final with Barry Hawkins, doubling the final black to win 4-3.

Just 20 minutes later he was back out against Selby, which looked like a match too far.

Still, Swail’s great run proves that in this new age of opportunity it is possible to do the unthinkable: if you are good enough.

He should now have done enough to secure a main tour return next year, which is good news because he is much liked and a proper character. I wrote of his Crucible heroics earlier this year.

Selby was very solid in the final, although he struggled to put away Robbie Williams in the last 16, eventually winning 4-3.

He had his own concerns coming into this season with the neck injury which ruined the end of the last campaign. This seems to have gone away, which is an obvious relief for the world no.1.

Once again the German snooker public played their full part. What enthusiasts they are and what respect they show the players. They are a credit and make for a terrific atmosphere.

It was fitting for a tournament played under Paul Hunter’s name: two nice blokes contesting a final watched by a full house, fully involved with the snooker and thoroughly entertained throughout.


Anonymous said...

Yes congratulations to both players,but to be honest it was,nt pretty to watch.

Anonymous said...

It never is with Selby, but at least he turns up and plays these events.

Anonymous said...

Really good to see both of these players coming back into form.

Anonymous said...

Never pretty to watch when Selby starts grinding.

wild said...

god there are some idiots online.

Selby is not a grinder you really should have been online in the 80s now there was grinders.

Selby pinpoints when hes not on his game and adjusts accordingly.

Mark Selby is the no 1 break builder at the moment and as fluent as anyone in the balls.

kildare cueman said...

Thought the semi had all the tension of a world final, particularly knowing how much it meant to Swail.

The final was dull from the off. I dont want to jump on the Selby bashing bandwagon, but as soon as he cues up, I feel like nodding off.

wild said...


you come on here as a snooker fan and with respect your a clueless moron.

Selby boring jesus christ with fans like you snooker would have never got off the ground in the 80s.

Anonymous said...

It didn't get off the ground for 45 years until Higgins came along. Since then we've been lucky to have Jimmy and MoRON to keep bringing in the casual fans. If the game relied on Selby to sell it, then it would be in trouble.

Anonymous said...

No doubts selby is a gd player, not a top player tho, world no1 but what has he won?? Not much is the answer. I personally find him very dull and yes boring but thats just my opinion

Ray said...

Here we go again,the Selby bashers are out in force totally without foundation.I refer them again to the quote by Jimmy White in the introduction of Cliff Thorburn's book "Playing for keeps" He says " ... anyone who calls Cliff slow knows nothing about snooker"
I rest my case.

Dave, last night you said that Joe Swail was only one of two players that had dropped out of the 32 and managed to get back in the top 16 - the other being "Sexy Rexy". You forgot about the incredible achievement of Mark Williams, who dropped to 47 and then not only got back into top 16 but got back to No.1 again? Awesome.

Dave H said...

I often hear that about Mark Williams but in fact he never dropped out of the top 32. He was something like 47th in the provisional rankings, which is not the same.

Anonymous said...

As fluent as anyone ? What you talking about he nowhere near ronnies level in the the break building department and he will go on to break hendrys record and be the greatest break builder to have ever lived. Selby the next ebdon so boring to watch !!!

Anonymous said...


He must be pretty fluent considering he broke the centuries in a season record two seasons in a row.

Ray said...

Thanks for that Dave, I stand corrected.

kildare cueman said...

Wild, I watched snooker in the 80s and didnt find it boring, but I do find Selby boring, an opinion that seems to be shared by the vast majority of fans.

I never said Selby was a grinder. I just don't like watching him. My choice. If you dont like it, tough.

wild said...

Ronnie this Ronnie that

Fuck Ronnie hes a 37 Year old he will not go on Forever and who said Selby up to his Level Anyway ?

But hes not Slow Take your face from your arse

Theres too much emphosis on Sicknote the Snooker World don't revolve around him.

Anonymous said...

Good on you Joe! Great viewing, the semi final was great to watch.

Selby reminds me of davis in the 80's as everyone wanted him to lose.

As a player i respect selby, but he does get to me sometimes watching him.

I like to see selby get a whipping, but also carter and trump, downt know why , maby they seem so miserable?

i mean maby thats part of swail's appeal, he shows a bit of human side sometimes having a real laugh.

Levi100 said...

Excellent tournament with fantastic support from the German spectators. It's so gratifying to see such support for the Paul Hunter Classic, a player so sadly missed.

Anonymous said...

On beating the century record, well there are far more tournaments and selby plays nearly all of them and gets 2 the later stages alot without winning many of them, thus keeping his no1 ranking and scoring alot of centurys. But he is dull and boring, jester from leicester! Dont make me laugh....... Oh thats right he doest!!

Anonymous said...

Selby needs to sign up Max Clifford. There is something deeply wrong when you are more unpopular than a Tory Prime Minister taking us into a triple dip recession.

Anonymous said...

so does Joe swail definitaly get a tour spot for next year ??????

wild said...

6:18 PM

Last year Craig Steadman got a Tour spot with about 3,400 PTC Points at the Moment Joe has 6000+ ponts so its more than Likely.

Anonymous said...

Well it's not guaranteed, but it would take some phenomenal results by players outside of the top 64 to edge him out. Last season Li Yan got the first PTC tour card with £4400, and Liam Highfield the last with 3000 points, and Swail is currently on 6000. Swail probably has one eye on the grand final now, which he could probably make by bagging a couple more decent results.

Anonymous said...

stop playing the man and play the ball ,i have to agree with kildare cueman here no one is taken anything away from selby his no1 but its comparable to the womens no1 in tennis we all know who the best player is at the moment end of story

Anonymous said...

some people just dont get that a ranking list isnt "how many titles youve won".

amazing how retarded some folk are.

Anonymous said...

He's boring end of discussion and he's to negative that's one of the reasons he hasn't won a lot and in my opinion will never win the worlds

Anonymous said...

selby is only unpopular becuase the ROS fans hate him.

those apart selby has the same proportion of fans as any normal player.

nobody is as good as ron
nobody is as fast as ron
nobody has as nice a bum as ron
nobody is less intelligent....

ffs the guy isnt even playing in the event and his fans still have to talk about him.

well done joe and mark.

well done eurosport, even though your production is great

and well done daves blog.

Anonymous said...

dont talk crap 816

nobody is saying no 1 is the best.

no1 is the most consistent over a given period of time. thats a given.

nice of you to twist your post so its as if that was what was said.

Anonymous said...

The thing is though, he's not even the most consistent is he? He's just the most consistent of a small group of players that enter virtually everything. It's not his fault he has ended up as world number 1, it's just an archaic system that doesn't really fit the modern game, which is why it is being replaced by a money list next season.

Anonymous said...

Selby reminds you of Davis ? Davis is a 6 time world champion what's selby a ptc champion wow !!!

Anonymous said...

Bitterness everywhere, always the same when he wins. Well I love watching Mark Selby and that's because I play the game so I know know how good he actually is. I don't know anyone who plays the game to a decent level who doesn't have an appreciation of Selby or who thinks he's anything other than a superb snooker player and one of the very best in the world today, and fully deserving of the number 1 ranking spot right now no matter what the system is in place. And it's a lot better than it used to be.

If you find him boring, well I'm afraid that's your problem because there's one thing he most definitely is not, and that's boring. He's the first of his kind, a truely unique player and champion. But then you wouldn't expect a tramp to appreciate the difference between a fine wine and cheap plonk with a flashy label.

Congratulations to Mark on winning the Paul Hunter Classic and may this be the first of many this season. And I've no doubt it will.

Newsfox said...

Some idiotic comments here. I tend to agree with Wild and those who say Selby is victim of Ronnie haters.

Some of his matches have been outstanding to watch at a brilliant standard.

He does go negative when in poor form but so do Murphy, Lee, Maguire, Williams, Robbo...etc.

You want dull and pointless, then let's talk Dotty!

Anonymous said...

Dave, can you clarify something? Is Swail still a professional by virtue of retaining WPBSA membership or are you only classed as a professional if you are on the tour? When Tony Knowles enters the world championship each year, is he entering as a pro or an amateur?

wild said...


you must be watching something i cant see then.

you cant appreciate Snooker if you find selby boring...

Anonymous said...

Surely Pankaj Advani deserved a mention after winning 9 matches in a row and beating 3 ex or current top 16 players?

And all in his first season.

Dave H said...

I suppose Swail could be classed as a non-tour professional but, to me, you're not really a professional if you're not on the circuit. Plus, he referred to himself as an amateur.

wild said...


exactly its as if hes the only player that plays to win.

its a Professional sport they play for their Career.

Yes Selby is not as Successful as he should be but neither is Murphy.

you cant blame it all on Selby

Hes lost in finals to John Higgins,Ronnie O'Sullivan,Judd Trump,Ding Junhui and Mark Williams 73 Ranking Titles between them

hes Losing to Class Players by a small Margin Critisising Selbys record is Disrespecting the players that beat him.

hes reached 4 Main Ranking Finals in the Last 2 seasons more than any other player.

its not just about PTC and entering everything why hes No 1 but because he is consistent with it. Murphy enters everything and Selby has 13,000 more points than him.

jamie brannon said...

Selby is a hugely effective breakbuilder, but not a stylist.

However, this record century hauls is somewhat misleading.

If Hendry and O'Sullivan had played in the amount of events he does, their counts would be near the hundred mark.

Anonymous said...

if hendry and ros had, hendry would have beaten them all, at his pomp. awesome.

unfortunately, folk these days love speed, good looks, a nice bum and a controversial guy over sheer class.

jamie brannon said...

Judging from his run to the semi-finals, Pankaj Advani was boosted by Dave's feature.

I'm aiming to be in Gloucester on the 10th November to watch the pre-qualifying for the final UK PTC event. It is free and you could see someone of Joe Swail's pedigree.

The 'Outlaw' is back.

Anonymous said...

while we are on the topic of the spotlight kid

i see his six month absence is really going to be 4 months, the best part of 2 of which there wasnt an event of any note.

well done ron, keeping the spotlight on youreslf with more backtracking and talking b*llux

Anonymous said...

With the risk of infuriating you even more, causing you to make even more spelling errors, I must say I agree: God, there are some idiots online ... who say things like "you should have been online in the eighties".

I agree; Selby isn't good looking ;-P

Gerard said...

Wild, please explain your following quotes, as I do not fully understand them:

"Selby pinpoints when hes not on his game and adjusts accordingly."

"with respect your a clueless moron"

"Fuck Ronnie"

"you cant appreciate Snooker if you find selby boring"

"Critisising Selbys record is Disrespecting the players that beat him"

Especially the last one .. why?

Anonymous said...

817 if you need to ask, you probably wont get the explanations.

i got what wild meant, easily.

Anonymous said...

As I have said before I respect Selby's right to play how he feels - but dont expect me (the customer) to pay to watch it - I expect to be entertained.

Anonymous said...

As I have said before I respect Selby's right to play how he feels AND IM HAPPY to pay to watch it.

I enjoy it!

I also enjoy being entertained at the circus.

Anonymous said...

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