The International Championship final pits one audaciously talented left-hander against another. Judd Trump will battle Neil Robertson for the £125,000 first prize.

While Trump hammered an out of sorts Peter Ebdon 9-1 in their semi-final, Robertson laboured to victory over Shaun Murphy. It was 9-5 but the final session was poor, with both players well below their best.

Robertson, though, got the win and can be expected to play much better in the final. Indeed, he has still only lost one televised final and has a formidable big match temperament.

In my opinion Trump and Robertson are the most reliable long potters in the game, so the key will be who scores the heaviest when they get in.

On that score Robertson has made five centuries during the tournament to Trump’s two, although an 80+ will do just as well.

These two had a couple of notable duels last season. Trump shaded it 9-7 in the UK Championship semi-finals while Robertson beat him 6-3 at the same stage of the Masters.

There were a few afters following that one, with Robertson complaining about the behaviour of some of Trump’s supporters and Trump saying the Australian was too slow.

Judd is too young to remember the really slow players of yesteryear, who would have regarded Robertson as Speedy Gonzalez in comparison.

Players play to a pace they feel comfortable with. Robertson has slowed down over the years but this has coincided with him winning big titles because he has developed into one of the most reliable competitors in the game.

Trump’s view is that if you see the shot you should play it without prevarication. There is, however, a fine line between prevarication and a common sense standing back and assessing the options.

For all this, it isn’t a grudge match. The two get on fine from what I’ve seen and can’t fail to respect one another’s abilities.

Who cares if the players are friends anyway? They are supposed to be rivals.

A well known player who I respect a great deal told me recently that he is friendly with most players but they aren’t his pals: he has his own friends away from snooker.

Let’s hope Trump and Robertson put on a show. I’m sure they will. They are two great players to watch and this prestigious new tournament deserves a cracking climax.

Something tells me it is going to get one.


Anonymous said...

Wasn't Robertson's sole loss in the PTC final, which was a rather wimpy best of 7? In finals of proper length i.e. two session or more he still effectively has a 100% record...

Anonymous said...

World Snooker will have to be careful....five ranking events in China? These events aren't capturing anyone's imagination in the UK, the true home of the sport - something needs to be done about this - it's not just all about chasing the money, the sport's heritage is at risk of being sold down the water to the Chinese, let them have one ranking event like any other country, but not five. It's ludicrous. I mean there isn't even a ranking event in Scotland or Ireland. Any sensible person would have stripped two away from China and put them on in these countries, where the game is so popular.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Dave can confirm that the UK Championship is going to Beijing next season. That is not the only change I have heard, all the qualifiers will be there in two years.

Might as well get used to it I suppose.

Claus said...

Exactly right, 9:07.

Incredibly, mainland Europe is still an underdeveloped market and though we can't compete with China regarding prize money we have well behaved crowds with an unbeatable enthusiasm - in stark contrast to chinese crowds that keep interrupting, distracting and irritating the players year after year. And the wild cards... Barry Hearn has sold the game's soul by cheating the qualified players which seems to be acceptable collateral damage in the big money chase.

But despite this sad state of affairs I will still enjoy what hopefully will be a solid day of quality snooker.

"But Claus, do you really want to go back to 8 rankers a year, like before Hearn took over?".

No, those are NOT the only two options. Europe/UK can carry the game on its own shoulders if only the will was there to do it (supplemented by a other international tournaments played on equal terms be it in China, Australia or elsewhere). But it seems to be ONLY about money, which is so solidly exemplified by the scandalous wild card rounds.

Anonymous said...

I despise the anti-China element in snooker.

Anonymous said...

Hearn's all about money and income for players plus profit. China is prepared to pay big money so that's where he's going.

You must realise that UK companies have tighter budgets than ever and there is little left over for sponsorship. I wouldn't be surprised if, next season, we will see the last event in Australia too.

I agree that Europe hasn't been exploited as it should but as this thread has diverted to money issues, I don't think you need to alter course to discover the reason why!!

Anonymous said...

How can next years UK Championships be held in China when there is a contract with the BBC to show it for the next few years? 9am and 1130am starts - I don't think so.

With Rob Walker apparently been sent to China to report on this weeks tournament, at least we can expect to see the BBC acknowledge the growth of snooker in China, when coverage from York starts in a few weeks.

Dave H said...

The UK Championship will continue to be staged in Britain. There's a clue in the tournament name.

Dai Young said...

The Welsh Open is being moved to Shanghai though

Anonymous said...

There are currently 16 tournaments (with 8 in the UK) staged across Europe as opposed to 8 in China. Obviously the problem isn't the distribution of events, it is procuring sponsorship and broadcasters. I mean, if we scrapped 4 major events in China what would you replace them with, another 4 PTCS at the World Snooker Academy?

There is absolutely nothing to stop Britain or Europe adding 4 high profile events to the calendar, they have the PTC slots on the calendar available to do that right now.

Anonymous said...

But Dave's what's your opinion on this - we hear so much of China is great for the game, more money coming into it, etc, etc, but it's not good for the UK fans who have followed the game from before the Chinese had even heard of snooker. Give us an assessment that takes into consideration these fans as well as the money and economic element which is always the thing that is mentioned.

Anonymous said...

P.S. Claus you make some excellent comments.

Dave H said...

I think there should be as many televised tournaments as possible and I don't particularly care where they are. The market will dictate it like it does in every sport and every walk of life.

wild said...

The UK Championship will continue to be staged in Britain. There's a clue in the tournament name.


can you really be sure the Whole of the UK Wont be moving to china ?

Anonymous said...

Dai Young. What the hell are you on about? I know Newport is a shit-hole but Shanghai? Ridiculous. Everyone knows that it's going to Beijing!

Anonymous said...

He's trumped again :)

Well done to Eurosport for the coverage over the last 8 days.

Claus said...

4 frames in a row to take the title. Judd really deserves that number one spot.

It was slightly disappointing that neither Eurosport 1 or 2 showed the conclusion to this match. I had to find British Eurosport 2 online to watch.

Anonymous said...

The anti-China sentiment is really astonishing with people coming up with unsubstanited fears of Welsh Open or even the UK championship being staged in China? Really? Where did news of that come from? I did a google search and saw nothing of it.
Snooker is being an increasingly international sport and all the better. China and UK will be the 2 leading epicenters and there is a reason why; they form the 2 biggest snooker markets.
Further to that, I hope to see new events being staged in places like USA, Canada, Taiwan and the Far East like Malaysia and Singapore. There is a healthy population of British expats in these places who would turn up for the events; not to mention snooker fans among the local populace. Would like to see defunct events like the Hong Kong Open, Thailand Masters, Malta Classic, Irish Masters and Scottish Open be revived too really.
I agreed too Europe is still an undeveloped market and there was for a long time, a pent-up demand for events in places like Germany. The German Masters has been a roaring success and I am curious if that success can be transplanted to places like Russia, Poland and Belgium with a full ranking event being held.

Anonymous said...

The only change which Barry Hearn has made to the game that I don’t agree with is the chopping up of the best of 17 format for the UK Championships’ earlier rounds. The prestige of the tournament has been blemished to say the least by that format alteration and I am hoping he will restore it

I am also hoping that true to his word, he won’t mess with the format of the World Championships or the Masters. Would like to see the old prize of £147,000 be restored for a maximum though to be honest, it is out of his hands if no sponsors willing to fork out the prize can be found.

Anonymous said...

The way that Trump has powered to world number one it's pretty safe to assume that he is probably now the greatest player the game has ever seen.
Only a Ronnie blind faith devotee would argue otherwise as the dying embers of his career fade out.
The game has never been stronger with young players clamouring at the chance to become millionaires and Trump is not only the best now, but undisputably the best player in the history of snooker. Fact.

Anonymous said...

Must not feed fanboy trolling @6.44 Lol....

Stevie said...

6.44...best player in the history of snooker ?
Youve been smoking some herbalised stuff surely.
Judd has the most potential of any player in the last 20 years of being possibly one of the best. Not yet though. Comparisons between him and Ronnie are both premature and wildly inaccurate.
OSullivan is the best there has ever been. The best in terms of his ability to play snooker at its very highest level. End of story.

Can147 said...

I too am perplexed with the anti-chinese sentiments. Why is there such a "closed shop" mentality with certain Brits. Snooker is not exactly thriving in the UK so the sport is very fortunate to have another country/region willing to invest so much capital into a sport where its dominated not by them but by another country - UK.
If you are a true fan of the sport you should be happy that it is being enjoyed in various parts of the world. You should be estatic for the players and their increase opportunities for competition and prize money.
The argument/mentality that only UK fans should enjoy snooker because of precedence makes me feel bewildered. Using their argument should the Americans stop staging events for Golf and Tennis?
No country is trying to take away snooker from anyone. Snooker tournaments are like parties, sometimes we host the party at your house and sometimes at mine. Either way, the great thing is everyone is invited to the parties regardless of venue. So what if there are differences with the tournaments...each host will stage the party to their liking...that's what makes parties interesting.

Anonymous said...

I think the scepticism is more down to the inevitability of the course of British sport: in 20 years time we'll be cheering our solitary Brit into the quarter finals before he is handed a thrashing by some Chinese or German player.