Many already take the Barry Hearn revolution for granted but to have a professional tournament in Bulgaria, as we do this week, is a remarkable thing indeed.

The previous WPBSA board did nothing whatsoever to take advantage of the European snooker boom caused by Eurosport’s coverage. This goes to 60 countries and that’s a lot of people.

The idea ten years ago that people in Bulgaria would even know what snooker was, let alone want to stage a tournament, was so remote as to be laughable.

But the great and the good are off to Sofia for the latest Betfair European Tour event as yet another new market is explored.

I met one of the high-ups from Bulgarian snooker last season. He looks exactly like Stephen Maguire, although that isn’t strictly relevant.

It takes enthusiastic people with a bit of something about them to pull these tournaments together. First efforts don’t always go without a hitch so I hope any teething problems are forgiven by the tsunami of opinion online which now accompanies every move in the snooker world. Without trying there is no hope of succeeding at anything.

It’s the usual mix of top stars, solid professionals, hopeful amateurs and complete unknowns.

There are now just three events left, including this one, which count towards the final order of merit.

It’s already a cracking line-up for the Grand Finals. Here’s the top five in that order of merit: Mark Selby, Stephen Maguire, Neil Robertson, Mark Allen, John Higgins. Judd Trump is eighth, Ali Carter 14th and Mark Williams 16th.

Ding Junhui, at 21st, and Shaun Murphy, who is 22nd, are currently in the top 25, which is the group which will qualify alongside the top seven in the Asian PTC order of merit.

If you win one of these you’re in, so players much further down the list still have a chance of qualifying.

In other news, Power Snooker will return next March with its first event in 16 months and the Shootout will have its shot-clock reduced from 20 seconds to 15 for the first five minutes, down to ten seconds for the second five.

I enjoyed the first Shootout, which was a fun novelty event but the second staging didn’t seem so entertaining, possibly because novelties soon wear off.

There was a lot of PR nonsense said about how both Power Snooker and the Shootout would revolutionise snooker but in fact neither has, or ever will.

The traditional game has gone from strength to strength in the last two years. There never was anything wrong with the game itself, just how it was being run.

So good luck to all in Bulgaria as snooker – real snooker – touches down in another new territory. I hope the local fans enjoy their first taste of the sport close up.


Anonymous said...

The vast majority of guff about how Shootout/Power Snooker would revolutionise the game came from those in the mainstream. I don't actually even blame those feature writers responsible, if I was in their place and knew nothing about snooker I'd probably have done the same (in this case, almost certainly what their editors ordered).

Of the two quicker forms referred to, while I believe there is a place in a 48-50 week season for pretty much everything, I think the Shootout has a much stronger claim to be 'the one' in this field than Power Snooker for all sorts of reasons, from the number of people involved through to PS actively encouraging yobbish and boorish behaviour from the crowd.

PS were also embarrasingly O'Sullivan-obsessed in the last outing having paid him a small fortune, so it will be interesting to see a) how much they would throw at him this time, b) if he would play, and c) how they would cope if he didn't.

Agree totally about Bulgaria, and I hope players get to see the city, as I had a couple of memorable nights in Sofia after a wedding a while back.

Anonymous said...

Christ, I thought we were finally free of Power Shite! So it's been pushed back to March then? I guess we at least now know when Ron will be making his comeback.

Anonymous said...

And a few days later the IBSF World Championships starts in Sofia. In 2011 the European Championships took place there. Nice to see the country is so interested in the sports. :-)

jamie brannon said...

Will Power Snooker be on ITV again? They love to show trashy TV!

Anonymous said...

If Eurosport snooker goes to 60 countries, that leaves about 55 new possibilities for a "PTC" next season.

Let's go for it :)

trevorp said...

if ronnie is notgoing to defend his world title he wont be playing in power snooker.what would the point be.

Anonymous said...

gahhhhhhhhhhh!!!!! Power Snooker is like a baddie in an action film that just wont die!! ITV should take a long hard look at themselves....

Claus said...

This is what Hearn does best and what he should focus on. The interest created by Eurosport is snooker's number one asset and rightly needs developing.

Well done Bazza and congrats Sofia.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave Excellent blog as per usual.Dave do you know what the latest date that Ronnie has to enter the world championship?

Anonymous said...

7:21 - however ridiculous it may seem to us that Ronnie would play in something like Power Snooker but not defend his world title, I suspect that the possibility of £30k for an afternoon's work might be enough to tempt him to drive into London.

Does anyone know how much Ronnie was paid to be the 'face' of Power Snooker (I'm sure I read somewhere that it was a six figure sum)?

Anonymous said...

1057, you mean ronnie was paid to promote it?

here was me thinking he really thought it was the best thing since peanuts

Claus said...

1:03 Ha! Yes, it was all for the love of a great game.

I would rather promote chemical spills but that is a matter of taste I suppose.