With the greatest respect to the Haikou World Open qualifiers I’ve seen quite enough snooker for one year and written more than enough about it.

2012 was a year in which snooker’s major titles were shared around between an elite group of players who, under any format or system, would be the best.

Ronnie O’Sullivan, focused throughout the 17-day Crucible marathon, won a fourth world title.

Neil Robertson, who has developed into one of snooker’s finest big occasion performers, captured the Masters.

Mark Selby, whose capacity to dig deep in matches when many others would have lost heart is his great strength, won the UK Championship.

Selby thus returned to the no.1 position assumed by Judd Trump, who won the new International Championship.

Trump had lost to a rejuvenated John Higgins in a gripping Shanghai Masters final which reaffirmed the Scot’s ability to play his very best under pressure.

There were ranking event wins too for Mark Allen, Ding Junhui, Peter Ebdon, Ricky Walden and Barry Hawkins.

There were big breaks, pressure clearances, unbelievable misses and all the drama and excitement our game is capable of conjuring up.

Above all, it’s been busy. Make no mistake, reports of snooker’s death have been greatly exaggerated.

The sport now has a very solid financial base and is expanding into hitherto unthinkable markets around the world, with more to be explored in the years to come. It would be nice if the media would recognise this now and again.

Before the UK Championship there was a story on the BBC website, whose coverage of snooker is at best sporadic, asking if Trump could rescue the sport.

Rescue it from what exactly? Having a record number of tournaments? Or record prize money? Or record global television audience figures?

There are still many in the game, some players included, for whom the glass is eternally half empty but by any objective assessment snooker is in robust health heading into 2013.

There have always been moans and groans, often with justification, sometimes for no other reason than people like moaning and groaning.

But the game goes on. It continues to challenge the players and fascinate those who enjoy watching it.

And snooker fans are now much better served online than in years gone by, particularly through the wealth of snooker blogs and sites that have popped up in recent times. These are written almost entirely by people spending their own time and in some cases money trying to help spread the snooker world, and for this they deserve respect.

There’s been much to write about. 2012 saw some superb snooker matches. Among them was O’Sullivan’s recovery against Stephen Maguire in the German Masters final. There was Ali Carter’s win over Trump from 12-9 down in the second round of the World Championship. There was Higgins’s recovery from 7-2 down to pip Trump in Shanghai.

The greatest of them all, Stephen Hendry, made a dignified exit from the stage he once owned, retiring from competitive play at the Crucible. O’Sullivan has also walked away, perhaps permanently.

Those who remain, and who aspire to the achievements of these two great champions, have a responsibility not just to entertain on table but to represent snooker professionally. Some do it better than others but it was ever thus.

They deserve respect for their talents. Television is the game's shop window but the players keep the shop in business.

What remains true is that snooker, like life itself, is a land of opportunity: go out and grab it and make your dreams come true. Don't blame others if it doesn't happen.

It’s all there for the taking in 2013. Until then, Merry Christmas everyone and all the best for the New Year.


Corben Gallas said...

Thank You Dave and Merry Christmas to you too.
Once again, great blog (the best one for me), with frequent and relevant articles, it's all a snooker fan is looking for.
Please carry on sharing your passion with us for 2013.
Greetings from France.

The Fish said...

Dave i have enjoyed your blog throughout the year,may you and yours have a happy and peaceful christmas.

Janie Watkins said...

Happy Christmas Dave and many thanks for all the brilliant blogs.

Here's to more in 2013

Daniel said...

Very nicely written, Dave.

Like most of the time, I agree with you this time again.

It was a great year. Seeing O'Sullivan playing like that is just unbelievable. It's also quiet unbelievable that one of snooker's greatest retired.

Trump is a great player on the table, but I don't really like his attitude off the table. Calling snooker - the game itself - "boring" sounds strange, as he's spending half of his life on the table. He announced that he'll dominate the sport, but still hasn't delivered the evidence by winning more titles. He's an enrichment for the game, but it works quiet nicely without him.
We wouldn't spend each week hours of our time watching snooker if it would be boring. I have no doubt that most people would enjoy watching snooker even without such attacking players like Trump.

Cheers and Merry Christmas to you, too!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the Blog

Have a Good Christmas

Anonymous said...

thanks dave, for this and tv work on snooker and 3cb.


Anonymous said...

I think there are some good stories to come in the World Open qualifiers - at 7pm on Friday evening the rest of the UK is going to be in holiday mode, so there could be some surprise results in the games being played then (WS are going to have to cut back the premier league next year if they want to avoid this sort of fixture pile up).

I'm sorry to say it but I felt that the UK Champs (and the BBC's coverage of it) was a bit flat. Apart from tournament finals it seems that the BBC see snooker as daytime filler rather than prime time sport - as if they think only retired people watch it.

When Barry took over you interviewed him at the RAC Club for your podcast, and asked him my question (belated thanks!) about the 4 day / multi table format for the German Masters and whether that would be the new model for ranking events. He didn't give much of an answer, but the more time goes on the more I think an event like that would work in the UK. But you are right - the difference between a successful and unsuccessful tour is not the number of ranking events in the UK.

Blog has been great again all through this year so enjoy the break - as there won't be another one until after the worlds!

Anonymous said...

Dave you should said up a paypal account so we can all buy you a beer.

Anonymous said...

Snooker has been great this year. I hope Ronnie Osullivan comes back next year we miss him a lot

Merry Christmas Dave to you and your Family

Leonard from Montreal Quebec Canada

Hegeland from TSF said...

Amazing how little time it took for everyone to forget the top 8 player whose name was Stephen Lee. Guilty or not guilty, taking this long time for a decision is, by any standards, not a fair and proper treatment. It's not rocket science exactly.

Anonymous said...

There was something else this year which isn't Rocket Science, but Rocket Magic: that 92 break.

Anonymous said...

London Times yesterday said Barry Hearn had agreed with broadcasters & sponsors that 8 of 11 ranking events in 2013/14 would start with all players starting at 128 stage. Sheffield to stay as is with 16 seeds straight through to Last 16, as BBC didnt want to change. 2 others likewise.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Dave you should said up a paypal account so we can all buy you a beer.

10:16 PM

ive set one up so he can thank me

Colin M said...

8:19AM I totally agree.that 92 was the toughest clearance I have ever seen. It's unbelievable how good he is......

Anonymous said...

I am one of the biggest watchers of snooker since I was a young boy,I never left home when a snooker tournament was on the telly.Since the start of this season I have not watched even half as much snooker as I used to.The BBC tournaments and the way they show them are head and shoulders above anything else.BBC is the home of snooker, no one else will ever top them.I think there is a touch of class being taken from the game with these PTC events.Most tournaments don't seem prestigious enough these days.I also think to improve the game the rankings have to go by prizemoney not ranking points.

Anonymous said...

That would be a disaster, downgrading the bbc events .. well actually, only the wc.

Anonymous said...

Great Blog Dave, very informative, and have yourself a great christmas.

On the subject of the Haikou World Open Qualifiers, that ran from Tue- Fri this week, that featured top 32 players and below. Couldn't the Worldsnooker website simply do a proper write up reporting these matches on a daily basis, ie plus players quotes, frames scores showing 50 plus breaks etc, instead of just displaying the scores and showing what centuries were made.

Johan said...

Merry Christmas to you and your family too David!
Looking forward to the next blogs already; keep up the excellent job and already all the best for 2013!

Anonymous said...

Do you only post the ones that make you happy.why won't you put my posts up.

Anonymous said...

I am glad that moaner Ronnie isn't here to mess up the organisers with in out etc..

this season has been the best in 4 years or more with lots of winners and nobody guaranteed to win anything.

onwards and upwards, with nobody dictating what ws do

ty dave

Alain (not Robidoux) said...

Happy Holidays to you Dave and thanks for another great year of snooker coverage.

Cheers from Canada!

Anonymous said...

Hearn has gone too far. There are FAR TOO MANY events now and because many of these are streamed, its not a novelty to see it on a screen any more. Get rid of the UK PTC's and halve the European ones.

Players need more of a break.

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas Mr. Hendon, keep up the good work online and on tv.

kimball said...

Happy new year to all snookerbuffs comes straight from Vietnam where french Billiards is the King of Billiard games.
So what happened to Stephen Lee, was he put in the Tower, is he already beheaded or does he refuse interwievs

Anonymous said...

He's hanging by his bollocks in Ferguson towers!


Same to you, David.