Mark Selby wasn’t exactly snooker’s Cinderella as he couldn’t quite wrap up victory by midnight but he did win the UK Championship, and winning is what matters in sport, whether it’s through a dazzling display or a right old dogfight.

This was the latter. Much will be made of Shaun Murphy’s missed blue with a chance to close to 7-8 but he may reflect that it was the last two frames of the opening session which proved most costly.

Selby was struggling at this point. Murphy won the 53 minute sixth frame to lead 4-2 but that frame seemed to affect his rhythm and he could not maintain the momentum. By winning these two frames, Selby stayed in touch.

The evening session was generally low in quality but high in drama and excitement with sundry close frames.

Snooker is a tough game at the best of times but when the pressure is on it becomes almost unbearably difficult.

Selby did improve as the evening wore on whereas Murphy will be disappointed he couldn’t produce the same stirring comeback he conjured against Ali Carter. Put simply, not enough went in.

So Selby ends 2012 as world no.1 and UK champion, a satisfying return for someone whose very future was under threat at the start of the season due to his neck injury.

A bunch of people Mark will never meet don’t seem to like him but they should know that he doesn’t care. Neither should he. He’s got to where he is in life through sheer hard work. He’s happy and successful. He’s a winner.

As he spends the £125,000 winners’ cheque – a record for the UK Championship – the Jester can once again have the last laugh.

Murphy was gracious in defeat and this isn’t easy. He seems to just love being part of it all, win or lose. It’s a boyhood dream after all.

It was another late finish. Why? Because it was a late start.

The BBC attracted one of its biggest audiences for years when they started the final session of the 2011 world final at 7pm but seem unmovable on the 8pm start time for all other finals.

The central problem is that they don’t want a runaway final to be swamped by, say, the X Factor final but people have work or school or tiredness to think about and it’s surely time for a rethink.

One final thought: I didn’t personally hear a single mobile phone go off all week. For this alone the tournament should return to York next year.


Alan C said...

As I had typed a write up beforehand and it disappeared I'll keep it short.

1) Selby, deserved winner
2) Both good finalists, how often do people win tournaments when some way through they are behind?
3) Selby needs to embrace the fans, he has no charisma, even his winners speach was dire.
4) Overall, tournament scoring seemed a bit poor, I agree it's not all about potting but we do need some exciting scores, even with Higgins 147.
5) No atmosphere transferred on to TV, call it the Ronnie factor as Ali Carter likes to call it, but really, this year seemed horrendous compared to the last 10 years worth of tournaments I've watched.
6) Keep it in York, finally next year I can go as I will be back home!
7) Best of 17 all the way till finals

Overall it was a mediocore tournament, but it did have everything. China is sure going to grow if this is all we can come up with in the UK.


Anonymous said...

Stephen Hendry is going to have learn to toe the party line if he expects regular BBC work. While Hazel is enthusing about the excitement and high drama with Steve Davis nodding away in agreement, you can't just sit there with mild contempt on your face and comment that "the quality isn't great"...at least you got paid to watch it Stephen!

Anonymous said...

good write up
well done mark
those who don't like mark are generally ron fans and or people who only like fast big break snooker.
I heard at least 3 mobiles go off, but then in china that happens before the break off

Anonymous said...

I don't think anyone holds anything against Selby personally, it's just that he's the least entertaining player in the top 16 so it does ruin tournaments if he gets to finals. It was just unfortunate that Selby dictated the tone of the match rather than Murphy.

On another note how old exactly is Selby's missus? There seems to be quite an age gap.

Anonymous said...

3 went off in one session last night and about 6 people got kicked out for being drunk on the balciny

Anonymous said...

I never seen a match where one player had so much luck. Selby at 5-4 down was sreuggling so much and Murphy was cuing smoothly. Selby got away with a lot of shots leaving not much when he missed.

The drama was great as the more they missed the more the pressure came on, at the end murphy's head was gone, he couldnt control the cue ball.

You have to hand it to Selby ,he gives it everything.

One thing really annoys me is the players speaches....FFS Murphy grow a pair...too gracious in defeat...I mean at least say if only a little bit of luck my way...

It was alot cloaser to Murphy winning it I think, how he missed that blue off spot?? would have been a coin toss i think with murphy 8-7 down.

kimballl said...

Well, Hendry was right and couldn,t
care less about the job.
Luca Brecel was the highlight in UK.

The Fish said...

Hendry called it as he seen it,pretty dire stuff indeed.Although effective,watching selby is like having a tooth pulled without the anasthetic.Very poor final,murphy tried to play but was bogged down by selby.As i say effective but very drab.

Anonymous said...

Selby is boring. Sorry if you don't agree but he is not the kind of player who will make Snooker popular.

Anonymous said...

It was just unfortunate that Selby dictated the tone of the match rather than Murphy.

How can a fast player force a slow, useless one to play faster? The slow one has an unfair advantage.

Anonymous said...

We need a 7pm start, maybe even 12noon/6pm.

At least it's a sunday, I always wonder what the rest of world makes of the Monday finish at the Crucible, when it's a normal work day for them.

Anonymous said...

Well done Mark Selby, thoroughly deserving World Number One and UK Champion.

Is there any other player in the game who could have beaten Nathan Robertson 6-4 from 4-0 down in a UK quarter-final? Or Ronnie 10-9 from 6-9 or 9-8 from 5-8 in a major final for that matter?

In the final, Selby's superiority in match play was there for all to see, and without wishing to sound too harsh he showed Murphy up as a bit of a one trick pony, a great potter with little or no finesse or control and a sub-standard tactical game. But it's only because Selby is who he is that he managed to expose Murphy's weaknesses so openly.

It's about time Selby got more respect from the British snooker fans for the great player he is. Snooker purists appreciate his shotmaking ability stemming from his pool background, appreciate his bottle, and appreciate his nous.

If you don't like him then fair enough, but to call him boring and slow is ignorant.

Anonymous said...

Good tournament, mediocre final - the final will do nothing to attract a wider TV audience or help convince the BBC to continue beyond its contract.

The start time of 8pm (9pm CET) is fine if the match finishes about 10.30 or 11pm. Otherwise it is crazy. What sponsor wants a reception for their guests starting at 12.30am.

I agree with the other blogger about Mr Hendry's TV work - I noted other occasions last week when he appeared to blank comments from fellow commentators.

York is fine - it was never 100% full but always busy. Any lack of atmosphere is down to the many pensioners dropping off to sleep - give them a free glass of sherry next year :)

jamie brannon said...

That is what makes a Hendry a brilliant pundit, not dressing things up to make it look good.

The high-stakes of a UK final kept it pretty interesting, but the fare on offer was pretty turgid.

I believe these finals should start at 7pm, but sometimes it is the pace of play that causes these late finishes. Even if we started at seven, this match if it had gone the distance would've have gone past midnight.

Anonymous said...

Anyone know when the Stephen Lee situation will be dealt with?

Anonymous said...

Don't think you can call it a great tournament with the shortened format - it felt like a run of the mill tournament back in the day. Snooker is a great product and needs a better stage than a sports hall with a couple of moveable booms of seating. Has anyone ever tried to put on a tournament at the Royal Exchange in Manchester - it seems purpose built for snooker (even if it is only the same size as the Cruicible).

Selby - such a shame that his career best win co-incided with a collapse in sartorial form (no more Timothy Everest bespoke - a black shirt with a shiny grey suit hasn't been acceptable since 2002. The next time Mark gets a suit made up in China he should take his own cloth).

Anonymous said...

If you don't like him then fair enough, but to call him boring and slow is ignorant.

No it's not, it's a factual statement.

How can a fast player force a slow, useless one to play faster?

They can't, but a fluent and attacking player can usually kill a frame off in a single visit without getting bogged down in the tedium of 40 minute frames. Unfortunately Murphy wasn't playing well enough to get into any sort of rhythm.

If they had kept the two session format I suspect Trump would have won his first match and then who knows how the tournament would have panned out? The BBC have ruined the tournament and the decision came back and bit them on the arse last night. Unfortunately, rather than conceding the errors of their ways, they will just compound the mistake by adding a shot-clock when the contract comes up for renewal.

Anonymous said...

Having watched most of the championships on the BBC last week, I have to say I fear for snooker without O'Sullivan. A lot of very mediocre fare on offer. And I'm afraid I also can't warm at all to a lot of the top players.

Colin M said...

I noticed that the atmosphere earlier on in the week was non-existent. Someone (probably Robertson) potted an outrageous ball at high speed into the middle and it barely registered on the clap-o-meter. I think people were either not knowledgeable about snooker or indeed were fearful of disturbing play on the other table.

The final wasn't great, especially in the evening session. Selby was extremely fortunate on many occasions but Shaun didn't help his cause by trying to take the backs off the pockets when attempting long balls. Shaun seemed to adopt a do or die approach and ...died. I would like to see Shaun adapt his game more against savvy players like Selby. He can play excellent safety but chose not to yesterday.

In summary, not a memorable final ...sorry Willie, Murphy's missed blue doesn't cancel yours out...

Anonymous said...


1) The format is crap.

2) There we didn't see enough of the top players (Robertson, Higgins, Trump and the current World Champion) .. this doesn't do anything for new fans.

3) Selby not showing any emotion and even seemingly not wanting to share the victory with his wife.


1) Luca Brecel!

2) Anyone named Hend.. is good in commentary.

3) The fact that I don't have to endure Hazel now.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, rather than conceding the errors of their ways, they will just compound the mistake by adding a shot-clock when the contract comes up for renewal.

There is nothing wrong with shot clock tournaments if they are balanced by traditional events. However, the 3 majors should be left alone (Actually the UK and Masters longer format needs reinstating). At the moment, the tour basically caters to 1 type of player... Selby type. The flair player can do nothing about Selby walking around the table wasting time and the time rule is NEVER enforced in traditional rule Snooker.

The UK championship is no longer a major and the low frame format is the reason we had so many seeds tumble 1st round, esp Trump.

Anonymous said...

It would be easy to change the format back to best of 17 by starting with just the last 16 at York.

Keep 2 tables, stagger the second session (like at Sheffield) so that one match finishes in most sessions.

You dont even need the early start on the first Sat & Sun.

Anonymous said...

Atmosphere, which would you rather have:

An empty hall


low ticket prices, hundreds of seats sold, but many to older folk who perhaps are not as loud as students or a weekend crowd.

The day I went the audience was roughly 50% old folk, but everyone enjoyed it, they just didnt shout out or clap all good shots.

Anonymous said...

It would be easy to change the format back to best of 17 by starting with just the last 16 at York.

A few years ago the UK was played at York as a last 32 with only the last 16 stage (and 4 hold-overs) onwards televised. It seemed to work quite well at the time and I would welcome a return to that format.

ollie said...

I really wish that the BBC would drop their party line (as heard during all the features in Sunday evening's mid-session interval) that the standard is "just getting better and better!"

Not on the evidence of the final it isn't.

Anonymous said...

there is nothing wrong with shot clocks...

yeah right, except they give naturally swift players a major advantage over others who aren't.

totally different game!

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't mind a shot clock if it was based on AVERAGE shot time - not each shot. Has that ever been tried? It would be much less intrusive. It could be shown on the scoreboard and players would always know whether they needed to get a move on or risk losing points or a frame.