We are used to snooker matches, in particular finals, ending at midnight but last night Mark Allen’s contest with Joe Swail at the PTC Grand Finals in Galway started just after midnight.

This was ridiculous. It does nothing for the sport and is unfair on the players, spectators and hard working staff at the tournament.

It was too late for Eurosport, who had been broadcasting for 14 hours to that point, and too late for most viewers.

There have been too many matches crammed into this event. Six a day was fine for the ordinary European Tour competitions because they always started with a couple of mismatches between top players and amateurs but this is different.

With a top prize of £100,000, everyone is trying as hard as they can. The players are evenly matched and a potential 42 frames in one day was always going to be too many.

It’s easy to be wise after the event but World Snooker are supposed to be wise before the event. That’s their job.

This event didn’t exist three years ago and the players are earning good money from it so they should be careful in running it down but they have every right to question the scheduling, which has not been conducive to good snooker.

In fact, the standard has, at times, been well below what you would expect at a major tournament. It’s led to several dragged out frames, although any decider is automatically interesting.

There was a really good match yesterday between Ben Woollaston and Mark Williams – Woollaston playing terrific stuff from 3-1 down to win 4-3 – but otherwise it was largely scrappy fare.

Come the weekend when we’re down to the quarter-finals it will surely be an entertaining finish but today sees another six matches and, almost certainly, another late finish.


Anonymous said...

There is an argument for 2 tables for the early rounds to help avoid these very late finishes, but I think all players have earned their right to reach the final stages and all deserve to play in the final one table set up.
Could this event have not simply started a day earlier on the Monday to spread the matches out?
There had been a weeks break before the last event. I'm assuming the event running from Tue-Sun instead of Mon-Sun might be a cost cutting exercise? and If so, WSA have got what they deserve with frequent after midnight finishes in trying to cram so many matches in a short space of time.

Anonymous said...

Dave, has there been any talk of starting earlier or (possibly) having shorter intervals (presumably the 15 minute intervals aren't at Eurosport's insistance so they can show adverts for biathlon??

Timings are harsh on the Players (I wonder if Ken and the Outlaw might have done better if their matches had started a bit earlier) but lets not get too hung up - this is a successful tournament even though its in a city with no snooker heritage, also back in the day some of the things players have been saying / tweeting about the scheduling would have seen them hauled in on a disrepute charge - this regime is doing a good job for them (none of them will complain if they get the £100k for winning 4 frames on Sunday)

Anonymous said...

Dave - is the decision not to play on Monday anything to do with Eurosport (who IIRC didn't televise the first 2 days of this event when it was first on - possibly the same last year as wekk?)

Dave H said...

The decision to play six days rather than seven will be financial. Also, there aren't any intervals, just 15 minutes to prep the table between matches and get the next set of players ready.

Anonymous said...

If this was Wimbledon (Tennis), the person in charge - having seen the problems of the first 2 days - would have pulled forward the start time for Thu & Friday to 9am or 8am, and Saturday to noon or 11am.

Management are having a run of bad luck - multiple problems in China 2 weeks ago, virus on the website last week, scheduling issues this week.

This is however an interesting tournament, with a decent audience interested in the action.

Anonymous said...

2 hours

The Fish said...

What a joke,starting play at midnight,why dont they go the whole way and offer spectators pillows and quilts on their way in.

Anonymous said...

Based on comments by the Eurosport commentary team yesterday, should we now call the "Frame" ball the "Snooker" Ball on the basis that the frame is not won, but the player at the table has now reached the point where their opponent needs snookers.

wild said...


despite the hour they started looking at live scoring despite hanging around all day Mark Allen produced the display of the day.

so the tired rubbish is just that rubbish.

having said that there needs to be a re think so that we get to see matches.

on the flipside the Welsh Open was poor because Best of 7 Matches finished too quick.

there was 2 days where days play finished in about hour and a bit in the evening...which was not value for money at least with this event you get value for your cash.

Anonymous said...


Eh, no !

Anonymous said...

Agreed @ 2:02pm

Spectators get more snooker for their money than under a more "sensible" format and they do not have to stay to the end if it doesn't suit them. I gather most are students anyway so after the Allen v Swail match they probably had a spot of lunch and got on with the rest of their day.

Anonymous said...

Re 4:05pm never has a truer word ...

Anonymous said...

eurosport should now use its clout to force barry hearn to sort out the ridiculous scheduling.Who in their right mind wants to be awake in the early hours watching snooker its just crap management and profiteering from the hearn regime.

Anonymous said...

Just seen it's gone 2-1 Lawler and it's around 7pm. Looks like around a 9pm plus start for Carter/Fu. At least 6 frames played I'd say and Burden/Guodong for a 11.30pm plus start. Finish 1.47am I'd go for, earlier or later??

4.05pm - The general watching public on Eurosport are not all students and many of us are not insomniacs too. The snooker public are missing out watching a lot of these very late games as a lot of us have work etc the following morning. Barry Hearn has done wonders in general, but to save some money in cramming this format into only 6 days with 1 table, is a very big mistake. Does the viewing public no good, the players, the spectators, the press etc. What for, to save some pennies that would be better spent in putting this event of this stature on properly.

Anonymous said...

Hearn doesnt give a toss about the snooker fan, just like he doesn't care about the views of most of the top pro's.
Quantity over quality is Hearn's motto. It's all about money - that's all Hearn cares about.

Anonymous said...

Hearn has something in common with the players then