After no finishes at all at the Betfair World Championship yesterday there are four today.

This great behemoth of a tournament isn’t the easiest to schedule but yesterday felt a bit like an exercise in treading water with no exciting finishes to savour.

That said, the afternoon session was terrific, with Ronnie O’Sullivan holding off a determined Ali Carter and Ding Junhui romping back against Mark King.

O’Sullivan and Ding lead 9-7. Ricky Walden is 10-6 up on Robert Milkins while Stuart Bingham and Mark Davis are 8-8 so some close finishes are likely today.

The BBC yesterday ran an informative feature presented by Steve Davis on Joe Davis, the original World Championship promoter and its first champion.

Judd Trump tweeted: “To get new interest in snooker bbc put on a documentary from 3million years ago great way to get kids interested.”

Well, not three million years ago (when the leading player was Tyrannosaurus Rex Williams) but less than a century and, more importantly, about a man who founded not just the championship but a professional sport from which Trump is now benefiting handsomely.

Who should the Nugget have done a feature on instead? Kanye West? Or maybe someone off Hollyoaks?

In fairness to Trump he’s not the first player to take little interest in the game’s rich history. Roger Lee once ran the Heritage Room at the Crucible, a popular hangout for those keen to learn more about the sport’s origins.

A well known player was being shown round one year and, on observing a pair of old ivory balls, likened them, for reasons still unknown to this day, to the testicles of a former commentator.

It somewhat detracted from the gravitas of the artefacts. Indeed, many could never look at them in the same way again.

The BBC can’t win really with its features. When they are jokey they are accused of dumbing down. When they are serious they are accused of being boring.

One year Phil Yates and myself were, in a feature cruelly unacknowledged by BAFTA, dressed up in anoraks and given arcane stats to read out, like a pair of snooker trainspotters. In fairness, we did not need to undertake a Daniel Day Lewis style method acting process to achieve this transformation.

We were roundly rubbished in The Times 'Sport on TV' column, in particular for affecting ‘low droning voices.’ Pretty cutting, not least because they were our actual voices.

Another year, Phil was dressed up like Deep Throat from All The President’s Men, taken to a car park and, in the short intervals when a nearby drunk kept quiet, addressed the camera to give out facts about little known Icelander Kristjan Helgason.

He doesn’t get much acting work these days.

By the end of today we will know the quarter-final line-up. It won’t be one many would have predicted before the event began.

A week today it’ll be the climax of the World Championship. I think we need a good last week to make it a vintage tournament.

Barry Hearn will be at the Crucible today to make some announcements including, I understand, a new tournament next season in the UK where the appetite to watch the game remains strong.

Then again, it has been around for three million years.


urindragon said...

Steve Davis doing a feature on Kanye West - I'd watch that!

JIMO96 said...

Fantastic news about the BH announcements....hopefully it'll be about a decent ranking event, with a non-bookie sponsor and that ITV are involved.

Would also like clarification on the tour membership make-up for next season, and what points structure will be in place before cash takes over.

On another note....what a world of difference having Alan McManus on Eurosports commentary team, when compared to Johnson and Hallett. Here is a commentator who sounds like he actually knows players outside of the top 16, can actually discuss them in a non-patronising way (ie. by not just settling for "make no mistake, this guy can play..."), doesn't talk over shots, doesn't try and crack 3-million year old Taylor-cliche-jokes, doesn't have to say "my apologies" every 5 minutes, talks clearly for someone with a strong regional accent, and most importantly, doesn't sound like an embittered, failed ex pro (especially when a player plays a shot he doesn't recommend).

I know the last part is probably because McManus is STILL a pro, but what a refreshing change. Clearly the best player-turned-commentator since Neal Foulds. He even has a good tone/pitch/voice for the job.

Good tournament so far, even if very few of my favourites are still in. Would like Carter to redouble his efforts for tonight, or failing that, for Bingo to relive his 6-0, 6-0 PL night against O'Sullivan in the quarters. Ding-Trump final for me.

Keith said...

Great to hear Foulds back over the weekend. Dennis is getting worse - he's started name-dropping "famous" people in almost every every frame.

The Blog said...

"The BBC yesterday ran an informative feature presented by Steve Davis on Joe Davis, the original World Championship promoter and its first champion."

Joe Davis? Isn't he Steve Davis' dad?

I read that on Facebook so it must be true.

"Judd Trump tweeted: “To get new interest in snooker bbc put on a documentary from 3million years ago great way to get kids interested.”

In terms of bad Twitter etiquette you can't beat Mark Williams' tweet from last year in which he described the Crucible Theatre as a "*hithole." He even had the good grace and intelligence to post it the day before the event started. With style like that I think he has a future career in public relations.... :P

Anonymous said...


Will the new tournament be called the "Grand Slam of Snooker" and what channel is it likely to be on?

quijibo81 said...

Part of me, possibly a foolish part, hopes that there would be kids interested in learning a bit about the heritage of the game.

What are the odds on Barry unveiling a revamped SuperPower Snooker, with one random ball per frame which explodes on impact, and players only being allowed to pot the black after their celebrity darts partner hits a double?

amriksc said...

Bring back Clive Everton - the voice of snooker!!!

Anonymous said...

three million years ago (when the leading player was Tyrannosaurus Rex Williams)

Trump may have been off by almost all of the 3 million years cited, but a TRex at that moment in time would be misplaced by more than 60 million years - even if it did play snooker.

Ray said...

Would it be too much to ask that Trump shows a little respect for "the Godfather" of the game? Because without him Trump wouldn't be able to earn a good living from it today. I suggest he keeps his mouth shut and let people just think he is stupid rather than open it and leave people in no doubt! That applies to tweets as well because tweeting is like giving a machine gun to a monkey in some cases.

Anonymous said...

I loved the Joe Davis thing. The footage of him receiving his trophy for the 1940 world championship with his brother going off to war was surreal. He honestly didn't know if he would be coming back. Well done to the BBC for putting this featurette together. As for Trump, well, he has an opportunity to secure his place in the game's history over the next week, and if he does he should take a good long look at the first name on that trophy.

Peregrine Besthorne said...

Next time Ronnie's on a 147 and he's about to pot the black, I want Steve Davis to show up in a pair of Kanye West-style glasses and say "Yo Ronnie I'm really happy for you and I'm gonna let you finish, but the 147 break that Alex Higgins almost got at the 1980 World Championship was one of the best breaks of all time. OF ALL TIME."

Anonymous said...

Best commentators,Clive Everton and Stephen Hendry.How Clive is not getting a turn on eurosport ahead of some of the dross ive heard is beyond me.

Andy said...

I would love a "tumbleweed joke of championship" for some of the commentators gags this year. My money would be on John Parrott to clean up with the ruthless efficiency of the Rocket in the balls.

The red button coverage is great of the matches, though I do miss the post frame punditry, particularly when Steve Davis is involved.

urindragon - you have more chance of the nugget doing a feature on Blodwyn Pig b-sides than Kanye West http://www.phoenixfm.com/category/the-interesting-alternative-show/

Anonymous said...

All this talk of commentators and the Davis brothers.
The conditions are right for my favourite snooker tale....

Ted Lowe on Fred Davis, faced with a tricky shot requiring a bit if a stretch......

'Yes of course, old Fred, 64 years of age, not quite able to get his leg over these days. Instead, he prefers to use his left hand'.

Simply couldn't make it up !

Anonymous said...

Maybe Jamie O'Reilly could compose a rap for Steve Davis to perform at a mid session interval. 'In My View' perhaps ?

JIMO96 said...

Great news about the Champion of Champion event....so who will be the 16 players?

We know there's been 10 ranking events and 10 winners, so Walden, Hawkins, Higgins, Trump, Selby, Carter, Maguire, Ding, Allen & Robertson can count themselves in.

Then if we add PTC's, that brings in Gould (who happens to be shootout champ anyway), double APTC winner Bingham, Lawler & Lee (if not suspended).

Add to that the winner of the World Championship (if not already mentioned) and World Seniors champ Nigel Bond. Oh and Mark Davis will probably be slotted in as 6-reds champ (maybe at Lee's expense?).

Looking forward to it.

Anonymous said...

Gosh almighty, what a line up, thats box office, i'll struggle to get a seat, guaranteed a bundle of laughs especially from the jester, god almighty, no wonder snookers heading for the dark ages, when is someone going to remind this bunch of which are lets face it in the main very ordinary players that people expect to be entertained & it's not just about potting a few balls, does anyone really care today who wins or bets beat, can't believe you need to win all of 3 frames in a final to win a ranking event, when was the last time we had a classic tv final & memorable fightback, bring back the heavier cloth from the 80s to sort this mob out.


Hi David. A great afternoon session, in my view. Bingham .V. Davis, session three - Bingham started well, going 10-8 up. To do so, he made a vital clearance. Davis made it 10 all, at the mid-session interval. Bingham did well to win, 13-10, and go into the Quarter-Final.

Ding .V. King - Session 3 - King did well, o get to 10-9 down. Ding made it 11-9, at the mid session interval, with a century break. He also did well, to win, 13-9, and go into the Quarter-Final. I will do a post, on the evening session, on you're post, whiich you did this evening.


Hi David. I decided to to this post, regarding the evening session, on this post, which you have done. A great evening session, in my view. Carter .V.O'Sullivan - Session 3. O'Sullivan, did well, with a century break, to lead, 12-8, at the mid-session interval.He won, 13-8, to go into the Quarter-Final.

Walden .V. Milkins - Sesoin 3 - Milkins did well, trailing, 10-6, to make it, 11-9, at the mid-sesion ionterval. Good fighting qualities. Walden won,13-11, to advance,to the Quarter-Final.

I can't wait for more, at the start of the Quarter-Finals, tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

When will the powers that be realise that less is more? Give me the tranquility of the Sir Rodney Walker era when you could really find yourself during those quiet winter months where you could get 2 months practice for the UK champs.
Buddhist snooker with unlimited inner peace in contrast to the 2013 frenetic times under Hearn the enforcer.

Peter Norrie said...

I enjoy listening to Clive Everton & Neal Foulds and agree that Alan McManus has made an excellent start in the commentary box. I can no longer listen to Dennis Taylor, who gets worse as the years progress, if that's possible.

As for Trump's tweet, he's obviously not the brightest star in the galaxy. Surely he's not related to "The Donald!"