It’s a festival of snooker in Doncaster this week, not a sentence that necessarily screams ‘thank God for summer’ but the Dome seems a good venue, if a little hot for some player’s tastes.
20 or so years ago it hosted the World Matchplay, won in 1991 by Gary Wilkinson who these days helps runs tournaments for World Snooker.
I used to like the Matchplay, promoted by one Barry Hearn, which replaced the World Doubles as part of ITV’s portfolio.
There was none of this ‘fairness’ nonsense back then: it was all about elitism and rewarding achievement. The tournament comprised the top 12 in the provisional rankings. Matches were best of 17 and the final, like the World Championship, best of 35.
Some saw it as Hearn’s attempt to set up a rival World Championship, or even fool people into thinking it was the World Championship, but of course nobody thought that and just enjoyed it for what it was: the top players engaged in a prestigious invitation event.
Fast forward to 2013 and the preliminary round of the Indian Open gets underway this morning, featuring star names aplenty.
This event will be best of seven frames all the way until the final, which is best of nine frames.
I’ll repeat that: the final is best of nine.
Why? Well, the event is only five days long and because of the new ‘fair’ system there are 63 matches to cram in.
It would surely have been better to take 32 players to India and have a proper final of at least best of 17.
Still, it’s a new event which might not have happened at all so slightly churlish to complain about the format. I just hope Pankaj Advani and Aditya Mehta, India’s two promising professionals, qualify.
Following the Indian qualifiers it’s the Bluebell Wood Open, the latest European Tour event, which starts on Tuesday.