Ricky Walden won the third European tour event of the season, the Bluebell Wood Open, at Doncaster Dome last night.
After a frenetic few days snooker, the latter stages were, as ever, contested by the top players. Walden edged Marco Fu, this season’s Australian Open champion, 4-3 in the final.
Walden held a healthy lead over Barry Hawkins in the semi-finals of the World Championship last season but had a bad last day and was beaten.
Rather than sulk about it he tried to see the positives. “It was frustrating to lose in the semis but I played well and came so close to the final. I’m using a new cue this season and it’s working so far,” he said.
Walden is one of those players who keeps his head down and plays. He has good days and bad days but manages not to dwell on either.
He’s £20,000 better off this morning. This event, non-televised, may have been a little below the radar but he beat not only Fu but also Ali Carter, Ryan Day, Mark Allen and Shaun Murphy to win it.
A number of players voiced their displeasure with conditions at the Dome, in particular the heat and people walking past tables while play was going on.
“Venue was terrible - worst conditions I have ever played in my pro career,” said Ronnie O’Sullivan, who for all the controversy in his career has never been one to complain about playing conditions.
Alan McManus made the following point: “The Dome a very good venue IMO. Although, for me it’s simply the wrong time of year for any tournament in England. Tables play very strange.”
Some would say ‘it’s the same for everyone so get on with it.’ I don’t agree with that. Top level sport deserves top level conditions.
If they didn’t cut the grass at Wimbledon it would be the same for everyone but not what world class tennis players deserve.
However, the fact remains that the business end was contested by leading players who were able to adapt better to the conditions.
The next tournament is the Paul Hunter Classic in Furth, the fourth European Tour event, which starts later in the week.