Well done to Michael Georgiou who today defeated China’s Anda Zhang 11-6 to win the World Under 21 Championship in Goa, India.

Georgiou, a 19 year-old Londoner, follows in the footsteps of past winners Peter Ebdon, Ken Doherty and Ronnie O’Sullivan, who all went on to triumph at the Crucible after turning professional.

Having beaten defending champion Passakorn Suwannawat of Thailand 5-4 in the last 16, Georgiou cruised into the final with a 6-1 win over Yu Delu of China and 8-5 defeat of Irishman Vincent Muldoon.

He made breaks of 86 and 72 on the way to beating 15 year-old Zhang, who had been looking to emulate his compatriot Ding Junhui, the winner in 2002.

“Before the final began I had the belief that I could win and just went out there and did it,” said Georgiou, who works as a resident coach at the Royal Automobile Club in London.


Tickets are still available for next Monday's 'Audience With Clive Everton' at the Landor Theatre in London as Clive launches his new book 'Black Farce and Cue-Ball Wizards: The Inside Story of Snooker' with an evening of anecdote and reminiscence.

Tickets can be bought from the Landor Theatre box office on 02077377276.




The qualifiers for this season’s Saga Insurance Masters get underway next week. Jimmy White, the champion in 1984, will face Matthew Stevens, winner seven years ago, in the tie of the first round less than a year after they played in the wildcard round at Wembley.

A note of caution to anyone wishing to watch this match: it is being played at the World Snooker Academy in Sheffield where seating is severely restricted (some tables have no seats at all) so I’d check before rushing to the steel city hoping to watch these two Crucible nearly men doing battle.

That aside, it seems unlikely, given recent form, that Jimmy will win this qualifying event, which leads to the inevitable speculation about whether he will be awarded a wildcard for the Wembley tournament in January.

I think he should be and this is why…

Jimmy White has, through his many ups and downs, been one of the most significant figures in the game’s history. His natural, attacking style helped revolutionise snooker in the 1980s and his Crucible duels with Stephen Hendry in the 1990s were compulsive viewing.

At 45, he remains the most popular player in the game. His form has deserted him but his fans have not.

This could easily be Jimmy’s last season on the circuit. He’s 78th in the current provisional rankings and finds the qualifying set up at Pontin’s, Prestatyn hard to adapt to after years and years of playing in the top flight on television. If he doesn't finish in the top 64 at the end of the campaign he will be relegated.

What better way to reward him than with one final fling in his hometown?

I understand the arguments against. Jimmy has done little for three years so why does he deserve an invite? Why not give it to a star of the future rather than a figure from snooker’s past?

But – and here’s the point – wildcards are meant to reward either popularity or achievement.

Assuming there are three wildcards again, give one to Dominic Dale or Jamie Cope or maybe Judd Trump by all means, but give the other to Jimmy.

It’s true that he didn’t bring many punters in for his match against Stevens last season – I’d say around 600 – but the match was scheduled for a Monday afternoon (hardly prime time) and you can bet that he fetched in at least 300 more spectators than anyone else would have managed in the same slot.

Here’s what I’d do: stick Jimmy on the first night at Wembley against Steve Davis, who has to play in the wildcard round.

What better way to kick-off the tournament than these two legends going head-to-head?

I don’t usually have much time for the obsession with snooker’s past, but I’ll make an exception here because, with Davis on the verge of dropping out of the top 16, it could be the last Masters for both of these players.

They deserve respect for the considerable roles they have played in making snooker the successful television sport it is today.

Such a match would attract publicity, spectators and plenty of TV viewers. Plus, you’re guaranteed one elder statesman in the next round.

There isn't a player on the circuit who doesn't owe these two veterans a debt of thanks - so let's see it paid.



Daniel Wells, the first young player to be awarded a scholarship in the late Paul Hunter's name, is seeded second for the knock-out phase of the IBSF World Under 21 Championship in Goa, India.

This is a huge international event won previously by Ken Doherty, Peter Ebdon and Ronnie O'Sullivan.

Daniel, 18, won all seven of his matches in the group stage and faces Ahmed Muanedi of Bahrain today in the last 32.

The Paul Hunter Scholarship was launched by the WPBSA following Paul's death at 27 from cancer last October.

Daniel has begun a year long programme during which he will receive coaching, media training and high quality practice at the superb World Snooker Academy in Sheffield.

You can read about the programme here: http://www.worldsnooker.com/news_editorial-18833.htm

And follow the World Under 21 action here: http://www.globalsnookercentre.co.uk/files/Results/2007-8/07-8-International/2007-IBSF-WorldUn21/2007-IBSF-WorldU21-ko.htm



Ronnie O’Sullivan’s official website - http://www.ronnieosullivan.biz/ - is not far off being the perfect template for what a player site should be.

It is well constructed, regularly updated and geared towards people too often ignored in snooker – the fans.

It’s hard not to like Ronnie. He’s had a lot of problems in his life and has also let himself and his sport down at times, but he’s a fascinating character and, of course, a brilliant snooker player.

He has brought many, many people to the sport that would ordinarily not have given it a second look.

His website rewards them with a plethora of Ronnie-based material.

There is a shop where merchandise can be purchased, including T-shirts, mugs, his book and DVD and exclusive photographs.

The picture section features Ronnie at the table, in exhibitions and in his personal life.

There is a biography with stats (although some of these are out of date) and a fixtures list of when and where the ‘Rocket’ will be lifting off this season.

A perusal of the forum reveals that there are a lot of women who like Ronnie and that many of them live around Europe.

This shows how Eurosport’s extensive snooker coverage of the last few years has helped create legions of new fans, with Ronnie in particular widening the game’s appeal to countries where the game has no real history.

The forum is vehemently pro-Ronnie, with even the slightest sceptical opinion dismissed out of hand, but this is hardly a surprise on a site dedicated to him and I don’t mention it as a criticism.

Ronnie has a lot of supporters. I don’t know how this makes him feel: he’s always struck me as a rather shy man who doesn’t seek the bright lights of fame.

Regardless, those supporters have been rewarded with a site that seems geared towards what they want, which is surely the way it should be.



We were talking about the miss rule in the office the other day – those long summer afternoons fly by.

It was chiefly in response to Fergal O’Brien’s outburst during the Shanghai Masters.

Fergal’s normally implacable temperament cracked when referee Johan Oomen failed to call a miss after Steve Davis failed to escape from an exceptionally difficult snooker on the last red during the first frame of their opening round encounter.

Oomen’s argument was that, as the shot was so difficult, a miss should not be called. Fergal, with some vehemence, said that as Davis had not left the red on he was gaining the advantage – which is precisely the situation in which a miss should be called. In the end, Oomen stood his ground and Davis went on to win the frame on the black.

I had sympathy for Oomen. The fact was that it was a tough escape and Davis spent a long time considering how to get out of it.

But the central point the matter raises is this: what’s the point in laying a really difficult snooker?

Referees tend to look sympathetically on the snookered player in such circumstances so the player laying the snooker would actually be better advised to lay a snooker that is missable but not nigh on impossible.

A miss is called 99% of the time when a player escapes. The only time it isn’t (apart from when snookers are required) is when the snooker is so fiendish – surely down to the expert skill of the player laying it – that an escape is very difficult. So the player snookered actually has a form of advantage.

There’s something not quite right about all this.



Steve Davis is 50 today. He turned professional in 1978 and 29 years on is still ranked 15th in the world.

What a remarkable sportsman he is. Although most of his achievements have been surpassed by Stephen Hendry, Davis remains a legend.

Davis, as much as anyone and more than most, has played a vital role in popularising Snooker as a major television attraction.

He was the Tiger Woods, the Roger Federer, the Michael Schumacher of our sport in the 1980s and, two decades on, is still able to compete, albeit on a less regular basis, with the best the game has to offer today.

In the August issue of Snooker Scene, we listed his ten greatest moments.

They were:

Davis beat Alex Higgins 16-6 to win the UK Championship and launch himself into the game's winners' circle, where he remained for well over a decade.

The first of six Crucible crowns in the 1980s.

147s are relatively common today, but Davis made the first.

Although he lost 18-17 to Dennis Taylor at the Crucible, Davis himself rates his involvement in the final as a highlight all these years later.

1987 – 18 IN A ROW
At the 1987 Mercantile Classic Davis reached his 18th consecutive ranking event quarter-final - which remains a record. It emphasised his consistency in the decade when he was king.

Winning this coveted prize proved his popularity with the British public as the snooker honeymoon continued.

Davis equalled Ray Reardon's modern day record in awesome style by hammering John Parrott 18-3 in the final - still the biggest margin of defeat at the Crucible.

Stephen Hendry was by now top dog but Davis's capture of the European and British Open titles proved he was still a contender.

Widely written off as a player in decline, Davis came from 8-4 down to beat Ronnie O'Sullivan 10-8 at Wembley.

Davis reached the UK Championship final at York with superb displays to beat Stephen Maguire, Ken Doherty and Stephen Hendry before losing 10-6 to Ding Junhui.



Sorry for the short notice but Clive Everton will be on Simon Mayo's show on BBC Radio 5 Live just after 2pm this afternoon.

You can listen here http://www.bbc.co.uk/fivelive/ if you're supposed to be working.



No I hadn't forgotten to update this every Monday as promised, I was in Edinburgh. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

Anyway, this week it's www.snooker.org.

This is a site run by Hermund Ardalen, a snooker obsessive from Norway. Hermund set it up back in 1994, when Stephen Hendry still had a few world titles left to win, Jimmy White was still hoping to stop him winning them and most snooker folk thought the internet was an arcane term used in fishing.

Today, there's plenty of competition but WWW Snooker is still a first rate resource for anyone with an interest in snooker.

Not least, Hermund runs a prediction competition for those wishing to forecast the results of tournaments (nobody tipped Dominic Dale to win in Shanghai I notice).

There is a huge archive of results, ranking lists and player stats as well as links to all manner of snooker related sites.

There was a time where this site was pretty much the only place on the world wide web where anyone interested in snooker could go.

That isn't the case now, of course, but Hermund was there before everyone else and deserves respect for all his efforts.

You can also check out his blog www.billiardpulse.com for coverage of and links to all major cue sports competitions.


Clive Everton, the editor of Snooker Scene, snooker correspondent of The Guardian and a member of the BBC commentary team for 30 years, will be launching his autobiography 'Black Farce and Cue Ball Wizards: The Inside Story of Snooker' with an evening of anecdotes and reminiscence on September 3.

Clive will talk about his life in the sport and will take questions from the audience.

This event is taking place at the Landor Theatre in London from 8pm.

Tickets cost £10 and are available from the box office on 0207-737-7276.



Remember the days of Cliff Thorburn, Kirk Stevens and Bill Werbeniuk? Remember Alain Robidoux and Bob Chaperon? Remember when Canada was a snooker stronghold?

So what went wrong?

The Ottawa Citizen decided to find out...




Jimmy White is 78th in the provisional rankings.

I'll repeat that: Jimmy White is 78th in the provisional rankings.

Bearing in mind he won a ranking event three years ago and was still the world no.8 in 2006, this has to be the most rapid decline of a snooker great in the game's history.

Journalistic impartiality aside, I'm a great fan of Jimmy as a player and a person, which makes his fall particularly disappointing.

Remember, he has to finish inside the top 64 at the end of the season to be sure of keeping his main tour place.

The way things are going this is by no means certain. Jimmy doesn't enjoy playing at the Prestatyn qualifiers and at the age of 45 must know that his best years are behind him.

It doesn't get any easier, either. In the Northern Ireland Trophy qualifiers he's been drawn to play Leo Fernandez, who has been enjoying some good form of late, or Xiao Guodong, the 18 year-old Asian under 21 champion who beat Michael Judge in the recent Shanghai Masters. If he gets through that he plays Dave Gilbert, who qualified for the Crucible last season.

It is entirely possible that the only time we will see Jimmy White on our TV screens this season is in the Premier League, to which he has been invited once again, although he must still be a favourite for a Wembley Masters wildcard.



And they say there are no characters in snooker...



One of the best, and paradoxically worst, features of the internet is the opportunity it affords people to post opinions whether they know anything about a particular subject or not.

People often get confused about the concept of free speech and forget that it comes with taking responsibility for what you say.

On internet forums, you can remain largely anonymous, which can lead to outrageous slurs, lies and libels.

Fortunately, www.thesnookerforum.com does not appear to be such a place.

It is a lively site where snooker fans around the world can come together to debate various issues, whether about favourite players, tournament results, advice on technique or a myriad of other snooker-related themes.

I don’t contribute because I’m not sure it would be appropriate but I do read it because the opinions of snooker watchers are always I interesting. These are the people who ultimately keep professional sport alive, after all.

The particularly heartening thing about TSF is the international make up of its members. The first thread I clicked on today had contributors from Egypt, South Korea, Greece, Sweden, Holland, China, Belgium, Finland and India.

The enthusiasm for snooker is great to see and there seems to be a genuine feeling of a community of like minded people.

Obviously, not everyone will agree with all opinions and not all incorrect statements are put right, but from what I’ve read there is a pleasing lack of aggro that you tend to find on many forums.

Passions tend to run high when particular players are debated. Inevitably, Ronnie O’Sullivan divides opinion pretty sharply and TV commentators of a sensitive nature may wish to look away at times but all credit to TSF and its members.

They are snooker people and no sport should ever forget that the fans are central to its success.



Dominic Dale is known as 'The Spaceman' because there are times when he appears to be on a different planet to everyone else.

He's an eccentric. People who don't think there are any characters in snooker obviously haven't met him.

Today, Dominic faces Ryan Day in the Shanghai Masters final ten years after winning the Grand Prix, his only major title.

In fact, this is his first final since he beat John Higgins 9-6 at Bournemouth - the longest ever wait between a first and second ranking final.

I wish Dominic well. I did quite a bit of commentary with him for Eurosport at the World Championship last season and what shines through is his sheer love of snooker.

Indeed, my colleague Neal Foulds tipped him to win the Shanghai title on the very first morning of the tournament on the basis that 'if anyone's been practising this summer, Dominic has.'

Day is a tough opponent and will start as favourite but 'The Spaceman' wasn't given much hope against Higgins and, ten years on, is playing as well as he ever has.



Ding Junhui once again exhibited a petulant streak in losing 5-1 to Graeme Dott at the Shanghai Masters yesterday.

His rash swipe at the cueball when he broke down on 73 with a maximum on in the fifth frame could have been interpreted as a concession.

You’ll recall Ding tried to concede the Saga Masters final at Wembley last January after falling 9-3 behind as Ronnie produced a sublime spell of play. Put simply, Ding hasn’t been the same player since.

He seems to lose heart when things go wrong and this can’t bode well for the future. Snooker, like any sport, is full of highs and lows. Dealing with each is key to success.

Can he turn things round?

Of course. It’s worth remembering he’s already won three ranking titles and he’s still only 20.

Will he turn things round?

Only time will tell.



There are now as many ranking events in China as there are in England and for a sport with global aspirations that can only be a good thing.

There is a business rivalry between Shanghai and Beijing and with snooker so popular in China each city is determined to stage a top event.

The Grand Stage in Shanghai is aptly named: a superb arena that seats 8,000 with 3,000 expected for the final, which would make it one of the best attended matches in snooker history.

The locals are fanatical about snooker. Eleven young women wore t-shirts spelling out Michael Holt’s name, though how they would have coped had Martin Dziewialtowski qualified I’ve no idea.

It seems to me that there’s no reason – other than the obvious financial restraints – why more events can’t be added in China to develop a small Asian Tour.

Certainly their players are improving all the time and Ding Junhui is a national sporting hero in China.

Some British players don’t enjoy flying to the Far East but if they want to continue on the circuit they’d better get used to it.



Has there ever been a more crassly stupid decision taken than the one made in Shanghai today to put Thursday's world final rematch between John Higgins and Mark Selby on a non-TV table?

For those of you watching in Europe, this was not Eurosport's decision. Indeed, the broadcaster lobbied hard to have it reversed.

Instead, Steve Davis v Dave Harold and Stuart Bingham and Stuart Pettman are being put in front on the cameras while Higgins v Selby and Ian McCulloch and Ryan Day are round the back.

What benefit is this to the game? Higgins v Selby is the match of the round and eagerly awaited after their gripping Crucible showdown.

The official - deeply flawed explanation - is that tables had been pre-assigned and tickets sold in the expectation that Ronnie O'Sullivan would be featuring.

So what? When O'Sullivan walked out of last season's UK Championship the paying public were fobbed off with the old excuse that 'players only appear circumstances permitting.'

Who would those who paid to see Ronnie rather watch: the world champion against the world runner-up or Bingham v Pettman? No disrespect at all to the two Stuarts but it's a no-brainer.

It's just yet another example of those people charged with promoting professional snooker selling it short.


How about this for a stat: Steve Davis’s victory over Fergal O’Brien yesterday means that he has now won matches under five British Prime Ministers.

He turned pro in 1978 under James Callaghan, won six world titles under Margaret Thatcher, entered a gradual decline under John Major, declined further before enjoying a revival under Tony Blair and has begun his 30th season on the circuit under Gordon Brown.

Davis looked rusty for much of the match against O’Brien. He had barely practised all summer and suggested his cue would have woodworm in it when he got it out of its case.

But the 49 year-old loves competing, got stuck in and fought back from 4-2 down before producing a fine finish as his run of 99 gave him a 5-4 victory.

This remarkable sportsman shows no signs of running out of steam just yet.



This is the first of a new weekly feature to be posted every Monday (assuming I remember) looking at different snooker websites.

We start with the best, www.globalcuesportscentre.com.

Put simply, it’s the leading resource for snooker and cue sports results and information on the web.

Janie Watkins, who set it up, works tirelessly to provide information on all tournaments – professional, amateur and junior – in snooker, billiards, pool, carom, pyramids and any other cue sport she can find information on.

Global Cue Sports carries live scoring from most snooker tournaments, including all the events of the world ranking event circuit from the qualifiers right through until the final.

Frame scores, centuries, results, schedules of play, photographs – it’s all there, including prize money, which the WPBSA absurdly refuse to publish on their own site because of the way it has fallen in recent years.

But it isn’t just the pro game that is covered in depth. GCSC also carry live scoring on all tournaments at Pontin’s, including the International Open Series, festivals, pro-ams and junior events.

There is a results archive, ranking lists, calendar, news pages and forum where fans can express their opinions.

Perhaps the best innovation of recent months is the addition of a video library of frames and matches from various events, including the PIOS, European Amateur Championships and pro-ams.

I know many players and members of the snooker press use GCSC to find information that they can‘t find anywhere else, or at least not as quickly.

The site seems to be improving all the time and I commend Janie for her efforts.

Global Cue Sports Centre is a significant contribution to our game and long may it continue.



Ronnie O’Sullivan has withdrawn from next week’s Shanghai Masters, the first ranking tournament of the new season.

In a statement on his official website, http://www.ronnieosullivan.biz/, the world no.5 was said to have injured his back.

The statement added: “Ronnie has been advised by his doctor not to travel and that bending over a table will cause more damage.

“The injury is not serious, however he does need to rest and not risk making it worse.

“He apologises to his fans and to all those who were looking forward to seeing him perform.”

O’Sullivan, 31, previously withdrew from the 2005 China Open in Beijing with an undisclosed medical complaint.


Nothing like a friendly start to the new season.

Graeme Dott, who yesterday launched the Royal London Watches Grand Prix, is quoted in today's Aberdeen Press and Journal as saying of Ian McCulloch, his first round conqueror at the Crucible last season: "To lose to McCulloch at any time is disappointing. I don't like the guy, I don't respect him and I don't think he is any good."

And then he told the Aberdeen Evening Express: "I couldn't have played any worse. Honestly, you could have taken a guy off the street and he would have beaten me. Yet McCulloch only managed to win 10-7.

"After that McCulloch said that Anthony Hamilton was in a different class to me, which is disrespectful. No disrespect to Anthony, who is a fantastic player - but has he won the world title? No.

"It is not good etiquette to say something bad about a fellow player, but since McCulloch has I feel no reason to hold back. McCulloch has done nothing, and will do nothing in the game - so I find his attitude astonishing."

Let's hope they don't end up sitting next to each other on the plane to Shanghai this weekend.