Here's a very simple question: who exactly believes that snooker fans are all insomniacs?

I ask because despite the 00.53am finish to the 2006 world final and the 00.54am finish to last season's Crucible finale, the final session of next year's showpiece showdown is scheduled to start, once again, at 8pm.

When John Higgins beat Mark Selby 18-13 last season, 2m viewers were watching. 5.2m had been watching 90 minutes earlier but most of them switched off, presumably because they were tired ahead of another week at work and could not stay with it.

How many children - the stars of snooker's future - woud have been watching at this time?

Let's not forget that there were still another four frames possible in the match.

Let's also remember that for many of those watching on Eurosport on the continent it was an hour later.

Very little got in the newspapers the following day because it was simply too late to meet print deadlines. Most of the coverage the day after this was focused on the scheduling.

Higgins himself was adamant the timings had to be changed to avoid a repeat of all this.

Surely, we all thought, lessons would have been learned and the final session this season would start at, say, 7pm.

In fact, nothing has changed and it's hard to see - barring a runaway - how another late, late show can be avoided next May.

The final afternoon session is, according to the booking form, supposed to start at 2.30pm. This was the case last year but it was changed to accomodate live BBC coverage of the women's FA Cup final and I'd be prepared to bet the same will happen this season.

Late night drama is all well and good but one of these days - perhaps next year - the final will finish at close to 3am and the sport will be a laughing stock.

They got away with it this year. Why take the risk next year?


Snooker-Virus said...

I totally agree with your critics... I also thought about this problme! I´d been to the Crucible in 2006 and I stayed in front of the tv in 2007, but only becuase the following day was a day without work for me! I can´t believe the organisers didn´t realise the problem! In my opinion it would be great to start the final session earlier or lets be revolutionary: why not playing the final sessions on sunday? The next day is free in UK and all viewers, those in the Crucible and those in front of a TV can watch relaxed till the end!

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

OK, we had two long finals in 2006 and 2007 - but I can't remember we also had to stay awake after midnight in the years before. It's impossible to predict how long the final session of a best-of-35 match will take. To see it another way: if the outcome is, let's say, 18-10 and the final ball of the world championships has already been potted before 8pm Monday evening, would that make everybody happy?


Dave H said...

If it was 18-10 there would be four frames in the evening session which would mean a finish at around 9.30pm, which would be perfect.

Ralph - the Taylor v Davis final was another time, another TV age.

And they started the final session at 7pm.