Here's something interesting: there are eight players in the current top 16 who were there ten years ago with three of them (Ken Doherty, Mark Williams and Steve Davis) struggling to stay in.

Of the remaining eight, two (Alain Robidoux and Darren Morgan) have retired.

The other six are Nigel Bond, John Parrott, Alan McManus, Tony Drago, James Wattana and Anthony Hamilton.

Bond is still flogging on, as he proved by qualifying for the final stages of the China Open today, and Hamilton, though suffering from patchy form, was a Crucible quarter-finalist for the fourth time last year.

However, it appears to be close to the end for McManus, Wattana, Drago and Parrott.

None of them qualified for Beijing, although McManus and Parrott could still reach the Crucible.

No career lasts forever. Many players can go on long past their best but once they end up in the qualifying scramble it is very hard to produce consistently good form.

The conditions are a world away from the TV arena and tend to remind former greats that their best days are behind them. Jimmy White has found it almost impossible to handle.

Parrott does not need to keep playing. He has a successful media career and is not under pressure to get results.

Perhaps this is why his decline is not as sharp as, say, White's. JP plays because he enjoys competing, and though he obviously prefers to win it isn't a must.

It may be sad to see great names of the past struggling but giving up is a very difficult thing to do when snooker has been your life.

And there's always the nagging thought that, maybe, the golden form will return.

Remember Doug Mountjoy in 1988? He was thought to be finished but won two ranking titles in succession.

Marco Fu, Dominic Dale and Fergal O'Brien have all turned the clock back this season so, for McManus, Wattana and co, there's renewed hope of a revival however unlikely it may seem.


Anonymous said...

Nice to see Parrott qualify for the Welsh Open.
He plays Joe Perry in the Welsh Open and WC in Sheffield EIS.

What do you think of Parrott's chances and do you know their head-to-head stats?
Parrott also played Perry in the same round in last years Welsh Open, lost.

Dave H said...

I think I'm right in saying that Parrott's never beaten Perry, but Perry will be under a lot of pressure not just to get to the Crucible but also with a return to the top 16 in prospect.