Steve Davis walked out of Wembley Arena for quite possibly the last time this afternoon following a disappointing 6-2 defeat to Marco Fu this morning.

It was Davis’s 50th match in the Masters – appropriate really considering the sponsors, Saga Insurance, specialise in holidays for the over 50s. He is, of course, 50 himself and the first 50-something to play in the tournament since Cliff Wilson in 1989.

But as Steve is down to 27th in the provisional rankings, the chances are it will be his last appearance in the prestigious invitation tournament.

“It was a day of frustration,” he said afterwards. “I wanted to scream out there. I practised quite a bit for this but struggled with the fast table. It was like Bambi on ice out there.

“I’m philosophical about whether I play here again. If I don’t then so be it. I don’t really want a wildcard. If I’m not good enough I can accept it.”

Davis has won the Masters three times. This isn't as a good as a record as in the World or UK Championship but only Stephen Hendry, with six, has won it more.


Anonymous said...

It's a shame that Steve's game has really deteriorated over the last year.
It's been a pleasure to see him over the years.
I hope he has at least one more good tournament(where he wins a few matches.)

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,

Belated New Year greetings to yourself and the team at Snooker Scene. Playing catch-up again. (By the way, like the SS website, but there's still some sticking points on certain sections of the site, which I take it will be altered at some point?)

The UK Championship this season will be remembered for one thing only and that is O'Sullivan's 147. He hung in there when it mattered (something I wouldn't have said a decade ago!) Ronnie's first ranking win since March 2005 isn't good enough, but we know that week in Telford he deserved it - and the end result saw a more relaxed family man O'Sullivan - lets hope he doesnt quit the sport (I remember he said the same thing 14 years ago after losing in the UK to Ken Doherty.) More talent is coming through to make it tougher. Allen and Selby shined, supported by Maguire and Murphy. Is it a changing of the guard? If your interview with Hendy is anything to go by, obviously not. New cue and coach, I wish him well. But is the passion REALLY there? The same for Williams, who if I remember rightly, said in a press interview to promote the Welsh Open a season or two ago, that he's not bothered about winning another title...all he wants is to win the World Championship again. A positive attitude to the sport if ever I heard one!

Another one of the 'old guard' not having a good season is John Higgins. But I am made up that he received a MBE in the honour's list.(I think it'll be a while before Ronnie O'Sullivan is recognised unfortunately.) And going by his proposal for the world series of snooker starting in June in Poland, he may well deserve another award if he pulls if off. I've read that the series starts in Poland. Have you anymore news on this fantastic idea, Dave?

I must also congraulate Barry Hearn on a qualifying event in Essex as the forerunner to the Premier Snooker League. Do you how one would be able to obtain tickets for this? Seeing as it has a confirmed venue and a fantastic line-up; Doherty, Williams, Murphy, et al. What I don't understand is, how would a top player who would qualify for the event automatically, feel if they were ousted from the top 4 in the world - ie Maguire, yet he didn't enter the qualifying tournament? And how would they justify selecting a line-up that includes Murphy, yet he wins the qualifying event. What would happen then?

Hearn also seemed to win with the Darts at Christmas. The low turn-up must've been a ruse, because the crowds were packed all week at the Alexander Palace. And like John Higgins said in his Guardian interview, if 'only snooker got the crowds, darts got.' Cannot agree more, which is why Hearn and Doyle shouldve had more of a say in the game.

Jimmy White is still in the hunt for a first round berth at the World Championships in April. Fantastic news. No disrepect to Mark King, but I think the Whirlwind will have more of a chance this season than last against Burnett. I was sorry to see Tony Drago and James Wattana lose. As well as the Chinese contingent who have done so well in qualifying this season. In fact I was shocked to see Song defeated, as he has played some excellent frames this season. But there are still some left in the bottom half of the draw for which it will be great if they win through...Oh and John Parrot!

As for Graeme Dott's 'outburst' comments, why did the authorities get involved? Like your earlier post about Michael Holt talking on Chris Evans' show, anything to get snooker coverage in the press, has got to be good. Its true, that Masters gets more press than other tournaments in the season, because its in London media land. But the game needs personalities, clashes and gripes within the game to push them on and the sport on the backpages. I am glad Dott got cleared. I don't remember the WSA asking him to explain comments he made last season, when he was first up at 10am for the first tournament of the season in Belfast, as the new world champion.

I also find it absurd in a game relying on sponsorship, deals and TV contracts, that players can only have 2 sponsored badges plus the sponsors badge. Steve Davis is right, in the fact, that established players on the tour can have a rather different outlook, but for the rest its these sponsors and finances that allow them to go around the country trying to qualify for events.

And Davis will join Williams, Doherty and Lee to outside the top 16 next season. The question now is - does Davis have the desire to qualify for events rather than be an automatic choice? I think he will give it one season and, if he does not make the top 16, will retire. TV beckons me thinks...

I see your tips for the masters is still as good as ever. I think if Ken Doherty carry's on wearing those shoes, he'll win it! And like he says, he needs the money for nappies!

Thanks, Joe

Dave H said...

Hello Joe

I'm happy to say the World Series in June/July will be broadcast live on Eurosport.

Stephen Hendry is absolutely adamant that he can still win titles - only time will tell.

What I can't understand about the logos is that the darts players last week were wearing as many as four - so it can't be a BBC stipulation.

I don't always get my predictions correct - thanks for pointing that out - but, be fair, I did tip Ronnie for the UK and say that Maguire would be worth watching this season. The problem these days is that there are so many players capable of winning titles that it's become a lottery - not good if you're a betting man!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Saga might be interested in sponsoring an over 50s senior snooker tour given that the senior darts tour is launching later this year.