I would never criticise the great game of snooker or run down tournaments but the fact remains that the Welsh Open has thus far been poorly attended and poorly organised.

This is the last thing we need at a time when the sport's integrity is being openly questioned, even if you believe, as I do, that claims of match fixing are mainly nonsense.

The acid test is what sort of crowd Ronnie O'Sullivan draws for his match with Judd Trump today. If he can't bring the punters in, nobody will.

Some will say the pre-tournament marketing has been poor but I'd argue the low crowds are more likely to be because of the scene outside the Newport Centre, where the main road is closed for major rebuilding work.

Walking over from the bus station, you can't even see the Newport Centre. It's hardly accessible and may have put a lot of people off.

World Snooker wouldn't put proper money into the Malta Cup - played in five-star luxury at the Portomaso Hilton - to make it a ranking event and yet have taken one here.

Inside the Newport Centre, it's a shambles. Countless people, including members of the public, traipse through the press room. The background noise at some press conferences is so loud it's sometimes hard to hear what the players are saying.

The day before the event when it was being set up a WPBSA laptop was stolen from the venue. On Monday, I found one of the security staff rifling through my papers on my desk.

The press room phones don't work. Neither does the ISDN line booked by BBC Wales. Neither does the software used to email score sheets to the outside world.

Which bright spark thought the schedule was going to work? How are two best of nines going to be done and dusted by 7pm with a 1pm start?

Last night, Stephen Maguire and Stuart Bingham didn't get on until nearly 9.30pm and were still going at midnight.

For whose benefit is this? The players? The spectators? The media?

Why don't we just play the first match in the morning? If it's good enough for the World Championship then it's good enough for the Welsh Open.

This is supposed to be a professional tournament but virtually everything about it - with the exception of what's actually happening on the table - is amateur.


Anonymous said...

Thats a very nice inside-view. Thanks for that.

greets from Germany


Anonymous said...

Good Morning David;

I have been going to the Welsh Open every year it since it became a world ranking event back in 1992 at both Newport and Cardiff and in those 16 years have never seen anything like I've witnessed the last two days.
It's not only the state of the town where the lack of parking and the walkways have been horrendous but, the general set up inside the venue - is a far cry from the excellent Telford International Centre I went to for the first time in December.
Yesterday, as I went in Oliver Hides was filming ahead of BBC Wales' coverage and gathering the thoughts of Terry Griffiths and I was quickly advised by a steward that I had to go upstairs - upon going upstairs towards the cafe I was told by another steward that I had to wait downstairs!
As for the route that you have to take to get to Table 4, you need an a to z - so much I got lost on Monday and went through the wrong door and walked into Mark Allen and then yesterday en route back I walked past Neil Robertson being interviewed by the media and Gerard Greene carrying out, what appeared to be a private telephone call.
At least the action has been fantastic on the table, mainly though on table 4 though and another exciting day on the table lies ahead.


andy said...

This is like a comedy article. :o) I thought the WSA/WPBSA were meant to be getting things together in recent years!?

I thought Sir Rodney Walker was doing a good job at the top. No? When you get this kind of farce, the blame has to go right to the top, and since the WSA is a subsidiary of the WPBSA, then Walker is the man at the top isn't he? It has to be him that grabs the game by the scruff of the neck and shakes out all the slackers! Clearly, I'm sure there are good people in the organisation(s) as well!


andy said...


Something I forgot to mention, I went to bed before the Higgins vs Roe match finished. As I was doing so, I realised there were other best of 9 matches to be played after that match, noticeably, Stevens vs Pengfei!!!!

What time did this match, or the last match, finish yesterday (or should I say this morning)?

I'm amazed that talents such as Stevens and Williams are having such a hard time of it at the moment. Some of this must be self inflicted. Surely Stevens and Williams should be trying to get their acts together again.


Anonymous said...

I missed the match on telly. How many people attended Ronnie's match?

Dave H said...

I'm happy to say that there was a huge crowd and that the match was very entertaining.

Let's hope it kickstarts the tournament.

Young Trump could have made it 4-4 but Ronnie produced a classy finish.

Dave H said...

Andy - Stevens and Tian, and Maguire and Bingham, finished their matches at 00.30!

geilo said...

Murphy vs. McCulloch ended at around 01.15 am. I was there and maybe 10 other people.
Unfortunetly the venue is not the best for snooker:
even though the main hall is quite big and works great with the seats, the entrance is way too small and people in swimming trunks have to use the same toilet as the spectators.
The infrastructure is not proportional with the size of the main hall imo.