A few bits of news...

Firstly, snooker has made it into Time magazine, which underlines its international appeal as this publication is read right around the world.

The article focuses on snooker in China. Everything written is true but what's also true is that World Snooker have chosen to completely ignore the other great growth area for snooker - continental Europe and in particular eastern Europe. This is, in part, being remedied by the independently promoted World Series.

Even so, it's nice to read a positive article about snooker for once, especially in a magazine as widely respected as Time.

Next, the qualifiers for this season's Maplin UK Championship will be played at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield.

As anyone who has gone along to watch the final qualifying round of the 888.com World Championship will surely agree, this is a first rate venue.

If you stand at the back you can pretty much watch all four tables and, assuming the players ranked 17-32 will be in action as they were last season, the likes of Steve Davis, Ken Doherty and Mark Williams will all be playing.

Jimmy White has to start in the first round. Meantime, he has a new DVD out. I've reviewed it for the July issue of Snooker Scene and it is, I have to say, hilarious.

It follows Jimmy around the circuit during the 2006/07 season and features cameos from Alex Higgins, Steve Davis, John Higgins, Stephen Hendry and Ronnie O'Sullivan to name but a few.

As from next month, you can order it for just £10 from the Snooker Scene mail order service.

A word of warning, though: not for nothing is it rated 18. This is not suitable for your granny or small children as the swearing is constant and about as strong as you can get.

Also available through our mail order will be Chris Downer's excellent Gazetteers - a sumptuous statistical tome which includes full records on ranking tournaments, maximums, prize money and, well, pretty much everything.

This is a labour of love for Chris and I commend him for his considerable effort. Having a copy nearby will enhance your viewing pleasure when snooker's on TV.

In the future, one name that may feature is that of Adam Duffy, who has just started his year as the new recipient of World Snooker's Paul Hunter Scholarship. The first, Daniel Wells, is about to take his first steps on the pro circuit.

Good luck to them both. You can read Adam's diary here and read more about him on his website here.

Adam is hoping he gets to play Ronnie O'Sullivan at the World Snooker Academy. He will probably spend most of the time picking the balls out but will still learn a great deal.

Thanks to the good people at Cuefactor I learn that Ronnie last season made a century every eight frames.

This is staggering, really. Ronnie made 50 centuries last season but only played in eight tournaments. If he keeps practising I reckon he'll be a bit of a player.

He's still just under 200 tons behind Stephen Hendry, who has had to change his practise base as Spencers Snooker Club in Stirling - where he has played his whole career - has shut down.

Hendry is converting part of the stables at his home into a snooker room and will mainly practice there.

The PDC darts circuit will be worth more than £5m next season - more than the World Snooker tour.

This is chiefly due to the influence of Barry Hearn, the PDC chairman, who has - as throughout his career - taken something already popular, marketed it properly and made it even more popular.

The World Championship prize fund has grown seven-fold since 1999. In snooker, the prize funds have either fallen or stayed just about the same in this period.

Is Hearn any longer interested in snooker? I don't know. More to the point, though, is snooker interested in Hearn? It's not a sport that's exactly thrown its arms open to entrepreneurs, more's the pity.

Anything else?

Well, don't forget the World Series starts in Jersey tomorrow. One of the players involved, Ken Doherty, talks about it on the website of his management company, 110sport.

And with that, I have a plane to catch...


Anonymous said...

thanks for the big update. Been to the final WC qualifiers at the EIS the last 2 years so its good to hear the UK-qualifiers will be held there.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the EIS is a very good venue, although I was surprised that it wasn't totally soundproof when I went to the WC Qualifiers - there was an indoor athletics meeting going on next door and every now and then a klaxon would sound just as a player was down on his shot!

Notwithstanding that, you cant get much more value for a fiver in sport - the final qualifying round for the worlds is life and death for these players

Anonymous said...

I agree with Jonathan that the EIS is a fantastic venue, I experienced it for the first time this year and watched a cracker of a game between Mark Allen and Ricky Walden.

Despite the noise from the Junior Athletics meeting and later in the day the Basketball game I thought as a venue for qualifying events it is the best I have attended over my 19 years of touring cross country watching snooker.


Marcus Stead said...


Of course Barry Hearn is still interested in snooker. His Premier League events never seem to have any trouble selling out.
I've detailed (at some length)my thoughts on Mr Hearn's influence here:
Look particularly under the "Why Image Matters" part.
I believe patience is beginning to wear thin with the WPBSA and the current World Series could just be the precurser to a full-scale, PDC-style breakaway.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear of the demise of Spencer's. That place had quite a history. Where are all Hendry's trophies going to go?