So the World Open field is being whittled down in Sheffield and later today the last 64 will be known.

World Snooker have already announced eight matches to be held over to the TV stages in Glasgow next month and another three will be decided later today.

In fact, make that two as Jimmy White, ever popular but a rare presence before the cameras these days, will face Paul Davison in Glasgow.

The decision on the other two matches will be taken by World Snooker and the BBC, the host broadcasters.

They won’t have to agonise for long. If Brazilian Igor Figueiredo beats Dave Gilbert he will be paired with twice world champion Mark Williams, which would be perfect for TV.

If Alan McManus beats Chris Norbury he will face teenager Anthony McGill in what would be a battle of two Glaswegians as well as youth v experience.

Shaun Murphy’s match against Dave Harold is also a possibility, even if they did once serve up the longest frame in snooker history.

The shorter format hasn’t created that many big shocks yet. Much has been made of the World Open being the ‘FA Cup of snooker’ but a big factor in the FA Cup is the venue of each match, home advantage whether at a big stadium or a tiny non league ground.

Even though the World Open matches are shorter than for all the other tournaments, I suspect the cream will still rise to the top.

Some will doubtless feel the matches are too short for a ranking event but it's worth remembering why this tournament is happening at all: the BBC doesn’t want the Grand Prix. The only way they will show four tournaments instead of three next season is if something profoundly different can be found.

The World Open may fit the bill. Then again it may not. But we won’t find out until Glasgow and it’s in everyone’s interests to try and make it work.


RichP said...

When do they let the players know that their matches will be held over. It's a bit tough on Williams who may or may not be putting in extra practice, have a hotel booked possibly, driver booked only to find at the last minute actually you're not going to be playing in Sheffield. Surely Williams' match is being held over whoever gets through and he has been told as such. I just think it's a bit bizarre in terms of preparation that they let players no so late.

kildare cueman said...

I have to say I'm looking forward to the world open.

While I'm aware that certain tournaments cannot be shortened, it's still nice to see something different, and from a betting point of view it gives the punter a better chance as it becomes virtually impossible for the bookies to price up matches accurately.

It also gives us the opportunity to see some new players and also more than one match each day.

Rather than best of 9's for every event, we now have best of 5,7,9,11,17 and 19. Longer for the majors.

You can't beat variety.

jamie brannon said...

Still a little unsure how this event functions. From your post I glean that if they don't hold Mark Williams match over that he could be eliminated before the televised stages. This to me seems a little mad not to be ensuring the presence of the top 16 for a ranking event.

I will get behind this event for the reasons you refer too, otherwise I would have probably gone into 'snooker snob' mode and bristled at the short format for a event with a bigger ranking tariff than the Welsh Open.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,totally unrelated to the above,but i need your help or any of your bloggers.My husband turns 40 this year and is an avid snooker fan,he has always talked about going to the crucible for the world final,and i am trying to organise this for him as a surprise.Any info anyone has,re how i go about getting tickets for the final,would be greatly appreicated.Thanks in advance for any help.


Dave H said...

Tickets usually go on sale in January but Barry Hearn has talked of putting them on sale earlier this season.

Your best bet is the regularly check worldsnooker.com, who will announce when tickets will be available.

Anonymous said...

Very well said on the World Open. It hasn't been staged yet but already the pondlife that populate forums are attacking it. One idiot on TSF even wants it to be a failure so that the BBC will go down to three tournaments. Then they ignorantly demand to know why ITV don't show the Grand Prix. The last ranking event ITV broadcast was 17 YEARS AGO so it's fair to assume they don't want one. These fools seem to think their precious sport shouldn't change in any way, even though the current formats were all decided by TV in the first place.

Dinosaurs 30 years ago were aghast that you could play best of 9s. People got used to them.

How many snooker fans does it take to change a lightbulb? None, because it doesn't need changing even though it went out 20 years ago and we've been sitting in the dark ever since.

Betty Logan said...

The winner of the Welsh Open only gets £30k while the World Open winner get £100k - far more at stake so it's quite right that this event should carry a higher ranking tarriff. I would make a few adjustments though:

PTC - 1,000 points
PTC Final, Welsh, China, Shanghai, German Masters - 5,000 points
World Open & UK - 10,000 points
World Championship - 20,000 points.

jamie brannon said...

From a betting standpoint, this event will be a minefield, but I suppose their is an opportunity to get stuck into a few outsiders.

I see some matches are being held over, but surely Williams who is in the top eight, one of the sexiest players around and a all-time great should be enjoying that privelege. I am a big fan of Jimmy White (who isn't?) but he shouldn't be getting this type of preferential treatment for a ranking event, but commercial desires generally win and it will be nice to see him again.

I would be delighted if we get to see McManus and Drago on the beeb, so this format may prove to have it's perks!

Dave H said...

Actually the best thing about the World Open is that the top 16 come in at the last 64 stage so there is less qualifying and more likelihood of seeing different faces.

This always used to happen. They used to have to play pre-TV until the TV companies requested a change so that they were guaranteed top names in front of the cameras.

In non-UK events they had to pre-qualify.

Anonymous said...

What an equitable system we'd have if the top 16 came in at the last 64 stage now.

Players ranked 33-64 could play 65-96 with the winners drawn against the top 32.

Just one qualifier and every opportunity for exciting new players to break through.

Anonymous said...

Didn't the top 16 come in at the last 64 stage for the Grand Prix a few years back? I can understand why they want Jimmy Whit on tv but i though they would have put Mark Williams as a member of the top 16 on a tv table as well.


jamie brannon said...

Dave, would you favour a return to those days of top 16 players apepearing before the cameras arrive? Personally I wouldn't as we want to see them as they have earned the right to be infront of the camera's.

Dave H said...

In an ideal world yes because it would cut down the amount of qualifying and foreground different faces.

However, it's also important to have the top players on TV so it's unlikely to happen.

Anonymous said...

As for the first post, Mark has been practicing as if he will be playing tomorrow, though will not be travelling up until tomorrow regardless. As for a driver..... please he wont let anyone else drive.

Mike Ganley will let the few players in contention to be carried over shortly after this last round of matches are completed, so we will know by 6pm. It is not ideal, but everyone in Mark's position will want their matches held over to the tv stage to put added pressure on their opponents, so being told at late notice wont really cause them to much of a concern.

Anonymous said...

Good point you make @4.10PM ,the seeded players would prefer the venue and it would be good experience for the qualifers.

I was wondering will we see many qualifiers on TV and are there any exciting prospects out there?

For eg I liked the style of Wenbo ,very attacking and exciting to watch IMO. (I know he lost some credibility after World match with Swail ,but hey its well in past now)

Any new talents ready to breakthru,Like a ronnie ,drago ,wenbo ?

Anonymous said...

Mark has just been told his match has been held over to the sunday afternoon. Not sure of the other match though.

jamie brannon said...

The ideal scenario would surely be for all ranking events to have a 64 mat field. This way people like Dave are catered for in regards to seeing new faces and the casual fan who is just as important to the game's health is satisfied by seeing the top names.

I don't see any benefit to have names like Selby, Robertson and Murphy missing from the television stages. This is not me wanting to make it a closed shop, but whoever is in the top 16 has earned their right to enjoy a few perks.

Dave H said...

The other match they've held over is Murphy v Harold

Personally I would have gone for McManus v McGill - two locals, old stager v new kid on the block etc

Anonymous said...

Shaun's obviously a top player but I'm not sure what Murphy v Harold adds to the tournament.

They could have picked it originally but didn't which must tell you something.

Janie Watkins said...

There's only ONE table in Glasgow I'm told, so you should get to see everyone on tv in Glasgow theoretically, but obviously BBC coverage may not be on air live to show all matches at all times.

Anonymous said...

The top 16 could come in at the last 64 and hold back the top 8's matches until the tv stage.

This could be facilitated by having a morning session for the first 4 days.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave/Janie,

Janie, that is very interesting with regards 1 table. Even if they are playing fewer frames, the pressure will be on! Hope the new job is going well, and thanx for the background info on Global on previous posting.

Dave, I agree with your first comment about bring the top 16 in earlier. Reminds, not so long ago, of the UK Championship, which used to have qualifying and TV stage all at the same venue in 2 weeks. Didn't they hold some first round matches over for the 2nd week tv coverage on the Saturday? The previous Mon-Thu over multiple tables would see qualifiers playing some top 16 and causing shocks?

I might have this wrong, but the World Open is following suit. I like it. As with the PTC, the 16 aren't as strong and have been blessed in the past, maybe this can be the start to bring journeyman and younger faces to the fore, rather than the same-old, same-old.

Thanks, joe

southerner said...

It seems to me that the BBC wants to have it both ways.
They want to have all the top names on TV, but they allegedly didn't want the Grand Prix because of the same old faces, and wanted to see something different, with new faces!

Anonymous said...

Surely Drago and Lee would be a better prospect for Glasgow than the big bore that will be Murphy and Harold.
Wheres the remote?

Betty Logan said...

Scrapping the Grand Prix isn't anything to do with not wanting the "regular faces". This could backfire if all the big names go out first, hence why some are being held over. The reason they want to scrap the Grand Prix is because it's really just a filler tournament – there is nothing distinguished about it at all. In recent years it has just been used to fill up the BBC's sport coverage quota in Scotland. The problem here is when you have the game's 1st, 2nd and 4th most prestigious tournaments you don't really need another. I don't think the new format will save the Grand Prix unless something extraordinary happens like a rookie/new nationality/has been winning the event, although it may become sufficiently different enough for it to be a selling point for Sky.