The World Open features 43 players – nearly half the circuit – all guaranteed a place in front of the TV cameras.

Two of these, David Morris and James McBain, have never played on television before.

Morris is widely recognised as a great talent in his native Republic of Ireland, where he won the national amateur title at every age level and was champion in the senior ranks three years running.

Davy has made quiet progress on the main tour, making it into the top 64 and steadily getting results but never before reaching a final venue.

The 21 year-old has appeared in the final qualifying round of a tournament five times, including in last season’s Betfred.com World Championship.

Fittingly, he grew up in a house in Kilkenny numbered 147. Ken Doherty has mentored him and he carries the hopes for the next generation of Irish snooker, just as Mark Allen does in the north.

“I can’t wait to play on TV. My parents will be over for it,” Morris told me after he qualified for Glasgow.

“It’s been tough. The standard is so high and you need a bit of luck and for things to go your way.

“I have no preference who I draw now. I fancy I can beat anyone over a best of five.”

McBain, five times Scottish national champion, lives ten minutes from the SECC, where the World Open will be staged.

He’s back on the pro circuit again this season after a couple of years in the amateur ranks. Like many players, the 32 year-old has found it difficult to keep his place with only a single season’s points – plus starter points – to rely on.

Financial rewards are non existent for the first two rounds of ranking events and McBain has pocketed less than £12,000 in his playing career.

He tells me he would like to draw Stephen Hendry, his long time idol, in the last 32 but disagrees with the seven times champion when it comes to the new ranking system.

“This is the right time to be a snooker player,” he said. “Last time I was on the tour I only had six ranking events to play in. This season I’ve already played in six or seven events and it’s only September.

“I feel like a proper player now. It also helps keep my game sharp and even if you have a bad result, you’re away again the next week so there’s no time really to stew over it.

“Barry Hearn’s arrival has benefited a lot of the players, particularly with the new ranking system. Players will be rewarded for their current form rather than having to wait two years.”

Ultimately, though, whatever ranking system is in place, the rewards will only come to players who excel on the table.

Morris and McBain have each won three matches to qualify. Good luck to them.

Appearing on TV for the first time is a milestone achievement for any player. Often it goes badly as nerves and inexperience on the big stage take their toll. Sometimes it can go well, as for Martin Clark, who beat Dennis Taylor 5-0 on his maiden appearance before the cameras at the 1987 International.

The nature of the World Open, with its shorter matches, makes it more likely that lower ranked players will do well, but at 2-2, just as at 4-4 or 8-8, a player needs to hold their nerve and experience tells us it’s the guys near the top of the list who do this with greater regularity.

Regardless, it’s fair to assume the Sky+ in the Morris and McBain households will be put through its paces next week.


Anonymous said...

I don't know about anyone else but Igor is the one I'm looking forward to seeing most.

kildare cueman said...

It's great to get the chance to see a few new faces.

I remember back in the eighties you would regularly see new players in the early rounds, as the top players weren't handed a load of points just for turning up and losing.

Unfortunately most of them weren't that good, but it's a different story now. There is definitely strength in depth, but it seems that many new pros are poor on the tactical side and take a few years to brush up.

In many cases they will have lost a lot of their early confidence by then, and will have had some heartbreaking defeats thrust upon them.

Nevertheless the cream will eventually rise to the top, and who knows, maybe the new, or near new guys, will be top 8 players down the line.

Anonymous said...

"Let me get into character. Ok, I am McBain"

Sorry, couldn't help myself.. McBain really made some good points regarding the new ranking system, firmly putting Hendry in his place. I have a feeling Stephen Hendry will publicly have a change of heart in the near future. He is a smart man.

Anonymous said...

firmly putting hendry in his place?

grow up, my friend.

Anonymous said...

7:51 You don't feel McBain made a string of good arguments and explained exactly why this is the best time to be a snooker player? If so, why not?

Anonymous said...

i think he gave his opinion which differed to hendrys.

if that is putting someone firmly in their place in your book, then i am glad i dont read your book.

Anonymous said...

There are facts and there are opinions. Hendry had some poor arguments and they were shot down. Simple as can be.

That doesn't affect my love for Hendry and I am confident he will have a change of heart in the near future as snooker continues to flourish under Barry Hearn. I encourage you to please read from my book. Or not. But what do you think about the the new ranking system? Is it slam-worthy?

Anonymous said...

and there are those that mix up facts and opinions when shooting down others OPINIONS.

i don think SH said "factually the rankings are no use"

he certainly wasnt "firmly put in place" by someones contradictory opinions

Anonymous said...

He was firmly put in his place. So what is your take on the new ranking system?

Anonymous said...

youre still talking rubbish repeating the same silly comment, so i wont bother trying to debate with a brick wall.