Mark Williams was the champion at the German Masters and fair play to him for emerging victorious from a fascinating tactical duel with Mark Selby, 9-7 in Berlin this evening.

But the real winner was snooker. To see the capacity crowd at the Tempodrom standing as one to applaud the players was a wonderful sight.

Even Williams, generally an irreverent character with a deadpan sense of humour, was visibly moved by the ovation.

The German supporters were the real stars of this tournament. They turned out in huge numbers and were respectful throughout.

Yes, they have their favourite players but they are primarily fans of the game and Williams was entirely right to commend them after his victory.

What an exciting evening's snooker it was, full of twists and turns, drama and intrigue.

And it brought the curtain down on an excellent week for the sport. 2011 has started with the first all-Asian final at a major tournament, the fun of the Shootout and now this superb German event.

Clearly Germany's snooker boom was no myth. Without wishing to look backwards, it is astonishing this interest was not harnessed sooner.

Germany can sustain a couple of major events per season in the future and the interest extends across much of the rest of the continent, all of which bodes well for the game in the coming years.

The fact is this: snooker should be played where people want to watch it. Interest has declined in the UK since the boom years but there is a big world out there and continental Europe is a market yet to be properly tapped.

So thank you to the Berlin crowd for the way they proved that there is plenty of life left in this great sport.

It was dramatic, it was memorable and, in the end, it was surprisingly emotional.

After years of going nowhere the game is on the up again.


Anonymous said...

Anyone who thinks snooker would die without ronnie o'sullivan, have a look at the 3000 people crowds in Germany.

The Snooker Oracle said...

I still spend a few moments wondering in disbelief how some of the players voted against Hearn.

Well done Germany - incredible.

Betty Logan said...

I'm thrilled for Mark Williams! After the Grand Slam he only won two tournaments in a 6/7 year period. I met him at an exhibition over the summer and gave him a few tips and since then he's won a PTC, was a whisker from winning the UK and now the German Masters!

Anonymous said...

It was incredible. It was fantastic. What a night, what a week.

Jan said...

It was a fascinating final and the crowd was indeed magnificient. A big thumbs up for Eurosport for airing this event. Wonderful commentary. Thanks a lot!

Anonymous said...

I watched the final in disbelief. The size and sound of the crowd was fantastically uplifting and a reminder of what snooker was like in Britain c.1985. When Williams smashed the reds from a snooker and the camera panned to Jan Verhaas' face(facing an almost impossible ball-replacement) leaving the crowd (and me) in stitches, was the highlight. Even better when Williams and Selby began milking the situation.

After the superb shoot-out last week (a cathartic event if ever I saw one. A rebirth if you like) and this utterly brilliant tournament, plus the Brazil tourney, I think Steve Davis will be proved right stating, "We could have a monster on our hands". Hearn, you are a genius!! Roll on the next few years, it's going to be bliddy brilliant!

Mat Wilson, ex-snooker cynic

Anonymous said...

Id say Terry Griffiths and Del Hill are crapping themselves Betsy

TazMania said...

One question for dave :

Should the mid-dividers in the tournaments be removed, none of the players were distracted in Germany.

Tickets sales will likely to boost as the people will see value for money if they can see two matches at once.

Anonymous said...

sure you did betsy
i gave him some advice in glasgow but i dont want to claim it helped..... as nobody would know.

great tournament
thankfully without the spotlight kid
he was probably at home kissing his mirrors

Anonymous said...

Yes, it was a truly emotional night and wonderful for snooker. Two things happened that I had never seen before in all the years I've been watching.
1)Well done to Jan ver Haas for waving and acknowledging the applause of the crowd when he entered at the start of the final. Shows how much appreciation the Germans have for the game as a whole.
2) The truly staggering, sustained applause at the end of the match. If you weren't moved by that then you need to see somebody!!! So loud was the applause, if you just came in for the start of the presentation you would have thought Selby had won it. Even the usually phlegmatic Mark Williams was visibly moved by such a reception.
After what I have witnessed this week snooker is on the march and you could not argue if Barry's boast was now "You ain't seen nothing yet"

Maisie said...

Well done to Mark Williams on winning. Nice to see the match played in such a good spirit. The appreciation shown by the audience made the tournament.

Anonymous said...

From what I saw last evening move the World Championships from Sheffield to Berlin with immediate effect.
Return all monies from pre-sale tickets to the regulars and move the roadshow to Germany.
Replace Rob Walker with the guy who was MC last night and know down all dividing walls between matches.
A very symbolic gesture to remove the divide while playing in Berlin.

Johan said...

Congratulations to both Marks; they presented the german crowd with one of the better finals I've witnessed last years.
Great match, great atmosphere, great crowd and snooker was clearly the winner in the Rerack-o-drome in Berlin!

Has it become clear now to some people that we do not need any RoS's to promote snooker :-))

Thank you Barry - and Jan!

jamie brannon said...

How much coverage is snooker afforded in the written press in places like Asia and continental Europe?

As over here that is one thing that is declining.

There should be no new ranking events in the UK.

However, the events that are on the calendar should be maintained.

Betty Logan said...

Well the World Open is going, and I don't think the Welsh Open will last out much longer, so that will only leave the WC and UK. If you have real ambitions to be an international sport then the world championship is going to have be shared around other countries, whether you like the idea or not, so it's quite possible that we might only be left with the UK after the current Crucible contract runs out; even that isn't guaranteed — if the UK is going to last they really need to get it out of Telford and back to Preston where it belongs.

jamie brannon said...

There is still huge demand for tickets at the Crucible, so no reason to change. As Steve Davis said: you would be interfering with history bu switching, it is the Lords or Wimbledon of the sport.

I think the Masters could be shared around countries.

The UK Championship did ok in Telford in 2009, last year was probably affected by the weather.

However, a switch could be tried again. Why not Birmingham?

Matt said...

snooker doesn't relay on one player. Germany have done very well good to see williams back to his best. A massive contender for the worlds if only hendry could take inspiration from that. Who'd have imagined a tournament in Brazil??? Good to see Selby in a final.

Anonymous said...

one of the existing big tournaments next season looks like being moved about to different parts of the uk each year.

isnt that correct dave? ;)

Anonymous said...

why not move the world championship around and have the UK in the crucible

Leon in Kaunas said...

I just home from tournament. What great event...I watch final in hotel on Eurosport with beer.

I understand that Lithuanian major sport investor - UBIG - look to hosting tournament in Lithuania and are speak with authority.

UBIG own many sport venture company and event location and are very rich people. Owner of Heart Midlothian in Scotland and friend of London Chelseas owner.

I like Germany tournament


Well done Mark Williams. Good to see him back playing well and winning titles.

John F said...

The Worlds should stay at the Crucible, for the near future at least, and the UK Championship needs to stay, but I'm wondering how many events the UK can really sustain? The Welsh Open is seen as a poor relation with limited TV coverage, and do you think there's any chance of something like the Northern Ireland Trophy being brought back - I seem to remember first year attendances were pretty good before it got shifted around the calendar?

What an excellent tournament the German Masters was, though. The thing that shocks me the most is the level of enthusiasm shown by fans despite having no big-name local player to support - China seems to have a Ding fixation, Thailand's declining interest mirrored Wattana's decline in the rankings, and Canada seems virtually dead now. I wonder what will happen to Aus if Robertson begins to slide and nobody replaces him?

After Germany, where's the next place to try out? Maybe a Baltic or Nordic Open?

Anonymous said...

We need to scrap some of the tournaments in the UK where there have been so many empty seats this season and move these events abroad. The public in England just do not like snooker the same way Germans do. Germany is fantastic!

Betty Logan said...

I'd give India a shot: already has a rich billiards tradition, is snooker's ancestral land, has a billion people, and is the fastest growing economy on the planet after China. I don't know what the appetite for snooker is there, but it couldn't work out any worse than Bahrain.

Personally I don't buy into the view that The Crucible is sacrament; it's only been there for 30 years so really isn't on a par with Wimbledon or Lords, and even then the Ashes alternate between countries and Wimbledon isn't a world championship. The Crucible just defined an era, and snooker is entering a new era now. The WC has been to Australia and South Africa, so it would be good if we could get back to that forward thinking attitude.

Anonymous said...

Lets face it, snooker clubs in the UK have been closing for years and professional players have become more and more distant and lazy than ever before.
When asked about playing sbroad 2 seasons ago, an English fringe player said it was a lomg way to go to play a snooker match.
Overseas players have been making the trek to UK for years and have been met with a better standard of player but also a group of guys who expected everything to fall in their laps.
They thought they didn't have to try and blamed all the board members for their own shorcomings.
Get Europe involved (mainland) and also the Far East and a decent player from the Midlands can get a job as a minicab driver and leave the ones that want to promote the game to do it.
The game can survive without the fixers, the fraudsters and the rocket as nobody is bigger than any sport.
Bring on the winds of change.

Leon in Kaunas said...

Anony at 10-05

Agree. Bestest tournament ever outside United of Kingdoms. Venue great and so is Germany. Great.

Maybe tournament in great city of Dresden and Dortmund also great for game. Dresden good for many other activitys after snooker finish.

Move crappage Wales tournament to Germany or may be Austria.

Snooker in Wales and England and Scotland finish.

kimball said...

India did a wonderful job with IBSF
Wch ships 2009.

Two tv-tables with commentatorboxes
and complete crews.

16 more tables with webcameras and
fantastic setting in Hyderabad con-
ference complex + brand new hotels.

Protournament is maybe not such great idea, but worldcup where India is a bit stronger, would create very good covering.

Anonymous said...

Talking of the Welsh Open, is Hearn going to treat it with the same contempt that Rodney Walker did? Namely keeping to the measly £35,000 first prize and 5000 ranking points? And when are they going to move it back to Cardiff?


jamie brannon said...

Wimbledon is not a world championship, but it a world event more than the snooker in terms of the field.

It is not just the history, but what it means for players to play there, particularly those who aspire to reach the venue.

Also the event is still in high demand so why move it?

Betty Logan said...

Wimbledon doesn't need to move from Wimbledon because there are other events equal in stature; that's clearly not the case in snooker. I'm sure "reaching" The Crucible isn't that big a deal really (and some players hate the place), it's more a case of reaching the venue stage of the world championship, and tickets would be in high demand if you played in China and Germany too. Let's put it this way, if you put a £100k on the top prize any Crucible sentimentality among the players would quickly vanish. If other countries put substantial money into the game then they should have a chance to host the championship. Snooker is supposed to be a global sport, not a cartel and that's how world championships operate in proper sports.

So the reasons for letting other countries having it are:

i) Other countries that financially support the game should get some payback in terms of having the prestige of hosting an international event, and providing a boost to a local economy.

ii) There are snooker fans in other countries too, so why shouldn't they have the opportunity to see a world championship match live? What makes the British fan more important?

iii) If you are trying to promote the game in other countries then the world champiosnhip is the best promotional tool the sport has, and is worth a thousand PTC events in terms of the interest and coverage the sport will receive.

iv) There are actually more reasons against keeping it in a country where there is declining interest in the game than there are for keeping it here. The sport could benefit hugely from rotating the event around China and Germany, and probably doesn't gain anything at all from keeping it in Britain.

v) Traditions are all well and fine but should not be used as a reason to prevent progress.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you Betsy. The UK and particularly Sheffield should not have a monopoly on the big events.
The Welsh open should be done away with too. Germany and China should have a UK Championship style event, with the WC rotating to where the crowds and the cash are at the time.

Anonymous said...

When people talk of moving the World Champiopnships they forget about a little corporation called the BBC!!!!

Betty Logan said...

I guess the Welsh Open will continue while BBC Wales are willing to cover it. The money isn't great, but it's not like it's taking up a spot on the calender that could go to a bigger event, so I don't see the point in just scrapping it for the sake of it. Once they get the number of rankers per season up to a respectable number perhaps they'd be better off running it along the lines of the old Irish Masters, with a few top players, a few big names and a few Welsh players; it clearly can't be funded to proper ranking level since a sponsor isn't going to get much exposure on BBC Wales.

Anonymous said...

The Crucible IS the World Championship. Snooker is infected with an anti-Britain attitude, seemingly only amongst the brits themselves.

As an outsider I find it strange that there is no desire to see snooker flourish again in the UK and instead is looking to Asia, India, Arab oil states and such to take over this wonderful sport. Germany has shown us that Europe is the place to be.

We hear so much about China and their 100 million viewers. But when we turn on the tv the seats are 90% empty. They are real snooker crazy, aren't they....
Learn from Berlin! Focus on Europe and nurse the UK snooker interest back to health.

Dave H said...

Actually the scenes in Berlin on Sunday were almost identical to those in Beijing in 2005. I know, I was there.

What's happened in China since is a boom but one the ordinary (lowly paid) Chinese have been priced out of, hence they mainly watch on TV.

Germany should have more events, as should the rest of Europe, but the knee-jerk reaction of dumping the Crucible off the back of one well attended tournament isn't one I share - neither would the BBC for that matter.

There is, however, the opportunity to establish the 'fourth major' in Europe - a European Open or Championship.

jamie brannon said...

Dave, or anyone not down with my suggestion of taking the Masters on an international roadshow. The BBC issue could make it a non-starter, though.

I remember you saying that the China Open in 2005 was the best event you had ever attended, so this must have been some German Masters.

Betty Logan said...

The Masters was conceived as a London tournament, and you can easily stage another Masters tournament in China or wherever so the logic doesn't follow; if you want a Masters in China, leave the London Masters where it is and stage a China Masters.

kimball said...

Barry Hearn are probably tinkering
with the idea of a Masters final,
say top eight after four Masters tournaments.
We have three masters right now
and a final could be run anywhere.

Anonymous said...

Instead of moving the World Championship from the Crucible (personally I don't think it should ever leave the place), or the Masters from London, I'd do as Dave suggested and create a fourth major for Germany or China, best of 17 frames all the way, £100,000 first prize. That way, they get a major event without moving one from the UK for the sake of it.


Anonymous said...

I think it's about time for the people in UK to show, that they are big snookerfans too. Go to your venues, keep your tournaments alive! Maybe you are supersaturated with 4 or 5 tournaments. So keep just 2 in UK, one in the north, one near London and one in Ireland. So the people have a choice where to go. Nowadays not many people can affort far traveling just for watching a snooker tournament.
Germany also doesn't need more then the German Masters and the Paul Hunter Classic in Fuerth. Both are perfectly spread in time and location. That's the key!

Matt said...

"Germany should have more events, as should the rest of Europe, but the knee-jerk reaction of dumping the Crucible off the back of one well attended tournament isn't one I share"

"There is, however, the opportunity to establish the 'fourth major' in Europe - a European Open or Championship."

Nail on the head.

Anonymous said...

Having recently got back from Berlin and having watched the whole of the tournament and read all the comments, I can't emphasise too much how good a tournament it was and how well the public responded.
It really took off on the Friday night with 80% capacity(before that it had been about 30-50% capacity - still good for 2,500 seater!), but the Saturday and Sunday were nothing like I have seen before - brilliant audience participation. This did not come as a surprise to me as the number of German fans travelling to tournaments in Malta and England has steadily been increasing - World Snooker should have done this 5 years ago but they had no vision then.
On the negative side, the wooden seats in the arena dont lend themselves to sitting more than about 2 hours; the tv scoreboards on the main table are vitually impossible to read from more than halfway back; on semifinal evening, no scores were put up in the arena for the Dott-Selby match for the first 3 frames and when they did eventually go up there was such a cheer it almost put Selby off his shot; i would estimate about 300 people between 4 and 6 o'clock as you look on tv could not see the main score screens at all!
These things need to be put right for next years tournament when it takes place from Feb 1-5, 2012.