Mark Williams’s career at the top level has been defined by his long, consistent runs to latter stages of tournaments.

He was in four of the last seven finals of the 1998/99 season, winning three titles, and five of the last eight of the following season, winning three.

Williams was also in three of the last six finals of the 2002/03 season and has now appeared in the last two played in this campaign.

The twice world champion hasn’t won two ranking titles in the same season for eight years but was superb at the German Masters in Berlin and clearly a great favourite on home turf.

The Welsh Open provided him with his first ranking title in 1996. He edged a great final against Stephen Hendry in 1999 but like his fellow Welshmen has not enjoyed much success there since.

And Williams has a tough first round assignment in the shape of Marco Fu, who reached the semis in Berlin.

Fu will doubtless be aware of the top 16 calculations. He will be safe unless Stuart Bingham reaches the quarter-finals or there are a series of strange results.

Bingham has his own tough starter against Mark Selby, who will be looking to bounce back from his defeat to Williams in their Germany final.

Selby has a chance to be seeded in the top four for the World Championship. With the quality of the players at the top of the game this is not necessarily a big advantage but still an achievement.

There were five deciders on day one with all the seeds winning with the exception of Ricky Walden, beaten 4-3 by Dave Harold.

Walden needed only the green from the third last red to leave Harold needing a snooker but made the decision to play it with power to get on a red and duly missed. This gave Harold a chance to clear, which he took.

Matthew Stevens stopped playing on the other table to allow Harold to do this. With no partition, he didn’t want to put him off.

A lack of a dividing wall gives the audience a chance to watch both tables but not all the players will be for it.

In Germany, the arena was much bigger and the tables were not parallel to each other as in Newport.

For such an issue as this, the players really need to be listened to. If enough of them are uncomfortable with it then the partition should return. If most are fine with the open plan feel then there’s no problem.

In the past, players have had too much say in administrative matters but they should still be consulted on playing matters.


Anonymous said...

The wall could be made very low so it only helps the players but doesn't affect the audĂ­ence. I like the idea of an open space but if it hurts the quality of the game then it should be dealt with.

Although playing alone did not help Rory and Jamie last night. Wow.

Anonymous said...

imho mjw is THE character in the game.

wish bh would model publicity round him

Betty Logan said...

I wish Williams' and Hendry's texts to each other were on twitter feed.

Anonymous said...

well if play had to stop on one table to give the other table less distraction the open plan is a bad idea at the Welsh.

Anonymous said...

Its just a matter of getting used to for the players me thinks. Tear down the walls!

TazMania said...

I am a supporter for the divider to be removed, however maybe in the welsh open not, but in the worlds it will be interesting. I hope the dividers are lifted for the other tournaments aswell.

Anonymous said...

Many top players practice in busy and bustling snooker clubs with lots of atmosphere and it doesn't affect their concentration.

Neither should it in the Welsh..

Leon in Kaunas said...

Great play by Willim. He on good form and could win great toornament of great and players of class breaks.

I like Germany better as girls look much more appeal.


kimball said...

A low wall i often standard and shields the messy part of a snooker-

Betty Logan said...

Leon, we have an old saying here in Britain:

What do you call a pretty girl in Germany?

A tourist.

Anonymous said...

i dont know about that betsy

i like the look of 30 something german ladies (with hairy armpits)