Ronnie O'Sullivan is in Newport and it wouldn't surprise me if he played well this week.

He's coming in at the latest possible stage and so there won't be much hanging around for him, something he loathes.

I'm not sure O'Sullivan rates the Welsh Open particularly highly but this may be a plus. He was certainly relaxed back in 2005 when he went to the cinema between sessions of the final, arrived back with about five minutes to spare and went out and beat Stephen Hendry 9-8 to retain the title.

Ryan Day played superbly to see off Jimmy White but I suspect he will have to do so again tonight.

Like the World Open, this shorter format event is not producing many shocks. In fact, just one top 16 player (Ricky Walden) has lost so far.

Mark Selby could easily have gone out but Stuart Bingham failed to put him away leading 52-0 in their decider and Selby produced a typically steely clearance to win it on the black.

From such first round great escapes have tournament winners been made.

Peter Ebdon represents perhaps the last bastion of resistance against snooker's new era, despite the fact he is personally benefiting from it.

The change in the ranking system - which Ebdon opposed - has allowed him to return to the top 16 and thus be seeded through to the Crucible. He will appear there for the 20th successive year - something he is justifiably proud of.

In Berlin earlier this month Eurosport recorded interviews with a host of players to ask them about their views on new formats and general changes to the circuit.

All were positive, willing to embrace change for the better good of the sport even if they didn't necessarily agree with every aspect of it.

Ebdon, though, took the opportunity to deride the new Welsh Open format, calling it a "huge leap in the wrong direction."

His chief bugbear is the lack of intervals. He said if the table is not brushed during this midsession break that "there will be a lots of finger marks on the table, a lot of chalk marks all over the table. It means there is more chance that the player will get kicks, big bounces off the cushions."

In fact, from 2-2 with Dominic Dale yesterday Ebdon finished off with breaks of 115 and 95, although this didn't stop him grabbing the brush from the table fitter and making a show of brushing it himself.

Ebdon is perfectly entitled to think whatever he likes but the groundswell in the game is that snooker is on the up and that format changes and fresh ideas are crucial to maintaining the momentum.

He reached the semi-finals of the World Open so, to his great surprise, Ebdon may actually be a short format specialist.


Anonymous said...

If O'Sullivan does turn up there will be absolutely no point if he plays with a come day, go day attitude. We can but hope that he gives 100% on every shot - but I won't hold my breath. Ebdon shows yet again what an ignorant, oafish, egotist he is. He was well and truly stuffed with his opposition to BH but he won't let it lie because he's still carping on ... and on ....and on.

Betty Logan said...

I would think that a focused player like Ebdon would benefit from having no interval since he can "zone in" for seven frames rather than just four. The interruption would surely break his concentration.

Anonymous said...

I did laugh at the bit about Ebdon. I don't remember seeing him brush the table during the last phase of the 2002 World final against Hendry!

"I am a clown" - he wasn't wrong was he?

Monique said...

Every time the players play a best of 11 - Masters, semis of "regular" events - or the second session of a best of 19 (8/11) or the final session in the Crucible Final, they potentially play 7 frames without interval after the MSI. I can't remember Ebdon moaning about it though or feeling the urge to brush the table....

Anonymous said...

Its always good to have someone whos not afraid to question things like Ebbo and have different opinions.

Anonymous said...

but now there are even more opporchanceities to play 7 in a row, so he is highlighting it, which hes entitled to.

i agree with his point, though dont think it is that big a deal.

i dont think he was making a big deal about it either

he was asked for his opinion and he gave an honest one

no shame in that.

mon si co

Anonymous said...

Stubborn or stupid? Ebdon is a mystery wrapped in a riddle.

Anonymous said...

I hope Peter will read this blog. Had a laugh about his after match brushing yesterday.

kimball said...

Takes three minutes to brush and block the table.

hegeland said...

I see absolutely no reason to call Ebdon a clown, egoist and what have you.

As a snooker player (which is all I know and, frankly, care about)he is 100% polite, honest and a true gentleman in every sense of the word.

He just happens to have a different opinion than most others regarding a few things in the world snooker. And when asked, he speaks his mind. Now exactly what is wrong with that?

Those of you who participate in name calling, slagging etc., do you do that to people you know when you disagree with them? Of course not! Then why behave any differently elsewhere?

Anonymous said...

We can't debate with Ebdon directly but we can surely debate - and disagree - with what he says.

Nothing wrong with that either.

I can't figure out what goes on inside Ebdon's head but he comes across as a very stubborn man, reluctant to change and not willing to see the positive sides of the changes Barry Hearn has made.

Ebdon probably sees it differently and he has every right to his opinion.

Anonymous said...

Monique does not waste an opportunity to slag off every player when she can, so she can turn the attention off ronnie o'sullivans actions.

Anonymous said...

Ebdon should be grateful for all the new tournaments and opportunities.

They weren't there under the appalling board he served on and supported.

David Caulfield said...

I used really like Peter Ebdon and was very happy when he won the Worlds but a lot of his views are simply childish and shortsighted.

hegeland said...

Yes, well if you say

"I'd like to have an interval after 4 frames and I think it's a very bad idea to elect Barry Hearn"

and I say

"your a slow, chidlish, boring, sour-grapes egoist and what have you, who should just shut up and ps. I hate you"

then I'm not so much debating or disagreeing with you, am I? ;)

Unfortunately this is just the sort of "debating/discussing" what we can read in abundance on this blog's comments and on TSF as well. :)

Anonymous said...

I too think Ebdon is dead wrong too (without the ranking format changes, he may well have not been at the Crucible this year), but as a player who has been around longer than most, he has just as much right to his opinion as everyone else.


Anonymous said...

How strange that ROS and Ebbo are such opposites, yet provoke more opinions and discussion than anyone else! Variety is the spice of life.

Anonymous said...

well dave
ron may play well this week

at home

Anonymous said...

im loving all these tournaments without the rokit. we get to see people who want to be there and they get their chance as the spotlight kid for a DAY or more.

close the door on the way out, ron.

Anonymous said...

Hendon. Please explain to us all how reducing the number of frames played is groundbreaking or new?

In Tennis the French Open is a surface which favours 1 type of player generally. That is real difference. In cricket they have 20/20.

In Snooker we have shot clocks, but the traditionalists won't allow them as part of the main ranking calendar and that is sad. The PTC provides tons of shocks as these formats will when continued.

Ebdon is right about the format.