A peak viewing audience of 6.4m on BBC2 – the biggest snooker figure for years – watched the thrilling conclusion of the Betfred.com World Championship.

Footballers Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen and Labour party leader Ed Miliband were among those waxing lyrical on Twitter.

John Higgins’s dramatic 18-15 victory over the ferociously talented Judd Trump brought the curtain down on a memorable season in which the game was reinvigorated.

No wonder the man responsible, World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn, was all smiles as he stood on the Crucible floor where 30 years earlier he barrelled into Steve Davis after the first of Davis’s six world title triumphs.

Hearn has injected energy, ideas and fun back into snooker, a sport which was allowed to drift on without innovation for years.

He recognises in Trump the game’s new standard bearer: a young, attacking, exciting player who can bring a new fanbase to snooker

His run to the final is what captured the public’s imagination. His style of play is easy on the eye and he now has what it takes to be the game’s new superstar.

I will review the season in greater depth later in the week but the stand out highlights were the German Masters, played amid a wonderful atmosphere in the Berlin Tempodrom, the tightly contested UK Championship final and new innovations such as the World Open and Shootout, which brought something different to the circuit.

Players used to put their cues down for up to four months. The 2011/12 season starts for the main tour members next month.

This season was only the start of the Hearn-led resurgence of snooker. The next will see a prize money hike to around £6m with new tournaments in Thailand, Australia and Brazil.

The future is bright and there is every reason for optimism as we bask in the memory of another great World Championship to complete a fine season on and off the table.


Anonymous said...

Probably the best WC ever(evar!) for me (up to a point but let's not go there again!).

I just hope this sparks some life into the local leagues and gets some new blood into the clubs.

I hope it gets like the mid-90's where I was standing in a bar in Newcastle Bigg market for about 2 hours and virtually EVERY person who walked past was carrying a cue on the way to the Rileys down the street. I can but hope!:-)

Mat Wilson

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't Daniel Wells's name appear in the list of competitors for the Q school, when his face is still being used in the adverts for the same?

Anonymous said...

"Probably the best WC ever(evar!)"

snookerplayer said...

Couldnt agree more Mat, we're already planning a shootout night for our own league next year, and a few other formats too (taking a leaf from Mr Hearn himself)!

Anonymous said...

To sum up the season in short: Barry Hearn is the man! He did what he intended, delivering on all fronts (except of course his incredibly stupid decision to scrap the 147 prize. Why not also scrap the prize for winning tournaments? Rewarding excellence - yeah right..!)

Anyway, thank you Barry. Remember the Walker years and celebrate what we now have!

Anonymous said...

WS haven't updated the rankings yet. Hurry up guys!

Anonymous said...

Dave do you have any news on whether the ptcs will be televised, a good contract for eurosport if they did it because snooker is growing all the time

jamie brannon said...

Dave, have got to ask this as everywhere I read people are declaring John Higgins as the greatest. Ok, not everywhere, but Neil Robertson and Steve Davis.

However, for me, Stephen Hendry is still the greatest. I imagine this is a view you concur with. Although would have to admit - albeit through gritted teeth! - that Higgins is above O'Sullivan in the all-time list, for now, as it is only marginal given O'Sullivan has won more 'Big 3 events'.

It was a fantastic event, arguably the best ever. Great to read about the viewing figures, just emphasises the need for the tournament to remain on the BBC, as you couldn't get viewing figures like that on Sky.

Anonymous said...

Amazing ratings.
Off the top of my head, that's the highest since Paul Hunter won the masters, which also peaked at 6 mil or so.

The decision to start earlier was long overdue. It's all about keeping the ending in prime time so, hopefully, the snooker champ of 15 years can watch it and not have to be sent to bed.

All hail the king Barry Hearn.

Dave H said...

In fairness to Neil he later clarified he meant the greatest he had seen - and he wouldn't have seen Hendry at his best in the 1990s

Anonymous said...

More on the 147 not being rewarded: remember the WSC when Ronnie O'Sullivan and Ali Carter both made maximums? Just look at their reactions after potting the final black and tell me it's not something special!

Hendry almost won 4 ranking events for every 147 he has made. Some players never achieve either. We've had years with zero maximums and years with a handful. It IS special, it SHOULD be rewarded and to not have a special prize reserved for this accomplishment is embarrasing. Wakey, wakey Barry!

Tatannes said...

is that necessary to, once again, talk about the GOAT ?

We have that same boring debate each time a football team or a tennis player wins something.

We had a great tournament on the baize.
No need to talk about the GOAT.

Maybe those commentators, journalists have nothing else interesting to say ?

Betty Logan said...

Steve Davis calls everyone the greatest though. Last year it was Ronnie O'Sullivan, and now it's John Higgins, and he probably would have said it of Judd Trump if he had won. I admire Hendry for not committing on this issue, although if I were him I'd be tempted to say "not Steve Davis"! You can only properly judge who you have seen compete competitively because stats and records and video footage give a skewed overview. Prize money (adjusted for inflation) is probably the most objective indicator, because it places not just a value on winning but a value on the collective talent of the sport: economic factors aside the more money a sport has in it, the more talent it will attract, and the more talent a sport has the more money is needed to sustain it. Davis and Hendry earned much more for their world titles than Joe Davis did for his 15, which probably accurately reflects the sporting "worth" of their wins.

Anonymous said...

I believe John is the best all roung player ever. But the greatest players of all time are still, for now, Hendry, Davis, Reardon and then John Higgins. Although John is definitely in the conversation now. And that is surely honour enough.

Well done John.

Anonymous said...

Best final for years but the tournament overall wasn't great, many of the qualifiers in the first round were particularly disappointing, I don't think there have been so many huge winning margins for years.

Anonymous said...

@anom 3:30

I heard Daniel Wells might enter next year's tour via the spot for Wales.

Hit and Hope said...

Hi Dave,
agree with you, it's been a great season. But I really hope World Snooker can manage to offer some live streaming of the (E)PTC events, that would make the next season even more enjoyable.

Anonymous said...

John's father Alex is the greatest ever snooker player. What a character.

Anonymous said...

How can you let 10:05pm's comment through, shocking!!!

Steve K said...

Ah it's been an amazing season, I picked the right one to start reporting on! My personal highlight had to be the Snooker Shootout, never thought a "mainstream" version of Snooker would be so good and go down so well with the fans and general public.

Anonymous said...

Obvious wum from 10:05PM.

Anonymous said...

I thought the highlight of the season was Power Snooker.

Mat Wilson

Dzierzgul said...

As for maximum break prize: in 2009/2010 season, when there were prizes, only two maximums were made: Mark Selby in Jiangsu Classic and Neil Robertson in China Open. In 2010/2011 season, without prizes, we had seven. I'd say that's not bad. And there still is a prize for highest break of the tournament. Making 147 has nearly always been enough to take it (only exception - UK Championship qualifiers 2004).

So the whole thing isn't really that important. I'm a little surprised that some folks here can squeeze one-two quite general praises for Barry and then go on to criticise him at more lenght about one small detail.

New ranking system, elimination of age restrictions for players, PTCs, German Masters, rebranding Grand Prix into (succesful) World Open, new tournaments next season, National Snooker Week, sponsorship deals for UK Championship and Masters, new broadcast time for WSC final, new broadcasting deals, not messing with formats of most important tournaments, spectacular intros at the final session on Monday and - fingers crossed - Snooker Loopy 2.0. Those are things Hearn, Ferguson and the rest of the team got us. Considering all this: scrapping max prizes - hardly even worth mentioning.

147 said...

Surely the benchmark for the greatest should be how many titles you win and not how much grit you got Davis has seen a bit of himself in Higgins in that they both had a never die attitude and hence his opinion on the best his seen, rubbish really and i think he,ll regreat that in time too come the future of snooker always lay in flare e.g.o sullivan,hurricane,whirlwind,hendry and now maybe trump as well.Davis and his kind always have and always will piggyback on their success thats the truth and the truth hurts sometimes.

Anonymous said...

I´m the one not happy with 147 being relegated to a high break. But I was quite clear in praising Barry Hearn. He is the greatest thing to happen to snooker in god knows how long. It is beyond wonderful that he took control and no one can knock his great accomplishments which has transformed the game in a single year's time. It is amazing.

That said, Barry surely likes to hear constructive criticism. He has made a bad call and I allow myself to address this. 147 is a magical thing and for now part of that magic is gone (rewarding excellence). It is not just another high break, it is, well, a bloody maximum! I will write him myself and plead my case and I am confident he will enjoy feedback, positive as well as negative.

Barry Hearn is the man!

Snooker Fan 2011 said...

Totally agree with Dzierzgul, best seaason in years has got me interested in snooker again after I stopped watching it in 2009

Anonymous said...

any 110 news?

Betty Logan said...

On another subject entirely, how do people rate John Higgins' chances of bagging seven world titles? I can't see him maintaining this level for much longer. Since 1977 when the WC moved to the Crucible and the UK started, not many players aged 35+ have won the long format tournaments. Spencer and Reardon won the first two Crucibles in their 40s, but after that you've only got Dennis Taylor at 36 and Higgins himself at 35. As for the UK, Mountjoy won it at 36 and 46, Terry Griffiths at 35, Peter Ebdon at 36 and Higgins at 35. 35/36 looks like the upper bound on the age for winning the big tournaments. I think seven is probably over-aiming at his current age; I reckon he's got three years left max to win again, and so far he hasn't defended a world title.

Anonymous said...

Steve Davis probably enjoyed the film The Men Who Stare at GOATS.
Each to their own though and I say Hendry is the GOAT.

Anonymous said...

Provisional seedings for UK champs are as follows.(first 2 tourns from 09-10removed)

1 Selby 54005.
2 Williams 53220.
3 Higgins 49860.
4 Ding 46840.
5 Carter 43400
6 Maguire 41660.
7 Murphy 41505.
8 Robertson 40120.
9 Trump 40105
10 Dott 38305.
11 Allen 32825.
12 Ebdon 32000.
13 Stevens 31775
14 Lee 31655.
15 O Sullivan 31000.
16 Gould 30010.

Anonymous said...

Much improved looking top 16. No King, Perry, Mark Davis, Fu or Walden. Bores out. Watchable players in.

Maza said...

looks like india will be hosting a ranking event next year

more great news, if confirmed.

Anonymous said...

Stephen Hendrys A Game he played most of the 90s would have beaten John Higgins over this season quite easy.