Judd Trump is the latest star to shine in snooker’s glittering firmament but for all the attention cuemen such as he attracts the test of a player is what they achieve on the table.

Trump’s performance today in winning the williamhill.com UK Championship was at times breathtaking. His shot-making, flair and courage under pressure mark him out as the standard bearer for the new era.

He has helped get people talking about snooker again. Who could fail to be entertained by the way he plays the game?

Nobody can say for sure who will win the World Championship. The example of Jimmy White tells us this.

What we can say is that Trump will go to the Crucible next spring as one of the big favourites to land the greatest prize of them all. That he is good enough to is not in doubt.

I first saw him play when he was ten. He won the English under 15 national title at Gateshead and needed the rest for every other shot.

The following day he lost in the English under 13 final and took it badly. This was a good early sign. Even at that age snooker clearly mattered. This was not just a hobby.

When he was 13 I saw him beat Mike Hallett 4-1 to win the spring Open at Pontin’s in Prestatyn.

I suspect he remains the only winner of this huge pro-am to celebrate by going on the swings.

I knew then that he was special. It wasn’t just his talent. There was something in his manner. He was dedicated and seemed to believe in himself. He wasn’t going to be the type to waste what he had.

Much of this is of course down to his family. His father Steve drove young Judd up and down the motorways of the UK every weekend to junior tournaments, in particular those organised by Malcolm Thorne in the East Midlands.

They enabled Trump to improve and get used to competition snooker. He formed friendships and rivalries with players he would encounter in time on the professional circuit.

I never doubted he would make an impact as a pro, but the year he has had has been beyond all expectations.

What has impressed me is the way he has developed his all round game. He has good tactical knowledge, as he displayed in winning the China Open, and is comfortable on the big stage, not shrinking from the limelight but embracing it.

Like most players he suffered some early setbacks on the main tour. The free flowing snooker he had always played was in short supply in the qualifiers, where hard-as-nails seasoned players kept him glued to the back cushion and frustrated him.

It was an apprenticeship all players must serve but led some to question whether he had been over-hyped.

In fact, Trump developed at his own pace. He enjoyed good practice facilities at Keynsham Snooker Centre and support from Derek Curnow but, like many of his age, wanted to reach out on his own.

He moved to Romford where he practises at The Grove and shares a house with Jack Lisowski.

He could not have chosen a better sparring partner than Jack, a level-headed young man dedicated to his snooker.

The image of the ‘playboys’ is mainly ironic. I’m sure they do enjoy themselves – as they should – but snooker clearly comes first.

But he has overcome his early shyness and developed into a confident talker, at ease with the media and their growing demands.

Judd seems to have good people around him. It will be hard not to let some of the attention and adoration go to his head, but in my experience a snooker club is a place where you will soon be given a reality check if you start believing your own publicity.

The tabloids will have their fun with him but the truth about Trump is that he is a nice young man, close to his family, who enjoys playing snooker.

And he is unbelievably good at it.

That Mark Allen could play as well as he did, making four centuries and still losing, shows how impressive a display it was.

With success comes negatives too. He will inevitably invite jealousy, carping about minor things, judgements from those who have never met him, hangers-on and those who want a piece of him for the wrong reasons. But the positives far outweigh all this. He is inspiring people who may have drifted away from snooker or never much been interested before.

The best part of it is this: if Trump’s professional career were a day it would still be morning.

There is still so much more to accomplish.


David Caulfield said...

"The best part of it is this: if Trump’s professional career were a day it would still be morning."

Great line!

kildare cueman said...

Great win and great final. I fancied him early. World final then that match with O.Sullivan in the PTC final. Will be collecting a nice few quid tomorrow courtesy of Boylesports 14-1.

Think himself and Allen will both be regular winners.

Looks like Hearn got it right again reducing the matches to best of 11. I havent seen as much interest since the 80's. Next Sheffield PTC will be a bit of an anti climax. Could be a good weekend for lower ranked players. Can't see the top players killing themselves practising til after Christmas.

Anonymous said...

i live in Ireland and play club snooker and i can remember maybe five or six years ago talking about how good ding junhui is and a guy in the club said there is a youngster called judd trump who is amazing like ronnie or jimmy..and he is the world championship final was no fluck.I was up for Allen cause he is Irish but a big trump fan. I think he will win the masters only if he practices over xmas and doesnt party to hard with his 100k..I was skeptical about the shorter format but now i love it,,it worked...will he win over 20 ranking touraments thats the big question...??

Betty Logan said...

Fantastic final, a bit of a relief after what were poor semis. Allen made four centuries—should have been five—and still lost, I wonder how often that has happened? Could have done without Hazel coming over all Mrs Robinson at the end though...

Gerard said...

Nice piece, Dave.

And nice piece Stephen Hendry, during the interval yesterday, especially his point on the change snooker has made the last 5 years. Makes me wonder what snooker will be like 5 years from now.

Good to see BBC pay some attention to the stuff that's been going on, though it would have been nice if Steve, Sthephen and John had said NOT to tinker with the World Championship at all.

Tony_C said...

Well written piece again.

Thoroughly enjoyed the final which every much lived up to its billing and for all the talk about the reduced format in the early rounds, this fine championship got the final it deserved.

As impressed as I was with Trump, as I seem to be every time he plays, I think Mark Allen can take a lot of credit out of this final.

It does after all take 2 players to make a classic final and after his 'press' during the week for other reasons, he showed that on the table he is a class act and a Trump/Allen rivalry over the years to come is an exciting prospect.

In fact, I will go as far to say that earlier in the week I thought of Allen as a 'gobby so and so'. I'd readily admit that this was as wrong an assessment as it was unfair and whilst at times he could and probably should think before opening his mouth, he is honest and he is a character.

So many moan that there are no characters in Snooker and yet we get affronted when one comes along. Allen and Trump are both characters in their different ways and (I said this on a post a week or so ago and I shall say it again) this is why it has never been a better time to be a Snooker fan.

These two young men did their sport proud.

Already looking forward to Sheffield, of course there are many tournaments to come before that (something we've not been able to say in recent years!).

Anonymous said...

Especially nice and naughty was Judd's pot of red below the pack of reds via crossdouble to right center pocket:)

Ray said...

Snooker showed yet again yesterday what a magical sport it is. For me, the ultimate sportsman is a genius who has humility..... and Judd ticks all the boxes. I hope he never changes because he is a credit to his family and to the sport and will be for many years to come. I can't wait for the Masters to watch more of his sheer brilliant brand of "naughty" snooker. Snooker rules OK.

Ollie said...

Was anyone else yesterday getting really annoyed with Dennis Taylor and Hazel Irvine talking about Trump winning "his first major title"? He won the China Open for goodness' sake. Not that the BBC appear to realise that there are any other tournaments apart from the World, Masters and UK.

Anonymous said...

Good summary Dave, Both Judd and Mark took snooker to a new level yesterday, their scoring, potting,
breakbuilding and sporting attitude was a credit to both themselves and the game. A new standard has been shown for others to meet. Well done to everyone concerned with these two remarkable young men.

kildare cueman said...

2.27, I was just thinking about the similarities between Ding and Trump's progression in the pro ranks. Both won a tournament in China and the UK.

Dings career seems to have levelled off a bit now so it will be interesting to see if Trump will continue to accelerate to greater heights.

I think Ding had a better all round game and temperament than Trump prior to his mauling by O'Sullivan in the Masters but Trump still has time to improve on his position and safety.

Betty, I agree with your comment re Hazel. She is a negative in the Beebs excellent package.

Hendry is a very good analyst and Davis is usually interesting. I feel Doherty is cliched and dull and says what he thinks the BBC wants him to say. Parrotts not too far behind.

Ollie, I noticed that too. Couldn't believe the arrogance. The BBC commentators think the season is only starting now.

jamie brannon said...

I don't see why every ranking event in snooker is classec as a major.

In golf and tennis you only have four majors. It is universally agreed that the UK, world and Masters titles are coveted above all others, and it's these events that deserve the major status tag. Other ranking events should be as big events.

The fact there on the BBC does add a certain amount of prestige, and if you listen to the players they also are extra keen to do well in BBC events, as it gives them extra exposure, and there's more of a buzz around the BBC events in the UK at least.

Betty Logan said...


The China Open is just a ranking title, while the WC, Masters and UK are the "majors" in snooker i.e the triple crown events. However I question whether there is a triple crown now, because the UK is hardly distinguishable from the China Open other than a two session semi, and I wonder how long that will last.

OK, so tickets sales were 50% up which is great, but I wonder how that compares to the ticket sales in York during the first half of the decade; the decline seemed to come with the move to Telford and the snow storm last year didn't help. I'm a big believer in that if you go some place where people actually want to watch the snooker then they'll watch it regardless of whether it is one or two sessions.

odds-n-sods.com said...

Perhaps it's just me but I thought Judd played better at the World Champs and the recent PTC. I would say that he was only at 60 per cent yesterday but still won pretty convincingly. I don't read too much into the 10-8 scoreline, yes Allen played well but a lot of those frames were won when the pressure was off and Judd seemed to lose his concentration. When it started to get close again Judd turned it on again and crossed the line. I don't really see Allen as a future big rival for Judd, Ding Junhui and Neil Robertson will be the big rivals.

jamie brannon said...

There's a journalist guy called Karim Fatih on twitter who has lauded Mark Allen for standing up against Barry Hearn's attempt to basically make the players prostitutes.

He exact tweet was: "I take my hat off to @mark-allen-for standing up to Barry Hearn. More sportsmen should speak out against the prostitution of their work."

It's a comment that in many workplaces would have some strong credence, but felt in this instance it was nonsense, and said to him if you realised the postive stuff Hearn is doing then he would see Allen's comments as such.

jamie brannon said...

Fact of the day: O'Sullivan and Williams have never met in a BBC final. Strange but true.

kimball said...

Well 1:05, it was not new levels and it was not new standards, but absolutely a classic and for me the biggest winner is Mark Allen, who did not crumble, overcame personal problems, played out of his skin and
made you remember Paul Hunter Master
classic performances.
As Judd Trump said -" had it been a longer distance, Mark would have won 100-10!"
To me both players went to a new level as professionals.

Anonymous said...

judd will win more rankers than ronnie, easily

Anonymous said...

naughty naughty. very naughty

Gerard said...

Yes, there are only 3 big ones. But tinkering with one of them may be the beginning of the end for the triple crown. BBC is like Barry Hearn: they give themselves too much credit. And they shouldn't have ignored China like that. Which brings me to my 'UK only' point again: messages I regularly see on the BBC website: "Available to UK users only" and "Cannot play media. Sorry, this media is not available in your territory".

Time for more big events, off the island, out of the box.

Anonymous said...

Great final, credit to Trump and Allen, and the new format has slightly won me over. Could have done without the BBC dismissing Trump's China victory- without that no World final or UK title.

And Williams and O'Sullivan met in the Grand Prix final in 2ooo Jamie.

Anonymous said...


Mark Alllen is no Paul Hunter.

Anonymous said...

For those on the blog who regard the Masters as a major please note that no ranking points are awarded for the masters. It's a money only tournament for the top 16 and two wild cards.The BBC's other 'major' was the Grand Prix which they abandoned a couple of years ago so they only have two, the world and the U.K.

The Blog said...

According to Wilkipeida - not always reliable - the Grand Prix (now the World Open) returns next year. The BBC will not be broadcasting it.

Betty Logan said...


The Masters is called a "major" basically because it was one of the historic three televised tournaments from the 70s. Obviously that type of prestige eroded over the 80s, but in the modern sense I think being a "major" is less to do with ranking points or even money (even though both are factors in the added pressure they introduce) and more to do with the challenge they present to the players. The World and UK had longer formats, whereas the Masters presents a tougher field: each player has to beat four other world class players to lift the trophy, and if you look at the history of the tournament the roll of honour is more illustrious than the world championship. Would anyone truly say it's tougher to win the Grand Prix (hello Chris Small/Dominic Dale/Marco Fu) than it is to win the Masters? Every winner of the Masters bar Mountjoy and McManus had a spell in the top 4 of the rankings, and both of those were in the top 6 at some point. Basically the Masters has never been won by a player who isn't a class act, and that's what makes it a "major" in the modern sense of the word.

p.s. the Grand Prix (aka World Open) is returning, although it is not guaranteed; according to the calendar it will hopefully be taking place February-March in Hainan, presumably replacing the Hainan Classic from last season.

kimball said...

Hi 10.14

Of course there are few similarities
between Paul Hunter and Mark Allen,
what I tried to say, was the way Mark
Allen came in the zone and never missed a ball for five frames and played with bottle and laserfocus
reminded me of Paul Hunter in his Masters wins.

Anonymous said...

The UK used to be similar to the WC, before 93, but it somehow kept that status untill now. The media, BBC particularly, will keep this image of a true 'major' alive, but in reality there is only one true major title left. I must agree with all the comments about golf and tennis - there is a need for more major events. Make the German Masters, Shanghai Masters, China Open, Australian open and Antwerp PTC(?) bigger: change them to best of 17's with a best of 25 final. Spread the 6 new majors evenly over the calander and let BH pump his BS into the rest of the calender, which players may or may not elect to play in. Hope this is all part of his 5 year plan :D

kimball said...

Where will snooker be in five years time???
A very good question and the answer
will probably tilt UK fans upside down.
In the pipeline are three more Chinese rankingtournamnent + six APTC
What will it mean? Probably three one month blocks of snooker in Asia.
One block consisting of 2 RT + 2 APTC and the QUALIFICATION for the rankingtournaments!!
Add India 2013 and Antwerpen 2013 + sit back and wait for China to dream up a Masters Mega final.
World Cup will be in Thailand 2013 +2015.
If then Barry Hearn restart the Brazilian project with a shootout serie open for everybody + page 3
chicks from Imapena and rock&roll,
then we are truly going global.
Sadly nobody trusts the Russians, otherwise a huge market.

Ray said...

I agree with Kildare Cueman. Surely if Ronnie chose to go and see Ray Reardon and Del Hill to improve his safety game to a higher standard then Judd could also benefit from doing the same. We are not talking about any old safety but putting the cue ball in the most difficult place for his opponent to hit. He may have taken so long to break through because his style of play was a "go for everything" attitude.
I really love the way he plays and his tremendous potting must make it so hard to focus on anything other than that. But even he would admit that when his timing is off and he is not playing well he can look like a novice down the club just thrashing at the balls. e.g. parts of the match against Dominic Dale.
So I hope he acquires a top class safety game and a great understanding of angles to get out of snookers because this will enable him to win many world titles and countless tournaments. This is meant as constructive criticism as no one wants him to succeed more ..... he is the future of snooker, a proper sportsman and comes across as a great bloke.

jamie brannon said...

Anon- Thanks for spoiling the fact of the day!

It's still surprising that no meeting in the final of the 'big 3' events.

I think people are fannying on about the BBC dismissing Trump's China Open victory far too much.

Firstly, it is incorrect to say that they did, as throughout his run it was mentioned a few times.

In addition, Trump himself said that winning this was a bigger deal than winning the China Open. This is why sometimes people refer to the Masters, world championship and UK Championship as the majors, to underline the extra prestige attached to the aforementioned events.

I don't think the BBC had any intention to denigrate the China Open win by saying this was Trump's first major. The China Open is still a big tournament.

I've gone on Facebook to defend Barry Hearn, but one small point: Hearn should be attending the second biggest event on the calendar. You wouldn't get Michel Platini failing to attend Uefa's biggest finals.

However, the gripes about Hearn's leadership need to stop. I've never been more excited about where snooker is heading, and this is in part down to the Hearn revolution which has helped to eradicate the stagnation that was crippling it's potential growth.

Betty Logan said...

I tend to agree Jamie, but the violent reaction to the UK changes will at least make him think twice before tinkering with the WC. Mark Allen may well have saved the WC format this week, because Barry Hearn knows that some of the players aren't going to take it lying down.

Generally Barry Hearn has initiated many positive changes in the game, but nobody gets it right 100% of the time, which is why everyone needs to be accountable to somebody.

Betty Logan said...

This is England started with a montage of all the iconic images from 1988, and guess what was the only sport to feature...

Anonymous said...

jamie, ill gripe all i want

because you disagree with other peoples opinions doesnt mean they need to stop having them, or sharing them.

get real !!

Anonymous said...

Brannon - is Judd your new favourite player yet or doesn't he play sexy snooker like O'Sullivan?

Betty Logan said...

Did anyone know this about Power Snooker:


Apparently Ronnie got an appearance fee of 25k for Power Shite, while the other players only got 3k. Neil Robertson isn't too happy about it. Personally I think there are two ways of looking at it: i) More money for one player means less in prize money for the others; and ii) if it weren't for that one player, the event wouldn't be staged and the other players wouldn't get any money at all.

A similar debate revolves around golf and the appearance fee Tiger Woods gets, with some saying he should only get prize money like the others, while some players have defended it saying that overall it has led to more tournaments, more earning opportunities, and the players have seen their income increase overall.

Personally I have no problem with Ronnie exploiting his true market worth, and maybe Ronnie would have attended more overseas events if the sponsors had been allowed to pay him an appearance fee. I think Neil Robertson should be grateful that there is a player in the game who can persuade sponsors to invest in the sport, and on that basis accept Ronnie has a right to a greater cut of the revenue. I mean, players get personal sponsors and no-one expects that to be shared around as prize money, so appearance fees aren't that different really.

Anonymous said...

Surely a "walk-on" song to reflect Judd's exciting style of play is "You ain't seen nothing yet" by Bachman Turner Overdrive.

Anonymous said...

Robertson has a cheek. Hes made a fortune from boring snooker. Nobody would even notice if he wasnt in a tournament. The only thing he has going for him is hes not british.

jamie brannon said...

No, Ronnie O'Sullivan still plays an even naughtier brand of snooker!

Anonymous said...

'The best part of it is this: if Trump’s professional career were a day it would still be morning.'

If Trump's professional career was a game of poker the blinds would just be going up with the first player knocked out.

Anonymous said...

Trump was lucky to beat O'Sullivan.

Anonymous said...

jamie brannon said...
No, Ronnie O'Sullivan still plays an even naughtier brand of snooker!

2:07 PM


what utter rubbish

he hasnt won a proper full ranking event for close to 2 and a half years.

hes only done well in small ptc events (which have much less pressure as shown by the 147 count) and in the events played to suit him [PL and powersh*te]

if your opinion was that he was naughtier, that may have been allowed to stand as opinion, but to say STILL is just nonsense.

503 is obviously looking for a bite. NO FISHES HERE!

Anonymous said...

Dave, could you set up a simple IQ test for readers wanting to post?

two different pass marks. one for normal people and one for ronnie fans?


Hi David Great event, apart from the fact, Clive Everton was not in the BBC commentary box, for one single session of play.

Judd Trump- nAUGHTY SNOOKER? Great play, great victory. Eell done.