A squawking crow could be heard somewhere in the Bendigo arena yesterday and tomorrow’s final will feature the Hawk.
At his fifth time of asking in a ranking event semi-final, Barry Hawkins today reached his first final with a high quality 6-4 victory over Mark Davis.
Hawkins is nicely settled in his private life having just got married and, judging by his suntan, the honeymoon was not spent in his native Kent.
This personal contentment may well have taken some of the pressure off the world of professional snooker. Also, Hawkins landed £32,000 last season for winning the Shootout, a televised event played against the clock.
Regardless of the nature of this tournament, it must have given him a boost of confidence, not to say bank balance.
The clock will tick away to its heart’s content when Peter Ebdon gets stuck in as he attempts to win a tenth ranking title, which would take him level on the all time list with Jimmy White in joint sixth place.
But Ebdon’s sedate pace of play isn’t why he’s in the final. You can play as slow as you like but you still have to pot the balls that matter.
He’s there because he isn’t missing much. He seems to have played better as the week has gone on.
Ebdon has only beaten Hawkins once in six ranking event meetings. But few players have greater self belief or deeper reserves of mental energy.
All that organic carrot juice seems to have made him even tougher, as if that were possible.
If Hawkins wins then it will be similar to last year when Stuart Bingham triumphed: a first time win for a popular player who has more than put the years in.
The crowd for the last couple of days has been excellent. The Australian snooker community get one chance a year to see the sport close-up and have embraced it.
Why? Because they are fans of the game, not cheerleaders for particular players. Neil Robertson’s exit, though disappointing, made no difference.
Let’s hope they get a final as absorbing as last year’s.