Hala Sportowo-Widowiskowa is the roll-off-the-tongue venue for the Gdynia Open, event two of the Betfair European Tour which, to complicate matters further, is also part of the Players Tour Championship.

The idea for the European Tour is to build up a series of events across Europe into big tournaments.

Those who snipe at Eurosport would do well to realise that there would be no European Tour without the channel. There would be no German Masters either.

When television viewers see snooker, large numbers want to watch it. They become fans.

What’s refreshing in Europe is that they have only started watching snooker in the last few years and so are fans of the game as it is now rather than endlessly harking back to the ‘golden days’ where the sun always shone, you could leave your front door open and Tony Meo was always on the TV.

The Gdynia Open has already been played down to 32 players and it’s a good mix of big names, a few old stagers and some newer faces.

On paper, the match of the first round pits John Higgins, fresh from his remarkable Shanghai Masters triumph, against Ding Junhui, who in Poland will not have the forbidding pressure of home expectation.

Higgins and Ding are among a number of big hitters making the trip to Poland. Other favourites for the title include Mark Selby, who won ET1, Stephen Maguire, Neil Robertson, Stuart Bingham and Graeme Dott.

It’s also a chance for some of those lower down the rankings to show us what they can do.

Michael Wasley is a first season professional from Gloucester who will face Maguire live on television in the last 32.

This is what it’s all been about for players such as Wasley: all the hours of practice, all the preparation.

Players feel like proper professionals when they play on TV. It’s a shop window in which they can showcase their considerable skills.

Michael will I’m sure receive the usual advice: enjoy the experience, you have nothing to lose.

In fact, he has a match to lose, and nobody enjoys the experience of losing. But it’s a learning curve for him either way. If he wins it’s a career high, if he loses he can examine what went wrong later on video (do people still watch videos?).

Good luck to him and all the rest. For Polish snooker fans this is a once-a-year chance to see professional snooker up close.

Tomorrow’s live TV matches are:
Andy Hicks v Liang Wenbo
Stephen Maguire v Michael Wasley
Jimmy White v Dave Harold
Mark Selby v Fergal O’Brien
Neil Robertson v Jamie Jones


Anonymous said...

Looking forward to watching it. Anyone who has a go at Eurosport needs to remember that in the UK prior to Eurosport and post ITV we had just 4 tournaments a year on TV (on the BBC).

And if the final's not live on Sunday, for the price of a pint of Lager you can watch it online.

wild said...

What’s refreshing in Europe is that they have only started watching snooker in the last few years and so are fans of the game as it is now rather than endlessly harking back to the ‘golden days’ where the sun always shone, you could leave your front door open and Tony Meo was always on the TV.

Spot on

Snooker in Britain is the victim of it own success and instead of embracing a brand new Snooker World it seems people are looking at things through rose coloured tints instead of Moving on with a Exciting Game as it is Today.

Standard of play might not be better or it might be better but for my money there's no denying it is a Better Competitive Game today.

Daniel said...

Any thoughts Dave on the BBC cutting back it's red button service to just one channel on all platforms?

Be bit of a blow for the World Championships, but I gather all streams will still be on the BBC website.

Anonymous said...

Oh dave, please dont mistake sniping for ( constructive ) criticism.

i post as much on here about whats good about ES, as well as having a go at whats not so good.

sniping just seemed a bit dirty...

Dave H said...

Daniel - I kind of mentioned that yesterday when I wrote about snooker disappearing from view in the UK

Anonymous said...


Your reference to the 'sniping' of Eurosport is somewhat harsh, and once again the journalism that is coming from you in relation to the channel is evidently biased - i.e. yes, mention the good things, the tournaments it covers, as you frequently do - but you NEVER comment on its general shoddy production, cutting off of matches, and lack of coverage of finals - surely the number of folk on the blogs commenting about it says that there is a clear point here and it's not an outlandish view of just one or two - all folk would like it fair and equal views of the channel, either comment on it fully and fairly or not at all.

Anonymous said...

Why would the guy shaft his career on a free blog? If it were a choice between blogging for free or paid commentating what do you think he should choose? Duh...

Anonymous said...

Well you know the solution don't blog about that as an issue then. If it was a Board meeting Dave would have to make a declaration of interest, and he should do so in any opinions he offers upon it.

jamie brannon said...

I think ultimately we should be grateful for what both Eurosport and the BBC have done for snooker over the years.

Yes, both channels are not immune from criticism, but don't see loads of other broadcasters queueing up to broadcast this great sport.

The red button thing means you don't get to choose the table, but you can only watch a table at a time. In addition, both tables are still online. During the afternoon, you will still get an option as the main BBC2 show will be on air.

It's time we stopped moaning all the time about the schedules and appreciate what these two broadcasters have done for the sport, i.e helped keep it going.

Anonymous said...

You are having a laugh if you're trying to compare Eurosport's coverage with the BBC's, it's like night and day in terms of professionalism, presentation, and quality of coverage for the viewer.