A sign of how times have changed is that two televised events are now clashing. As the new International Championship begins on Sunday, the World Seniors Championship is coming to an end.

Seniors snooker has never quite taken off, despite many attempts to establish it in the same way as in golf and tennis.

There was a tournament held in 1985 for all (living) former world champions called the Kit-kat Break for world champions, one of the best names for a tournament ever. Of course, many of these players were not seniors.

In 1991, Barry Hearn promoted a World Seniors Championship in which one great character, Cliff Wilson, beat another, Eddie Charlton, 5-4.

In 1997, a Seniors Pot Black was held and shown on the BBC. Joe Johnson was the winner.

In 2000, the Royal Automobile Club in London staged a seniors masters, won by Willie Thorne.

But the concept never really caught on. Part of the problem is that though many people like to remember these older stars of snooker, they prefer to remember them as they once were.

Ultimately people go to tournaments to watch high quality action, not players who can’t produce the form they once could.

Snooker loves to go on about the ‘good old days.’

There is a difference between nostalgia – the rosy-eyed romanticising of the past – and heritage, which is a chronicling and respect for what has gone before.

Snooker has for too long been nostalgic for years gone by without realising what it has had at any given present.

In the 1980s, the sport was made for late night highlights but many of these largely tactical matches would frankly bore a generation brought up on the all out attacking game.

Standards have risen as the nature of how snooker is played has changed.

This is not to do down the World Seniors Championship, but the event itself has a somewhat confused format.

Nigel Bond is the highest ranked player in the tournament and yet had to win three matches to qualify while other players who haven’t played professionally for years were seeded straight through.

Some of these are world champions, which is fair enough, but others are not.

If Sky is televising the event then certain concessions have to be made but a shot-clock for these old stagers seems almost disrespectful.

Last year, the rules were messed about with so much that there was a farcical interlude in which the referee, John Williams, had to get them out of his pocket and explain them to Steve Davis and John Parrott live on air.

I think it’s right that matches are short early on but a world final should be longer than a best of three.

These are all opinions, not criticisms. I’m sure many will enjoy the tournament for what it is. It’s a chance to see up close some of the players who helped make snooker so popular on television.

But perhaps the truth is this: modern snooker is now in such a strong state that we no longer have to look to the past to reassure ourselves how good the game is.


Peter Williams said...

Yes, I agree 100% that Ngel Bond shouldn't have had to play in the qualifying round, because, if he hadn't, I wouldn't have had to play against him in the first round! As there were only 28 of us at the qualifying stages and ALL matches are just the best of three frames, it's a great shame that the whole tournament couldn't have been played all at once in Portsmouth next weekend because NO qualifying was actually necessary!

Anonymous said...

No John Parrott?

kildare cueman said...

Surely nobody seriously treats this as a credible world championship. It is an exhibition event, in the same way that the shootout is.

I think it would be better served if it was done as a masters style event, with 8 or 12 invited players, all non tour of course.

Nobody wants to watch Bond or Ebdon in this type of event. Characters from the past are what should be represented, with early matches best of 5 and later ones best of 7. Coverage could be delayed by a couple of hours to cut out the turgid stuff.

Anonymous said...

Golf Senior Tours work because golf courses can be altered and manipulated to suit the competitors. Holes can be made longer or shorter, fairways wider or more narrow, rough cut short or left to grow long... so many variables to adjust the difficulty a course is playing. Seniors can still shoot in the low 60s on some courses and make it enjoyable and entertaining viewing for the paying customer.

If they made the pockets more generous, made matches best of 7/9 and saw a few centuries then people would be a lot more likely to support the event. Make the pockets bigger and give the old boys a chance of stringing a few balls together!

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous at 12.01

Very valid point about the golf, but I think it's fair to say if they made the pockets any bigger than they did last year, some of the players might be in danger of falling in.

edd147 said...

I think you have a point with the shot clock Dave... How much is it? 60 seconds? Some safety shots especially from someone like Cliff Thornburn take more than a minute to think about.. Also best of three final is very short... But on the other hand, we should be grateful that Sky sports made it happen...

Anonymous said...

The KIT KAT tournament was held at Nottingham University Conference Centre.

I paid to watch S Davis v D Taylor - I recall it being a poor match, the audience were really expecting an exhibition match not a slog.

Afterwards they both signed autographs for anybody who wanted them. My signed poster is still stuck on the door of my storeroom.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately there seems to be no coverage on liveworldsnooker.tv. So only the viewers in the UK will be able to watch it (legal).

Anonymous said...

9.22. are u saying that if u hadnt played Bondy u would have qaulified. U use a tip that doesnt require chalk so i dont think playing Nigel was responsible for ure exit from the event .

Anonymous said...

seems like they were fcuking nigel about.

Anonymous said...

It's the year of Bond. I've stuck my entire student loan on him to win. Don't let me down Nige.

jamie brannon said...

I don't see why people are that worried about what this event stands for. It's just a fun knockabout event.

There's nothing wrong with a bit of nostalgia as long as you realise that snooker still has plenty to offer now.

I'm someone who loves looking back at the history of game and getting excited over past moments, but remain of the belief that the game is in great shape and has an exciting future if the right decisions are made.

Who are these people who hark on about 'good old days'? Journalists who don't want to even engage with the possibility that snooker still has stuff to offer. I say, ignore the ignorant and let us enjoy the past, present and future.

Anonymous said...

Bye bye tuition fees! God bless Nigel Bond.