What did we learn from day one of the PTC grand finals in Galway yesterday?

Chiefly, that there will be some late nights this week. Of the six matches, two finished 4-0 and yet play still didn’t finish until midnight.

The finals are following the same format as the European Tour events with six matches a day but in those tournaments the first couple of games are usually slaps – a top pro against an amateur – whereas in Galway it’s top players competing for a six figure first prize in a series of competitive matches so it’s going to take longer. Much longer.

In some ways it is desirable to have snooker all day long. Nobody has to watch it all but it’s there to dip in and out of. However, if people are going to bed before the day’s play is done then that is less desirable.

Mark Selby, usually so reliable in deciders, was anything but as he was beaten 4-3 by Jack Lisowski in last night’s last match.

Credit must go to Lisowski. I remember talking to him last year after he lost 4-0 to Neil Robertson and he admitted to having been overawed by the occasion of playing a top player live on television.

But all players must learn from such experiences and Jack has won TV matches this season and is now definitely one to follow this week.

Joe Swail, yet again, produced a comeback both unlikely and enthralling as he beat Stephen Maguire 4-3 having trailed 3-0.

This was the latest in a long line of Swail recoveries. One of them is little known but a result Maguire still rates as one of his most disappointing.

It came in the final qualifying round of the 2000 World Championship. Maguire was in his first season as a professional and, leading 9-6, needed just the pink to a middle pocket to qualify for the Crucible.

He missed it and Swail beat him 10-9. It isn’t unlikely that this was somewhere in Maguire’s mind yesterday as Swail was coming back at him.

Swail has entered the WPBSA member's stage of World Championship qualifying. If anyone is going to have a run through the qualifiers from this starting point it's the Belfast man.

Otherwise, Neil Robertson was professionalism exemplified in recovering to beat Jamie Burnett 4-2 and Mark Allen, seeking to become the first player to win back-to-back ranking titles in the same season for ten years, potted the pressure balls to see off Mark Davis 4-0.

Two main points of interest today: John Higgins and Ali Carter, both ranking title winners this season, meet each other and Judd Trump, who needs two more centuries to break Selby’s seasonal record, is up against Alfie Burden.

I predict this match will help reduce the backlog of matches through it’s brevity – whatever the score.


Anonymous said...

The beauty of Eurosport's coverage yesterday was that you could do just what Dave says - dip in & out without worrting whether it would be on or not. Excellent work - keep it up.

Anonymous said...

Galway Wednesday 10am

More crowd atmosphere at 10am than at any time in China 2 weeks ago.

John H said...

I remember being at Preston to watch the qualifiers in 2000 and was captivated by the Maguire v Swail match. It was a superb standard all day and Maguire showed remarkable poise in pressure situations. Joe of course went all the way to the Semi-finals at the crucible that year. Thanks for helping revive happy memories.

Anonymous said...

could be a late finish tonght ....

Anonymous said...

Idiotic camera work / direction yet again !

Total obsession with switching cameras. Coupled with the fact that the camera operators obviously know nothing about snooker other than occasionally balls drop in to pockets, makes for very poor coverage.

Anonymous said...

Players needn't complain about kicks as long as they continue to pick balls out of the pockets with their sweaty, greasy hands at the end of the frame. Better leaving it to the cotton gloved ref.

Anonymous said...

If Graeme Dott can win the WC, Jimmy still has every chance !

Ray said...

As you said Dave, these big bounces are happening too much.Perhaps we'll never find an answer to why kicks happen but there is no reason why Star Table manufacturers can't eradicate the bounce problems - where is their quality control? Are they really the "Rolls Royce" of tables for professional snooker?

Anonymous said...

The camera issue arises lot on these blogs.
There is some validity. Watched Ronnie's 5:20 maximum from '97 recently and how the break benefited having, with very few exceptions, a pretty much static view of the table. These days we would see three different views before the shot is played. Player's eyes, addressing the cue ball, zoom in of ball falling into pocket.
Keep the static view and let's see all the skill involved in all shots.


Hi David. Another great day's play, in my view, still to be concluded.

Lawler did well, to beat Cao Yupeng, 4-2.

Ding did well, to come from 3-1 down, to beat Higginson, 4-3.

Xiao Guodong did well, to beat Graeme Dott, 4-1.

Allister cater and John Higgins, both played superbly. Carter won, 4-2.

Alfie Burden did great, to beat Judd trump, 4-3.

The Ken Doherty .V. Kurt Maflin game, is still going on, at this moment, with, Yourself, and our friend, colleague, and my snooker coach, Joe Johnson, commentating for Eurosport. I am now watching, with the score currently at 2-1, to maflin. We will be burning the midnight oil. I will continue my analysis on the Doherty .V. Maflin match, at some point tomorrow.

A great Day's play, Not over yet, and that will run into, tomorrow for sure.

I will enjoy the rest of the Doherty .V. Maflin game, to it's conclusion. As, I hope, You, and Joe Johnson, do, in the Eurosport commentary box.

I also, can not wait, for more action, from this event, tomorrow.


Hi David. I left my report on the Doherty .V. Maflin game, at 2-1, to Maflin. A century break, for Doherty, in frame one. Breaks of 86 and 89, for maflin, in frames two, and three.

A slower pace, to frame four. A 45 break, for Maflin, gave him it, and a 3-1 lead.

Doherty won frame five. 3-2, to Maflin. Maflin won frame six, to claim a 4-2 win, at about 1.05am.

You mentioned, in commentary, earlier, about Joe Johnson's match, aginst Peter Ebdon, it was in the 1996 Sweater Shop International Open. Due to a planning blunder, did not start, until 12.08am, so our friend and colleague, Phil Yates told me. It did not finish, until 4.31am, as Phil Yates, again, told me. Joe Johnson won that match, 5-4.

You also said, in commentary, earlier, about this 2013 P.T.C. Grand Finals, being the 250th ranking event, to be staged. The first was the 1976 World Championsip, I believe. Am I correct?

I can not wait for more, tomorrow, or, as it is now, later today.

Anonymous said...

Crazy scheduling again, trying to cram so many games in on 1 table during the day. You're just asking for trouble, and with the local hope Doherty not starting to after 11pm last night I believe, a great many would have missed it, me included. Could they not have started this event on Monday and spread the matches out?? Or have an open plan 2 tables for the early round, so people can can get more value for money and be able to watch 2 games and we can have some sensible scheduling times that are more likely to start when advertised.

Anonymous said...

re 9:37 producers were telling the cameramen to focus on the players eyes as early as 1981 when I started watching

Isnt just you who keeps calling for a static view?

kimball said...

With this matchtempo, trouble is
building fot tonight, it allready looks like Allen - Swail will be a non show on Eurosport.
Regarding bounces,this table is exceptionally erattic but a bit of a one off.I suppouse they still use "Northern Rubber" but maybe it is outsourced to Taiwan and the normal mix of old garbagebags and
scraps mixed into the product.

Anonymous said...

Kicks - Dave, were there still frequent kicks/bad contacts in the pre super crystalate balls era? Before 1972 I believe. (I assume they are still using these balls today). From reading old match reports from the 70's etc, I can't ever recall any mention of bad contacts etc. I assume it may have something to with the balls being lighter these days. If so, with the much faster shaved clothes today than before, I'm sure todays players would adapt very quickly to a slightly heavier ball and be able to play the same array of shots etc.

Anonymous said...

9.37 I don't agree with keeping the static view, it's outdated and to plain. I have seen some great new side on views of the table in previous weeks showing better views of players cueing etc although I didn't like the constant over-head shots they were frequently showing in the Shoot-out event in Blackpool. Personally I think during frames a commentator should perhaps anayalse a players cue action in slow motion, similar to the ones who analayse golf swings. Times have moved on for the better 9.37. I'm sure more than most would agree.

Alan C said...

I can not think of much worse than a static view! I actually wish they zoomed out more so you can see the player's stance! This way you can actually see how they cue the shot, sometimes i want to see this more than the shot itself. This is because i want to learn more about the game, and you can get a sense of how good players are if you an see their technique.

I also enjoy camera angles behind the shot as it rolls into the pocket. what i do not like is when they switch 5 views in 3seconds. Or worse yet, when they think the shot is going to the middle pocket, when indeed it's going to the yellow. That's frustrating as if i can pick out the shot, how can the cameraman not!

As to kicks, they seem to be happening more and more. I know with certain shots your almost definitely going to get kicks on such as playing with top. Playing plain ball gentle rolls is not a favourite shot as players are worried about kicks as well as it rolling off. But something must be happening for there to be so many as of late.

Anonymous said...

We know where the object ball goes, ie into the pocket. We don't need a camera with a zoom lens to zoom in 5 X.
Similarly, we also know that the ball will eventually come to rest in the ball tray. Do we really need a close up of it ?
I'd far rather watch ALL aspects of the shot, ie pot, position, canon etc than watching the object ball at close range fall into the pocket.
It becomes farcical when Ronnie or Judd play. Since they play with a degree of excitement and unpredictability, the producer and cameramen are effectively lost when trying to predict which pocket to focus on. The resultant footage is a total mess.
It becomes obvious when the commentators are actually at the venue because they are able to refer to all aspects of a particular shot. Something that couldn't be done if commentating remotely using a tv.
There is nothing worse when they mention what a great canon that's just been played when we see a shot of the object ball falling into the pocket.
Hope it gets sorted out for Sheffield !

Anonymous said...


Houston we have a problem

At this rate todays play will finish between 6am and 7am.

Anonymous said...

Cameras shmameras.....
Have noticed there's a preference for focussing on players reaction after a miss, when all everyone wants to see is what he's left his opponent !!!

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, can't imagine any of these second round ties other than the Allen/Swail match having much pull with the crowds. Ireland is really shortchanged getting lumbered with this PTC thing isn't it, instead of a proper ranker or indeed the old Irish Masters.


Hi David, another great day's play, in my view, that is yet to be completed, on Thursday, 14-3-2013.

Marco fu did well, to beat Mark Joyce, 4-2.

Anthony McGill did well, to beat Robert Milkins, 4-2.

Ben Woollaston did superb, to come from 3-1 down, to beat Mark Williams, 4-3. A fantastic 70 break, gave Woollaston the deciding frame.

Joe Perry did well, to lead a, playingwise, below parr Stuart Bingham, 3-0. Bingham did well, with a 90 break, to make it 3-1, and a black-ball win in frme five,to make it 3-2. Perry did well, to win frame six, for a 4-2 victory.

The first match, in the last 16, was between Tom Ford, and, Jack Lisowski. Lisowski went 1-0 up. Ford made a 134 break, in the second frame, the highest break in this year's P.T.C Grand Finals' event so far. 1-1. Lisowski won the next two frames, to lead 3-1. Ford fought back, to win the next two frames, to level, at 3-3. He won frame six, on the final black, with a break of 45, which was a clearance. In the decider, Ford was first in. He made a 55 break, and misse. He later misses again. Lisowski makes a 47 break, and misses. From there, Ford oes the needful, to win the match, by 4 frames to 3, at not long before midnight, to become the first man through to the Quarter-Final.

This means that the last match of today, between Mark Allen and Joe Swail, Started after midnight, on the following day, Friday, 15-3-2013. I hope you enjoy it, as I am sure, I will. I will do a report on the Mark Allen .V. Joe Swail match, at some point tomorrow.

I will enjoy the Mark Allen .V. Joe Swail match, as I hope you will. I can not wait for this match, sure to start tomorrow, and indeed, I can not wait for more action, other that the Allen .V. Swail match, tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

what in the world is Barry Hearn and World Snooker doing forcing Allen and Swail to play after midnight.... this is ridiculas and totally detrimental to the game... The players, the referee, the camera man and the audiance wanna go bed at this time.


Hi David. The Allen .V. Swail match. Allen won the first frame. A key, and exellent 58 clearance from Allen, gave him frame two, and a 2-0 lead. He also won frames three, and four, to becomes the second man through to the Quarter-Final. Allen wins by 4 frames to 0, at Just before 1.30am, on the morning of Friday, 15-3-2013.

I can not wait for more, tomorrow, or, as it is now, today. Today, being, Friday, 15-3-2013.

Andrew B. said...

@Jamie O'Reilly: The first ranking event (retrospectively) was the 1974 World Championship.


Hi David. A great day's play, spead over two days in my view. Friday 15-2-2013, and the early hours oof Saturday 16-3-2013.

Ding played great, making three century breaks, to win 4-3, from 3-1 down. Great play in all other matches aswell, including the last of the day, which ran into the following day, Xiao beating Burden, 4-2, in that one.