We are used to snooker matches, in particular finals, ending at midnight but last night Mark Allen’s contest with Joe Swail at the PTC Grand Finals in Galway started just after midnight.
This was ridiculous. It does nothing for the sport and is unfair on the players, spectators and hard working staff at the tournament.
It was too late for Eurosport, who had been broadcasting for 14 hours to that point, and too late for most viewers.
There have been too many matches crammed into this event. Six a day was fine for the ordinary European Tour competitions because they always started with a couple of mismatches between top players and amateurs but this is different.
With a top prize of £100,000, everyone is trying as hard as they can. The players are evenly matched and a potential 42 frames in one day was always going to be too many.
It’s easy to be wise after the event but World Snooker are supposed to be wise before the event. That’s their job.
This event didn’t exist three years ago and the players are earning good money from it so they should be careful in running it down but they have every right to question the scheduling, which has not been conducive to good snooker.
In fact, the standard has, at times, been well below what you would expect at a major tournament. It’s led to several dragged out frames, although any decider is automatically interesting.
There was a really good match yesterday between Ben Woollaston and Mark Williams – Woollaston playing terrific stuff from 3-1 down to win 4-3 – but otherwise it was largely scrappy fare.
Come the weekend when we’re down to the quarter-finals it will surely be an entertaining finish but today sees another six matches and, almost certainly, another late finish.