Tag Archives: Snooker

Ronnie O’Sullivan defeats Judd Trump to advance to finals

Posted on 04. May, 2013 by .

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The defending world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan prevailed 17-11 over Judd Trump for a chance to repeat.

Yesterday, there was some commotion in the session when referee Michaela Tabb warned him for making a lewd gesture with his cue stick. I captured these photos while they discussed the indecent. Ronnie said he simply had to wipe down his cue.

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The Emotions of Ronnie O’Sullivan

Posted on 02. May, 2013 by .

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Tortured Genius

Defending world snooker champion Ronnie O’Sullivan dropped another small surprise in the press conference yesterday after advancing to the semi-finals over Stuart Bingham. O’Sullivan revealed he’s really not missed snooker after taking a year off, but he missed the money. Citing his children’s private school tuition as his primary reason for jumping back in the ring for the 2013 Betfair World Snooker Championship.

The press conference had an emotional feel as O’Sullivan seemed to open up and unburden himself with the truth of why he’s playing this year. He’s committed to playing 10 events of his choosing next season to fulfill his contract with his vodka company backer.

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World Snooker Championship Continues

Posted on 21. Apr, 2011 by .

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Day 6 from Sheffield is underway. The first round is nearing completion and players are happy to play longer matches when the second round begins. First round is a best of 19 frames and the second round lengthens to a best of 25 frames. I’ve been impressed as always with the BBC coverage, favouring it over the Euro-sport coverage. Where else can you hear Ken Doherty say “Tree” and “Ting?” They’ve featured “Classic Shots” between sessions where Steve Davis, Neil Foulds, Dennis Taylor, John Virgo, and Doherty try to recreate famous shots and are scored on their attempts by the other competitors. Very entertaining! They also do a Q&A with emailed queries for Davis and Virgo. Eleven days remain and I’m savouring every moment.

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Pool Synergy: Favourite Game

Posted on 15. Apr, 2011 by .

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For all the PoolSynergy crew’s articles on their favorite games, please visit Johnny’s PoolSynergy summary here.

I nearly wrote this about 8-Ball on the common 7 foot Bar Box, but that would have been so, well, common. I’d wager that 8-Ball is the most well known and accessible game to most players in the United States. League players, like it or not, drive the biggest and most successful businesses in our floundering industry. I would have liked to write about how as an instructor and as a player I’ve elevated the game to a beautiful science. It really is my favorite game to compete and teach because of the blend of strategy, knowledge, and execution required to play it at the highest level. Going this direction with my article makes the game inaccessible and somehow highbrow in a way that depresses me. Rather than go down that road, I’m taking the easy way out and writing about something that excites me in a different way. Maybe it’s the allure of something I can’t have, but I’m smitten with snooker.

Obviously, I’m a pool fanatic. I teach, compete, sell cues, photograph, and write about the game I love. You may be surprised to hear that in the last three years, I’ve watched much more snooker than pool. The draw of it is hard to explain and it is even harder to convince others to give it a try. I get so whipped up about watching streaming snooker from overseas during a tournament that I practically become evangelistic telling every pool player I meet or teach to tune in.

What’s to like about watching snooker? The game is rarely boring. Sure, there are some dull matches where both players are performing below their norm. More often at least one of the competitors is clicking along at a world class level. The game is so complex that a variety of situations arise to add drama and excitement to the match at hand. Snooker is aptly named for if a player cannot accumulate enough points by potting (pocketing) the balls remaining on the table, he can snooker his opponent hoping to add points to his tally if the other player doesn’t make a legal hit. Depending on the referee’s call, the player might have the option to have the balls restored to the snookered position and have the player re-shoot. This can lead to 3, 4, or more fouls and enough points for the player to come from behind and win a frame. I believe that defense is valued as much only in the pool game of One-Pocket

Offense is highly exciting and respected. Snooker professionals have lifetime running totals of “Century Breaks.” These are runs at the table of 100 points or more. It only takes a 74 to Nil lead to secure a frame (game) of snooker, but players continue their inning at the table. Not so in other cue sports. I recently watched a Greek 3-Cushion Billiard player run 21 and out on Dick Jaspers and he didn’t continue his run because it is considered bad form. This was even in front of a paid audience and the way he was playing, he could have set a personal best high run. More impressively, he made the run under the constraints of a shot clock. No such thing exists in traditional snooker tournaments. Most players are accepted and loved for their personal pace of play. And snooker breaks are normally continued until a miss or total clearance is achieved. Snooker players can let out their stroke, intimidate their opponent, show off for the crowd, experiment with the table conditions, pursue the elusive maximum break or high break for the tournament, or just try to add another century break to their resume.

Old timers say the snooker characters like Paul Hunter (oops-sorry-Alive: Kirk Stevens), Alex Higgins (both deceased), young Steve Davis, Jimmy White, and others brought so much personality to the game it was captivating. The current cast of players is a little dull by comparison, yet there is much to like and admire about these professionals. It is true that Higgins lost my respect and O’Sullivan is a wild card. Still the talent that oozes from these guys is beyond reproach. Most of the other players can be summed up simply as classy and talented professionals. If every pool player was forced to watch half an hour of snooker as an etiquette lesson, I believe the world of pool would be a better place. Seeing guys compete in formal attire consisting of dress shoes, slacks, tuxedo shirt, bow tie, and vest is bloody classy. The way they carry themselves and behave is inspiring. Like Ian Flemming’s super spy 007, they are calm killers except that they treat their opponents (and ladies) with respect. Players routinely pat the rail which is equivalent to clapping for an excellent safety by the other guy. They also wave their hand apologetically when they get lucky. It is so moving to see Peter Ebdon jump out of his seat and chase down Allister Carter for a hug after he makes his first tournament 147 in a televised match. I’ve seen players on an adjacent table pause play and peek around the dividing wall to watch the last few pots of a guy’s maximum.

I’ve shared a couple of things I love about watching snooker, but haven’t really mentioned the obvious: skills and execution that have to be seen to be believed. I have shown some non-player friends and family to watch a few clips of the game. While being good sports about it, I don’t think they grasped the difficulty of the game and as such didn’t connect with my awe and appreciation of what the players do. If you’ve got enough experience and ability playing pool to know how tough and complex the game of 8-ball can be, you’re going to be amazed watching proper snooker.

I could go on and on about the things I love about these telecasts. Such as referees in white gloves. Expert commentary by lucid and well spoken ex-professional players, yet delivered with loads of kitschy British slang delivered in charming accents. The commentary is so good that fans in the stands buy wireless ear pieces to tune into the telly commentary while watching the match in person. High-definition broadcasts with computer aided virtual table view, television intros and sidebars of the highest caliber, etc. They are playing for a first prize of a quarter of a million sterling pounds. That equates to over $400,000 in American currency. That is for just one tournament!

The venue adds to the pressure of the prize purse and title of World Champion. Held at The Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, players are dropped into the frying pan with huge crowds mere feet from the playing area.  Take a look at Ding in the in-line photo gallery which shows the close proximity of the crowd to the competitors. This intimate setting puts extra pressure on players whose every twitch, gasp, or bead of sweat is under the microscope.

Get into it! The first match should be a cracker. Defending champion Neil Robertson faces 21 year-old Judd Trump who won his first professional event at the China Open just this month. This is the biggest event all year and has the longest matches of any event. It’s a single elimination event lasting 17 days. Just the first round is the best of 19 frames and the matches get longer until the finals, which is a best of 35. Let’s to billiards! Er, I mean snooker. Let’s get these Boys on the Baize!

Important Resources:

Wikipedia page on the 2011 World Snooker Championship

Television coverage listing on the World Snooker site

Look on my forums as the event progresses for links to live streaming matches

Mike Fieldhammer

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