Ranking event snooker makes a return to one of the sports traditional hotbeds this week as the Newport Centre once again plays host the the Welsh Open.Time was when this was one of the best supported and eagerly anticipated on the calendar but due to a wide range of changes,some forced some not, it has slipped down the peckng order and some are even questioning if it will continue at all.
That would be a great pity for anyone who remembers so many great tournaments here over the past twenty years,but who knows maybe a week of great snooker here will give this old tournament a new lease of life
A new lease of life is arguably also what this season needs as in truth the last few big events we have seen have been overall somewhat disappointing .It's seems a long time now since we had those two high quality finals in the Shanghai Masters & International Championship which seemed to light up the season.Since then although Selby and Carter deserve credit for their successes,I think few would argue that these tournaments have captured their imagination.That means that players travelling to Newport not only have a chance to give their own seasons a kick start but also to give the game as a whole a much needed shot in the arm.
Of course the great flat draw debate rumbles on and the fact that some of the top players had to play their qualifiers in the cubicles in Sheffield while some along with the top ranked Welsh players got their matches held over to the main venue has sparked great debate.I like many feel if this system is to work next season it has to be the same for everyone.You can't have a case that some are more equal then others!
Onto the tournament itself and Ding as defending champion will be hoping for another bold showing as will many of the other usual suspects like Selby,Robertson,Murphy and Higgins.The man perhaps coming in with most questions to answer this week is Judd Trump.For the first time in a a couple of seasons a number of those in the game are asking serious question of him and of course the best way for the young man to answer them is on the table doing what he does best.
Lets hope for a memorable week of snooker that reignites both this tournament and this season.