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Monday, 19 October 2015

The season so far plus other bits & bobs.

Maybe its the first  real signs of a winter chill in the mornings,or the gradual drawing in of the evenings or maybe even the fact I attended a wonderful exhibition last night as Steve Davis & Ken Doherty entertained an enthusiastic theatre full of snooker fans,but I figured today was as good a day as any to fire up this blog again for the long season ahead.

Today,indeed saw the start of the Haining Open,the first of seasons Asian Tour event & next weekend sees the start of the International Championship,but more of that later in the week when I will be writing preview.For now though I'll quickly look back at what we've seen so far this 2015/16 season.

In a summer where we haven't seen quite as much snooker as we have in recent years,not in itself a bad thing,we have none the less been treated to a couple of superb finals.

The first of these was in the Australian Open in Bendigo where in the first round saw home favourite Neil Robertson  crash out 5-4 to Matt Selt,a fate which also befell to the first reigning world champion to make the trip down under Stuart Bingham who went down 5-4 to Fergal O'Brien.

The title itself though was to go to John Higgins who,despite turning 40 only a few weeks before this event,proved there was still life left in the "Wizard of Wishaw"as he came through a thrilling final of the highest quality with Martin Gould by a scoreline of 9-8..

This was the 27th ranking title of his illustrious career and whereas another world title may at this stage prove to be beyond him,you certainly wouldn't rule out another ranking title victory which would draw him level with Steve Davis on the all time list.

If Higgins victory was a salute to the golden era of the last 20 yrs,then the victory of Kyren Wilson in the Shanghai Masters was very much one for the next generation as the 23 year old produced some stunning snooker to claim his first ranking title with a superb 10-9 win over Judd Trump.

This was another really thrilling final with Wilson digging deep on more than one occasion to hold off a spirited Trump fightback,before clinching that decider with a fine 75 break.Such was the level of his displays in this tournament we will surely be seeing a lot more of this young man who bucked the recent trend of victories for the thirtysomethings.

Also this summer  have seen three of the European Tour events with,Barry Hawkins winning the Riga Open with a 4-1 final win over Tom Ford,Ali Carter lifting all our hearts as well as the trophy in the Paul Hunter Classic with a 4-3 victory over Shaun Murphy and Rory Mcleod,at the ripe old age of 44,claimed his first title with a 4-2 win over Tian Pehgfei in the Ruhr Open.

Away from the table the it has to be said man causing the most stir on social media has surprisingly been Shaun Murphy.

The first of his utterances to get people talking was his well thought out proposal of reducing the main tour  to 64 from 128,with the top 48 keeping there places every year and the other 16 places been filled from a new challenge tour.

I actually think this wouldn't be the worst idea in the world.Since the game has gone to the flat 128 draw I think certain events have lost their narrative with the UK Championship been all but destroyed as a event which is supposed to be the second biggest in game.

We also have first round matches been played long before the actual event and even worse in places where large numbers can be accommodated we have events been squashed into a tight schedule.Less players allow tournament organisers a little more breathing space and maybe even allow a return to some even slightly longer formats instead of these annoying best of 7's.

The other topic that Shaun seemed to start the debate on during the recent Ruhr Open was the subject of a shot clock. I'm not sure if he had started this before or after the record for the longest frame was smashed by Alan McManus & Barry Pinches as they broke 100 minute barrier,but it seemed to grow legs after that with everyone seeming to want to throw in their two cents worth.

Lets though just draw a line through this immediately.The day a shot clock is introduced to the game is the day the music dies.No discussion,no arguments, no exceptions.It would be the day the game of snooker as we know it dies.

Anyway thats all from me for now .As I said above I'll be back later in the week with a preview for the International Championship.Until then happy snookering.

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