Snooker World Championship

Doesn’t time fly? Yep, another 17 days of Snooker goodness. It’ll drive wifey up the wall, but it’s a hell of lot better than watching Coronation Street :D

Anyhoo, the tournament seems to have got off to a good start with reigning champion Graeme Dott falling foul of the Crucible curse (i.e. no champion has ever come back after their first win and taken the championship the following year). Usually previous champs manage to stick it our longer than the first round, but I’m actually delighted to see him go. I know I said last year I was happy to see him beat Ebdon in the final, but really, neither player is particularly interesting to watch.

In other news, Ronnie O’Sullivan trounced poor Ding Junhui 10 frames to 2 yesterday. It wasn’t the classic everyone was hoping for and it seems as if Ronnie has got his head back together (again) after walking out of the UK Championships back in December. Ideally I’d like to see him in final, but there’s that nagging feeling that he’ll hit one of those scrappy patches, give up trying and get knocked out. Since the year he won, I’ve not since him play with that same level of conviction and composure.

As for Ding, well I think he was just feeling the pressure of his first Crucible appearance. I mean he certainly can play, watch his 147 at the Masters for proof of that. It’s just that Ronnie was showing some form and I think nerves got the better of Ding with some silly long shots and at times overly aggressive play.

There have been a couple of other upsets with Ken Doherty and Mark Williams getting knocked out, but other than that, the rest of the first round seems to going as you’d expect. I just hope we get some fast paced players through to the latter stages.

Oh and this is fun. They have a tournament predictor which is updated after each match. At the moment, I’ve got Ronnie O’Sullivan and Stephen Hendry in the final! Not very likely is it?


Mosconi Cup Disaster

What an utter disaster for Europe. I mean we had it within our grasp. Two shots away from winning it back after four years (and it would only have been the third time in the entire thirteen years of the tournament). But no. Mikka Immonen potted the 8 ball ok, but in doing so nudged the 9 onto the rail, meaning he couldn’t clear up. Ok, so the end result was a draw at 12–12, but that meant USA retained the cup, which is as good as losing as far as I’m concerned.

Oh, what am I rambling on about? The Mosconi Cup is a 9 ball pool tournament that pits Europe against the USA, which was on TV last weekend. It’s kind of like the Ryder Cup of pool. It’s been a few years since I last watched it, since we’ve been Skyless for a while and it has changed quite a bit. They now have a 30 second shot clock which certainly spices things up and on a couple of occasions it did cause players to rush their shots and make mistakes. There are also doubles and triples games, the latter of which seemed a bit over the top. Having three players a side round the table made it look a bit cramped!

Of course some things haven’t changed, Earl “The Pearl” Strickland (on team USA) is still a pretenious prick. In his last match he decided to have a go at the audience because they were chanting “Europe, Europe, Europe!”… well ok, more like shouting Europe whilst banging on huge drums and using air horns. But they gave as good as they got and the end result was that he lost. Ha! (Have a read of this and his Wikipedia entry for previous examples of his asshattery).

But Strickland’s loss is scant consolation for actually losing the Cup given we practically had our hands on it and it’s especially galling since Europe were in the lead for the entire four days of the tournament until the final rack! 

However I can see the funny side of it since at the point we looked like we were going to win, the entire European team were stood up waiting to rush on and cheer. The presenter, Andy Goldstein, was ready too, beaming smile, obviously not biased in the slightest. When poor Andy eventually had to come on to say congratulations to the USA he was nearly in tears and kept pointing out to them that they’d drawn and not won. Hilarious stuff, which almost made up for the bad result.

World Snooker Championship Final

Regardless of what Steve Davis said in commentary, it was very, very tedious, as I predicted it would be, but the end result was good. Dott isn’t exactly the most fluent of players, but he was able to slowly chip away at the score line. It was looking like a really late finish (like 2am+) at one point what with Ebdon coming back, thankfully Dott stopped the rot.

I can’t help but think that if Ebdon had played to even half of his potential in the first three sessions then it would have been a different result. And I have to admit how good a sportsman he is, incredibly gracious in defeat.

But it looks like I’m not the only one who didn’t enjoy the final, but still watched it to its bitter conclusion:

That has to go down as the most tedious game of snooker ever seen.

Not bad, but I think we can do better:

One for the purists? I doubt it. Even the commentators were running out of expletives to describe the scintillating pace, brilliant potting and masterful tactics both players were displaying. <snip> An ultimate result was the only real outcome of this awful game of snooker, and that took too long. I stayed up to watch the conclusion for the same reason we read the end of a book we have already started – to get the result.

Hmmm, pretty sarcastic.

The best man on the day won, but I have never seen a Final with so many empty seats.

Sad but true and one of the chaps at work commented on the same, but can you blame them? If the play is slow going it is really tough to sit there and watch it. You can’t just get up and make a brew or go for whizz halfway through a frame.

I remember a few years back going to Preston to watch Nigel Bond and Joe Swail play. It took over 2 hours to play four frames, my bladder nearly detached itself and made its own way to the nearest convenience. (Beers at the bar beforehand weren’t a good idea).

This years tournament has been a bit of a disappointment. Due to the odd way the matches have gone I’ve not watched a great deal. There must have been something in the water that put most of the top 16 off.

World Snooker Championship coming to a close

How utterly depressing it would be if Graeme Dott beats Ronnie O’Sullivan. Its bad enough that Peter Ebdon is in the final. Neither Peter or Graeme have any real flare when it comes to playing snooker, they’re so incredibly boring to watch.

Peter especially, he is so slow. Its painful! I’m astounded that Ebdon is a previous world champion. I think he just bored Stephen Hendry to tears, who then let him win. Actually Hendry was shocking that year (2002) in the final. He missed so many easy shots.

Anyway, I can only hope Ronnie wakes out his slumber and makes some kind of comeback. Unfortunately I can’t see it. The score is 16-8, with Dott needing just one frame! Ronnie is in one of inconsistent moods, thinking more about god knows what, than snooker. His cue tip problems probably haven’t helped either. I saw a frankly bizarre clip earlier this afternoon where he just sat staring at one of the camera’s pulling faces instead of watching the table. He didn’t even notice it was his turn.

Its so damn frustrating watching him when he goes off the boil. When he’s on form, its stunning to watch. He makes the sport look so easy. Oh well, I don’t think we’ll be treated to that this evening though.

If (more likely when) Graeme gets to the final, I’d prefer him to win. I feel sorry for anyone thats bought tickets for the final, it looks set to be an utter yawn fest. I nearly did!

Edit: Buggeration, Dott got through, 17-11.