Exhibitions and Charity reminder …

Jimmy and Dennis Lincoln Jan 2019

I know that Christmas is still very far away, but be sure to put this one in your agenda. Remember surplus proceed to World Disability Billiard and Snooker. You can have fun and help others in need, isn’t that great?

Just a little reminder of what happened the last times similar events were run in Lincoln!

Ronnie had a “sandwich” …

And there was a great Q&A session too

Images taken at the events last February can be found here and here.

This time it will be Jimmy White and Dennis. Come along!

World Open 2018 Qualifiers Round-up

There were a number of upsets in those qualifiers! Anthony McGill, Shaun Murphy, Graeme Dott, Michael White, Stuart Bingham and Mark King being amongst those who were probably expected to win, but didn’t. Stuart however probably didn’t have his full focus on his snooker: his young son Shae was in hospital and understandably he was Stuart’s priority.

Shaun didn’t play terrible, but Mei on his day is very solid and reliable and that was enough in this match. Graeme Dott made too many mistakes against Zhao Xintong, who looked focussed and determined to make the most of his return on the main tour.

Alan McManus also lost and that’s a concern as he needs results to stay in the top 64. Ali Carter, who also needs results to stay in the top 16 won easily.

A couple of top players had a scare. Stephen Maguire needed a decider to shrug off Adam Stefanow. This is Adam second narrow defeat in qualifiers and, to me, he’s been very unlucky with his draws, having to play against two vastly experienced players, one of them notoriously very hard to beat and the other top 16 material. Mark Selby was awful before the MSI – he trailed 3-1 at that point – and far from his best afterwards: he can count himself very lucky to have played against an amateur. Luke Simmonds – who was 1998 IBSF World Champion and Under-21 Champion, but never did anything of note as a pro afterwards – can play but as soon as Selby started to come back at him after the MSI he looked a beaten man; had he got a bit more belief he could have won this match, he had enough opportunities.

Looking at the young ones there were wins for Jack Lisowski, Elliott Sellor, Sunny Akani, Zhou Yuelong, Luca Brecel, new pro Harvey Chandler (he beat Michael White), Alexander Ursenbacher, new pro Simon Lichtenberg (he beat Ken Doherty), Yuan Sijun, Lyu Haotian, Stuart Carrington, Scott Donaldson and Zhao Xintong as already mentioned.

Looking at the veterans, there were wins for Peter Ebdon, Fergal O’Brien,Rod Lawler, Anthony Hamilton. The last two mentioned are clearly determined to try to stay on tour against all odds! Jimmy White and Joe Swail lost heavily.

One last thing: Marco Fu did win his match very comfortably but for what I saw, wasn’t playing particularly well: he scored heavily in the balls but the opportunities came from his opponent mistakes – basic ones – rather than from Marco’s safety/tactical game. His opponent, Chris Totten was utterly shocking, unable to string 3 balls together: he scored 35 points all match.

All detailed results are on Cuetracker and on snooker.org. The latter also has links to the youtube videos of the streamed matches.

 

Do you know about WDBS?

World Disability Billiard and Snooker? Really? Can you play snooker when you have only one hand, or no hands? When you can stand on only one leg, or even just can’t stand at all? When you don’t see properly? Well yes you can!

I have been at quite a number od WDBS events and those guys are just simply amazing. The creativity these guys display to overcome the hurdles they face are fantastic. The solidarity is heart warming. Many of them are rather isolated socially, most of them don’t have much money being unable to work in a regular environment. For some even this has become their family.

WDBSA has made this short film

If you have the opportunity, come along and watch them live.

Here is their calendar of events:

World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) has today confirmed its calendar of events for the first half of 2018.

Last year saw five competitive snooker events staged for people falling under up to 36 different disability profiles, a total which is set to be equalled within the first six months of 2018 alone.

With interest continuing to grow both within the UK and internationally, we will continue to provide tournaments for players with physical, learning and sensory disabilities.

Physical disabilities

People with physical disabilities, including wheelchair and ambulant players (Groups 1-5) will have opportunities to play at two new venues in 2018 as we head to Preston and Bruges for the first time.

The first WDBS event of the year will be played at the Elite Snooker Club in Preston from 2-4 February for the J&S Trading Northern Classic, before we stage our first ever event outside of the UK, the Belgian Open from 23-25 March at The Trickshot club.

Sensory disabilities

 The first event of the year for deaf and visually impaired players (Groups 7-8) will be the Parris Cues UK Open, which again will be held at a new venue to the WDBS as we head to Barratts Snooker Club in Northampton.

Home to current top 16 professional Kyren Wilson, the venue boasts over 20 snooker tables and like all WDBS venues is fully accessible.

We will also return to the Cueball Derby for the Paul Hunter Disability Classic between 18-20 May following last year’s tournament which new winners across all participating groups.

Learning Disabilities

We will also stage competitions for Group 6 players at all events alongside our regular Friday open days, subject to sufficient entries being received.

 Six-Red Championship

 We will also return to Redz Snooker Club in Cwmbran for the Welsh Open from 29 June – 1 July following a successful inaugural event at the venue last year.

The event will again be open to players from all eight WDBS classification groups, who will compete against each other with matches to be played under the Six Red format of the game.

WDBS Chairman Nigel Mawer said: “Last year was hugely encouraging for WDBS as we hosted a record number of events and so we are looking forward to be able to offer even more opportunities for disabled people to be able to play snooker competitively in 2018.

“We are particularly looking forward to our first tournament in Belgium, which is another significant development as we look to expand our global presence and attract further international support.”

If you would like to support the WDBS team as an event sponsor please get in touch via our contact form for more information.

Hopefully 2019 will offer even more events. The last one had over 50 entries. And if you are a referee, or a coach, get in touch because there is always a shortage. In the last event, Paul Collier came to the rescue!

Riga Masters 2018 Qualifiers Round-up

The first event of the season, the Riga Masters Qualifiers, came to a conclusion this afternoon. Here are the results that drew my attention and why, bearing this post in mind

Stuart Bingham was beaten by 4-0 by Niu Zhang. He’s the only participating top 16 player who go beat. Most frames were close, but it is still a surprising defeat, especially given the severe score. Stuart and Ali Carter are the two members of the top 16 who really need to get results from the start this season to stay in that bracket come the Crucible. Ali duly beat Billy Joe Castle by 4-0.

In total contrast, Neil Robertson and Mark Allen looked in great form from the start. Both won comfortably. Kyren Wilson hadn’t it that easy against Dominic Dale, never an easy opponent; the match went the distance. I didn’t watch Shaun Murphy, nor Barry Hawkins so I can’t comment on their form.

From the ones looking to regain a top 16 spot, Stephen Maguire and Liang Wenbo both won by 4-0 with some high scoring. Liang is back with the Grove team this season, with renewed motivation.

I wrote that Rod Lawler, Anthony Hamilton , Nigel Bond and Joe Swail are in an almost desperate position when it comes to their future as professionals. Well, they seem to be determined to put up a fight: all four of them won their matches and will be in Riga!

Main Tour debutants Joe O’Connor and Ashley Carty won their first ever match as professionals. Very well done to them. Luo Honghao and Adam Stefanow both lost but nevertheless gave a good account of themselves. Luo was up against Neil Robertson, who played really well, and Luo managed to battle back from 3-0 down to 3-2, but eventually lost by 4-2. Adam played the always hard to beat Rory McLeod and made him work very hard: the match went to a decider.

The young ones, already established on the tour, who I expected to climb this season had mixed results with Elliott Slessor, Lyu Haotian  and Sunny Akani losing whilst Yan Bingtao, Zhou Yuelong and Jack Lisowski won. That said Sunny Akani lost to Oliver Lines who is of course a very talented young player himself and the match went to a decider. Elliott Slessor lost 4-1 to Marco Fu and this is Marco’s first win since his eye surgery. Marco has it all to do this season and this is a very positive sign. Also, Marco joined the Sightright team, like Mark Williams did a year ago and we know what happened!

Speaking of players returning to form after injury, Ricky Walden had a convincing 4-1 win over John Astley.

You will find all detailed results on Cuetracker and on snooker.org. The latter has also links to the youtube videos of the matches that were streamed.

Belfast, Ireland – 30 June 2018

Ronnie won the last leg of the Irish tour 2018 in Belfast yesterday evening, beating Mark Allen by 5-1 over the whole series.

Big thanks to Conor O’Boyle the organiser, who kept me updated throughout. Much appreciated!

Here is his report on what happened yesterday evening:

Hello! Yeah, absolutely amazing. Mark started off with a century against Stephen Dempsey, and Ronnie then knocked in a century against Robbie McGuigan (Mark Allen’s stepson who had a maximum in practice and is only 13). The match then started with Ronnie taking a 3-1 lead. Ronnie had two centuries. After the interval Mark had back to back centuries to level at 3-3. Mark got in first in the 7th frame and broke down on 47, Ronnie cleared with a brilliant 78. The next frame Ronnie potted a great long red and made a maximum, incredible. He potted two plants during the break to keep it going including an extremely difficult one to the middle pocket early on in the frame. Pure class and I have the full video on my Facebook page 😃

And he also kindly shared those pictures:

Conor also shared a video of Ronnie’s 147 on his facebook page

as ell as another version, from a different angle thanks to Silvry! 

And another short video found by Rodkor, sampling the atmosphere at the event

And this concludes a fantastic series of exhibitions …

Monaghan, Ireland – 4 June 2018
Letterkenny, Ireland – 5 June 2018
Drogheda, Ireland – 6 June 2018
Wexford, Ireland – 7 June 2018
Mulligar, Ireland – 25 June 2018
Limerick, Ireland – 26 June 2018
Cork, Ireland – 27.06.2018
Kilkenny, Ireland – 28 June 2018

Ding and Higgins in Tibet …

I promised to talk about exhibitions, and these ones, involving Ding Junhui and John Higgins are certainly worth mentioning.

Indeed, as reported on weibo, Ding and John are in Tibet. Here is the (automatic google) translation of the article:

Lhasa Public Welfare Joy Launch Ding Junhui Shu Bao Xi Jin Sixiu Tibetan Dance

Star Online  Posted on 2018-06-30 15:01:45 Report
Number of readings: 946

Superstar Online News 2018 “Ride” Snooker “Fighting to the Peak” series of charity events was first held on the morning of June 30 in Beijing Middle School in Lhasa. The event was hosted by the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation and the Tibet Development Foundation for Assistance, the Tibet Autonomous Region Sports Bureau, China Vision Sports Entertainment Co., Ltd., the Lhasa Sports Bureau of the Tibet Autonomous Region, and Daqing Guoyu Culture Media Co., Ltd. Group Co., Ltd. provides public welfare support for snooker events; it is worth mentioning that this is a world-class snooker tournament.

At 10:00 on June 30 in the morning, Vice Chairman of China Soong Ching Ling Foundation Dunquan, Deputy Secretary-General Aid Tibet Development Foundation Songshi Zhen, Beijing State-Ju Lee Chun Holdings Ltd chairman save the country, Reid Holdings Ltd chairman Huangyu Bing, etc. Leaders and world’s leading players in the 80s, “China Dragon” Ding Junhui with 13 large ranking champions and “Wizards” with 4 world champions joined as the ambassadors to enter the city of Lhasa Beijing Middle school sports hall. The

Throughout the course of the activity, two snooker star with the same students had a very pleasant interaction: not only quiz on general knowledge of snooker, Ding Junhui and Professor Higgins also personally pitched snooker combat skills, even They also took a counter-attack against the killing. The two star players showed a completely different temperament on the playing field, playing the best of their ability, provoking children’s laughter and screaming, and the scene atmosphere was continuously pushed to a new climax. In addition to interacting, they also donated snooker tables and other billiard equipment to the school.
The students on the other side also prepared wonderful performances for the guests. There are not only fashionable modern dances but also Tibetan folk dances. Tibet is known as the “sea of ​​song and dance,” and Higgins from a foreign country was deeply attracted by this beautiful dance. He could not help but take out his mobile phone to take pictures. At the end of the event, the enthusiastic children invited guests to join in, so everyone danced in a circle and laughter filled the entire Beijing high school.
In fact, this is not the first time Ding Junhui has been to Lhasa. He joined his family and went into the nearest place to heaven a year ago. Unlike previous travels, Ding Junhui, who traveled as a public welfare ambassador, took on different responsibilities and had different hopes: “Snooker is a quiet and focused sport. With the development of billiards in Tibet We hope that more children will join this healthy sport and that they will reap the joy of growing up.”

This is probably the highest altitude ever attended Higgins snooker activity, and has 43-year-old “witch doctor” admits that for him really is not a small challenge: “Last night I could not sleep over and over again, intolerable headache But today I saw such enthusiastic children. They are fantastic. I’m proud of them.” In the last Tibetan dance, Higgins was very devoted and also jumped like a model, and he spoke with impatience: “I’m a great dancer and I’m jumping very well!” (Mr. Alex)

And there were more images shared on weibo as well.

Now, I know that the way China has treated Tibet and its people has not always been friendly and fair, far from it. Things have happened there in the past that were really atrocious, be it about the people’s rights, their living conditions, the crushing of their culture and traditions, the environmental damage and more. But I do hope that as China evolves – even if there is a lot of things that need to be done and improved yet – Tibetan people and their culture will find their right place in the country. I hope – and believe – that initiatives like this one are a sign that we are getting there, or at least closer. So, well done Ding and John.

And, just as a reminder, our European past is far from perfect: think Crusades, Inquisition, pogroms, Shoah, colonialism, slavery (including massive deportation of Irish Children to English rules territories in 17th and 18th centuries), countless wars and destructions … Actually our present is far from perfect.

Post WW2 China was devastated by floods, epidemics, extreme poverty and ignorance for most of its citizens and political disarray. The challenges the country was facing were gigantic. The ones they face today are still huge. Mao Zedong revolution was brutal, caused a lot of death, suffering and injustice. But so was the French Revolution if you come to think of it. I don’t ever condone or excuse violence and hatred, but I do believe that the answer to it isn’t returning violence and hatred.  So I’m glad to see initiatives like the one above, even if it’s only a drop in the see…