German Masters 2017 – Draw, Schedule and some thoughts

GermeMastersTrophy

The German Masters 2017 starts tomorrow afternoon with the defending champion, Martin Gould, in action against Jamie Jones. This will probably be the television match although, for me , Stephen Maguire v Ali Carter is much more interesting contest. Also Jimmy White will be playing Robin Hull during the same session.

Jimmy suffered a major misfortune today, as his flat was apparently completely destroyed by a fire. His cue was in his car and was spared, but, if reports are to be believed everything else is gone.. Not the best circumstances to compete in a ranking event and Jimmy, who is battling to stay on the main tour, needs results.

Ronnie will face Mark King in the evening, probably on television, not the easiest opponent, not the most difficult either. Ronnie likes Berlin and the German Masters. This is the tournament that relaunched his career five years ago. Another match worth following is the battle of the young: Akani Somsersawad v Zhao Xintong … and I fancy Akani to win it.

Wednesday February 1
Afternoon Session 
TV Coverage: Eurosport 1

Martin Gould v Jamie Jones (Match 1)

Robin Hull v Jimmy White (Match 4)

Stephen Maguire v Ali Carter (Match 7)

Evening Session 
TV Coverage: Eurosport 1

John J Astley v Ricky Walden (Match 2)

Ryan Day v Mark Allen (Match 3)

Tom Ford v Peter Ebdon (Match 5)

Ronnie O’Sullivan v Mark King (Match 6)

Akani Songsermsawad v Zhao Xintong (Match 8)

Thursday February 2
Morning Session 
TV Coverage: Eurosport 1

Stuart Bingham v Zhang Yong (Match 9)

Dominic Dale v Yan Bingtao (Match 12)

Barry Hawkins v Michael White (Match 14)

Afternoon Session 
TV Coverage: Eurosport 1

Marco Fu v David Gilbert (Match 10)

Michael Holt v Stuart Carrington (Match 11)

Neil Robertson v Ben Woollaston (Match 13)

Anthony Hamilton v Mark Williams (Match 15)

Thepchaiya Un-Nooh v Mark Selby (Match 16)

Evening Session 
TV Coverage: Eurosport 1

Gould/Jones v Astley/Walden (Match 17)

Day/Allen v Hull/White (Match 18)

Ford/Ebdon v O’Sullivan/King (Match 19)

Maguire/Carter v Songsermsawad/Xintong (Match 20)

Friday February 3
Afternoon Session 
TV Coverage: Eurosport 1

Bingham/Yong v Fu/Gilbert (Match 21)

Holt/Carrington v Dale/Bingtao (Match 22)

Robertson/Woollaston v Hawkins/White (Match 23)

Hamilton/Williams v Un-Nooh/Selby (Match 24)

Evening Session 
TV Coverage: Eurosport 1

Winner Match 17 v Winner Match 18 (QF 1)

Winner Match 19 v Winner Match 20 (QF2)

Winner Match 21 v Winner Match 22 (QF 3)

Winner Match 23 v Winner Match 24 (QF4)

Saturday February 4
Afternoon Session 
TV Coverage: Eurosport 1

Winner QF 1 v Winner QF2 (SF1)

Evening Session 
TV Coverage: Eurosport 1

Winner QF 3 v Winner QF4 (SF2)

Sunday February 5
Afternoon Session 
TV Coverage: Eurosport 1

Winner SF 1 v Winner SF2 (Final)

Evening Session 
TV Coverage: Eurosport 1

Winner SF 1 v Winner SF2 (Final)

Champion of Champions 2017 qualifying criteria announced

Worldsnooker has published the qualifying criteria for the Champion of Champions 2017 (2017/18 season).

Monday 30 Jan 2017 03:54PM

The qualification criteria for this year’s Champion of Champions Snooker has been confirmed.

Click here for the Qualifying Schedule

A total of 26 spots are split into six groups, with the winners of the first 16 events listed assured of an invite to Ricoh Arena, Coventry for what has quickly become one of snooker’s showpiece tournaments. Within each group the events are listed in chronological order from the conclusion of the 2016 Champion of Champions.

The first group consists of four tournaments; the defending champion plus the winners of snooker’s triple crown tournaments. John Higgins (Champion of Champions), Mark Selby (UK Championship) and Ronnie O’Sullivan (The Masters) already occupy three of these four positions.

The second group of events is made up of major prize money ranking events, as well as Matchroom Sport’s other promoted tournament on the World Snooker Tour – Championship League. The winners of these competitions are also guaranteed an invite to the Champion of Champions.

Group three is the Home Nations events, with Mark King and Marco Fu already listed as winners of the Northern Irish Open and Scottish Open respectively.

The fourth group includes winners of the Gibraltar Open, Riga Masters and Paul Hunter Classic, as well as the World Championship runner-up. Next on the list are the two World Cup winners and finally the sixth group on the qualifying list features the Snooker Shoot Out and the 6 Reds World Championship.

Should 16 different players not occupy the 26 positions on the list then the remaining invite(s) for the Champion of Champions will be awarded to the highest players on the World Ranking list after the final ranking event prior to the Champion of Champions.

The 2017 Champion of Champions is set to take place at Ricoh Arena from Monday, November 6, concluding on Sunday, November 12. Ticket details will be announced shortly.

Ronnie’s Sunday

Ronnie was in on Channel 4 Sunday Brunch yesterday speaking snooker, American Hustle and … cooking.

ronniesundaybrunchjan2017-1

Here is what they cooked:

Sea Bream With Tomatoes, Basil and Mint

29 Jan 2017

ronniesundaybrunchjan2017-2

Serves 2 – 4

Ingredients

4 sea bream fillets

oil to fry

salt & pepper

100g butter

about 6-8 plum tomatoes cut into 5mm rounds

100ml olive oil

1 green chilli, sliced into rounds

3 cloves sliced garlic

250ml white wine

juice and zest of 2 limes

20g mint

20g basil

serve with crusty buttered bread

Method

1. To prepare the fish, oil the fish and season. Cook for 2 minutes each side, then baste with butter and drain.

2. For the tomatoes, heat half the olive oil until warm. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes.

3. Add the tomatoes and chilli and cook for 2 minutes.

4. Add the wine and cook approximately for 10 minutes until the tomatoes begin to break down.

5. Take off the heat, add lime and herbs.

6. Serve the fish on top of the tomatoes and serve with crusty buttered bread

He also talked a bit of his career, insisting that it’s hard work that earned him professional success and promoting his  American Hustle show. Going by reactions on twitter it was very funny. Not sure though that his comparison between snooker and pool using a golf analogy will go down well with Earl Strickland. Apparently, snooker is like playing in the Open in Augusta, whist pool is like playing crazy golf… mmm …

The episode is available (for 30 days starting yesterday) here but you need to register with them AND to have an address in the UK or Ireland … In this time and era, I don’t understand such restrictions! Grrr !!!

If the above doesn’t work for you either, there is this with just the part of the show involving Ronnie…

Happy Chinese New Year !

First, and most importantly, I’m wishing all my friends, Chinese and  all citizens of this world, a happy, healthy and successful Year of the Rooster.  In this time of doom and gloom where intolerance, racism, sexism and fear of the “different” are raising their ugly heads again, I feel it’s essential that we remember that we are all human beings first and foremost. We all aspire to live in peace, to have good time with those dear to us, we all care for our families.  Our  differences are minor as compared to  what we share: humanity. Let’s celebrate life and friendship at every opportunity. 

Ronnie went to celebrate his win in the China Open Qualifiers, and the Chinese New Year with a Chinese friend! Here he is with Zhao Xintong, at Vic Snooker Academy in Sheffield.

chinaopenqualwithxintong

Now regarding the China Open 2017 Qualifiers …

All results are on Cuetracker as usual.

I’ve already covered the top 16 part: 12 of them will be in Beijing, Neil Robertson and Mark Allen didn’t enter, Marco Fu and Barry Hawkins lost in Preston. Ronnie will face Gareth Allen in the last 64 in Beijing barring wilcard.

fifteen Chinese players were involved in the qualifiers – Ding Junhui and Liang Wenbo have their matches held over – and six of them won their last 128 match. Zhou Yuelong is the only teenager amongst them. There is always a lot of pressure on the Chinese lads when it comes to their home tournaments, and experience prevailed. Zhao Xintong lost by 5-3 to Mark Williams in a match that was even closer than the score suggests. There will be wildcards as well most certainly and this will again trigger moans and angered posts on social media. Well folks, here is my views: the CBSA wants for their young players the same kind of opportunities than the ones the UK amateurs are offered through the top up system all season long. This isn’t possible because the first rounds of the Chinese events are – absurdly – played in the UK and the top-ups come from the Q-School losers list, with the Q-School also played in the UK. Therefore the top-up system is strongly biased towards UK amateurs. As long as this is the case, the Chinese, who invest a lot of money in the sport, will insist on the wilcards. I can’t blame them.

Ronnie’s American Hustle – Episode 1

Yesterday evening, whilst Ronnie was at the China Open qualifiers, the first episode of the American Hustle was shown on HistoryUK and I must say, I love it! It’s informative, it’s interesting, it’s fun.

In fact just read this article , it tells you all you need to know.

Ronnie O’Sullivan’s American Hustle is much more than just a few games of pool… although the Rocket looks most at home with a table in front of him

  • Ronnie O’Sullivan’s American Hustle sees him touring famous USA pool halls
  • O’Sullivan is partnered by veteran sports broadcaster Matt Smith for the trip
  • The first show offered interesting history alongside the game being played 

By Mark Webster for the Daily Mail

PUBLISHED: 11:36 GMT, 27 January 2017 | UPDATED: 14:29 GMT, 27 January 2017

Last Sunday, not for the first time, Ronnie O’Sullivan was king of the hill. The sight of the Rocket lifting the Masters trophy in front of an adoring crowd at Alexandra Palace has become a familiar sight to telly audiences.

However, on Thursday evening, Ronnie wasn’t in Haringey any more. In fact, save for the fact he had occasion to have a cue in his hand and a tableful of balls in front of him, he was a man completely outside of his comfort zone.

The History Channel had sent one of snooker’s favourite sons on a tour of some of America’s most iconic pool halls to take on some celebrated heroes at their own game. 

At least, that is the basic premise behind the new series Ronnie O’Sullivan’s American Hustle, which debuted with a trip to New York City.

The good news is, it is clearly so much more than just watching Ronnie play a few frames of pool. No, the big break for me is that American Hustle also does what it says on the channel and positively wallows in the history and culture that helped shape the game, and indeed its country of origin, over the decades.

Which is why, shall we say, borrowing the title of a recent blockbuster film hasn’t ended up looking like daylight robbery. Because this American Hustle is a full blown road movie. That’s bursting with Hollywood backdrops, and what’s more, it’s a buddy picture, to boot.

Along for the ride is Ronnie’s mate, and of course dab hand at the telly stuff, Matt Smith. Matt’s part in the proceedings is very important. 

He not only uses his broadcasting chops to steer us through the various elements to the programme. He also makes sure that Ronnie remains unselfconscious on camera. Which can often be his nemesis when he’s asked to do anything other than simply set the green baize ablaze.

Which means that their trip up, under and around the city remained entertaining and easy going throughout – and with it, frequently enlightening. 

There’s a trip to Ellis Island. Some street basketball under a bridge. A hot dog from the street. A ride to the top of the Empire State Building, where we learned that the Ally Pally is just about as high as Ronnie likes to go, and that the Rocket’s cure for a phobia of flying is ‘Flappy Birds.’

However, even though Ronnie certainly seemed a happy tourist, he did look most at home when there was an oblong table in front of him. As they rode around in a vintage yellow taxi, Ronnie told Matt he ‘grew up playing pool in a pub’. But that was cue chalk and cheese ‘n’ onion by comparison.

So it was fascinating watching him taking on board hustling tips from Kid Delicious. Then practising the subtle art of the ancient ancestor of pool and billiards, carom. While he was absolutely in his element visiting Blatt Billiards, with its hoards of antique tables and loving crafted new ones.

Of course, the end game for the programme is to watch Ronnie in the lion’s den. Which for this episode, was a match against Queens legend Earl ‘The Pearl’ Strickland. 

Here, the whole thing became pure theatre. With Earl playing his role to perfection. While some stunning camerawork and editing gave the whole thing an appropriately filmic quality.

As I said, the Rocket winning or losing frames or dollars is why he and Matt went on their epic journey. That is clearly going to be a sight to see. But to watch O’Sullivan put the cue back in the bag and soak up a whole new world with his mate alongside him may just end up being this series’ ultimate winner.

Ronnie O’Sullivan’s American Hustle is on Thursdays at 10pm on HISTORY 

If you missed it, here it is or …

Ronnie qualifies for the China Open 2017

chinaopenqualposter

Ronnie booked his place for the main event in Beijing by beating James Cahill by 5-3 in Preston yesterday evening. Just as I expected, it wasn’t a great performance, but he did the job and it’s all that matters. James Cahill was potting well and at 3-3 it was hard to call a winner. Ronnie’s breakbuilding was good but he couldn’t pot a long ball for his life … and splits didn’t work great for either of them.

Eventually though, experience prevailed I suppose as James started missing more and Ronnie was able to win the last two frames. Here is the match:

Some shots to finish frame 3, where Ronnie made a 107, were pure exhibition!

I said in a previous post that it’s hard for the top players to stay fully committed in this qualifiers environment, just after playing in a prestige event like the Masters. Both beaten semi-finalists at the Masters, Barry Hawkins and Marco Fu were beaten in Preston. Stuart Bingham was taken to a decider by James Wattana, but eventually won.

All boys on the poster will be in Beijing: Jimmy White continues his good season and managed to beat Sam Baird by 5-4.

There are more matches to be played today, but none involving top 16 players. So 12 of them will be in Beijing: Mark Selby (World Champion), Judd Trump (Defending Champion), Ding Junhui and Liang Wenbo (China n°1 & 2) have their first round matches held over. Neil Robertson and Mark Allen opted out. In Allen’s case it may be related to the fact that his wife is expecting their first child and that he doesn’t want to be at the other side of the planet when she comes close her term.

 

Ronnie about how he got involved in American hustle

Despite the misleading title, this article in ShortList is mainly about Ronnie and what drove him to do this series in America.

Ronnie O’Sullivan interview: “Flappy Bird cured my fear of flying”

25 JAN 2017

ronnie

Ronnie O’Sullivan, one of the finest snooker players of all time, sucks at pool but rules at iPhone games. Flappy Bird, in particular.

Here Dan Masoliver chats with the British legend to find out why he’s so obsessed with the annoying game, as well as discussing his brand new TV show about pool hustling in America.

In your new series, Ronnie O’Sullivan’s American Hustle, you and broadcaster Matt Smith go to the US and hustle some pool. What attracted you to the idea?

It was the travel. Going to places and experiencing things that I wouldn’t normally do. Once my snooker season’s over, I sit on the couch, I chill out, I go running, cook barbecues every night and that’s it. That’s my world. This was an opportunity to go out to somewhere I’d never normally have gone.

You’ve dabbled in pool in the past, playing in the International Pool Tour in 2006. Why haven’t you persisted with it?

I’m just not very good at it. The balls, the cues, the equipment – none of it does what I think it’s going to do. The noise of the cue when it hits the ball [he recoils, cringing], I want to put ear plugs in. It’s like asking Federer to play table tennis – he’s going to be all right at it, but he’s going to say, “Where’s the feel? Where’s the touch?”

You meet 55-year-old Earl ‘The Pearl’ Strickland in episode one, where he declares that he’s one of the greatest athletes that’s ever been born. Bit strong, no?

Most people would think, “F*cking hell you’re mad, how could you be the greatest athlete in America?” But he’s up there. He’s mastered his sport. It’s not as big as tennis or golf or swimming or whatever, but he mastered his sport. How much higher can you go than being the best in the world at what you do, whatever that may be?

Ronnie O’Sullivan – American Hustle Trailer

What would be the reaction if you made similar declarations of your undeniable talent?

I’d be big-headed. We love it when an American says it, we think it’s funny, but if a British guy says it, you think, “Who does he think he is?”

Americans worship their sports stars – do you think that people here would rather see you fail?

I get a general sense that every snooker fan that loves snooker wants to see me do well. And then I get the feeling that the people that run the sport would like to do what they did with Alex Higgins. While he was good for viewing figures they accepted him, but as soon as he started to not do so well, they threw him out of the game. So the sport will use me while I’m good, but the minute I drop off, it’ll be like, “Get him out.”

You’ve always been a bit of a maverick. Where does that come from?

I was brought up never to get too big for my boots. If I’d won a competition, it was history. Forget about it, move on to the next one. I was always taught to be tough, to not show any emotion, to feel like it’s me against the world. And that had an influence on how I live my life.

Has it made you ruthless?

I’m not like that. I love human beings. If I see a homeless guy, I go and buy him a sandwich and I say, “Look, here’s a bit of food and there’s a tenner, get yourself a packet of fags.” So I have empathy for humans. But as a snooker player, I’ve been brought up, ever since I was 10, to just be a machine.

We hear you’ve got a peculiar way of coping with your chronic phobia of flying.

Flappy Bird is the only thing that got me over flying. I got on a plane once, I had eight per cent battery. I said to the lady, “You’d better get me something [to charge my phone].” She said, “We can’t,” so I said, “I’m a bad flyer, you don’t want to see me if I start kicking off, because your passengers won’t like it.” She said, “I’ll get you some charge.” I was sh*tting myself. That [battery] is normally at 100 per cent the night before I’m going to the airport. Flappy Bird is my greatest cure.

Hold on, the smartphone game where you tap the screen to keep a nearly flightless bird airborne – that cured your fear of flying?

I’m being serious. I love it [he pulls out his phone and starts to play]. It’s the most beautiful feeling ever, when you’re going through [the pipes]. Look: the timing, the angles, the precision. Look! The dip, and then you get up there and you let it drop. That’s an art.

You’re actually remarkably good. What’s your high score?

It’s 295 on my phone, but I have about 350 on my iPad. That’s not bad. And I only do it when I’m on the plane, so I won’t do it for months, and then, boom: within 20 minutes I’m 180s, 200s. I could get 1,000, if I really put my mind to it.

Ronnie O’Sullivan’s American Hustle starts on 26 January on History at 10pm

[Images: JonEnoch, Eyevine]