American Hustle … frustration, China Open qualifiers and desecration of an icon


Today, the first (of four) episode of Ronnie’s American Hustle will be out on HistoryUK channel at 10pm (UK time).  Most of us will not be able to watch it unfortunately, which is a shame because, going by the trailers, it’s very funny and very interesting. If you are looking for a streaming … you will find out that you can indeed register to watch it online … but only if you are a UK resident. The rationale behind such restrictive policies in today’s global world are beyond my understanding. Why?

Anyway, yesterday they published this very interesting podcast featuring John Virgo, David Hendon and Ronnie himself.


Tonight Ronnie will play James Cahill in the China Open qualifying round. Earlier this week, Ali Carter’s manager was reflecting that, for top players who had just been competing in the Masters, in Ally Pally, going to battle it out in qualifiers in front a scarce audience, is coming down with a hard bump and that it was very hard to be up for it. In the end, Ali was lucky: his opponent withdrew, so he didn’t need to make the trip to Preston.

Ronnie doesn’t like the 128 tour, he doesn’t like to play in those qualifiers – none of the top guys do – and he’s obviously busy with the promotion of his American Hustle series, so,  I’m not expecting a great performance, although he should go through.

The venue is the Preston Guildhall, the former house of the UK Championship and the place where it all started for Ronnie, still only 17, when he won his first ranking title. It’s an iconic place. Shaun Murphy claimed he was “excited” to return there. Really Shaun? I find it awkward and unsettling more than anything else. This iconic venue, poorly lit, with partitions, almost empty, without any atmosphere … it’s a kind of desecration. Would you be excited to see “qualifying partitions” in a dark/empty Crucible? I don’t for sure. It won’t happen of course, the Crucible is far too small for that. But, well, you get the feeling …