The Snookerstars Tour 2017 – Mark Selby wins in Munich

Mark Selby won the fourth and last, high quality, leg of the series by 6-4 in Munich. He had two centuries 138 and 126 in the two first frames of the match.

That leaves the boys at 2-2 at the end of their German/Austrian tour, with Mark edging it on number of centuries.

There was no Internet at the venue, so, this time Jason Francis wasn’t able to keep us updated on twitter during the event, but himself, Snookerstars, Rolf Kalb, Theo Selbertinger (the referee) and fans (thank you Andrea and Bozena again) made up for it by posting images and “thank you” messages aplenty afterwards.

Here are a few images shared on twitter:

And a short video of Rolf Kalb welcoming Ronnie at the start of the show:

Thanks Stefan for this!

And thanks Bozena for sharing this one:

The only disappointment was that the autograph session was restricted to the holders of VIP tickets. Other than the fact that this was how it was contracted, signing for 800 to 1000 fans would have taken quite some time (understatement alert) and the players were due to fly home in the evening. It was simply impossible to do within the time constraints. But it’s a pity for the fans who haven’t that many opportunities to meet these two great players in the flesh.

The Snookerstars Tour 2017 – Ronnie wins in Austria

The Snookerstars Tour stopped in Dornbirn, Austria, yesterday where Ronnie and Mark were treated to a beautiful scenery as well as gorgeous weather

In the evening, Ronnie won the match by 6-4, having been in control from the start for a change. Here is the (short) account by Jason on twitter:

  • Packed in Austria. Ronnie leads 2-1
  • Ros leads 3-2 at the interval
  • 4-3 Ronnie
  • Ronnie 5-3 up
  • Ronnie wins 6-4 tonight here in Austria

And a few pictures, shared by Jason, Snookerstars and Rolf Kalb on twitter

There is also a video, shared by Jason on Facebook, showing Ronnie in action, in frame 7, clearly in exhibition mood and enjoying it:

And this was shared on youtube:

Showing 15 years old Florian Nussle playing the double. He made the winning 49 clearance to win the frame.

Today they will be back in Munich, for the last leg of the series. Ronnie leads 2-1. Should he win this afternoon, he wins the series, should Mark win, it will decided by the number of centuries made, and if they are even, on the highest century. As far as I know, currently, Ronnie made a 136 and Mark a 110 and a 147.


The Snookerstars Tour 2017 – Mark Selby wins in Hamm

It was all Mark Selby yesterday in Hamm as he won convincingly, beating Ronnie by 6-2, and making a 147 in frame 4 to put the cherry on the cake.

Jason Francis (Snooker Legends) shared a video of the final phase of Mark 147 on Facebook. Here it is

as well as this other one, with both player in action, and Theo turning a blind eye on Ronnie’s flying foul:


Jason account of the night on twitter was short(ish):

  • Sell out for
  • 1-1 so far here in Hamm
  • MARK SELBY 147! In Hamm. Last reds and colours on our Facebook page. Leads 3-1
  • Glues his own tip back on, ferule covered in superglue and makes a MAXI! turn it in jester
  • Looking like marks night tonight, leads Ronnie 5-1
  • The jester closes out a 6-2 victory over Ronnie here in Hamm 1-1 in the series. Austria tomorrow

Now, Mark might set a new trend here: cake your tip and ferule in super-glue and you become unbeatable!

And here are a few more pictures shared on twitter by Jason, Snookerstars and fans (thanks Bozena and Andrea!)

And today, they will play in Austria and they are already on their way …

Don’t ask me why Ronnie looks like a security man … I have no clue!

Big Event in Hong Kong in July 2017

The calendar as published by World Snooker mentions an event in the far East scheduled for the second half of July 2017. Rumour had it that it would be in Hong Kong as part of the 20th year handover celebrations.

This has now been confirmed, and some additional information about who might be there has now been disclosed by Michael Day on his blog, The Cue View .

The third trophy of the new 2017/18 professional snooker season will be claimed at a special ‘World Snooker Masters Challenge’ event in Hong Kong this July.

Many of the sport’s big stars are expected to line-up for this unique invitational tournament that is part of the 20th year handover celebrations.

Read more …

Wether Ronnie will be interested in this remains to be seen of course.

The Snookerstars Tour 2017 – Ronnie wins in Hamburg

Yesterday Ronnie and Mark Selby were in Hamburg for the first of four exhibitions in Germany and Austria with Snookerstars. The event is played under the Eleven-30 format, best of 11 with 30 seconds shot-clock.

Ronnie won by 6-5, from 3-1 and 5-3 down, but Mark was unlucky when his tip came off in frame 10. Both had a century: 110 from Mark, 136 TC from Ronnie.

Here is Jason Francis account on twitter

  • VIP with the legend
  • Ronnie on the black 1-0
  • Mark wins 2 on the spin 2-1 up now
  • 3-2 to mark at the interval
  • Second half
  • 136 (TC) from ronnie but it’s 5-4 selby at the moment
  • Marks tip has come off so he is now borrowing ronnies cue!
  • 5-5 and mark has borrowed a local cue for the decider!!
  • Ronnie is going to win here 6-5 in leg 1. Mark suffered a tip off in frame 10. Unlucky but great match

Here are a few pictures shared by Jason and Snookerstars on twitter:

No close-ups and I think you can see why. Who else than these two could fill an arena this size for an exhibition match?

More about Ronnie and politics …

Earlier this week I shared this article, that stated that Ronnie came to be interested in politics somehow because he realised that mental health issues are strongly correlated with poverty and social class. I mentioned that I disagreed with those views.

Coincidentally, Worldsnooker has now published this :

Wednesday 24 May 2017 09:51AM

Ed Miliband talks about his love of snooker and friendship with Ronnie O’Sullivan…

Imagine a world in which the Labour Party had won the 2015 general election. The whole Brexit thing would (probably) never have happened. And even more significantly, we would now (probably) have a Prime Minister who loves snooker.

Like most Brits who grew up during the 1980s, Ed Miliband developed a keen affection for snooker when it was the most popular television sport in the UK. The past 40 years of the World Championship at the Crucible have left him with some lucid memories of watching the green baize game with his family.

“When I was growing up, everyone was interested in snooker,” he recalls. “My heroes were Alex Higgins and Jimmy White and I got hooked around 1982 when Higgins won it. I always rooted against Steve Davis because he seemed so perfect and he won all the time.

“I remember watching Cliff Thorburn’s 147 in 1983. Then I have this incredible memory of sitting with my late father watching the 1985 final until after midnight. It seemed as if snooker was on television all the time back then and the characters in the game were something special – although there are also some great characters among today’s players.

“I played a lot as a teenager although I was never very good. I played pool slightly better than snooker as of course it’s easier for people at my standard.”

After graduating from Oxford in 1992, Miliband decided on a career in politics and progressed quickly through the Labour ranks. After the party’s landslide election victory in 1997 he was made a special adviser to Chancellor Gordon Brown, a position he held for five years.

In 2005, Miliband became Member of Parliament for Doncaster North – a position he still holds – and the following year he joined Tony Blair’s front bench. In 2008, under Gordon Brown, he became Secretary of State. His older brother, David, was also among the cabinet at the time. Following Labour’s defeat in the 2010 election and Brown’s immediate resignation, the two siblings went head-to-head for leadership of the party. And it was Ed who triumphed to become Leader of the Opposition.

His 2015 election campaign against David Cameron’s Conservatives was hard fought, and memorable for a BBC interview with Jeremy Paxman when Miliband was asked if he was tough enough to be Prime Minister. “Hell yes, I’m tough enough,” came the reply. But in the end it was tough luck for Miliband as the election went the Tories’ way and he stepped down from the Labour leadership position.

Nevertheless, he remains an active back-bencher, spreading his views on ways to reduce inequality in British society. And his absence from front line politics may have given Miliband a bit more time to indulge his interest in snooker, as well as his friendship with Ronnie O’Sullivan.

The two met via a mutual friend – the journalist Simon Hattenstone who writes for the Guardian and has also worked with O’Sullivan on his autobiographies.

“Simon was interviewing me and for some reason he asked me if I liked snooker,” said Miliband. “I started going on about it and then he got Ronnie on the phone to speak to me. Since then I have got to know Ronnie and he has come to my constituency. He is a great person. I know some people think he’s controversial, but he’s a great advert for snooker.

“He has an incredible personality and he’s got real depth. When I saw him talking to the young people in my constituency, he had a magical ability to talk about his own problems. He doesn’t try to pretend he’s had an easy life, he’s had ups and downs of all kinds, and that makes him more of a compelling figure.

“I think it was an eye opener for him to come and meet people from a different part of the country. I took him to the working men’s club which has a snooker table in it – the members there still talk about the time he came. That’s his magnetism and his charisma. Ronnie did try to give me some tips on the table, but my game is sadly beyond redemption.”

The admiration between the two is clearly mutual as O’Sullivan has – since meeting Miliband – become increasingly interested in politics, and particularly social inequality.

“With Ed, I went to a mining club for a snooker game,” the Rocket said in a recent interview. “There were proper, working-class people, and I could relate to them. I can’t relate to a bunch of bankers sitting there, drinking wine and splashing money like it’s going out of fashion. It’s obscene, it makes me feel sick. I don’t want to be a part of it. I want to try to do good for people.”

In January, Miliband came to watch live snooker for the first time. He was among the crowd for the Masters final at Alexandra Palace in London when O’Sullivan beat Joe Perry 10-7 to win the title for a record seventh time.

“It was very exciting to see snooker live,” he said. “Getting to know Ronnie has rekindled my own interest in snooker.  I love to watch on TV, especially when Ronnie and Judd Trump are playing.”

O’Sullivan has even mooted the idea of going into politics once his snooker career is over – though Miliband knows better than most the pitfalls of the political world. He added: “I’m not sure I would advise anyone to go into politics! It can be a curse as well as a blessing. But Ronnie is someone who cares about doing good things as well as entertaining people, and he’s certainly an amazing entertainer.”

As you can read, the way Ronnie’s involvement in politics started has absolutely nothing to do with the mental health problems he’s had to tackle. It happened by chance to a very large extend. Of course, it got Ronnie thinking, and of course difficult circumstances don’t help those prone to depression and anxiety, that’s only common sense and something he can relate to, but him getting interest in politics had nothing to do the mental health issues he had to battle.

More about the Wildcards at the China Championship 2017

Here is the information published by WPBSA

I’m certain that most of us fans will hope that these changes will apply to all Asian events played under the flat draw format.

Wild Card Changes For China Championship

Next week sees the start of the new snooker season as the World Snooker Tour heads to Preston for the Kaspersky Riga Masters and China Championship qualifiers from 31 May – 6 June 2017.

The draws for both events were released by World Snooker (now updated to include Q School qualifiers) a couple of weeks ago, but what you might have missed was the information included regarding wild cards at the China Championship:

“For the 2017 China Championship there will be four Chinese wild cards, selected by the Chinese Billiards and Snooker Association. These four players will come into the draw at the first round (last 128) stage with their round 1 match being held over to the final venue, leaving 124 places available for tour players in the same system as was used in the Home Nations and Riga Masters during the 2016/17 season. These players are guaranteed these spaces and so there are 124 places remaining available to tour players which, had more than 124 players entered would have resulted in pre-qualifiers to reduce tour players down to 124. This is a change to the previous system, where the Chinese wild cards would take part in an additional round, competing against players who had already won their first round matches. Invitational Tour Cards and Amateur Top Ups will then be used to top up the field to 124 players in the event that fewer than 124 tour players enter.”

In summary:

  • At this event there will no longer be the separate wild card round that we have become familiar with over the past decade
  • The four wild cards will instead come straight into the draw at the first round (r128) stage.
  • A player can only be selected to play a wild card match once per season
  • The main tour players selected to play wild cards at this event are: Tian Pengfei, Daniel Wells, Andrew Higginson, Mark Selby
  • Had more than 124 professional players entered, there would have been a pre-qualifying round, including players from the bottom 64 places (excluding wildcards) in the rankings. Main tour players can only play on one pre-qualifying round per season. Winners of a pre-qualifying round would have received half of the last 64 prize money and this would count towards the world ranking list.
  • At this event, 122 professionals have entered, in addition to two invitational tour card holders and four wild card players, meaning that there is no requirement for a pre-qualifying round.

At the time of writing, this structural change has been confirmed for the China Championship only.