Snooker news …

Tomorrow, in a way, the season starts in earnest with qualifying rounds for three tournaments: the Indian Open, the European Masters and the World Open. Ronnie hasn’t entered any of those events, and I don’t intend to cover them in any detail on this blog unless something extraordinary happens.

There have also been a few announcements by Worldsnooker:

Also, Kyren Wilson has won Gold at the World Games in Wroclaw, Poland . He beat Ali Carter in the – best of 7 – final. There were only 16 snooker players involved in total, mostly amateurs and snooker was by no way the organisers priority judging by how little live coverage it was allocated according to the initial official event calendar/agenda. Worldsnooker though gave it rather extensive coverage, whilst completely ignoring the International Challenge in Shenzhen despite the presence of three World Champions (Ronnie, Willo and Dotty) plus China Number 1 and flag bearer Ding. Surely the latter raised more interest than the former? Kyren is a top player, as is Ali, and surely Kyren is a worthy winner and deserved the exposure, but why not cover both events? Neither is a WS event and both were sanctioned.
The only reason I can see for this, is that the World Games are somehow surrogate Olympics for sports that are not in the Olympics. It is one of the main goals pursued by Jason Ferguson to try to get snooker in the Olympics, and, although I don’t think that snooker fits well in there, it would certainly help the sport to be recognised in many countries, like mine, where it’s not actually seen as a sport and therefore cannot benefit from structures and funding available to other sporting disciplines.
Whatever, it didn’t go down well with Mark Williams, Joe Perry and Michael Holt who expressed their discontent on twitter. Willo in particular was quite upfront and got into a bit of a row with Barry Hearn today, about that and other things.

One of these other things is the fact that qualifiers for events in China are held in the UK and, every new season, a number of Chinese players miss some because they don’t get a visa in time. Mark Williams insists that this situation is both absurd and unfair and he is absolutely right. A flat draw should mean no qualifiers and everyone starting in last 128 at the venue. The way it’s done now is a massive bias in favor of UK players.

And finally there is THIS

Following an inappropriate and unconstitutional attempt by some members of the International Billiards and Snooker Association (IBSF) to control seats within the World Confederation of Billiards Sports, the WPBSA will be distancing itself completely from the IBSF.

All World Snooker Tour places allocated to the IBSF will be removed with immediate effect. Any organisation staging events which hold two-year WSL tour cards for the winners should check with the WPBSA before taking any entries.

The WPBSA has had serious concerns for some time about governance standards within some Cue Sport organisations. The WPBSA is committed promoting the principles of good governance in sport and will continue to work with National Federations who share the same vision for the future.

So that old plague of snooker – rival governing bodies getting involved in power and control fights – is raising its ugly head again… This statement tells nothing about the actual facts so it’s impossible to assess the situation, or to identify responsibilities,  but whatever it is, it’s bad news.

International Challenge 2017 – UK beats China by 26-9

UKvChinaJuly2017Poster-1

First of all, a big, big thanks to the readers of this blog who have been helping with finding videos, and interviews over the lasts days. I’m going to a difficult time privately and,  without you, i would not be able to provide content and keep the blog going!  Thank you! 

Congratulations to Ronnie, Mark, Joe, Michael and Graeme!

Internationachzallenge2017-0

Following a question by Mo, Silvry found this gem:

yesterday evening I came across a series of interviews of Ronnie made the day before the event started, In fact a team of camara men and interviewers followed him during part of the day.

Link: http://www.juxingzaixian.com/pc/pages/player/demandLive.jsp?courseId=1552
(When you start the first video/sequence and play it to the end the next one will be shown automatically.)

One of the questions was about his cue. In short, he told that he will put it to “rest” as soon as he is back in the UK. And that some work was done on it, but that it did not play well.
So, I assume that he is still playing with the reworked cue at the moment.

Other that confirmation that Ronnie was still playing with his old, repaired cue, we also learn that, there will be a third book in the “Frankie James” saga, due probably after the world championship.

Then, krdlr found a treasure of footages:

Day2 videos:

Zhou Yuelong-Zhao Xintong v Graeme Dott-Joe Perry: http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMjkzMjE2NjM3Ng==.html?spm=a2hzp.8253869.0.0

Yan Bingtao v Michael Holt: http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMjkzMjE1ODI2OA==.html?spm=a2hzp.8253869.0.0

Ding Junhui-Liang Wenbo v Graeme Dott-Joe Perry: http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMjkzMjE0MDgzNg==.html?spm=a2hzp.8253869.0.0

Ronnie O’Sullivan v Zhou Yuelong:

Ronnie O'Sullivan – Zhou Yuelong International Challenge 2017 from MUU 905 on Vimeo.

Ronnie O’Sullivan-Mark Williams v Ding Junhui-Liang Wenbo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WwuVr0UxBw OR http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMjkzMjEyMzMwMA==.html?spm=a2hzp.8253869.0.0

Trophy presentation: http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMjkzMjEyMzA5Ng==.html?spm=a2hzp.8253869.0.0

The trophy presentation is quite funny, as usual in China, and it’s heart warming to see how much the players enjoyed it. It’s been well documented that Graeme Dott has been struggling with depression in past years, and to see him laughing and enjoying himself like that is really nice. Hopefully, the event will be played again next year.

This is the double over 7 frames Ronnie+Willo vs Ding and Liang. Quality and fun!

Willo had a lot to say on twitter about this one! … about the event in general. Happy doesn’t even start to describe it. But he is right about the lack of coverage from Worldsnooker. Ok, this is not one of their events, but the World Games aren’t either and surely this one attracted more interest. But I can see where they come from. The World Games might be a step towards Olympics inclusion which in turn could boost snooker in countries where currently it isn’t officially recognised as a sport.

First time I ever played doubles with Ronnie, his positional play is exceptional, I have never been in position so much in my life.#loteasier

(About a certain plant …)

I said I don’t think it goes , he said it does now go for it, I said if tha goes in I will do an headstand on the table @ronnieo147 #wentin

Unreal, I would never go for it , he said u cant miss it, he WAS correct

Excellent comp, good format , great arena , great fans, Ronnie is box office, pay him way he wants to play wsa. #hesasbigasthegame

Do we get in the champion of champions???? Me dott perry holt o Sullivan demand the spots

Ps world games on your website and nothing for this event , #chairmanout

And here we have Ronnie vs Zhou Yuelong

The frame of the tournament was a 135 TC by Graeme Dott and Joe Perry, second and last frame in their double vs Ding and Liang. Doing that in a double with alternate shots is some feat!!!

Here is the match:

And to finish a “pot-pourri” of images shared on twitter and weibo!

International Challenge 2017 – Day 1

After day 1, Great britain leads by 13-5. How that happened I’m not sure. However Ronnie did beat Ding by 6-1 in a “best of 7”.

More information was given about the event in this article on CBSA website

Here is an automatic translation by chrome, with some nice pictures:

Ultra-luxury lineup debut in the British Challenge release the new game highlights more

The 2018 Sino-British snooker Challenge will be held in Shenzhen on the 28th and 29th of this month. On the evening of July 27, including the Chinese team captain Ding Junhui and the British team captain O’Sullivan, including all 10 entries Players and the China Billiards Association, Shenzhen Nanshan District Government and sponsor representatives and other guests attended the event to participate in the press conference, welcome dinner.

2017 Sino-British Snooker Challenge is a group invitational co-sponsored by the National Sports Administration’s Smallball Management Center, the China Billiards Association and the World Occupational Billy and Snooker Association. Held in Nanshan District, Shenzhen Nanshan Style Sports Center.

Participate in this event a total of two teams, including the Chinese team captain by Ding Junhui, the players are Liang Wenbo, Yan Bingtao, Zhou Yuelong and Zhao Xin Tong. “Rockets” O’Sullivan served as captain of the British team, the team by Mark Williams, Graeme Dott, Joe Perry and Mike Holt composed.

In the two-day game, all the players will take turns to play, the form of competition, including players singles, team doubles, captain singles and captain doubles. In order to enhance the viewing of the event, in the doubles session will be a one-person approach.

Two match days, the two players will bring fans, including singles and doubles a total of 35 Bureau of the contest, which won the first 18 of the victory, that is, the championship team, will receive 80,000 pounds reward, and the runner-up team will Won £ 40,000 bonus. But different from the common single-defeat system, in the Sino-British snooker Challenge, even if one party has been ahead of the 18 Board victory, but the game will continue until the end of all the race.

British team captain O’Sullivan recently won the Hong Kong Masters runner-up, despite last night he only slept for an hour, but tonight held before the press conference and welcome dinner, O’Sullivan or maintained a good status. After the scene O’Sullivan first and friends Liang Wenbo happy talk, then talk with Ding Junhui sounding.

In the collective debut link, the two captain, respectively, to introduce their own players. For the team system, the Chinese team’s lineup is absolutely “super luxury.” Teenager Yan Jiantao and Zhou Yuelong have jointly won the 2015 snooker World Cup champion, shocked the world. And Ding Junhui and Liang Wenbo this pair of gold partner in 2011 and 2017 won the snooker World Cup title, it is worth mentioning that in the 2017 snooker World Cup final, Ding Junhui and Liang Wenbo is defeated the England team The final win.

In the interview section was asked whether there is confidence to beat the British team, the Chinese team captain Ding Junhui said: “World Cup we won them, but that is doubles competition, the team more than three people, the degree of cooperation with each other A higher demand, hope that we can withstand the test, and ultimately beat them. “(China Billiards Association Xiaofan)

Editor: cbsa

 

Here is the Ding vs Ronnie match:

Ronnie lost the first frame, but won 6-1. It was best of 7 but all frames were played as per the rules of this event.

And here the Williams vs Liang match, this was a best of 3.

PS: family circumstances mean that I have very little time to follow the action. Every contribution is very, very welcome!

International Challenge 2017 – before it starts …

So the next event is about to start…

Big, big thanks to  krdlr, for finding all this information 

ShenZhenChallenge2017-Poster

Information/promo video: http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMjkyMDU5NTgyMA==.html?spm=a2hzp.8253869.0.0
(I think this page will upload the whole event)

we’ll see it…

Some more infos here: http://news.top147.com/2017/07/00029713.shtml

“(1) The competition consists of two teams, the Chinese team and the British team, each team consists of five contestants, one of them captain;

(2) the game using the World Professional Snooker Association latest snooker competition, which doubles the game using a blow to the way;

(3) the game with 35 Bureau 18 wins race system, is divided into four stages, each stage set doubles and singles, of which 19 Bureau for the singles, 16 Bureau for the doubles;

(4) The competition shall be determined by the two teams in addition to the competition identified by the Organizing Committee in advance, and the contestants shall not act more than three times each time, not less than once. Doubles and singles against the team before the game two hours ago by the team captain to the referee group to submit the list of players, after the submission may not be modified twice.

Incentives:

(A) winning team will receive 80,000 pounds, a winners trophy

(B) losing team will receive 40,000 pounds, to commemorate a trophy

(Note: all bonuses are pre-tax bonuses)

Ten contestants

A Chinese team: Ding Junhui (captain, A1), Liang Wenbo (A2), Zhou Yuelong (A3), Yan Bingtao (A4), Zhao Xin Tong (A5)

B British team: Ronnie O’Sullivan (captain, B1), Mark Williams (B2), Graeme (B3), Joe Perry (B4), Michael Holt (B5)”

And there is a picture (write on Chinese) with the session times (matches lists?)…

My  guess is the “Bureau” means “Frame”. Automatic translators are not yet perfect…

And here are a few pictures shared on social media, both Western and Chinese

Hong Kong Masters 2017 – the exhibition side

Aside  from the main competition, Stephen Hendry, Jimmy White and On Yee Ng were invited to play a “pot black” exhibition, taking place on the Finals day afternoon.

Read the report by the Cinese press on this event here

Ng On-yee humbled by crowd and two greats in Stephen Hendry and Jimmy White

She may be twice world champion but it was the first time the Hong Kong star had played in front of more than 3,000 fans

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 23 July, 2017, 9:34pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 23 July, 2017, 10:52pm

Two-time reigning women’s world champion Ng was on Sunday night flying to the World Games in Poland, where she will take on male players and Belgium’s Wendy Jans – the only other female taking part.

There will be plenty for her to think about on the plane after losing to Jimmy “Whirlwind” White and Stephen Hendry at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium in an exhibition prior to the Hong Kong Masters final.

White is a six-time world championship finalist and Hendry a seven-time world champion. Neither are among the elite men’s players any more but were still too strong for Ng.

Ng was beaten by White 145-43 over two frames under the pot black rule while Hendry scored an overwhelming 151-49 win in the following game, including a 72 break in the second frame.

The strength of the crowd proved difficult for her to handle. The fickle weather meant the match was initially switched to being playing behind closed doors but then changed back to allow in the fans after a one-hour delay.

“I thought it was a big crowd when I last played at the Crucible for the men’s world championship qualifiers with a crowd of 300, but today it was more than 3,000,” she said. “I could not find my rhythm from the first moment, maybe it’s the first time I played in front of so many home fans in a big venue and seemed not to be able to control my muscles.

“But you don’t have too many opportunities like this. It’s a great experience of playing two great players and you gain experience match by match. Although it’s not a good performance, I did my best and hope the fans enjoy the game.”

Even her father, Ng Yam-shui who came to support his daughter, said she failed to play her best.

“She was too tensed. I can tell,” he said. “Maybe her performance was affected by the big home crowds. She should have taken it easy as the two were all-time great players.”

White also comforted his opponent, saying Ng could do much better even against men’s players in future if she could cope with the atmosphere.

“She needs to get a bit more used to the conditions like this,” said White, who has been given a wild card to play in the professional tour for next two seasons. “Today was the first time she played in front of a big crowd and when me and Steven played in front of a big crowd the first time, it was nerve wracking. She played well in the matches and just a bit nervous. She just keeps practising under her coach Wayne Griffiths and carries on as she is.”

At 55, White still enjoys snooker and is still keen to play in the tour.

“The season just started and I’ll go home tomorrow and get ready for it,” said White, who beat Hendry 109-74 in their exhibition match. “I plan to play in every tournament in the new season. Basically I want to stay with tour as I enjoy practising. While I still enjoy practising, I will carry on competing.”

And watch it here …

The format was: round robin, matches in 2 frames, aggregated points.

Hong Kong Masters 2017 – Neil Robertson is the Champion

Neil Robertson played superbly to beat Ronnie by 6-3 in the Final of the Hong Kong Masters 2017. Congratulations Neil.

The match though was a bit closer than the score suggests: Ronnie narrowly lost frames 6 and 7; in frame 7 Neil needed one snooker, laid a good one on the yellow, which Ronnie escaped, but, doing so was unlucky to pocket the green, giving Neil the penalty points he needed, and leaving the yellow over a middle pocket as well.

Here is the report by Worldsnooker:

Sunday 23 Jul 2017 03:57PM

Neil Robertson put on a sublime display to see off five-time World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-3 and lift the Hong Kong Masters title.

The Thunder was faced with three of the biggest names in the sport this week, but he managed to overcome World Champion Mark Selby, local hero Marco Fu and 28-time ranking event winner O’Sullivan to claim the crown. The Australian takes the top prize of £100,000. It’s the third invitational title of his career following victories at the 2012 Masters and 2015 Champion of Champions.

O’Sullivan came from behind in his opening two matches against John Higgins and Judd Trump, to force deciders which he won. However, he was unable to repeat his heroics this evening.

The Rocket took the opening frame, before Robertson responded with breaks of 73 and 80 to take the lead. Both players made contributions of 67 in the fourth frame, but it was O’Sullivan who deposited the final black to restore parity at 2-2.

The Englishman then produced a spellbinding run of 143 to take fifth frame and lead 3-2. However, from that point on Robertson took control. The 12-time ranking winner won four frames on the bounce, finishing with breaks of 68 and 82, to lift the title.

A joyous Robertson remarked: “This event had the best eight players in the world. The draw I had was incredible. Mark Selby, Marco Fu and Ronnie O’Sullivan. It doesn’t get any harder than that. To do it in front of three thousand people was amazing. That was the best playing experience of my career.

“Last season was really bad by my standards and I think I needed that to happen to know what to do going forward. This was the first big tournament of the campaign and my preparation was fantastic. I’ve worked really hard and I just have to do this for the rest of my career. I need to play this aggressive as well. I didn’t let Ronnie dictate the pace of the match.

“I’m not going to target certain events. I just need to practise from start to finish. Mark Selby has really inspired me. Seeing how hard he works. Usually I don’t do much practising during events. But I have done a little bit extra during this week and it showed.”

O’Sullivan was in reflective mood after the defeat, but admitted he needs to make a change with his cue.

If at the start of the week you told me I would be in the final I would have taken it,” said O’Sullivan. “I don’t make excuses but I will be getting rid of my cue after this week, it’s finished. There were certain shots I couldn’t play as it has lost it’s feel. I just have to take the positives out of this week.

I wrote in a previous post that Ronnie had some repair work done on his cue. It seems unfortunately that the cue is damaged beyond rescue…

Here are some images courtesy of Tai Chengzhe. Thanks Tai!

Ronnie though didn’t have an all bad day in Hong Kong … before the match, other than practicing, he also played a bit of table tennis and had lunch with Django Fung and his family. Django is Ronnie’s former manager and they are close friends.

Here is the final (Chinese commentary):

Ronnie made a 143, the HB of the tournament in frame 5, and frame 4 saw both players score a 67 break, before Ronnie took it on the re-spotted black.

Hong Kong Masters 2017 – Day 3

It was semi finals day in Hong Kong and it was full of drama!

Neil Robertson must be the most hated man in Hong Kong at the moment as he beat the local hero, Marco Fu by 6-4 in the afternoon match.

You can read the report on Worldsnooker here.HKMastersFuvRobertsonSF

pictures shared by Worldsnooker on weibo

In the evening match, Ronnie beat Judd Trump in an absolute thriller!

Here is the report on Worldsnooker:

Saturday 22 Jul 2017 04:13PM

Ronnie O’Sullivan sealed a dramatic 6-5 win over Judd Trump on the final black to reach the final of the Hong Kong Masters.

A pulsating clash between two snooker titans eventually went the Rocket’s way when he made a winning clearance in the deciding frame, having needed a snooker. He goes through to Sunday’s final at the invitation event to battle Neil Robertson for the trophy and £100,000 top prize.

Five-time World Champion O’Sullivan took the opening frame on the colours then rattled in breaks of 128 and 85 to lead 3-0. Back came Trump with a spell of four frames in a row, highlighted by runs of 136 and 76, to go 4-3 ahead.

O’Sullivan’s 87 restored parity then Trump regained the lead with a 54. The high scoring continued as O’Sullivan’s 126 made it 5-5.

Both players had chances in the decider and Trump looked sure to win until he missed the penultimate red when leading by 46 points. O’Sullivan took red and black then trapped his opponent in a tough snooker. Trump missed the last red and left a free ball, and O’Sullivan punished him by clearing with 39 to clinch victory.

“It was a crazy match and I thought I had lost,” said 42-year-old O’Sullivan, chasing his first title since the Masters in January. “I was going to concede when he went 46 ahead in the last frame, but I decided to give it a go and then got a good snooker which made it difficult for him. I made a good clearance because it’s never easy under pressure. I was really pleased that I held myself together. You have to try to let instinct take over in that situation.

I was making some silly mistakes and handed frames to Judd, but I tried to stay positive and the crowd were behind me which helped. I was pleased to give them a reason to cheer. I’ve had two really hard matches here against John Higgins and Judd and I’ll be giving it my best shot in the final.”

Trump said: “I should have won, I had a chance in the last frame and I should have made sure of the second-last red. But then he got me in a good snooker and then the balls were perfect for him. From 3-0 down I was in control. Overall this has been a very good tournament and I’d be happy to come back.

In fact, the balls were not exactly perfect: the green was stuck on the baulk cushion and not very close to the pocket either. That was going to be a difficult shot at the best of times, not to mention under the pressure of a deciding frame in a semi final! Also Ronnie had cleverly played for the pink from the free ball black: it was close to the brown (on its spot) and pink to black would have been difficult if it had stayed there.

And some images, courtesy of Tai Chengzhe. Thanks Tai!  

 

Here are the first two frames, and most of what happened after the MSI

Ronnie O'Sullivan – Judd Trump 2017 Hong Kong Masters from MUT 898 on Vimeo.

I want to stress that the guys who brought that to us did an awsome job. The stream was awfull yesterday. Thank you guys!