Those who follow me on twitter and/or Facebook know where I have been last week: in Fürth at the Paul Hunter Classic. Other than the main event, one of the few still open to amateurs, there was also a Ladies ranking event, a junior event, and kind of plate competition and a national German ranking event, all this over those two sites, the Stadthalle in Fürth, and the Ballroom in Nuremberg. So a VERY busy week.
The main event was won by Michael White and here is the report on WPBSA:
Lightning Strikes In Germany
28th August 2017
Michael White won his second ranking title by beating Shaun Murphy 4-2 in the final of the Paul Hunter Classic in Fürth.
Welshman White won seven matches to take the £20,000 top prize and double his tally of ranking crowns, having won his first at the 2015 Indian Open.
The 26-year-old from Neath had been on a poor run of form, failing to reach a quarter-final in the past nine months. But White’s game came together in Germany as he knocked out World Champion Mark Selby on his way to the final before beating world number five Murphy.
The player nicknamed Lightning jumps four places in the rankings to 26th.
Defeat for Murphy was his second in a ranking final within five days, as he was denied the China Championship title by Luca Brecel last Tuesday.
White won the opening frame with breaks of 34 and 45. Murphy had a chance to level in the second but missed the last red along the top cushion when trailing by 17 points, and his opponent punished him to lead 2-0.
Murphy pulled one back with a run of 84 but he missed a tricky brown early in frame four which let White in for an 83 to go 3-1 ahead. Frame five came down to the colours and White had a chance to clear from the yellow for victory, but rattled the last black in the jaws of a top corner and left it for Murphy to close to 3-2.
But White put that out of his mind and made a superb 97 in frame six to clinch the title.
“It means the world to me,” said White, who was 3-1 down in his opening match against Adam Duffy and came back to win 4-3. “The last couple of years have been a struggle because I have not competed with the top boys, or even felt that I was able to. But I have put a lot of work in and it has paid off.
“When I missed the black in the fifth frame I didn’t feel that I could make a break after that. I dug as deep as I could.”
Murphy, who banks £10,000, said: “Michael was just better than me from the first shot. This event is special because the fans are the best in the world.”
Earlier in the semi-finals, Murphy came from 3-1 down to beat Jamie Jones 4-3 with breaks of 90, 75 and 77 in the last three frames. White scored a 4-1 win over Mitchell Mann, who had never previously been beyond the last 32 of a ranking event.
Victory for White could also earn him a place in the Champion of Champions in November, though that will depend on results in the remaining qualifying events.
Reanne Evans won the Ladies event (report on WPBSA)
Evans Claims Women’s Classic in Germany
27th August 2017
Reanne Evans has won the 2017 WLBS Paul Hunter Women’s Classic in Germany, defeating Hong Kong’s Ng On Yee 4-1 in the final.
The pair met in what was a repeat of last year’s final at the Stadthalle, having both survived close semi-finals on Saturday evening.
11-time world champion Evans was bidding to claim her her first WLBS ranking title since January and made the stronger start, a break of 59 giving her the opening frame before she won a scrappy second frame to double her advantage.
On Yee however, has earned a reputation on the women’s circuit in recent years for her comebacks in matches and hit back by taking the third to halve the deficit. The defending champion looked all set to level the scoreline at 2-2, only for Evans to force a snooker on the pink and eventually snatch a frame that she never looked like winning with a piece of good fortune on the black ball.
Evans went on to dominate the final frame to complete a 4-1 victory and win her latest WLBS title.
Last 16 Results
Ng On Yee 4-0 Inese Lukasevsaka
Diana Schuler 0-4 Diana Stateczny
Dong Mei Mei 4-3 Linda Erben
So Man Yan 4-0 Manon Melief
Rebecca Kenna 4-0 Aimee Benn
Wan Ka Kai 4-0 Christina Schneider
Maria Catalano 4-0 Stephanie Daughtery
Reanne Evans 4-0 Ramona Kirchner
Ng On Yee 4-0 Diana Stateczny
Fong Mei Mei 2-4 So Man Yan
Rebecca Kenna 4-0 Wan Ka Kai
Maria Catalano 1- Reanne Evans
Ng On Yee 4-3 So Man Yan
Reanne Evans 4-2 Rebecca Kenna
Reanne Evans 4-1 Ng On Yee
The Junior event was won by a young French, Brian Ochoiski, who beat another young French, Niel Vincent (report on Worldsnooker)
Friday 25 Aug 2017 02:25PM
Two French players reached the final of the under-18 event at the Paul Hunter Classic in Germany this week, with Brian Ochoiski taking the title with a 4-1 win over Niel Vincent.
The tournament drew players from around Europe, but in the end the only two French players in the competition both got to the final.
Highest break of the event was a 92 from Austria’s Florian Nüßle.
Results (last 16 onwards)
Hamim Hussain 3-0 Oliver Read
Niel Vincent 3-0 Kevin Cizmarovic
Umut Dikme 3-2 Antoni Kowalski
Florian Nüßle 3-0 Fabian Haken
Halim Hussain 3-1 Luis Vetter
Brian Ochoiski 3-1 Luke Pinches
Daniel Sciborski 3-0 Reggie Edwards
Noah Kodri 3-1 Ales Herout
Vincent 3-1 Hussain
Dikme 3-2 Nüßle
Ochoiski 3-2 Hussain
Sciborski 3-0 Kodri
Vincent 4-2 Dikme
Ochoiski 4-1 Sciborski
Ochoiski 4-1 Vincent
And all the pictures I took as the week unfolded
Now a few thoughts…
The Paul Hunter Classic started as a pro-am, was taken over by Worldsnooker, evolved into a PTC and now a full ranking event. However, unfortunately, the prize money and the format are still those of a PTC. It’s only £20000 for the winner, it’s best of 7 all along. Also it’s not televised, just streamed. As a consequence, a lot of top players gave it a miss, which is a shame because it’s a great atmosphere and, according to many players, the best crowd they play in front. Barry Hearn puts the blame on the European sponsors, or rather the lack of them. But maybe he could ask himself why sponsors are not that interested? Why would an European sponsor want to promote an event that is not on television, that is played during the summer holidays, that doesn’t seem to attract the big names AND that is organised by a body that has very strong ties with the betting industry, an industry that hasn’t a good image in mainland Europe, where betting is seen as a rather shady business, with a lot of products deemed illegal, and betting related advertising forbidden in many european countries? It’s a catch 22 situation and it’s a big, big shame because it’s a great event and I’m not sure how long it can survive the way it goes.
It’s also a shame because, as we have seen in the amateur rounds, we have excellent young players emerging in France, Belgium and Germany. The crowd was there, massive, knowledgeable and enthusiast from day one. Mainland Europe deserves more events, and, maybe, it would be worth to put some thinking into how this European market is different from UK or Asia, and how to tweak the UK model to make one that works better in Europe.
One who didn’t give it a miss is Shaun Murphy, who traveled back from Guangzhou, through 5 different transports, to play on the first day of the event … and reached the final. Well done Shaun. Well done of course also to Michael White, who has gone through difficult times, suffering with depression, but is now back and a winner! He’s also a good person who took time to come and support disability snooker earlier this season and I was very pleased to see him lift the trophy on Sunday night.
The only thing I found “not so great” was that table one was only available for those who had paid for an additional ticket. I know that the organisers need to make a profit, but is this really the way? I could understand this to be the case on the last day, but on the first two days, with nine other tables on offer, with excellent views, why would people want to buy a (not cheap) additional ticket? In fact most didn’t and table one was often poorly attended, with no atmosphere and not looking great on streaming. Not great for the players either… Worse, even the other players and the referees were not allowed to watch there unless they also were willing to fork more money. Those are the persons who MAKE the tournament ffs! Anyway…
And a last thing … I met a fan there, a reader of this blog. I want to apologise to her for not giving her more time. I would gladly have stayed for a chat, had I not been hurrying towards the tables where the ladies semi finals had just started and where I was due to take pictures. I think it was Ute, and I’m not even certain because my hearing is very poor and it was very noisy. Next time we meet, I owe you a drink …