And so, this is the last day of 2017 … a year that in many ways has been a rollercoaster on the baize, with a terrific last three months for Ronnie’s fans.
For this blogger however, as some may know, it has been a very dark and difficult year on personal level. When certain things happen, affecting people you love, taking them away from you, you realise how futile most of the spats and fallouts are, be it on social media or in “real life”. So here is my first and most important wish for all who read this blog.
In 2018, and in every day in your life, I’m wishing you health and happiness. I’m wishing you to love and being loved. I’m wishing you to enjoy the little things that brighten everyday life: a good meal with friends, a lovely walk in the woods, the first flower in your garden, the smile on your child’s face, the hug of your partner … even the grumbling of your elderly parent. Don’t take things too seriously. Be yourself. Don’t worry about opinions, don’t try to please everyone, it’s just impossible. Be true, be kind, be forgiving …
I mean it, every word of it. Now onto more snooker drivel… snooker wishes and stuff!
picture shared by Worldsnooker on twitter
- Ronnie to win World title n°6 … yes, I know, yesterday on twitter Ronnie said, again, that he “might” (might, not will) give the World Championship a miss but he’s got nearly four months to think about it and change his mind a 100 times, something he’s quite prone to do. As a fan I’d love to see him do himself justice and equal Steve Davis record. However, in the spirit of what I wrote above, if he really does skip this year’s Crucible, I won’t go mad. We should never forget that it’s his life, his career, his well-being, his happiness. He owes us nothing. He’s not Worldsnooker employee either, he’s self-employed. He said that the World Championship isn’t his favourite tournament; I can understand that, the pressure and demands he gets there every year, since 25 years, are unreal. The fact that the press immediately jumped on those tweets is testimony enough of the expectations people put on him all the time. But, yes, I still dream and hope for n°6.
- A big “non betting” company/business to start to support and sponsor snooker … I have expressed my concerns about snooker’s reliance on the betting industry , and the ambiguity of their relationship, often enough, so I won’t repeat myself here. But yes, this is something I’d dearly want to see. It’s never healthy to rely on just one source of sponsoring, it’s even more risky when that source is an industry that is known to generate addictions as well as social and sometimes legal issues. Tobacco and alcohol sponsoring were clamped on. To me it’s only a matter of time before betting sponsoring is strongly “regulated” too.
- The Seniors Tour to succeed and flourish… Every sportsperson, even the very best, one day finds themself in that position: they still love it, they aren’t quite good enough anymore to compete on the biggest scene. What then? Jason Francis, from Snooker Legends, is trying to develop a “Seniors” tour, giving both 40+ and retired pros a circuit where they can play, entertain, compete, dream and … win! This January there is one qualifying event in Beijing that attracted 80+ players. Such is the demand. This is a big financial risk that Jason took, he’s now got the support of WPBSA, but there is still so much to do. Please, go and attend one of their events. You won’t regret it!
Yes, I know, Mark Selby probably won’t pray for my wish n°1 to come true, but I couldn’t resist the picture. And for all the fans who love to hate him … here is what Ronnie got to say about Mark in one of the last Worldsnooker features
Sport thrives on great rivalries: Jack Nicklaus collided with Arnold Palmer, Bjorn Borg was pitted against John McEnroe and Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are frequently the main contenders for football’s Ballon D’or.
Selby and O’Sullivan is snooker’s modern day version of the clash of the titans. The pair met in an epic UK Championship final in 2016 which produced some of the most captivating snooker ever witnessed at the York Barbican, Selby eventually coming through as the 10-7 victor.
They have now contested finals in each of snooker’s Triple Crown events, with Selby having won three of the five showpiece meetings. However, he has some way to go to reach O’Sullivan’s tally of 18 Triple Crown titles and 31 ranking wins – currently holding 8 and 13 respectively.
The Rocket had previously referred to Selby as the ‘torturer’, but in recent times has come to relish his meetings with the world number one.
O’Sullivan said: “I like playing Mark now. We get on really well. I wouldn’t say we are best mates because I don’t want to be his best friend as we are still rivals. I’d rather keep it that way so when we get on the table there is an element of wanting to beat each other. I like his mindset and he is a winner.
“I see a lot of Stephen Hendry and a lot of me in him. I’ve learnt that his style of play isn’t just based on playing against me. He plays like that against everybody. That’s his game. If he brings that game to the table, you just have to try and break it down.”