Farewell Marius …

Yesterday we got the sad news that Marius Ancuta has left us … he was only fifty I think, far too soon. Marius was the voice of snooker in Romania. He was to Romania what Rolf Kalb is to Germany. Marius loved snooker with a passion and had been commentating on Eurosport since the early 2000s. He also commentated on numerous exhibitions, featuring top players like Ronnie, Jimmy White, Mark Williams, Stuart Bingham… too many for me to remember.He introduced thousand of new fans to the sport. He was enthusiast, sensible and very knowledgeable.

More importantly yet, he was a good warmhearted person, a lovely bloke without one ounce of vanity. Thank you for everything Marius, I feel privileged to have known you. Rest in peace … and, in moments like these, the non-believer I am wants to dream that maybe, only maybe, there is some place, somewhere, where you are now sitting, whispering commentary next to a table, with Paul Hunter and Joe Davis doing battle.

Farewell Marius … 


Marius (right) in Bucharest with Alex Crisan, Ronnie and Mark Williams

Exhibitions and Charity reminder …

Jimmy and Dennis Lincoln Jan 2019

I know that Christmas is still very far away, but be sure to put this one in your agenda. Remember surplus proceed to World Disability Billiard and Snooker. You can have fun and help others in need, isn’t that great?

Just a little reminder of what happened the last times similar events were run in Lincoln!

Ronnie had a “sandwich” …

And there was a great Q&A session too

Images taken at the events last February can be found here and here.

This time it will be Jimmy White and Dennis. Come along!

World Open 2018 Qualifiers Round-up

There were a number of upsets in those qualifiers! Anthony McGill, Shaun Murphy, Graeme Dott, Michael White, Stuart Bingham and Mark King being amongst those who were probably expected to win, but didn’t. Stuart however probably didn’t have his full focus on his snooker: his young son Shae was in hospital and understandably he was Stuart’s priority.

Shaun didn’t play terrible, but Mei on his day is very solid and reliable and that was enough in this match. Graeme Dott made too many mistakes against Zhao Xintong, who looked focussed and determined to make the most of his return on the main tour.

Alan McManus also lost and that’s a concern as he needs results to stay in the top 64. Ali Carter, who also needs results to stay in the top 16 won easily.

A couple of top players had a scare. Stephen Maguire needed a decider to shrug off Adam Stefanow. This is Adam second narrow defeat in qualifiers and, to me, he’s been very unlucky with his draws, having to play against two vastly experienced players, one of them notoriously very hard to beat and the other top 16 material. Mark Selby was awful before the MSI – he trailed 3-1 at that point – and far from his best afterwards: he can count himself very lucky to have played against an amateur. Luke Simmonds – who was 1998 IBSF World Champion and Under-21 Champion, but never did anything of note as a pro afterwards – can play but as soon as Selby started to come back at him after the MSI he looked a beaten man; had he got a bit more belief he could have won this match, he had enough opportunities.

Looking at the young ones there were wins for Jack Lisowski, Elliott Sellor, Sunny Akani, Zhou Yuelong, Luca Brecel, new pro Harvey Chandler (he beat Michael White), Alexander Ursenbacher, new pro Simon Lichtenberg (he beat Ken Doherty), Yuan Sijun, Lyu Haotian, Stuart Carrington, Scott Donaldson and Zhao Xintong as already mentioned.

Looking at the veterans, there were wins for Peter Ebdon, Fergal O’Brien,Rod Lawler, Anthony Hamilton. The last two mentioned are clearly determined to try to stay on tour against all odds! Jimmy White and Joe Swail lost heavily.

One last thing: Marco Fu did win his match very comfortably but for what I saw, wasn’t playing particularly well: he scored heavily in the balls but the opportunities came from his opponent mistakes – basic ones – rather than from Marco’s safety/tactical game. His opponent, Chris Totten was utterly shocking, unable to string 3 balls together: he scored 35 points all match.

All detailed results are on Cuetracker and on snooker.org. The latter also has links to the youtube videos of the streamed matches.


Do you know about WDBS?

World Disability Billiard and Snooker? Really? Can you play snooker when you have only one hand, or no hands? When you can stand on only one leg, or even just can’t stand at all? When you don’t see properly? Well yes you can!

I have been at quite a number od WDBS events and those guys are just simply amazing. The creativity these guys display to overcome the hurdles they face are fantastic. The solidarity is heart warming. Many of them are rather isolated socially, most of them don’t have much money being unable to work in a regular environment. For some even this has become their family.

WDBSA has made this short film

If you have the opportunity, come along and watch them live.

Here is their calendar of events:

World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) has today confirmed its calendar of events for the first half of 2018.

Last year saw five competitive snooker events staged for people falling under up to 36 different disability profiles, a total which is set to be equalled within the first six months of 2018 alone.

With interest continuing to grow both within the UK and internationally, we will continue to provide tournaments for players with physical, learning and sensory disabilities.

Physical disabilities

People with physical disabilities, including wheelchair and ambulant players (Groups 1-5) will have opportunities to play at two new venues in 2018 as we head to Preston and Bruges for the first time.

The first WDBS event of the year will be played at the Elite Snooker Club in Preston from 2-4 February for the J&S Trading Northern Classic, before we stage our first ever event outside of the UK, the Belgian Open from 23-25 March at The Trickshot club.

Sensory disabilities

 The first event of the year for deaf and visually impaired players (Groups 7-8) will be the Parris Cues UK Open, which again will be held at a new venue to the WDBS as we head to Barratts Snooker Club in Northampton.

Home to current top 16 professional Kyren Wilson, the venue boasts over 20 snooker tables and like all WDBS venues is fully accessible.

We will also return to the Cueball Derby for the Paul Hunter Disability Classic between 18-20 May following last year’s tournament which new winners across all participating groups.

Learning Disabilities

We will also stage competitions for Group 6 players at all events alongside our regular Friday open days, subject to sufficient entries being received.

 Six-Red Championship

 We will also return to Redz Snooker Club in Cwmbran for the Welsh Open from 29 June – 1 July following a successful inaugural event at the venue last year.

The event will again be open to players from all eight WDBS classification groups, who will compete against each other with matches to be played under the Six Red format of the game.

WDBS Chairman Nigel Mawer said: “Last year was hugely encouraging for WDBS as we hosted a record number of events and so we are looking forward to be able to offer even more opportunities for disabled people to be able to play snooker competitively in 2018.

“We are particularly looking forward to our first tournament in Belgium, which is another significant development as we look to expand our global presence and attract further international support.”

If you would like to support the WDBS team as an event sponsor please get in touch via our contact form for more information.

Hopefully 2019 will offer even more events. The last one had over 50 entries. And if you are a referee, or a coach, get in touch because there is always a shortage. In the last event, Paul Collier came to the rescue!

Riga Masters 2018 Qualifiers Round-up

The first event of the season, the Riga Masters Qualifiers, came to a conclusion this afternoon. Here are the results that drew my attention and why, bearing this post in mind

Stuart Bingham was beaten by 4-0 by Niu Zhang. He’s the only participating top 16 player who go beat. Most frames were close, but it is still a surprising defeat, especially given the severe score. Stuart and Ali Carter are the two members of the top 16 who really need to get results from the start this season to stay in that bracket come the Crucible. Ali duly beat Billy Joe Castle by 4-0.

In total contrast, Neil Robertson and Mark Allen looked in great form from the start. Both won comfortably. Kyren Wilson hadn’t it that easy against Dominic Dale, never an easy opponent; the match went the distance. I didn’t watch Shaun Murphy, nor Barry Hawkins so I can’t comment on their form.

From the ones looking to regain a top 16 spot, Stephen Maguire and Liang Wenbo both won by 4-0 with some high scoring. Liang is back with the Grove team this season, with renewed motivation.

I wrote that Rod Lawler, Anthony Hamilton , Nigel Bond and Joe Swail are in an almost desperate position when it comes to their future as professionals. Well, they seem to be determined to put up a fight: all four of them won their matches and will be in Riga!

Main Tour debutants Joe O’Connor and Ashley Carty won their first ever match as professionals. Very well done to them. Luo Honghao and Adam Stefanow both lost but nevertheless gave a good account of themselves. Luo was up against Neil Robertson, who played really well, and Luo managed to battle back from 3-0 down to 3-2, but eventually lost by 4-2. Adam played the always hard to beat Rory McLeod and made him work very hard: the match went to a decider.

The young ones, already established on the tour, who I expected to climb this season had mixed results with Elliott Slessor, Lyu Haotian  and Sunny Akani losing whilst Yan Bingtao, Zhou Yuelong and Jack Lisowski won. That said Sunny Akani lost to Oliver Lines who is of course a very talented young player himself and the match went to a decider. Elliott Slessor lost 4-1 to Marco Fu and this is Marco’s first win since his eye surgery. Marco has it all to do this season and this is a very positive sign. Also, Marco joined the Sightright team, like Mark Williams did a year ago and we know what happened!

Speaking of players returning to form after injury, Ricky Walden had a convincing 4-1 win over John Astley.

You will find all detailed results on Cuetracker and on snooker.org. The latter has also links to the youtube videos of the matches that were streamed.