Various snooker news…

This image of the Macau Masters has transpired on social media.

Macau Masters

As we expected, no Ronnie in it. Indeed he had committed to exhibitions  and events even the before this one was annouced. It will be held at the Marriott in Macau. Going by the poster, the two teams will be: Marco Fu, Zhou Yuelong, Zhao Xintong and Zhang Anda for China, Mark Williams, Ryan Day, Joe Perry and Barry Hawkins for UK. No Ding, just like in the Hong Kong Masters last season. He’s decidedly taking a leaf off Ronnie’s book when it comes to picking and choosing.

Peter Ebdon announces that this coul be his last season (source Worldsnooker)

Former World Champion Peter Ebdon admits he may decide to retire at the end of the current season – but is determined to finish his snooker career on a high.

Ebdon has shown an impressive return to form in recent months, reaching his first ranking event final in six years at the Paul Hunter Classic in Germany. He looked set for his tenth career ranking title when he led Kyren Wilson 2-0, but eventually lost 4-2.

Once he puts his cue away for good, the 48-year-old Englishman will pursue a pedigree consultancy business, and he has also recently qualified as a Reiki healer.

“Between those two occupations I have given up around 600 hours of practice time over the last few years, but I have been able to lay the foundations for two successful businesses once I finish my snooker career,” said world number 51 Ebdon.

“Since the start of this season I have been able to dedicate more time to practice and I have had some very good performances and results.

“I’m not sure how much time I have left as a player, partly because I have a degenerative spinal condition which means there are times when I can’t stand up or walk. I’m doing a lot of swimming and looking after myself to reduce the effects.

“At the end of this season I will have a look at everything. I will have been on the pro tour for 28 years by that point so it might be time to draw stumps. If I win a ranking title this season that would be a good time to finish because it would bring me to ten ranking titles, level with Jimmy White.

“Until then, I still have the will and desire to succeed and I want to have a good season. I feel I can get back into the top 32, and on the one-year list I’m 18th so one of my goals is to qualify for the World Grand Prix and Players Championship. I might not be the player I once was, but the likes of myself, Nigel Bond and Ken Doherty can beat some of the young players just using our experience.”

Looking back on the final in Germany, Ebdon recalls: “I was disappointed to lose, especially as Kyren didn’t have to play that well to beat me. It was a long day, playing four matches, and I was tiring towards the end, losing my focus. I’d had my contact lenses in for 14 hours straight which made me misjudge a few shots. But overall it was a big step in the right direction. And I was delighted for Kyren, I have said for a long time that he is destined for great things and now he is showing it.”

Steve Davis takes a stand against Barry Hearn’s idea regarding slow play

He gave this interview to the Jamie Shaw on Livesnooker

Steve Davis has defended the need for slow play (credit: Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
Six-time World Champion Steve Davis insists he will no longer watch snooker if players are docked frames or fined for slow play.
World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn announced in May that quarterly reports are to be published listing players’ average shot times, with those exceeding 30 seconds at risk of being warned or even fined.
World Snooker have since listed average shot times online but are yet to issue any official sanctions to those at the foot of the list.
Davis, who dominated the sport in the 1980s under the management of Hearn’s Matchroom stable, does not believe snooker needs to be played at a fast pace in order stand out in a competitive sports market.
 
“Sport changes and everybody is trying to make it exciting so there’s more pressure on every sport to try and be entertaining to the masses because you’re in competition with other sports,” Davis told Live Snooker.
“Back then [in the 80s], there wasn’t really that issue because snooker was always a slow burner and it’s a bit of a red herring to think that you have to make snooker faster to be more entertaining.
 
“Snooker doesn’t work that way, actually it works the opposite way to a lot of sports – it doesn’t have to be fast to be entertaining – sometimes the tactics alone can create the enjoyment and the fascination.
 

Davis salutes the Crucible crowd after announcing his retirement (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

“I don’t think it’s the same problem for snooker as it is with other sports like cricket because that needs to speed up.

 
“But they’ve got the software, the information is out there so perhaps if there are players who are very slow, they need to be geed up.
 
“I don’t think you’re going to see massive fines or anybody banned or docked frames and if that stage does happen then I won’t be watching snooker because I don’t think it would be the same game anymore.”
Five players are currently averaging in excess of 30 seconds per shot for the season, with Rod Lawler’s 33.43 the slowest average shot time of the field.
Chris Totten, Martin O’Donnell, Lukas Kleckers and Lee Walker are also above the 30 second mark, while a further seven players are averaging 29 seconds or more.
Davis, who retired from professional snooker in 2016, believes any sanctions should be at the discretion of the referee as opposed to the sport’s governing body.
“It can become a bit of a red herring as to what they’re trying to achieve,” he added.
“They’re trying to achieve rhythm in player’s play so it doesn’t look that boring on the television.
 
“The actual shot clock thing I don’t think will ever be part of snooker, it’s going to be an average over a few tournaments or the season.
 
“If somebody is continually slow, there is the information out there via the software to say that person averages say 35 seconds a shot.
 
“But ultimately I think the referees should be the ones that judge the speed of play because you can manipulate the times of shots by playing shots faster after the frame is won.
 
“More importantly, I think the referees need to be empowered to try and judge when somebody’s taking too long.
 
“What it’s going to do is judge who are the slowest players on the tour but that’s down to the referees to decide as well I think because there’s times when you have to be slow and there’s times when you can be quick.”

Steve is right of course, it’s down to the referee to judge whether there is an issue and section IV of the rules gave them the power to do just that.

Magyar Gala announced for next January in Budapest

MagyarGala26Jan2019

Twitter goes ugly

Those who follow snooker on twitter will surely be aware that the tensions between Sightright Steve Feeney and some of the shareholders of the Sightright business have reached new, and ugly levels, in recent days.

So what is it about? Well let me first state what it is NOT about: it’s NOT about the method. It’s about the business and the shareholders being unsatisfied with how the money – their money in part – has been used. They want explanations about some of the company’s expenses. Now, I haven’t seen the company accounts, and I’m not accountant anyway, so I won’t take any stance on the core of the matter.

What I have seen though, is that the shareholders have asked specific questions – rather simple ones by the look of it – and that they have not got any answers. Actually their requests where either deflected, by answering beside the point and putting the debate on the value of the method, which, I insist, the unhappy shareholders never challenged, or by posting “general quotes” about “toxic people”, “positivity” etc…

What I have seen as well is an attempt by Mr Feeney to constantly bring Mark Williams and Ronnie into the debate. Mark Williams has actively joined it, but again, beside the point, stressing on how the method has saved his career. Ronnie though, very wisely, has made himself totally invisible on social media and stayed out of it.

All this is doing snooker no favour as it’s gone pretty ugly. Twitter is no place to debate a company’s account. The shareholders however insist that they only put the debate in the public eye because their attempts to get answers had repeatedly failed previously and because of the misleading nature of what had transpired in the past months. Giving them one good, clear and convincing answer to (even only one of the) questions instead of deflecting the debate would not doubt put the whole thing to rest. Why not do it?

5 thoughts on “Various snooker news…

  1. On the note of Ding “picking and choosing” which events to enter, I see that Kyren Wilson has withdrawn from the China Championship. After their match in Shanghai, Ronnie had a chuckle at the thought of Kyren having to fly back to the UK and then fly right back to China the next week.

    Perhaps we’ll start seeing more players skipping events here and there, given the large number of events on the calendar now and all of the traveling back and forth from the UK to China that is required…

  2. I wasn’t aware of the SightRight controversy, and the way Monique describes it makes it sound as if SightRight is behaving like they have something to hide.

    On a related note, do we have any idea yet what kind of impact SIghtRight has had on Ronnie’s game? SightRight will no doubt point to the fact that Ronnie won in Shanghai as evidence that the method has helped him, but that’s not a compelling argument because Ronnie has won plenty of times before (including 5 times just last season) and because Ronnie didn’t play particularly well in Shanghai. He missed a lot of easy balls and didn’t have great control over the cueball. If any part of his game looked like it might have improved it was his long potting, though I’m not sure about that…

    • I would really like to read an unbiased and expert view on this, because the tweets are so contradictory and self-serving if you wish. Mark Allen tweeted he saw nothing new in Ronnie’s game that could be accredited to SightRight, Mark Williams said he could and pointed to improved long potting, while admitting that positional play was not that good – this was actually mentioned by the commentators during one of Ronnie’s matches that if he tries new things it is logical that his game will suffer a bit and he’ll make mistakes. On a different note it is fascinating to read professional snooker players publicly discussing the game of another player…

      • Ronnie didn’t play particularly well in Shanghai, at least in the final, but he didn’t play badly either. Overall I think he’s changed his stance a bit and his long potting was rather good. His positional play was not. However, I’m under the impression that all the players had to play harder than they would usually do to get the balls where they wanted to. It’s quite often very humid in Shanghai this time of the year and conditions are sticky. Usually having to hit the ball harder goes with a loss of precision/accuracy. This is particularly true for the touch players as this is not at all their natural game, and Ronnie is a touch player. Only Ronnie will be qualified to asssess if Sightright is helping him, how much and how. That said, the issue is not about the method, as I tried to explain. Some of the shareholders who are unhappy ARE Sightright coaches themselves. Deflecting the discussion and make it about the method is one way to avoid the real issue which, to my understanding, is about how the money that the shareholders did put into the company was/is being used and what return they get off it. There have also been conflicts between Mr Feeney and other coaches who he accused to copy his method. Some of these guys have been coaching for many years. The truth is that there is no big secret when it comes to sighting: it’s basically about being able to correctly taking parallax – induced by the fact that we all have a dominant eye and a dominant hand – into account. If you are unfamiliar with the concept here it is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parallax

  3. Thank you Monique, so much about this summary of the SightRight debate.I read some of the tweets yesterday and was thinking to ask you about it. I did not see the shareholders’ tweets, but your summary on that explains some of the issues. I only saw how Feeney went on congratulating Mark Williams and Ronnie as winners thanks to the method, or at least as people engaged with it. I saw Williams actively arguing how good it is and how much it helped him, Joe Perry exchanging some words, almost insults with Feeney and Mark Allen arguing how the method could do nothing to improve Ronnie who can do whatever he wants to and win. I was very happy to see that Ronnie stayed out of this debate which was downright nasty at times, and a bit curious why these others were so eager to criticize the method/Feeney.

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