2017 will be remembered as the year when Mark Selby defended the World Title, winning at the Crucible for the third time in four years. Right before the World Championship, he had won the China Open again. The 2017 World Championship was actually his fifth event win of the 2016/17 season. He truly had been the dominant player that season.
Then over the summer, something happened that derailed Mark’s dominance: he hurt his foot, at home, by dropping a big piece of glass on it and breaking his big toe. Everyone expected him to pick up where he had left it, once healed, but it didn’t happen. Mark won another title in 2017, the International Championship in China, but he didn’t get past the QF in any other ranking event later that year.
As it happened, he has won two more big titles in China since, but it’s only in October this year that he lifted a trophy on home soil again. Mark admitted that, coming back, he had struggled for confidence, and that the support of his close friend Bobby Lee is what had allowed him to get better results in China. Bobby’s friendship and presence had eased the pressure when there.
The highlight of the year for me came at the 2017 German Masters, when Anthony Hamilton aged 46, won his first ranking title, with his parents in the audience.
Anthony is a terrific break-builder, and well respected by fellow pros. How he hasn’t won more is a mystery. That said he has been plagued by neck and back problems since a number of years, and he’s been tempted to retire many times over the last ten years. It was so bad. His win at the 2017 German Masters was his first professional event win since… 1995. That year he had won the Australian Open and the Australian Masters – both non ranking – beating Chris Small in the final both times.
Anthony’s parents aren’t big snooker fans, and Anthony had only just persuaded them to visit Berlin and, maybe, watch a bit of snooker as well. They had rarely, if ever, come to watch their son play before.
Here is Anthony’s interview with Worldsnookerafter the match.
And with the Eurosport gang
His win earned “the Sheriff” a spot in the 2017 Champion of Champions. He came to Coventry determined to enjoy it, saying that it could be his last hourrah, as his back and neck injuries had returned. He actually did very well: he beat Ding Junhui and Ryan Day to reach the semi-finals. He wasbeaten at that stage by Ronnie.
Ronnie’s 2017 year wasn’t a bad one either. Once again he won over 80% of the matches he played, won four events, including the Masters and the UK Championsip. It was Ronnie’s 7th Masters, a new record. The UK Championship was his 6th, equalling Steve Davis record and also getting even with Stephen Hendry 18 “Triple Crown” events.
He was beaten by Ding in the QF of the World Championship. Ding played some oustanding stuff, outplaying Ronnie in the second session. Ronnie battled valliantly in the last session but it wasn’t enough. The pair are good friends, and as Ronnie became emotional at the end of the match, Ding hugged him …