Day 13 of “No Crucible” – Ebdon retires, Ronnie and Hendry have another Instagram chat

With no action, the two main talking points yesterday were the second Instagram Ronnie-Hendry chat and the announcement that peter Ebdon retires from professional snooker

Here is the Instagram chat between Ronnie and Stephen Hendry

It’s a bit of “bits and pieces” chat as they were watching the Higgins v Trump 2011 final

So what did I take from it – things they both agreed on:

  • Trump had the time was hyper-aggressive, but his cue ball control was non-existent and he hit the ball far too hard.
  • Higgins, like Hendry, is a Crucible animal. Crucible can do bizarre things to you. It doesn’t suit everyone. Ronnie said he had to learn.
  • They have doubts about how the World Championship could work at the Crucible if empty., especially the two table setup. According to Hendry, for the time being, it’s on: the BBC asked him to keep his agenda free. But Hendry said that BBC would need to have a lot of people on site. He said that ITV has 80 people on-site for an event like the Tour Championship. Ronnie thinks it could be better if it was played elsewhere, in a venue that isn’t “meant” for spectators, a bit like the CLS.
  • They also discussed the fact that there is no way that commentary could be done from the commentary small boxes.
  • Regarding the Tour Championship, the venue is currently used as a hospital for coronavirus patients. So they have doubts about that one too.
  • Beating younger players is the most difficult. They are not sure the Judd Trump could get to seven. They expect some hungry younger players to stop him from doing it.
  • They discussed the younger Chinese players. Very talented but they need to learn “match play. Neither really rate Yan Bingtao, they can’t really understand what kind of player he is. About Ding, he’s doesn’t appear to have the hunger and Hendry doesn’t rate his temperament. Too much money too early seems to be Hendry’s opinion. (Mine is too many expectations on him from too young an age and for too long)
  • They chatted about exercise and cooking. Ronnie is back running. They might do an Instagram cooking session.
  • They had a laugh about “the Nuggett” … they love him really (now, not “then” …)

What I took, regarding Ronnie:

  • He looked well and happy.
  • From what he said, his hunger and motivation for snooker are not very high.
  • He intends to play at the World Championship if it’s on, but his motivation isn’t that strong. He’d rather go out early than in the final. My view on that is that losing to Selby in 2014 really hurt badly and did long-lasting damage … unfortunately.
  • Speaking about his intention to play in everything in the coming two seasons he used the word “I might” not “I will”. So I’m not holding my breath about it.

And this is what Phil Haig, writing for Metro, “extracted” of it

The title, of course, needs to catch the attention of potential readers, but Phil almost immediately makes it clear that there was a bit – or a lot – of “tongue in cheek” stuff in that conversation.

Ronnie O’Sullivan: ‘I hope the World Championship doesn’t go ahead, I want a longer break.’

Ronnie O’Sullivan is not convinced by a World Championship with no fans (Picture:Getty Images)

Ronnie O’Sullivan claims he’d rather the World Snooker Championship didn’t go ahead this year, while he also suggests it is not held at the Crucible if it is played behind closed doors.

As ever, the Rocket had his tongue somewhere near his cheek during an Instagram Live with Stephen Hendry on Thursday afternoon, but recommended playing the World Championship at Crondon Park in Essex rather than the famous Sheffield venue.

The World Championship has been rescheduled to start on 31 July, although it has not been confirmed whether it will be played behind closed doors, with a limited crowd or with a full audience in South Yorkshire – while the possibility remains that it could not go ahead at all.

The 44-year-old is not convinced about those options, but says he would rather see it played at the former home of the Championship League near Stock in Essex if there were no fans allowed in.

‘I hope it don’t go ahead, I want a longer break,’ said O’Sullivan.

‘It’ll be mental [with no fans]. To play in, it’s going to feel very bizarre. When they go to the one table set-up, you go down sometimes and see the table-fitters sometimes and it’s empty. It’s going to be like that, crazy.

‘Maybe they’d be better at playing somewhere like Crondon Park where the venue doesn’t lend itself to the crowd. What’s the point of having 900 empty seats? It’s going to look stupid. You might as well have a little intimate venue.

Have 10 people in, spread them about and charge them 20 grand a ticket. ‘It’s not going to be a punters thing, it’s just a viewing thing on TV, so I don’t get why they’re going to the Crucible. Why bother?

’ WST have booked the Crucible with the hope that an audience is allowed by 31 July, whether the full house or limited numbers, so there is a reason they are still heading to Sheffield.

A decision will be made closer to the time based on government guidelines

O’Sullivan has triumphed at the Crucible five times but not since 2013 and admits that the 17-day epic just does not suit his game, his attitude or personality.

‘I think Sheffield is one of them that once you get on a roll, getting results then one year runs into the next,’ said Ronnie.

‘I had that period of three or four years where it was alright but you get to the point where it’s a bit of a mind thing.

‘I’ve had six years where I don’t think I’ve been beyond the quarter-finals. I might have had one quarter-final in six years. It’s a strange place, it’s either the best or it’s the worst. ’17 days, I was never meant to sustain it for, I have to really work hard to do that.

‘With me, I’m such an emotional player and person, to try and hold it down for 17 days, I’m beaten before I go there sometimes, it’s just not a great tournament for me. It’s like asking Usain Bolt to run the marathon. It’s just not suited to his genes or personality.’

Hendry believes the Rocket has at least one more World Championship title in him, but Ronnie is not convinced.

‘You know what, I can’t be arsed,’ he said. ‘I’d rather get pumped in the first round than get beat in the final. That’s my mindset.

‘I got beat in 2014 [final] and thought I’d rather have got beat first round. I just can’t be bothered. It’s 17 days, it’s great if you win it, but if you don’t…

‘I’m just not that hungry for it anymore. I love playing, love competing, I enjoy the lifestyle, bit of fun. As for going to the well, nah.

’ However, there is always a tease with O’Sullivan and he still suggests he might knuckle down and give the Crucible another proper crack.

‘Listen, I might, if I get my head down and play a lot of tournaments, then there’s enough base training and enough matches…’

This is WST piece about Peter Ebdon retirement:

Former World Champion Peter Ebdon has announced his retirement from professional snooker due to a chronic neck injury.

Ebdon, age 49, has suffered from pain in his neck, back, shoulders and arms in recent months and has decided to bring an end to his playing days rather than undergo risky spinal surgery.

The London-born cueman turned pro in 1991 and has since had an unbroken sequence of 29 years on the circuit. He won the world title in 2002, beating Stephen Hendry 18-17 in one of the all-time great finals.  He appeared at the Crucible 22 consecutive times from 1992 to 2013, also reaching the final in 1996 and 2006.

Known for his dedication to practice, determination and sturdiness under pressure, Ebdon had a reputation throughout his prime years as one of the toughest competitors on the tour.

Aside from his world title, he won eight other ranking events including the 2006 UK Championship and, most recently, the 2012 China Open. Only ten players in snooker history have won more. His last ranking final was the 2018 Paul Hunter Classic when he lost to Kyren Wilson.

The player nicknamed The Force achieved a career high ranking of number three in the world in 1996/97 and 2002/03 and is currently 55th. He has made 377 century breaks including two official 147s.

His last match was at the German Masters qualifiers on December 20th when he lost 5-4 to Matthew Stevens. Ebdon subsequently pulled out of several ranking events due to injury, and has now decided not to return.

Ebdon told World Championship sponsor Betfred: “I had an MRI scan about seven weeks ago which picked up significant wear and tear in my neck. There is serious deterioration in some of the vertebrae and I have been in pain since Christmas. Two of the vertebrae need to be replaced, which is not an operation I want to have because if it went wrong I could be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life.

“It’s far too risky. The professor explained to me that it wouldn’t be a cure. It could work, but it could make things worse and I would probably need to have it again in ten years.

“The one thing I can’t do if I don’t have the operation is play snooker again, because of the compression in my neck. So, as sad as it is for me, that’s the end. Having weighed everything up that is the decision I have come to.

“At the moment I can walk and talk and the pain has got better. I have received a lot of help from the healers at the College of Healing so a big thank you to them.”

Ebdon has plenty of strings to his bow away from the baize and intends to put more time into other avenues. “I’d like to continue with my commentary for the BBC if possible,” he added. “I have trained to become a professional healer myself, and I’ve also got a professional pedigree consultancy business. It was difficult to put time into those things while I was playing snooker so I can do that now. I’ll have the opportunity to put something back through healing, as well as spending more time with (wife) Nora.”

WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson said: “I grew up with Peter on the amateur circuit. We were rivals but also became friends. You’ll never find a player who put more effort and discipline into the sport or had as much mental strength. A lot of players could learn from the characteristics that he showed.

“He has also been a great ambassador for snooker over many years and I’m sure that will continue. He has a lot of interests away from snooker and is the type of person to put 100% into whatever he tries. I hope his health improves now that he has stopped playing and perhaps one day we’ll see him on the World Seniors tour.”

I’m wishing Peter Ebdon the best, especially health-wise. Being in pain every day is extremely hard and dispiriting. I hope he finds happiness and satisfactory activities in retirement.

When a player of Peter Ebdon status retires, everyone seems to find words of praise.

I’m going to be honest: I’ve always had ambivalent feelings towards Peter, and his retirement doesn’t change that.

As a player, he almost always battled extremely hard, showed a lot of dedication, and had a very unusual, but very interesting understanding of the table leading to original and creative shot selections. I enjoyed watching him … except when he turned to slowing down tactics that bordered gamesmanship, something he famously did against Ronnie at the Crucible in 2005, but that wasn’t a one-off.

As a person, he has very extreme views on some subjects, notably diet (vegan) and politics (right-wing, Brexit), and I’m very wary of people with “extreme” views and positions., especially when they appear to be inconsistent. How Peter can be both a militant vegan, battling for animals well-being and rights, and a professional pedigree consultant, indirectly serving one of the cruelest, money-driven industries in horse racing is beyond my understanding.



3 thoughts on “Day 13 of “No Crucible” – Ebdon retires, Ronnie and Hendry have another Instagram chat

  1. It’s not unexpected to hear about Peter Ebdon. We can’t doubt his achievements and the processes he went through to try and become the best player he could be. To his credit, he’s also spent some time helping younger players, and promoting the game overseas.

    As for the negativity, yes, but lower down the rankings we regularly see this from a number of the older players, who hang on to their tour card for years in order to roll balls onto cushions. I actually think this lockdown could see the end of several players’ careers, following Peter’s lead. Although Peter was forced by his situation, it is clearly very hard to let go…

    The Ronnie-Hendry vodcast was not so convincing, underlying the fact that we’re all bored with this lockdown and running out of stories. More bashing of Yan Bingtao. I do think that the WC should be held in the Crucible, if only to give the rescheduled event the credibility it needs.

    • I agree, the first one was much better. I think that doing this whilst watching the Trump v Higgins 2011 final did not help. They weren’t focussed neither on the match, nor on their chat. I’m not sure why they don’t rate Yan Bingtao higher. After all he’s the only one who did get results. Of course, he’s not a player made in their mould, and in modern sport most successful sportpersons are very attacking. I see this in table tennis, as sport that my husband still plays competitively. But that doesn’t mean that others can’t succeed. To an extend Djokovic is a prime example. Actually he is aggressive, but he’s also patient, and he compensates for his (relative) lack of power by extreme precision. I never thought that Yan is a negative player, although he went that way a bit after losing to Williams. Me, I don’t rate Zhao so highly. I’m not sure that he has the head to go with his ability. Time will tell. As for the World, you know my views. It should be cancelled, as should be the Tour Championship. All those “gambles” about staging big events in the current situation will only result, for most players, in going back to play probably two or three months later than would have been possible.

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