Stephen and Ronnie about Willie Thorne, the CLS 2020, the World Championship under social distancing and more …

Stephen Hendry and Ronnie had another instagram chat yesterday evening, and it was again enjoyable although the first thing they talked about was, quite naturally, Willie Thorne’s passing away. Neither of them had played Willie at his best, but both knew him fairly well, and are saddened at his untimely death. Stephen of course works as a commentator and pundit for the BBC just like Willie did. Ronnie has done quite a number of exhibitions with the Snooker Legends, with Willie as a host, compère and commentator.

I met Willie quite often over the last five years, and he was always very friendly and quite funny. This is my personal tribute to Willie on my WWS blog.

The next subject they discussed was the CLS, won by Luca Brecel last week. They both enjoyed the final and were full of praise for both Luca and Ben. Ronnie enjoyed playing in the event, but struggled with being locked-up. Both Stephen and Ronnie enjoyed the format, but would have preferred to have it with only 32 players. Ronnie was again rather harsh on some lower ranked players, who, in his opinion, are not at the level they should be as professionals. They can pot, he said, and they can make 147s, but there is a whole aspect of the professional game that they don’t master. He’s right about that; anyone who watches both professional and amateur events will notice how differently the players approach their matches. Young players are often excellent potters, but have no answer when older, hard match players tie them in all kind of knots. The situation is even worse nowadays than it was when Ronnie was a rookie himself, as the amateur game has gone backwards, in the UK certainly, and young players really aren’t ready when they turn pro. So, Ronnie is right in his assessment, but at the same time, he’s harsh on those young pros, because it’s not their fault that they are less ready when turning pro than Ronnie’s generation was.

They then discussed the prospect of the World Championship being played in similar conditions and Ronnie reckoned that he would probably struggle. He seems determined to try is best but is not sure that he can handle those lockdown conditions for 17 days. Hendry, who used to keep himself to himself when competing, admitted that even he would probably struggle as well. Ronnie explained that he was tested twice. The first test went ok, but the second one left him with a minor injury, resulting in a very runny nose for almost two days, which was very uncomfortable.

Ronnie then answered fans’ questions.

Here is the chat:

One thought on “Stephen and Ronnie about Willie Thorne, the CLS 2020, the World Championship under social distancing and more …

  1. Yes Willie Thorne was a crucial influence in the way snooker developed into the 1990s – the emphasis on break-building. As a commentator, he certainly educated a generation of future players in a way far beyond previous commentators.

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