Scotland’s Dean Young believes his stoic temperament will stand him in good stead when he makes his professional debut on the World Snooker Tour in the upcoming season.
Young clinched a two-year tour card and a maiden spell as a professional by coming through the recent Q School event in Sheffield. The Edinburgh potter was the only rookie to emerge from the brutal three-event process.
The 19-year-old has already tasted success on the circuit, having beaten David Grace and Liam Highfield to reach the last 32 of the 2020 Shoot Out. Now he is aiming for a steady first two years on the tour to solidify his status as a professional.
We spoke to Young to find out how he originally got into the sport and hear about his greatest strengths…
Dean, congratulations on your performance at Q School. First of all, how did you originally get into snooker?
“Before I first played, I had seen snooker a few times on television and I would always ask my dad about where you can go to actually do it. He thought I was too small at that point to go to the snooker hall, as I was only four or five, so he bought me a six-foot table for the living room. It all stemmed from there.
“When I was about seven my dad took me down to our local club on a rainy day and I loved it. I was just hooked from then. My dad taught me the basics like my bridging hand and things and he then got me lessons with former professional Chris Small up until around the age of 16. That helped me develop a lot.”
How big has the influence of your dad been on the whole for your career?
“Well he is a decent player himself, with a highest break of 89. He only ever played in the local leagues and things though. He would drive me all over Scotland to the different events that I played in. That would be especially difficult if I got to a final, which was normally played on a Wednesday night in Glasgow. He’s a bricklayer, so he would be back home from work, get changed and drive me over there from Edinburgh. He has been a big inspiration to me, if it wasn’t for him then none of this could have happened.”
How proud are you to be the only rookie to come through Q School?
“The field this year was so strong. When you see players like Michael White and James Cahill not getting on, it just shows you how hard it was. I played in the event for two years before this and on both occasions I did get to the last day. I’d been playing well, so I felt that if I could keep that up then I did have every chance of getting through. The feeling when I got over the line in that last match was unbelievable.”
You’ve been regularly practising with world number 34 Scott Donaldson in recent years, how much has that helped to bring on your game?
“Playing with him day in and day out has brought my game on leaps and bounds. He practised with me quite a lot before this. The advice he gave me was just to keep my head down and play my shots. He said that I was good enough to get through and that gave me a lot of confidence. He’s seen me develop over the last few years and for someone like him to say I am good enough really helped me a lot. Before Q School I was starting to get the better of him in the odd game. He hammered me for years, but I’d say recently we’ve been about even. You have to face better players to be able to improve.”
What in particular has playing against Scott helped you most with?
“Probably my temperament, which used to be really bad. He is so calm in everything he does. My temperament is one of the best bits of my game now. I actually did snap a cue years ago when I was about 12! I wouldn’t even bang the table or do anything like that now. I’ve totally changed and probably matured more than anything. If you get angry, then your opponent just feeds off it.”
What are your ambitions for the next two years?
“It is really had to stay on the tour in your first two years as a professional. That is my goal, but if I don’t I will go back to Q School. If I can stay on it would be great though.”
When I read rookies interviews, I often have the feeling that they are deluded about where their game stands and what it takes to fight on the pro tour. Not here. Dean seems to know exactly what’s ahead of him and that is why I believe that he has a real chance to get to the top 64 within the next two seasons.
Dean will probably benefit from the support of (most of) the other Scottish players. They tend to support each others, and to support their young prospects in particular. They love their snooker and they love their country. I remember John Higgins admitting that he had struggled to concentrate on his own first round match at the 2017 UK championship because “wee Scott” (Donaldson) was on his way to beat Mark Selby on an adjacent table. John has also gone out of his way to help younger Scots when travels proved difficult, ferrying them around in his own car. Anthony McGill has been seriously involved in promoting snooker for disandvantaged and disabled kids. The covid-19 crisis has probably brought that to a halt for now unfortunately.
I’m sure that Dean will not be left struggling on his own devices. Good luck Dean!
BetVictor Extends Involvement with World Snooker Tour by Adding Home Nations Series to the BetVictor European Series
BetVictor, a leading global gambling company, will be title sponsor of all four of snooker’s Home Nations events during the 2021/22 season, plus all four events in the European Series.
In all, BetVictor will sponsor eight tournaments on the World Snooker Tour in the coming season. The player earning the most prize money across the eight events will earn a massive £150,000 bonus. The BetVictor Snooker Series rankings will run throughout the events, as players strive to top the list and earn the bonus.
BetVictor Home Nations Series BetVictor Northern Ireland Open, October 10-17, Belfast BetVictor English Open, November 1-7, Milton Keynes BetVictor Scottish Open, December 6-12, Venue TBC BetVictor Welsh Open, February 28 to March 6, Newport
BetVictor European Series BetVictor Shoot Out, January 20-23, Leicester BetVictor German Masters, January 26-30, Berlin BetVictor European Masters, February 21-27, Venue TBC BetVictor Gibraltar Open, March 24-26, Gibraltar
The BetVictor Home Nations series has been running since 2016 and brings the world’s top stars to four countries across the UK. Each event is broadcast across the globe.
The BetVictor European Series is a quartet of world ranking events across the UK and continental Europe. All tournaments feature snooker’s leading players competing for prestigious trophies.
Broadcasters for the two series include Eurosport, Quest, BBC Wales, TrueSport, SportCast, Now TV, Sky Sports (NZ), Astro SuperSport, CCTV5, DAZN as well as a number of local broadcasters and digital streaming partners.
World number one Judd Trump won four of these titles last season: the English Open, Northern Ireland Open, German Masters and Gibraltar Open. Mark Selby lifted the Scottish Open and European Masters crowns, while Ryan Day landed the Shoot Out title and Jordan Brown won the Welsh Open.
WST Chairman Steve Dawson said: “We are thrilled to welcome BetVictor on board for a wide range of our biggest tournaments in 2021/22. We have worked with their fantastic team for many years and we are delighted to continue to build a successful partnership.
“These events have a vast audience across the planet as we continue to grow each year in terms of our international following. BetVictor are part of snooker’s success story, bringing tremendous exposure to their brand.
“We look forward to delivering top class events throughout the BetVictor Home Nations and BetVictor European Series in the coming months. The top players will have their eyes on the huge £150,000 bonus, giving them extra incentive to produce their best in every tournament.”
Director of Sportsbook at BetVictor, Matt Scarrott, added: “It’s a pleasure to team up with WST again and we’re really looking forward to what should be two fantastic series.”
This bonus system is clearly there to get the top players on board and to convince them to enter short-format tournaments carrying modest prize money. The short formats are a bit less predictable than the longer ones and it’s no surprise that they get the bookies interest and preference. I would rather have that money used to give the first round losers something to cover their expenses but I doubt that this idea would have the sponsor’s support.
Also those bonuses go to the ones who have already earned the most. It inflates the top earners “numbers”, allowing WST to boast about what the very top players earn. It’s all about the top 5, or even the top 3. It gives a misleading image of the sport as it quite efficiently hides the ongoing struggles of the majority of the tour.
Mark Selby, who, no matter what happens this season, will be number one seed at the Crucible as defending champion, is well ahead of everyone.
I was surprised to see Ronnie as number 2, with a 140000 points cushion ahead of Judd Trump. But of course, Ronnie had an indifferent 2019/20 season until he won the 2020 World Championship, whilst Judd won six titles that season but lost in the QFs at the Crucible.
I was also surprised to find Martin Gould in the top 16 and as high as 13th. He is however only 18500 points ahead of Jordan Brown who is 17th.
As it currently stands Ding and Mark Allen would need to qualify. Ding is only China’s number 3 in that list, behind Yan Bingtao and Zhou Yuelong who are respectively 15th and 16th.
The biggest “shock” for me though was to find Stephen Maguire as low as number 58 in that list. Stephen is currently ranked 9th !!! That’s a serious “free fall”. He got 180000 points from the Coral Cup during the 2019/20 season and will need a good start this season to make sure that he gets the opportunity to defend them. To a lesser extend, the same is true for Mark Allen.
Ronnie of course loses his 500000 points from the 2020 World Championship but is still fourth in the list, with a 174000 cushion on the number 16th, Martin Gould.
Again finding both Gould and Day in the top 16 surprised me. Even more surprising is to find Jordan Brown as high as 13th and that comes from winning just one tournament. Remove the points from 2021 Welsh Open and he would be ranked around the 48th spot.
Do you feel you can turn your ranking around in the second season and retain your place on the World Snooker Tour?
“A lot of my experiences have taught me that it isn’t really about consistency, it isn’t about even having a good season.In order to stay on the tour, you need to win big money and in order to win big money you need to do really well in one tournament.
Ultimately the goal is to have a deep run. I want to get to a quarter, semi or a final and experience that buzz. I want to have a crack at winning something like Jordan Brown did at the Welsh Open. I know it is difficult, but it is possible.
The old point system was favouring consistency too much, especially when losing seeds still got ranking points. But I feel it has gone too far the other way around now, and the prize money is too top-heavy.
BTW there is a lot of other interesting stuff in that Peter Delin interview.
But I digress … back to the ranking discussion and to what matters even more than the top 16, the middle part of that list:
Again it came to surprise to me to see players like Gary Wilson, Mark King, Thepchaiya Un-Nooh , Sunny Akani and Michael Holt in the danger zone, whilst Jimmy Robertson, Matthew Stevens and Noppon Saengkham are currently in the relegation zone.
It paints a very bleak picture for the Thai players and Thai snooker. We could have no player from Thailand next season on the tour, despite the enthusiasm for snooker and a rather strong amateur scene in the country.
Veterans Ken Doherty, Anthony Hamilton and Fergal O’Brien are also in the relegation zone. Anthony has been fighting health issues and injuries for a long time and it might well be his last season. I trust Fergal to make a fight of it though. Anyone playing him this season better be ready for long gruelling battles; having sandwiches, thermos and some energy bars at the ready might be a good idea.
Ronnie O’Sullivan Talks Snooker Legacy | Overcoming Depression | Becoming The Greatest of All Time
Ronnie O’Sullivan is known for disrupting the snooker world in his own unique and dynamic ways but he is interested in a lot more things than snooker! He is an author, keen runner and so much more. Ronnie really loves being in the world of running. He noticed early on that many of the people who are into running are laid back, social and not materialistic. You leave the rest of your world, career, money etc at the door. None of that matters in the community of running. It’s a great escape for him to be in that world. Health and fitness was never something Ronnie focused on when he was younger. But he has spent the last few years on himself physically and is the healthiest he has ever been. He treats this ‘hobby’ as one of his addictions; he knows he has an addictive personality so has channeled it into something good. Ronnie is very humble and says there are many snooker players out there at least as good as him if not better, but he feels like snooker fans are drawn to him because of the way he plays. They want to watch him. There have been plenty of struggles in Ronnie’s life and career. By his mid-twenties he had suffered with bouts of anxiety, depression and addiction. But learning about these things and their impact on himself and the world around him helped him reframe his life and learn to live it alongside his demons. Self-sabotage can take many forms. Most people do not even recognise the behaviours they are doing to sabotage themselves. Once Ronnie was told of his self-sabotaging behaviours he began to work on them and it made a dramatic difference to his career as well as his own self-worth. The world championships in 2012 is Ronnie’s career high. He was 35 and didn’t have a lot of motivation or self-belief but he then met Steve Peters who helped him reignite his passion for snooker and he went on to win. It’s essential to have the right people around you in sport. Having a good mentor, manager, partner and role models is so important for your mental and physical wellbeing as a sportsperson as well as putting you on the right path in your career. In some ways surprising until you hear about Ronnie’s story, he would not recommend a career in snooker to anyone. He says it is a bad game, it’s can cause you a lot of damage, it is a waste of a life for almost everyone.
And Ronnie himself, on his facebook page, invited people to listen to the podcast.
Here is the podcast “teaser text”
In this episode Rob speaks to the greatest snooker champion of all time, Ronnie O’Sullivan. They have an in depth, authentic and honest discussion around Ronnie’s life; his career, his lows and his many highs too.
Ronnie is known for disrupting the snooker world in his own unique and dynamic ways but he is interested in a lot more things than snooker! He is an author, keen runner and so much more.
Ronnie really loves being in the world of running. He noticed early on that many of the people who are into running are laid back, social and not materialistic. You leave the rest of your world, career, money etc at the door. None of that matters in the community of running. It’s a great escape for him to be in that world.
Health and fitness was never something Ronnie focused on when he was younger. But he has spent the last few years on himself physically and is the healthiest he has ever been. He treats this ‘hobby’ as one of his addictions; he knows he has an addictive personality so has channeled it into something good.
Ronnie is very humble and says there are many snooker players out there at least as good as him if not better, but he feels like snooker fans are drawn to him because of the way he plays. They want to watch him.
There have been plenty of struggles in Ronnie’s life and career. By his mid-twenties he had suffered with bouts of anxiety, depression and addiction. But learning about these things and their impact on himself and the world around him helped him reframe his life and learn to live it alongside his demons.
Self-sabotage can take many forms. Most people do not even recognise the behaviours they are doing to sabotage themselves. Once Ronnie was told of his self-sabotaging behaviours he began to work on them and it made a dramatic difference to his career as well as his own self-worth.
The world championships in 2012 is Ronnie’s career high. He was 35 and didn’t have a lot of motivation or self-belief but he then met Steve Peters who helped him reignite his passion for snooker and he went on to win.
It’s essential to have the right people around you in sport. Having a good mentor, manager, partner and role models is so important for your mental and physical wellbeing as a sportsperson as well as putting you on the right path in your career.
In some ways surprising until you hear about Ronnie’s story, he would not recommend a career in snooker to anyone. He says it is a bad game, it’s can cause you a lot of damage, it is a waste of a life for almost everyone.
“I’m never going to get rid of that addictive nature I like to think it’s a good driving force in my life so as long as I channel it into the right direction…You can do pretty good things”
“What I am good at is getting that white ball from A to B and making the game easy”
“I’m not good with rules”
“A lot of stuff you do off the table benefits you on the table”
“I love a breakdown as it spurs me to fight back”
“Sometimes I don’t feel like being creative, I’m not a machine”
“I always played for the love of the sport”
It’s a long interview – nearly two hours – but a very positive, very honest one. Ronnie seems to be in a good place.
There aren’t many “new things” in it, no scoop, no big revelations, but it sheds a different light on some of the “incidents” and “weird moments” that have puzzled, upset, worried, amused, bemused Ronnie’s fans and haters over the years.
I enjoyed the content, but maybe not so much the style of the interview. That however is a personal thing.
The first world ranking event of the season will see 128 players at the Morningside Arena, Leicester. Stage one will run from 18-23 July, 26-30 July and 2-6 August. Stage two takes place from August 9-12, with the third and final stage on August 13.
Hong Kong’s On Yee is one of two women competing on the World Snooker Tour in the coming season, alongside Reanne Evans. The group featuring O’Sullivan, On Yee, Mark Joyce and Ian Burns will take place on July 20.
World number one Judd Trump has been drawn into a group with Anthony Hamilton, Lee Walker and Rod Lawler on Friday August 6. John Higgins’ group has an international flavour as, on July 27, he will take on Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham, Brazil’s Igor Figueiredo and Iran’s Soheil Vahedi.
On July 29, defending champion Kyren Wilson will be up against Sam Craigie, Ben Hancorn and Dylan Emery.
Each group of four players will be contested with a round-robin format. Each match is four frames, though if the score reaches 3-0 then the fourth frame will not be played.
Players will be awarded three points for a win and one point for a drawn match. The group table standings will be determined by the following criteria, in this order:
1) Most points
2) Net frame difference
3) Result of match between the two players in question (should three or more players be tied then a mini table will be produced using the criteria above).
4) Highest break in the group.
5) If the highest break is also tied, the next highest break made by the players in question will be used.
The 32 group winners in stage one will go through to stage two.
Group winner: £3,000
2nd place: £2,000
3rd place: £1,000
4th place: £0
Group winner: £4,000
2nd place: £3,000
3rd place: £2,000
4th place: £1,000
Group winner: £6,000
2nd place: £4,000
3rd place: £2,000
4th place: £1,000
On Yee Ng will be playing on the main tour this season. Wayne Griffith, the HKSI – Hong Kong Snooker Institute – Head Coach has been woorking with her for years and has been speaking to World Women Snooker, about women snooker and On Yee in particular.
On Yee is a very hard worker and she will give it 100% in the coming two years. She is determined to learn as much as she can from the experience. She is tactically sound. If anything she might not score as heavily as she would need to by professional standards just yet. But she will improve.
Griffiths Reflects on Decade of Success in Hong Kong
In recent years, the World Women’s Snooker Tour has become one of the most cosmopolitan series of events in our sport with players from across the globe regularly competing in our tournaments.
One region in particular that has played a significant role in the internationalisation of the tour has been Hong Kong, with several players based at its Sports Institute (HKSI) including our three-time world champion Ng On Yee having competed in tournaments over the past decade.
A driving force behind providing opportunities for female players in Hong Kong has been Wayne Griffiths – son of former world champion Terry Griffiths and qualified WPBSA Snooker Coach – who this September will celebrate his tenth anniversary since becoming HKSI Head Coach.
Laying the Foundations
Together with his team, including Alan Wong and David Roe who will be familiar to all on the women’s circuit, Griffiths has helped shape the infrastructure that has enabled players at the HKSI to achieve their potential during the past decade.
“I joined HKSI as Head Coach just before the 2010 Asian Games,” said Griffiths. “Billiard Sports joined HKSI in 2009 when the sport scored enough points to be considered for elite funding as a Tier A sport. This allowed an enhanced budget, a training grant for each player, travel expenses and a Head Coach. Unfortunately for them – that Head Coach turned out to be me!
“I wanted to employ a coach to work with me and I had known Alan Wong from a previous WPBSA coaching course. I knew he was native to Hong Kong and was well respected and liked as a junior coach. I felt Alan’s experience, coupled with his cultural knowledge and language skills made him a perfect addition for the team. Luckily for me, and for everyone else, he decided to take up our offer and join us in April 2011. We have been the core of the coaching team ever since and I couldn’t do without him!
“Michele Nip joined us as a full-time pool coach in 2016 (she had been part-time since 2012) and David Roe joined in the summer of the same year. Michele had brought up the junior pool team from a very young age and has developed them into Asian and World junior champions. David Roe, as a former top 16 professional player, was brought into to give us some high level ‘playing’ and international coaching experience, which I felt brought a good balance to the team overall. Both Michele and David have contributed massively to our achievements here in recent years.
“We also get around three visits per year from Lee Walker and Kelly Fisher as we seek to give the players as many different opportunities to grow and learn from the best. Their experience and input have also proved to be invaluable for us.”
World Women’s Snooker
Jaique Ip Wan In would be the first player from Hong Kong to compete on the World Women’s Snooker Tour, reaching the quarter-finals of the World Championship in both 2008 and 2009. In 2012 she became the first player from Hong Kong to win a ranking event at the Agnes Davies Memorial, defeating compatriot So Man Yan in the final.
At this time the Tour was based exclusively within the UK prior to becoming a subsidiary organisation of the WPBSA in 2015, providing an additional logistical challenge for Jaique and the other players who would join her in subsequent years.
“HKSI started with just four women players (the ‘golden girls’ as I believe they were known) of Ng On Yee, Ip Wan In Jaique, So Man Yan and Yu Ching Ching in 2010,” said Griffiths. “Three of these ladies were gold medal winners at the 2010 Asian Games.
“These four ladies were very keen to travel to international events to test themselves against the best players in the world. To do this we knew we had to come to the UK and enter WWS events.
“Obviously, the travel was an issue for us. It is generally 24 hours door to door for a UK trip from Hong Kong and a 7-8 hour time difference to get over. Fortunately for us however, we were well funded and supported by the HKBSCC, HKSI and the HKSAR Government. This allowed us to travel a few days early to get over the long trip and get some practice at the venue. We learned a lot of lessons along the way and this meant we felt we were getting stronger, on and off the table, with every trip we made.
“Even though we did not manage a win over Reanne Evans early on, we did start to score some positive results against other top players. This gave us all some encouragement and showed that we were moving in the right direction.
“However, Reanne was still the ‘Queen’ and Maria Catalano and Emma Bonney were the other business end players who always were tough to beat. It was around this time we felt things were becoming a little comfortable for the four ladies and we went in search of a ‘Sigmoid Leap’!
“To intensify competition, in 2013 we added another player, Wan Ka Kai, who was selected through a local TID event and went on to be Hong Kong’s second highest WWS ranked player not long after. Since then we have followed this strategy of increasing the members of the team to keep levels of motivation high.”
‘Respect but no fear’
Of course while many players from Hong Kong have gone on to establish themselves on the circuit, the most successful player to date has been our current world number two Ng On Yee, who famously ended the 10-year reign of Reanne Evans at the World Championship in 2015, going on to win the biggest tournament on the calendar three times over a four-year period from 2015-2018 and becoming world number one.
Her WWS debut came four years prior to her first world title when as a 20-year-old she crossed cues with Evans for the first time, losing 4-1 in a match that would launch a healthy rivalry that continues to this day.
“I think this was my first major overseas event with the ladies and I remember it quite vividly,” recalled Griffiths. “Regarding On Yee specifically, she was still developing on the table at that time. However, what encouraged me about her at that event was her attitude. Two things I remember in particular.
“The first was a round robin match against Revanna Umadevi from India. On Yee looked like losing the match at 1-1 and 45+ behind with three reds left. She then fluked a red and cleared with a 50 break to win on the black. This was not a massive break or a critical victory maybe, but it did show me a little about the mental make up of this young player.
“The second thing I remember was the knockout match with Reanne. On Yee did well but was still roundly beaten. However, it was On Yee’s positive attitude before, during and after the match that told me that here we had someone who mentally could mix it with the best.
“There was respect but no fear and a dogged determination to beat Reanne in the future – who at that time was pretty much seen as unbeatable. We set about breaking down what was needed to close the gap and On Yee worked diligently to achieve this. We knew there was some way to go, but that first event showed me that Hong Kong had a special player with the attitude and belief of a champion.”
Ng claimed her first WWS title at the 2012 Northern Championship, before defeating Evans for the first time on her way to winning the 2013 UK Championship. Two years later she would deliver her biggest performance to date as she defeated Evans in the semi-finals of the World Championship in Leeds, before claiming the trophy with a 6-2 success against Emma Bonney in the final.
“During the 2015 World Championship I was actually working down the road with Marco Fu in Sheffield and it was Alan Wong who guided On Yee to what was her biggest win to date. It was a great achievement. To end the reign of a dominant world champion is never easy and we all know what a great competitor Reanne is.
“This victory made sure that On Yee would be seen as one of the top female players in the world. The win made a lot of noise back in Hong Kong and was a massive boost for the sport – and for On Yee personally. In 2016 she received the coveted ‘Best of the Best’ sports award for Hong Kong for her results in 2015 and this launched her as a well-known personality in the region. For a female snooker player to win this award it was a significant step in the sport’s history in Hong Kong.
“We are all so happy to see a player with a great attitude and work ethic, who has listened and acted on the advice she has been given (rather than paying it lip service) to make the most of her talent. On Yee works hard and, maybe more importantly, she works smart. It is not an accident that the best players will be the players who are striving to improve and are never satisfied.
“This desire to get better however, has to be balanced for it not to become negative. On Yee has got this balance just about right now and it has been an honour and a pleasure for us all to be part of her journey to date.”
‘A Journey not a destination’
Since becoming world champion Ng has increasingly had the opportunity to compete against the world’s best male players at events including Q School, Challenge Tour and the 6-Red World Championship in Thailand.
“On Yee has improved considerably in the last 2 – 3 years and her game is getting closer to the men’s level – as the performance against Alan McManus in the 2019 World Championship showed,” said Griffiths. “However, she is a realist and she knows she has some way to go to consistently be at the level she needs to qualify for the men’s game through Q School or other accepted avenues.
“Our feeling has always been that if On Yee is always striving to improve enough to reach the men’s top tier, then we can be sure she will still be at or very near the top of the women’s game. This approach has worked relatively well to date.
“We are always looking for our own marginal gains as we strive to improve all our players in Hong Kong. We collect a lot of data here at HKSI in terms of skills benchmarking and matchplay ability. This factual and measurable data gives us a very good idea of where our players are in terms of reaching the next level. Through gap analysis, we then set about trying to formulate plans that will hopefully see the player improve in the key areas highlighted.
“We see this as a journey and not a destination, and the best On Yee can hope for is that she realises her full potential. If this means she is one of the first female players to play by right on the main tour, it would be an achievement she, and everyone here at the HKSI and the HKBSCC, would be very proud of. In the meantime, however, to quote our mantra here, she will focus on trying ‘to be a better player tomorrow’.
As Ng has continued to achieve success on the women’s circuit, she has been joined by further players from Hong Kong with seven currently ranked inside of the top 30. For each WWS events the HKSI runs an internal selection policy which as Griffiths explains, helps to create pressure situations to test the players.
“We are fortunate enough to have a strong squad of female players here in Hong Kong and they all get excellent support from HKBSCC, HKSI and the Hong Kong Government,” continues Griffiths. “We have no other player quite at On Yee’s level yet, but her ability and achievements are certainly inspiring them all to keep working hard to improve. So Man Yan, Ip Wan In Jaique, Ho Yee Ki, Fong Mei Mei, Cheung Yee Ting and Chu Pui Ying are all very good female players in their own right, and every one of them has supported HKSI with top results in recent years.”
The last decade has not only been significant for players based at the HKSI, but the circuit as a whole which has become more international since coming under the remit of the WPBSA in 2015. New events in mainland Europe, Asia and Oceania have led to the promotion of new talent and new opportunities for players globally, something that Griffiths is supportive of.
“The work done by the WWS team means that the Ladies’ game is now unrecognisable compared to where it was when I first attended in 2011,” explained Griffiths. “The depth and breadth of standard has improved significantly, numbers have increased (competitors and countries) and the events are now run, reported and marketed in a more professional manner.
“The women’s game now has far more respect and a lot more interest around the world. In terms of getting results however, it is has become a lot harder in recent years. Great players from the UK, mainland Europe, and especially now from China (Bai Yulu) and Thailand (Nutcharut Wongharuthai et al) have pushed the standards higher and higher.
“All these things come together to point to a very bright future for the women’s game, and all of us in Hong Kong look forward to be a part of it for many years to come!”
We would like to thank Wayne for his time and we look forward to seeing his team and all of the players from the HKSI again at upcoming tournaments.
Ronnie O’Sullivan is ‘absolutely frightening’ but Steve Davis had the biggest aura, says Peter Lines
Phil Haigh – Wednesday 16 Jun 2021
Ronnie O’Sullivan may be the greatest snooker player of all time, but doesn’t hold the aura that great players of the past did, says Peter Lines, who says he was ‘in awe’ of Steve Davis on the table.
Lines regained his place on the main tour this summer as he came through Q School in the first event, returning to professional status at the age of 51.
Having turned professional way back in 1991, the Yorkshireman has taken on many of the greatest players in history and has seen the tour change significantly over the years.
With so many tournaments in the modern game, and with flat draws throwing the top players into the first round of many of them, Lines feels the elite players do not have the aura they once did, despite being as good or better than their predecessors, a presence that Davis held in abundance during his pomp in the 1980s and even past his peak into the 90s.
‘I don’t think the aura that those sort of players had…Steve Davis etc. I don’t think it’s around anymore because you see these players all the time, you’re around them, they’re on the TV, you’re on the TV,’ Lines told the Talking Snooker podcast.
‘Basically it seems that everyone gets on the TV these days, whereas you used to have to win so many matches just to get there and then you were so in awe when you got there you just folded.
‘For me, Steve Davis [had the greatest aura], because I grew up watching Steve Davis and I just love him.
‘They say you shouldn’t meet your heroes but I’ve met Steve a few times and he is a great bloke. Best exhibition I’ve ever seen, the nicest bloke you’ve met, fantastic.’
Despite Lines being in awe of his hero Davis, it is O’Sullivan he sees as the finest ever player, despite holding an impressive 2-1 head-to-head record against the Rocket.
‘The best player I’ve ever played is the Rocket because I think he’s the best player the game’s ever seen,’ he said.
‘To still be producing the level he’s producing at 45 is absolutely frightening, absolutely frightening how good he is and how good he’s always been.’
Lines wanted to give a nod to a fellow Yorkshireman in the greatest of all time debate, recognising the late great Paul Hunter as one of the top three most talented players he has seen, before his tragic death at just 27.
‘I watched Paul Hunter, he was a phenomenal talent and it’s a shame obviously that no one ever got to see him lift the world title,’ said Peter.
‘He was one of the best two or three players I’ve ever seen talent-wise, as a youngster.’
Lines will return to action at the Championship League in July in Leicester, with O’Sullivan also potentially in action at the Morningside Arena.
Yes, indeed, when you are around a person all the time, no matter who they are and what they achieved, the “intimidation” factor fades away.
As Lewis pointed out, introducing a qualification round for the Home Nations, with the top 16 playing their first round separately at the venue will probably make it harder for the lower ranked players and the rookies when they will meet those top players. That said, with only four tables, those who are really interested will be able to watch a lot more of them over the season. Hopefully we will get to see two tables, i.e, half of the matches.