About a comeback and a debut

Comeback

Speaking to Phil Haigh and Nick Metcalfe on their podcast, Stuart Bingham explained why he isn’t “a fan” of Stephen Hendry return  to competition.

Phil Haigh summarised it here

Stuart Bingham ‘not a fan’ of Stephen Hendry’s snooker comeback: ‘He’s going to have more bad days than good days’

Stuart Bingham
Stephen Hendry is continuing his comeback to the main snooker tour (Picture: WST)

Stuart Bingham says he is ‘not a fan’ of Stephen Hendry’s return to snooker, and although the seven-time world champion is fully deserving of the invite to play on the main tour, he will ‘have more bad days than good days now’.

Hendry was offered a two-year tour card by then WST chairman Barry Hearn in 2020 and played for the first time in nine years at the 2021 Gibraltar Open.

He was won a couple of matches since then, beating Jimmy White in the World Championship qualifiers before edging out Chris Wakelin at the British Open last month.

With two wins under his belt and the 52-year-old believing he is fast improving after nine years away from top level competition his return to the baize has not been a failure and he intends to keep playing for some time to come.

However, Bingham is not sure what the legend of the sport will get out of the comeback, thinking it is going to be something of a painful task for the Scot.

Asked about Hendry’s return on the Talking Snooker podcast, Bingham said: ‘Each to their own. I’m probably not a fan.

What he’s done in the game, he deserves a wildcard whenever he wants, same as Jimmy White and most probably Ken Doherty.

Betfred World Snooker Championship - Day Ten
Stuart Bingham feels Hendry has given himself a very tall task (Picture: Getty Images)

I dunno, Stephen’s taken nine years away from the game, even though he’s played a handful in the Seniors, he’s lost that edge. Only really Stephen himself can answer how good he thinks he can get back to.

He gave up the game because he didn’t like losing and I’m not sure how long he’s going to play for. I can see him losing a fair bit the way he’s playing at the moment.

He might have a good match but having that time off, nine years off, he’s going to have more bad days than good days now, I think. As harsh as that may seem, but that’s how I think

Hendry has picked up those two wins and looked good in his first match back, which ended in defeat to Matt Selt who was in superb form at the Gibraltar Open, however, he has struggled in a couple of his other matches.

Bingham isn’t particularly impressed with what he has seen, but he would love to see Hendry rediscover some of his old magic and create more memories on the snooker table.

I watch him but you can see him struggling with himself,’ said the 2015 world champion. ‘He throws in a few snatchy cue actions and you can see why he give up.

He said he had a bit of “cueitis” [or the yips], he couldn’t let go of the cue and things like that and you can still see it’s there. Everything’s very deliberate and when it gets to the crunch, a pressure situation, you see it appear.

Hopefully he can get out of it and get back to some sort of level and it’ll be good for the game.’

I agree with Stuart here, but that doesn’t mean that I think that Stephen Hendry shouldn’t play, that he should have stayed in retirement. He simply has to do what he feels is right for himself. He isn’t proud of his last match at the Crucible and badly wants to return there, if only just once, to play and fight for every ball, no matter the outcome of the match. I fully understand that. Can he do it? I’m not sure.

Inevitably, when a great in sport shows signs of decline, and the wins don’t come anymore, you hear fans saying that they should retire. The usual excuse is that it “damages their legacy”. It doesn’t, none of their achievements will be erased ever. What it does though is “damage” their image in the mind of the said fans, who can’t accept that, no matter how great a sportsperson is/was at their peak, decline comes eventually. They can’t cope with it.

I remember the reactions when Hendry came back on the Seniors tour: he was going to wipe the floor with everyone … allegedly. Actually, he struggled badly, as he had struggled badly in the last years of his (first) career. But somehow it was as if his faithful fans had erased those last years from their memory, remembering only the “peak Hendry”.

I hope that Stephen manages to get back to the Crucible, and that he can do himself justice. He reigned supreme at the Crucible for years. His last match there – there is always a last one – should be a match he’s proud of.

Debut

Tomorrow, Judd Trump will make his debut in competitive pool:

US Open Pool Championship Draw Complete

US Open Pool Championship Draw Complete

The draw for the 2021 US Open Pool Championship has been made with 2019 champion Joshua Filler starting his defense against America’s Joseph Byler in the opening match of the tournament at Harrah’s Resort, Atlantic City on Monday, September 13.

The draw, brackets, and match schedule can be viewed now on CueScore.

Shane Van Boening and Earl Strickland will start their hunts for a sixth US Open title against Francesco Candela of Italy and the USA’s Adam Martin respectively. Matchroom Pool World Rankings No.1 Albin Ouschan begins against Scott Haas. 22-time World Snooker ranking title winner Judd Trump makes his bow in pool against Joe Magee.

Players were seeded based on the combination of World Ranking and Performance in Major Events. Click here for the full seeding breakdown.

Live rack-by-rack scoring will be available throughout the event at www.matchroompool.com thanks to our partners CueScore. Broadcast details for the tournament in full can be found here with coverage on DAZN for those in the USA, Canada, Germany, Austria, Spain, Italy, and Brazil with UK coverage available on Sky Sports throughout.

The 2021 US Open Pool Championship will be partnered by Diamond, who supply the Official Table; the cloth is supplied by Iwan Simonis and the Official Balls are ARAMITH Tournament BLACK pool ball set with Duramith™ Technology by Saluc. Predator is the Official Cue of the event and Kamui are the Official Chalk and Tip. The US Open Pool Championship is sanctioned by the WPA.

Quite incredibly the bookies make him favourite for the title. This probably simply means that they believe that enough punters will fall for the bait because Trump himself admitted that deep down he knows that he can’t win it, that he would be happy to just win a match. It’s a different game, with many aspects, and shots, that are not present in snooker.  If he were to win it, it would be truly extraordinary.

 

2 thoughts on “About a comeback and a debut

  1. The problem with Stephen Hendry’s ‘wildcard’ comeback is that as a professional he is expected to play in all of the events, not just 3 or 4 per season. He certainly isn’t going to enjoy that if it means continual trips to Barnsley, losing to players ranked down the list. At the end of this season I would expect WST to be asking him serious questions about commitment to enter tournaments. There is enough space to offer a World Championship wildcard, without having to go over the top and award a full tour card. It will hardly be a headline-grabbing coup anymore, if he’s handed another.

    Actually Stuart Bingham is in an ideal position to judge. He knows very well the preparation needed to play professional snooker, having built his career with dedicated hard work over a long period of time.

    But what I don’t like about all this is the way it tends to dominate the news agenda. It’s a terrible thing for snooker for the narrative to be all about old players making comebacks, just as it is for snooker players crossing over to pool.

    • I agree Lewis, although I believe that the Trump Pool thing has been triggered/pushed/advertised by Matchroom. It’s one of their events. It is however not great for snooker as it will probably attract snooker fans to pool and not the other way around and if it’s a success it might become a pretext to make snooker more like pool re setup/atmosphere etc… and then, if it goes far enough, why would they keep two different disciplines ?

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