David Hendon issued this podcast today. It’s a very interesting and nice interview with Andy Goldstein, speaking about his job and the snooker people. Just enjoy!
Once again snooker has only got minimal coverage in the SPOTY show and neither Ronnie nor Mark Williams have been considered.
Feature – Ronnie O’Sullivan SPOTY snub reeks of ignorance, snobbery and borders on national disgrace
Ronnie O’Sullivan’s latest snub for the BBC Sports Personality of the year award is a total farce that is either genuine ignorance or a weird old case of class snobbery, writes Desmond Kane
And so the incurable malady of the Sports Personality ceremony lingers on.
The disgraceful decision to again ignore Ronnie O’Sullivan, snooker’s greatest player of all time, from SPOTY, hit a worst note than David Baddiel trying to sing Three Lions at the smug, self-satisfied annual jamboree.
The decision-making to somehow omit O’Sullivan from the shortlist is as much of a waste of space as filling Birmingham’s Genting Arena with 15,000 to celebrate a closed shop. This is an event that completely lost its sense of decorum a long time ago. Probably when blokes like Harry Carpenter and big Frank Bruno were putting golf balls around the old BBC TV Centre back in the 1980s.
SPOTY is no longer for the people who watch sport, but soiled by people who think they know what the public like or want. Who think they know better than the great viewing public.
It has as much credibility as the haggard Brexit diatribe “the will of the people” by disconnected eccentrics who have completely lost any sense of what the public actually want or like.
“What has anybody done in British sport done that Ronnie hasn’t done,” said an animated Mark Allen after his 9-7 win over Shaun Murphy in the Scottish Open final in Glasgow.
“It is absolutely ridiculous that he gets overlooked time and time again.”
O’Sullivan was priced at 14-1 for the top award last night behind only Tottenham and England forward Harry Kane, and it must be said a deserving winner in Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas.
Even when the six names were trotted out by host Gary Lineker, who weirdly invited them to trudge onto the stage if they heard their name like some sort of sixth form teacher, O’Sullivan was still ahead of Lizzy Yarnold and James Anderson in the betting.
But how can he win if he isn’t allowed a place on the shortlist?
Like him or loathe him, at the ripe young age of 43, O’Sullivan has personality, longevity and continues to be a magnificent champion at a stage of his career when other players are reaching for the horlicks.
The latest judging panel who opted against O’Sullivan for the final list of six nominees for the top award are guilty of failing to properly appreciate one of this country’s most talented sports people of all time.
Since he turned professional in 1992, O’Sullivan has astonishingly never been nominated. Yet on he goes, continuing to not only compete with age, but actually improve with 19 major events carried off from the sport.
He has enjoyed a wonderful time in 2018, finishing the year with a record seventh UK title while winning the World Grand Prix, the Players Championship, the Shanghai Masters and the Champion of Champions amid a smorgasbord of runs to the latter stages of events.
If he cannot make it onto the shortlist, you can well and truly forget the biggest snooker story of the year: the rejuvenated world champion Mark Williams winning a third world title at the age of 43, 15 years after his second gong at the Crucible. This miracle on the Sheffield mound occurred a year after the Welshman was thinking of retiring for failing to qualify for the tournament.
How can such world-class individuals be overlooked when they have spades of personality, charisma, dedication and a winning mentality?
Snooker is a game that was huge in the 1980s when it was transported from darkened spaces in working men’s clubs to mainstream TV.
It made icons of men like Alex ‘Hurricane’ Higgins, Steve Davis and Jimmy ‘The Whirlwind’ White, but it is interesting that snooker has been treated with more disdain at a time when standards have never been higher. At a time when the standard-bearer is an English bloke who performs such a tough, unremitting game like he is potting pool balls down the pub.
O’Sullivan brings a spiritual element to snooker that has never been seen before and is perhaps unlikely to be witnessed again. O’Sullivan has made it more of an art form than a game. Van Gogh of the green baize. Quite possibly.
Well, the working class roots of snooker are obviously sneered at, and a general ignorance about the talent levels involved in the game make a mockery of the SPOTY panel of judges. Once again.
The SPOTY judging panel have made a barmier call than the trio who thought Deontay Wilder drew with Tyson Fury in their heavyweight contest last weekend.
Like O’Sullivan, Fury does not fit into the politically correct crew who put false, manufactured persona above proper working class heroes.
Like O’Sullivan, he has suffered from a cliquish interpretation of what the man or woman in the street likes.
SPOTY will continue to be run by a cabal of misguided snobs, but it completely lacks any credibility when it decides to omit great personalities for being great. And more importantly, for being true to themselves.
Follow the link above to watch the actual videos.
Desmond’s article only expresses the sentiments that countless others shared on social media yesterday evening.
Congratulations to Mark Allen, 2018 Scottish Open Champion
Mark Allen bounced back from the disappointment of losing to Ronnie in the UK Championship final a week ago, by winning the next event in Glasgow yesterday evening. He beat Shaun Murphy by 9-7 in the final. Congratulations.
Mark Allen defeated Shaun Murphy 9-7 in a thrilling BetVictor Scottish Open final in Glasgow to secure his fifth ranking title.
The match had looked set to go all the way to a decider, before Murphy miscued on 29 whilst among the balls at 8-7 down. Allen pounced and went about compiling a match winning break. However, he had appeared to have missed a pink to the middle, only to fluke it in the corner. The Northern Irishman made the most of his good fortune and completed a clearance of 83 to take home the title.
Allen is currently enjoying the best form of his career. He’s now claimed two ranking titles in 2018, having already tasted silverware at the International Championship. Allen was also runner-up to Ronnie O’Sullivan at last week’s UK Championship.
The £70,000 winner’s cheque cements his place at the top of the one-year money list. The 32-year-old has now earned £353,000 in ranking competition so far this season.
The Pistol now turns his attentions to the defence of his Masters title next month, when he returns to Alexandra Palace in London for the elite 16-man invitational event, which he won at the start of the year.
This week represents a significant return to form for 2005 World Champion Murphy. The Magician had looked to be in trouble in the race to be at February’s World Grand Prix. Only the top 32 players in the one-year list qualify, with Murphy coming into this week ranked 65th. However, the £30,000 runner-up prize will act as big boost to his chances, moving him up to 31st.
It was Northern Ireland’s Allen who took command in the afternoon session, he fired in breaks of 82, 64 and 70 to come from 3-2 down to lead 5-3 heading into tonight.
The evening saw Allen extend his advantage by taking the opening frame. However, Triple Crown winner Murphy wasn’t going down without a fight. He claimed three frames on the bounce, including a sublime 115 break in the 12th to go into the last mid-session interval all-square at 6-6.
The Magician then took to the front making it 7-6, but it was the Pistol who found another gear as the finish line came into sight. Breaks of 66 and 134 took him one from victory and he secured the win with that dramatic run of 83 to win 9-7.
“As the match went on, I got stronger. At 7-6 down I produced some good snooker,” said Allen. “Shaun will probably rue a few missed chances, as his long game was ridiculously good today. He created a lot of good opportunities which he didn’t quite convert into frame winning chances.
“I was playing with my little girl in the mid-session interval. I just kept her occupied for 15 minutes. I miss her a lot and she obviously misses me a lot given her reaction when I came in. It actually completely relaxed me.
“We all know how good every player is when it comes to the Masters. There are no easy matches and I will need to perform to my very best to try and defend my title.”
Afterwards a disappointed Murphy looked to his miscue in the 16th frame, when in position to take the match into a deciding frame.
Murphy said: “A miscue is a bad shot. There is nothing unlucky about that. I had my chance to make it 8-8 and I scored 29 points. If you look at the great champions and legends they seize those opportunities. Perhaps that is why I don’t have the same trophy cabinet that some of them do.”
“Losing hurts. It doesn’t matter what level you are at. It doesn’t matter who you are. We are playing to win. That is what champions do, they find a gear. I had Mark Allen banged to rights at 7-6 and he found a way to win.”
The Scottish Open 2018 is the last televised event of 2018. Eurosport is doing a great job.
Thank you guys!
Now there is only one more snooker event left this year and it starts tomorrow: the qualifiers for the 2019 German Masters.
The draw and format for the qualifying rounds of the D88.com German Masters is now available.
The qualifiers will run from December 18 to 21 at the Barnsley Metrodome and admission for fans is FREE!
All players need to win two matches to make it through to the final stages at the famous Tempodrom venue in Berlin, to run from January 30 to February 3.
Mark Williams will be defending the title and other top stars in the field include Mark Selby, Judd Trump, John Higgins, Neil Robertson, Ding Junhui, Barry Hawkins, Shaun Murphy and Kyren Wilson.
Ronnie didn’t enter, unsurprisingly, but should be in Berlin as a pundit and commentator. Players need to win two matches, and this event usually throws a few surprises as top players are tired after a very busy first half of the season and often find it difficult to find motivation for a qualifying event so close the Xmas break.
Semi Finals day in Glasgow delivered this Final line-up: it’s Mark Allen v Shaun Murphy. So, despite the top 3 players skipping the event and any number of early exits, we still have two of the top 16 in the Final.
Here is how we gor there (source Worldsnooker)
Masters champion Mark Allen staged a dramatic fightback to reach the BetVictor Scottish Open final, winning the last four frames to defeat Daniel Wells 6-5 in their last four clash.
The Pistol is now through to his third ranking final of the season so far, having won the International Championship and been runner-up to Ronnie O’Sullivan at last week’s UK Championship. Allen will face either Judd Trump or Shaun Murphy tomorrow as he aims to pick up just his second ever ranking title on British soil.
Welshman Wells will leave Glasgow disappointed at not being able to convert his lead and reach a maiden ranking final. However, he will still be able to reflect positively on making his first semi-final appearance.
Wells looked by far the stronger player in the opening stages. He capitalised on a slow start from Allen, establishing a 4-0 advantage at the mid-session.
When they returned Allen crucially got his first frame on the board, coming from 55-0 down to steal. A break 59 then helped him to move within two of world number 66 Wells.
Wells had looked to have halted the fightback after a 31 clearance saw him take the seventh on the black to move within a frame of victory at 5-2. However, at that point it was Allen who upped his game to go on a four-frame blitz, making breaks of 79, 106 and 129 on his way to the 6-5 win.
Allen said: “I feel for Daniel. He was dominating that match right up until 5-3. He hit the ball with his arm on a rest shot and everything turned from there. I didn’t give him any chances after that and started playing well myself.
“He was so positive in the early part of the match. I felt as the match went on he sort of went into his shell. He turned a few shots down and I sensed that and got a bit more confidence myself. I’m sure when he looks back at that he will regret not taking a few on and closing the match out earlier.”
Wells was understandably disappointed at missing out on the final, but says that today’s match will be an important experience in his career.
“It is a tough learning curve. It has been a huge experience for me and to be honest I am proud of how I handled myself,” said the world number 66. “I felt comfortable throughout the match and fair play to Mark. It takes a top player to come back from 5-2 down and do it the way he did, not really giving me a chance.”
Shaun Murphy put on a superb display to defeat world number five Judd Trump 6-3 and reach the final of the BetVictor Scottish Open in Glasgow.
That sets up a mouth-watering showpiece clash between Murphy and one of his best friends Mark Allen. It’s the Magician who has a 10-4 lead in their head-to-head record. However, their contrasting fortunes so far this season see the Pistol head into the clash as the form player.
Masters champion Allen is enjoying one of his most consistent campaigns on the World Snooker Tour, having already won the International Championship and been runner-up at last week’s UK Championship. While 2005 World Champion Murphy has suffered six first round exits so far this season. However, this evening’s performance showcased an emphatic return to form.
Murphy came out of the blocks at breakneck speed. Incredibly he mopped up the first three frames in just 25 minutes, making breaks of 89, 93 and 70 to establish a 3-0 advantage. A fine break of 69 saw Trump notch up his first frame and stay in touch at the interval.
When they returned Murphy reasserted his authority with a run of 82 to make it 4-1. The 2011 UK Champion Trump claimed the next, before a dramatic seventh frame.
Murphy found himself needing pink and black to move just one from victory. After doubling the pink, he missed a cut-back black. That afforded Trump the opportunity to pull within one, he duly obliged and made it 4-3.
Triple Crown winner Murphy won a tense eighth and then got himself over the line in style with a break of 71 in the ninth.
Murphy said: “To play like that, having improved each match, is beyond my wildest dreams. I came here this week just trying to turn things around. I didn’t expect to be talking about going into the final. I’m really excited.
“Working with Chris Henry again has been very important. He has come over from Bruges with our old notebooks from four or five years ago and we have made some technical changes. That was an immediate fix. Then it is about those six inches between your ears. You don’t realise how far you have let your mentality go until an expert in the field points it out to you. Then you can start looking yourself in the mirror and having some serious conversations.
“Mark and I are very close. We are really good mates. He is in the form of his life. Tomorrow when we shake hands we will want to beat each other, but immediately after there will be hugs and maybe a few drinks.”
Now this all looks so very serious in those reports but, regarding the Allen v Wells match, the reality is slightly more hilarious. The truth is that Mark Allen arrived in Glasgow determined to have a “good week” and “enjoy himself”, which basically means having a drink or ten with mates in evenings! And i’s exactly what he did. So yesterday, as he freely admitted afterwards, he came to his match badly hungover and couldn’t pot a ball for his life until the MSI. During said MSI, the pundits were discussing what was going on and what each player had to do, and Ronnie who had mainly kept silent until directly asked the question, advised “a few beers” for Allen. He may well have known exactly what state Allen was in because they are good mates. And whilst they were discussing it … Allen was doing exactly that: having a few drinks. He came back like Lazarus after that! From 4-0 and 5-2 down! But Daniel Wells will kick himself because he could and should have won this match. What happened is that instead of taking his chances, he started defending his lead. That doesn’t work, not against a top player in the modern game. Daniel had the best run of his career, he has a lot of positives to take, and, hopefully, he will learn from the experience too. Allen’s postmatch was hilarious. He freely admitted to his “sins” and was totally unrepentant, clearly planning more of the same in the evening. And Jimmy, of all people, preaching moderation and trying to talk him out of this inebriated plan was quite amusing.
The Shaun Murphy v Judd Trump semi final was a bit more conventional. The way Shaun played in the first three frames was phenomenal. And then, all of a sudden, doubts crept in after Judd managed to win the last frame before the MSI. Shaun started missing all sorts. But Judd was missing as well, demonstrating once again that, under pressure, he’s vulnerable, especially when he is expected to win. No signs of Judd quotes after the match suggest that he didn’t take the defeat well.
And, of course, today is also SPOTY day. Let’s see if snooker gets more that a 15 seconds mention this time. I wouldn’t hold my breath over it.
Shaun Murphy though thinks it’s all weird and a snobbish snub
Main award: Ronnie O’Sullivan by Andy Bull
Ronnie O’Sullivan has been winning for 25 years now: five world championships, seven Masters and seven UK titles, the latest of them this month. His 19th major victory means he has overtaken Stephen Hendry and become the most successful player in snooker history.
Hendry had already reconciled himself to it. “Ronnie is the best player I’ve ever seen,” Hendry has said. And in all that time, O’Sullivan has never even been nominated for Spoty. Which suits him just fine. “I’m so happy I don’t get nominated,” he has said. “Standing around at some gathering – it’s not my scene.” Which is true, Spoty is a lot of nonsense, but it is also the sort of thing you might say when you have been snubbed 25 times.
O’Sullivan is the rare sort of genius you can actually relate to, one who is always carping about his job, his workplace and his boss. Just like us. And if he lost the popular vote in Crawley when he said their venue “smells of urine”, anyone who has spent any time in an average English leisure centre might suspect there was a grain of truth to it, too. O’Sullivan has always been pretty honest about how hard he finds life, his mental illness, his drink and his drug problems. And unlike some of the other nominees, he is not boring, he is not bigoted, and he is happy to pay his taxes. He is slogging through life just like the rest of us, doing the best he can, it’s just his best is that much better than everyone else’s.
Greatest sporting moment: Cook’s farewell century by Ali Martin
Ian Botham was often asked who wrote his scripts. But for one sunny September day in south London the great all-rounder’s playwright was seemingly seconded to Alastair Cook who, having stated the fifth Test against India at the Oval would be his last in the whites of England, signed off from the stage with a 33rd and final century.
At 33, Cook was calling time because of miles on the clock rather than age. He felt the extra drive that was required at the top level was missing and, in a summer dominated by the bowlers, a double-century against Australia the previous winter was starting to become an outlier. But, freed from any pressure or doubts, an innings of sweet timing followed, and not just by way of willow on leather.
By the time Cook walked off there were 147 runs to his name – bookending a record-breaking England career that had begun 12 years earlier with a century on his debut in Nagpur – and a capacity crowd that included his heavily pregnant wife, Alice, and two young children was rising for its umpteenth ovation. As the slightly embarrassed opener noted at the close: “Sometimes dreams do come true.”
World sports star: Ester Ledecka by Sean Ingle
A robust case can be made for all four world star of the year nominees. Francesco Molinari won the Open and took a maximum five out of five points at the Ryder Cup. Oleksandr Usyk became the undisputed world cruiserweight champion. And the incredible Simone Biles was the first gymnast in 30 years to win a medal in all six women’s events at the same world championships, a feat made all the more remarkable given she had a kidney stone 24 hours before her first discipline.
Yet what Ester Ledecka achieved in Pyeongchang was arguably even more mindblowing. Not only did the 23-year-old Czech become the first athlete in history to compete in skiing and snowboarding at the Winter Olympics – she also shocked the world by taking gold in both events. No one gave Ledecka a hope in the women’s Super-G skiing final, given she is primarily a snowboarder, was racing on skis rejected by the US superstar Mikaela Shiffrin and had been in severe pain beforehand. In fact, her victory was so unexpected that NBC declared Austria’s Anna Veith the winner before Ledecka came through to win by 0.01sec.
A few days later Ledecka crushed her rivals in the snowboard parallel giant slalom, a head-to-head in a series of knockout races, to make history. Her snowboarding coach, Justin Reiter, reckons Ledecka – who is also a brilliant windsurfer – is “one of the greatest living athletes”. Who are we to dare argue?
Team of the year: England’s footballers by Paul MacInnes
On the one hand it is too obvious. Men’s football dominates the sporting landscape in this country and sometimes the social and cultural equivalents, too. This England team do not need any more attention than they already have and – you know what? – they did not win anything either. But on the other, there is really no choice: Gareth Southgate’s side delivered the most significant performance of any British team this year. The World Cup is the biggest sporting event on the planet for a number of reasons and one of those is that competing (and even noncompeting) countries invest so much of themselves into it. A good performance lifts a nation, a bad one sends it spinning into introspection.
England’s underperformance at international level had become a psychodrama; their defeat at Euro 2016 by Iceland four days after the Brexit vote a national metaphor. To throw all that off as England did was a seismic feat. To go further: to play modern, intelligent football, to do so with camaraderie and a smile, was not so much a pleasant surprise as a delicious shock.
England (the nation) revelled in it, it made people happy. What more can you ask for from a sporting team than that? And a semi-final place was not bad either.
Coach of the year: Tracey Neville by Anna Kessel
How many people can say they changed their sport forever? Tracey Neville’s England netball win did just that. Beating Australia, the best in the world, in their own backyard to clinch Commonwealth gold. Only Australia and New Zealand had ever made the final before. Neville’s team changed English sporting history and broke a global hegemony.
She did it with coaching prowess, bringing Helen Housby – who scored the winner in the final seconds of the game – into the England squad, making the inspirational Ama Agbeze captain, and squeezing every ounce of professionalism out of semi‑professional players.
The victory gave netball an iconic moment. That glorious photo of the Red Roses piled into a happy heap – Housby’s blue tongue and delirious expression – was plastered across front pages. Its power moved mountains: bringing in TV deals, a glossy Nike campaign and 130,000 more players.
In victory, Neville lifted her own profile, a very rare thing for a female coach. The media attention suits her. She is laugh-out-loud funny, down to earth and hugely likable. A women’s sport and a female coach outshining male competitors? That truly is a new world order.
Snooker personality of the year is upon us and Eurosport, amongst others, have been starting a social media campaign to get Ronnie in it. 2019 has indeed been remarkable year for Ronnie, who won five titles in the course of it, the last being his records breaking seventh UK Championship only a week ago. It uses the hashtag #SPOTYforRonnie
Here they tell you why Ronnie deserves to be nominated for SPOTY
There is of course also a case for Mark Williams as well, after his extraordinary win at the Crucible last May, not forgetting the press conference and celebrations that follow.
But in terms on “recognizability” by average Joe, Ronnie is by far the most marketable figure in snooker, and the one more likely to attract votes even from those who follow our sport only casually.
The recognition is long overdue and Hector Nunns on twitter reminded us why. This article is already four years old but still very much “up-to-date”.
RONNIE O’Sullivan may or may not have deserved to make the shortlist for this particular year’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year Show, but the annual programme celebrating the sporting year this Sunday will be another reminder that he has never even been nominated and put forward to the public vote.
This year O’Sullivan has won the Masters, the Welsh Open making a 12th and all-time record 147 maximum break to win it, the Champion of Champions and the UK Championship in one of the best finals of recent years, chucking in another 147 in the event. And all done with the usual panache and style that has even fellow pros purring, drawing in TV viewers in the millions.
Let’s be generous to this year’s much-changed BBC panel and note some of those achievements occurred after the shortlist was announced, and also that he fell short in the big one, the World Championship final at the Crucible, losing 18-14 to Mark Selby in a match which he unusually let slip. If you believe that a world title should be some kind of pre-requisite to be nominated then there is at least a reason this year, although that is a decent campaign by most normal standards.
However the BBC have now given themselves a serious problem over O’Sullivan and wider sporting recognition for him on SPOTY – and it stems purely and simply from bewildering past oversights, and from not nominating him when they should have.
If not earlier, they should have had him on the shortlist in 2012, when his career was all but saved by sports psychiatrist Dr Steve Peters, and O’Sullivan went from being 4-0 down in the first round in January at the German Masters to beating Andrew Higginson, winning his first ranking title for two and a half years in Berlin, and then winning a fourth world title and a first for four years.
And even more unforgivably, he should have been on the shortlist last year, incredibly waltzing to a fifth world title after finally doing what he had threatened for years and taking almost an entire season away from the game to recharge the batteries.
Having not taken these opportunities to give O’Sullivan the chance of at least a public vote for the recognition, either a) he never will be; b) the pressure reaches such a level he might get nominated in a year he shouldn’t be to make up for it; or hopefully c) he does win another world title, by no means guaranteed, and the chance is finally and belatedly taken to push his claims.
In recent casual conversations with sports editors they have expressed amazement that O’Sullivan has never been on the shortlist, since he transcends his own sport in the way great sportsmen do. And yet it is some of their colleagues who have in the past been in part responsible, making up the numbers on the panel who decides – alongside BBC senior management, and a selection of the great and the good of British sport.
There just seems to be a snobbery that persists about snooker, and a bias, agenda, call it what you like towards other sports. There is simply no other rational explanation as to why O’Sullivan has never been on the shortlist. This can’t be levelled at the public – they aren’t even getting the chance to vote – so it is the panel. A public vote would in my view in the years mentioned above have resulted in something akin to darts legend Phil Taylor’s second place in 2010.
Steve Davis, working for the BBC at the recent UK Championship, stated as diplomatically as he was able that O’Sullivan there was “more emphasis on sports where you sweat”, in fairness probably as far as he could go before in all likelihood earning some kind of rebuke from his employers. Davis, of course, finished in the top three five times in the 1980s in the days of a free vote.
His BBC co-presenter and commentator Stephen Hendry was stronger after last year’s baffling omission, raising the snobbery concern. O’Sullivan himself is pretty philosophical when asked about it, just accepting that he and his sport are not the cups of tea of those doing the judging.
In fairness there was a time in his career when O’Sullivan probably didn’t help himself, with the regular talk of retirement and hating his own sport – but the work with Peters has seen almost all of that disappear since 2011. And there is a valid reason he is called a genius to the point of monotony. That he is a genius.
The bottom line is that O’Sullivan would be far more recognised – and for good reason – than many of those shortlisted this or last year. He would be more recognised than most footballers. Probably six of this year’s crop could happily go down the street without being spotted. Fame isn’t everything, but O’Sullivan is widely known for his supreme talent and honours on the table and a certain notoriety, fascination and intrigue off it.
Personality, let’s call it. Let’s see if anything changes if he can equal Davis’s world title tally in Sheffield.
Photograph by Monique Limbos
It still valid, every word of it.
There were also plenty of players supporting the idea on social media. Such recognition would benefit snooker as a sport and all its exponents. Asked the question in Glasgow this week, Mark Allen’s answer was unequivocal.
With just two tables and a slightly longer format, yesterday saw the start of the “business end” of this rear Scottish Open in Glasgow. Two matches were played in the afternoon, both very one-sided affairs with the highest ranked players winning easily, and two in the evening, a bit more eventful. Shaun Murphy and Mark Allen both whitewashed their respective opponents. But Ryan Day was well beaten by Daniel Wells who has now booked his place in his first semi-final in a ranking event, and Stuart Carrington gave Judd Trump a good game.
Mark Allen is through to the semi-finals of the BetVictor Scottish Open after a 5-0 whitewash victory against Alfie Burden in Glasgow.
The Pistol is enjoying one of the most consistent runs of his career, having won 18 of his last 20 ranking event matches. He produced a blistering display of break building power in winning the International Championship last month. Allen fired in 14 century breaks on his way to picking up the title.
Burden, who is celebrating his 42nd birthday today, secured one of the biggest wins of his career yesterday. He defeated home favourite and four-time World Champion John Higgins 4-2. However, he couldn’t follow up that display this afternoon.
Allen compiled breaks of 52, 86 and 61 on his way to a routine victory in just over an hour and a half.
Allen said: “It was solid rather than spectacular. I feel for Alfie a little bit, as he missed some pots that he shouldn’t have. I just picked up the pieces, kept it tight when I needed to and didn’t make many errors.
“It is nice that I have been on a decent run lately, but I know how quickly things can turn around. I’m not going to get too carried away, I am just going to enjoy the run that I am on.”
Allen will face Welshman Daniel Wells up next, who emphatically defeated compatriot Ryan Day 5-1 to reach his first ever ranking event semi-final.
Wells received a first round bye after his opponent, the winner of last week’s UK Championship Ronnie O’Sullivan, pulled out of the event. The Neath potter has taken full advantage, only dropping three frames on his way to the last four.
He showed no sign of finishing line nerves this evening. From 2-1 up he fired in breaks of 76, 54 and 71 to emerge with the 5-1 victory.
Shaun Murphy claimed his place in the last four with a 5-0 whitewash of Sam Baird.
The Magician is enjoying an upturn in form this week, having lost six first round matches this season. Murphy is now potentially just two games away from a first ranking title since the 2017 Gibraltar Open.
Murphy said: “I’ve just come out of this fog and mist of confusion and disappointment I’ve been in for the last few months. I’d say whatever happens this weekend I will call it a bit of a turning point for my season. I have renewed optimism going into 2019.”
Murphy faces a blockbuster last four clash with Judd Trump. The Ace in the Pack negotiated a tough test from Stuart Carrington to come through 5-3.
Trump produced three century runs of 101, 117 and 119 on his way to this evening’s victory.
Ronnie was again in the ES studio, as well as in the commentary box.
Ronnie was commentating on the Trump v Carrington match and here is the link.
As for the semi finals, here are my views.
Mark Allen faces Daniel Wells and I think that Mark will have too much for Daniel over best of eleven, on the main table. My prediction is that Mark will win with a bit in hand, by 6-2 or 6-3.
In the other semi-final Shaun Murphy and Judd Trump should provide a much closer match. Should. Shaun played much better yesterday, and Judd has looked vulnerable when Stuart Carrington came back at him from 2-0 down to 2-2, then staying with him for 3-3. Actually, Judd revealed in his postmatch interview how much the presence and support of his brother Jack is helping him in moments like this, when doubts start to creep in. I can’t really call this match. Shaun plays an attacking game, which suits Judd better than Stuart’s more methodical approach, although Stuart was certainly not negative yesterday. But on the other hand, it means that both will give the other opportunities and it will very much be on the form of the day.