Episode 159 of the Snooker Scene podcast is out and can be found here.
Dave and Michael discuss two main themes: the ranking system and the BBC “Gods of Snooker” series.
Regarding the rankings, basically they believe that the current system is too top-heavy and that, with Barry Hearn retiring, now is a good time to maybe reconsider it. I agree.
David Hendon actually comes up with a proposal, and here it is provided I understood it correctly:
- Each event should be classed in a category, depending on the prize money available for the winner of the event. A category or “band” woud be associated with a “range” of prize money. For instance: “500000 or more”, “200000 to 499999”, ect …
- In Dave’s proposal, each category would be associated with one of the snooker colours, the black category being the most prestigious, the yellow category the less prestigious.
- Within a category, all events would carry the same amount of ranking points at every stage, in effect “decoupling” the ranking points and their repartition from the prize money. The idea being to make the system less top heavy and to have a certain level of harmonisation between events when it comes to rankings.
I would be 100% in favour of that, with one additional “twitch”: the bands should not be solely about the money but also about the format and matches length. Similar efforts should be rewarded in similar ways. If some lunatic were to offer one million to the winner of the Shoot-out it wouldn’t make the event worth of the “Black band” with huge ranking points in my views, mind you, it would not change my opnion that it simply should never be ranking.
Also, first round losers should still get some money, as they did contribute to the tournamen, did bring value to the sponsor and broadcasters. At the very minimum, playing should not cost them. “Decoupling” money from ranking points may help to get this idea through as giving them something for their work and efforts would not impact the rankings in any way.
Their other main subject was the BBC “Gods of Snooker” series which they praised. I managed to watch all three episodes and I agree: it’s interesting, with lots of material I had never seen before especially in episodes 2 and 3. Also, for once, Alex Higgins wasn’t presented as a “victim” of the system. Whilst his impact on the sport can’t be denied – he changed snooker, and its image foerever and made it what it is today – as a person he was far from “great” and Michael McMullan, who is Northern Irish himself was clear about his opinion that Alex Higgins went away with a lot, far too much actually. I can’t agree more.
Despite its obvious qualities, this is yet another BBC feature focusing on snooker’s past and David was left wondering how and why the BBC always refused to do a feature about Ronnie for instance.
The series “triggered” this “review”:
TV review: Gods Of Snooker went out in a baize of glory
Is there a more dreary game to watch than snooker?
Men dressed as waiters push little balls around a table in dead silence for days at a time; as a sleeping aid, it’s probably second only to being hit with a tranquilliser dart while listening to Douglas Ross read Atlas Shrugged.
Yet, in the 1980s, snooker was more rock’n’roll than even rock’n’roll. Well, it was the days of Spandau Ballet.
Gods Of Snooker was a fantastic look at the years when seemingly everyone, high on colour televisions, became obsessed with the parlour pastime.
There seemed to be something about the game that sent the players slightly snooker loopy.
Alex “Hurricane” Higgins wielded a cigarette more than he did a cue, and sank more lagers than he did difficult pinks.
His rival, the more successful and rather dull Ray Reardon, complained nobody talks about him any more, while Higgins is still hailed to this day.
It’s no wonder. Staggering round the table playing cavalier snooker – well, as much as snooker can be described as such – Alex was prone to a rampage away from the table.
Slurred resignations, throwing cues at spectators and threatening to have rivals shot; current snooker wildman Ronnie O’Sullivan looks like Cliff Richard in comparison. They don’t make ’em like this any more.
This isn’t a review, it doesn’t say much about the feature itself and it’s taken as an opportunity to disparage the sport we love. and I’m not sure that the author watched beyond the first episode, if that. I’m the one who put the “bold” highlight.
Judd is rigth that there is too much focus on the past, and on the UK, and it showed as well in the features WST did in the building of the Q-School: they were mainly about over-40 yo British players trying to regain their tour card. If the sports want to grwo global, and have a future, the focus should be on young aspiring players, and not just the British ones.