Talking point: Shaun Murphy’s ideas about the World Championship
Yesterday I shared news about a podcast with Shaun Murphy, who branded the World Championship format as scandalously unfair. As you would expect this divided opinions, including among the players.
One player who definitely disagreed with Shaun is Kyren Wilson. Speaking to “The Sportsman”, this is the report on what he had to say:
However former Crucible finalist Wilson, 30, has reacted strongly to the Magician’s outspoken rant.
And The Warrior claims that the current arrangements are very successful, offer a justified reward to top players for two years’ effort, and guarantee fans booking in advance will see their favourites.
Wilson said: “I don’t agree with what Shaun has said at all. The World Championships has been the same for many, many years and all the former champions won it coming through the same process.
“It is an event that sells out for most sessions a year in advance. So in this sense it is absolutely perfect the way it is, and doesn’t need touching.
“The fans pay good money to play the top players in the world and I wouldn’t want to touch that.
“And for the top players, there does need to be some reward for being where you are in the world rankings having earned that over two years. And I think this is one of those.
“There is room for many different formats on the tour and it should be mixed up, many with all in from round one and others like the World Championship where they aren’t, or an FA Cup style draw.
“If I were ever to try and modify anything at the World Championship, you could maybe tweak the distance of the semi-finals and final because the best of 33 and then best of 35.
“I only experienced the final once but those really take it out of players and could maybe be shorter.”
When the World Championship was first staged at the Crucible in 1977 there were eight seeded players going straight through to the iconic Sheffield theatre, with the other eight having to battle through qualifying to take them in in the first round proper.
That was the case until 1982 when the first round was expanded to the current 32 players, with the top 16 in the rankings seeded and parachuted directly into that stage.
Since then no one has touched that aspect of the tournament though there have been plenty of changes in the actual qualifying process.
Until relatively recently the qualifying process was tiered, so that those ranked 17-32 only came in at the end for the last match and therefore had to win only one to get to the Crucible. That all changed in 2015, when the remaining pros were topped up with 16 wildcards for the qualifying event and all players regardless of ranking had to win three best-of-19 frame matches to reach the promised land.
And there have been further tweaks since then, with some of the earlier rounds reduced to best-of-11 frame contests with just the last round over the traditional distance. And the most recent alteration will come for this season’s competition when once more there will be three rounds for all 128 players, and all restored to the fuller distance for 2022-23.
Kyren is right. One aspect that Shaun totally overlooked is that the sponsors and broadcasters have a huge say when it comes to the events’ format as well as to who gets on the main table. The top players are the ones bringing the money to the game and every other player benefits from it. They are the ones putting bums on seats, and “selling” the “snooker product”.
Also, most of the players who actually complained, are players who are about the same age as the “Class of 92”. They had exactly the same opportunities as those three to climb the rankings and get at the top, only they didn’t. The “system” was and is the same for everyone.
Personally I stay with what I said yesterday. I believe that more “tiered” events would benefit the young players by helping their development. I know for certain that Mark Williams 100% shares this view and has said so on social media in the past. He’s one of the top players who is really involved with helping the aspiring youngsters in his area.
BetVictor World Mixed Doubles – The Rules
Here are the rules for the new BetVictor World Mixed Doubles, which runs on the weekend of September 24 and 25 in Milton Keynes.
Tickets for the ITV-televised event are still available – for details click here.
- The opening round is played on a ‘round robin’ league table basis with each pair playing the other three pairs in four frame matches, where all four frames will be played.
- Each frame is played under the published Rules of Snooker with particular reference to ‘Four-handed Snooker’ found in Section 3, Rule 18 (pages 33 and 34). To specify, this is alternate visits and NOT an alternate shot version.
- One point will be awarded for each frame won in a match to determine the league table. In the event of two teams being tied on points, the result from the match between those teams will decide the positions, winner progressing. If this result was a 2-2 draw or in the case of multiple tied positions and results, the individual highest break in the event from the players involved will be the deciding factor, then the second highest if still tied and so on.
- The pairs finishing first and second in the league table will play each other in the Final, over the best of seven frames.
Ronnie O’Sullivan & Reanne Evans
Judd Trump & Ng On Yee
Rebecca Kenna & Mark Selby
Neil Robertson & Mink Nutcharut
News: Mark Williams is the next snooker player to join “Ultimate Pool”
Three-time world professional snooker champion Mark Williams is heading for the Ultimate Pool circuit, and is set to make his debut as he teams up alongside Carl Morris in the Pairs Cup live on FreeSports and ultimatepool.tv on Monday 10th October.
One of snooker’s all-time greats – with 24 ranking titles and two invitational Masters triumphs to his name – Williams will also become an Ultimate Pool professional player for the 2023 season, competing in events around his schedule on the snooker circuit.
“The Welsh Potting Machine” is the first professional wildcard to be announced by Ultimate Pool for the 2023 campaign, with 8-ball pool’s top tier expanding in numbers once again.
Williams will partner 1998 WEPF World 8-Ball Pool Champion Morris – still the sport’s youngest-ever world champion – during Group 11 of the unique Pairs Cup. The duo will face very tough opposition in the shape of Adam Bassoo & Dave Fernandez, Lakesh Badhan & Ben Flack and Andy Blurton & Neil Raybone, as they aim to top the group and qualify for the last 16 phase later this year.
As well as several other major Ultimate Pool ranked events that he would be eligible to enter, Williams will be part of an 88-player professional roster for the ten-event Pro Series next year.
The current world number 8 said: “I’m really looking forward to giving the Ultimate Pool circuit a go. I have been playing a lot of 8-ball pool recently and it has been fun.
Ultimate Pool looks exciting to get involved with and I’ve been impressed with the events and high standard on show. It’s going to be very difficult for me, but I will enjoy the challenge!”
Williams is the latest high-profile snooker player to enter the Ultimate Pool arena after appearances from Mark Selby in the Pairs Cup and Mark Allen in the Players Championship.
News: The 900 Series will begin on September 20, in the afternoon
This was initially scheduled on September 19. The change in schedule is motivated by obvious reasons.
It all starts with this group:
It will be streamed here: https://www.sportystuff.tv
Jason Francis, on social media, has hinted at a “Professionals 900” and “Women’s 900” coming in the future…