News from the Snooker Planet – Week 5 at the 900, 2022 Scottish Open and Snooker Scene’s comeback

Week 5 at “The 900” concluded on Wednesday and there was more excitement and drama.

Here is what happened:

On Monday

Jamie Curtis-Barrett won day 1 beating Nigel Bond in the final.

On Tuesday

Lee Martin won day 2 beating Daniel Ward, Reanne Evans partner, in the final

On Wednesday

Philip Williams, who plays on the Seniors Tour regularly beat Patsy Fagan in the Final. It’s a remarkable achievement from Patsy, who is 71 years of age. Patsy was the winner of the inaugural UK Championship in 1977 … That was 45 years ago.

Here are some more images…

Ali Carter was in the studio … all smiles.

Wytech is a new sponsor for the series. The company belongs to Mark Jones, Hannah Jones’ father.

Next week we start again with this line-up:

Jason Francis also shared those two short videos on twitter

The Shirt is not impressed…
Richard Emery had to dash around the table…

2022 Scottish Open – Opening day schedule

This was published by WST:

Strong Field For Edinburgh’s Opening Day

Scotland’s top player John Higgins, World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan, Judd Trump, Neil Robertson, Mark Selby, Mark Williams, Shaun Murphy and defending champion Luca Brecel will all be in action on the first day of the BetVictor Scottish Open in Edinburgh on Monday November 28.

Click here for the draw

Click here for the format

The tournament will be staged at the Meadowbank Sports Centre for the first time and it will be the first professional snooker event in Edinburgh since 2003. And fans can enjoy watching a stellar field of the world’s top stars. Key first round matches include:

Luca Brecel v Fraser Patrick on Monday November 28 at 10am
Judd Trump v Sanderson Lam on Monday November 28 at 1pm
John Higgins v Anthony Hamilton on Monday November 28 during the afternoon session 
Ronnie O’Sullivan v Bai Langning on Monday November 28 at 7pm
Neil Robertson v Mark Davis on Monday November 28 during the evening session
Kyren Wilson v three-time Women’s World Champion Ng On Yee on Tuesday November 29 during the afternoon session

In all there will be over 70 players in the field, including Scottish potters Stephen Maguire, Anthony McGill and Graeme Dott.

Four-time World Champion Higgins, who lost to Brecel in the final last year, said: “It’s brilliant news for the Scottish players as we have really missed the chance to play in our home tournament over the last couple of years. I think there’s a lot of support for snooker and a lot of people playing the game in Edinburgh. I would love to win it in front of my own fans.

And the great news of today… Snooker Scene is back, with Nick Metcalfe as the new editor

Seventh Heaven Tonight

Ronnie’s Eurosport documentary “Seventh Heaven” will be shown tonight.

Here is what WST published about it:

Ronnie O’Sullivan: Seventh Heaven

Seventh Heaven – premiering on 15 October at 8pm on discovery+ and Eurosport across Europe – documents the career of Ronnie O’Sullivan as he re-visits key moments, from bursting onto the scene at the 1993 World Championship as a 17-year-old, all the way to this year’s record-equalling seventh Crucible crown.

Eurosport pundit Alan McManus discusses many of those moments with O’Sullivan, including the fastest ever 147 break in 1997, and the shots he played left-handed against Alain Robidoux in 1996. In the same episode, the current world number one recalls the absence of his father during the early part of his career, which led to substance abuse and a period in rehab. O’Sullivan also reflects on the impact Dr Steve Peters has had on his career.

The second half of the film sees O’Sullivan return to the Crucible for the first time since May. The Rocket recalls memories of his multitude of victories in Sheffield, including this year’s emotionally-charged final with Judd Trump. He discusses his relationship with his children before taking stock of an incredible career that shows no sign of winding down.

Scott Young, SVP Content and Production at Warner Bros. Discovery Sports, saidThe release of Seventh Heaven on our platforms across Europe is the perfect way to whet the appetite of sports fans as the snooker season gets into full flow. With the help of our exclusive close relationship with Ronnie, combined with unseen footage, the two hour show offers an intriguing insight into one of sport’s most fascinating characters.

To be honest, I don’t expect that many new things to emerge from this documentary. Obviously some in the media have already watched the show as there has been plenty of articles out in recent days, tackling various aspects/moments in Ronnie’s career. Nothing really new or unexpected came out.

I will still watch it, of course I will.

.

David Hendon thoughts ahead of the 2022/23 season

I know that the season has already started but it’s been a bit low key over the summer. In about a week’s time it will start in earnest, and David Hendon, writing for Eurosport, is sharing his thoughts about what is at stake for various players this season:

The snooker season will soon be fully awake after a few months in which it’s opened its eyes only to close them again.

The British Open, which gets underway later this month, is only the third event since the new campaign began in June. The calendar has been difficult to plan because of ongoing uncertainty over Covid in China, which means the five lucrative competitions previously staged there remain in cold storage for now.

But suggestions of crisis have been overstated. There are 15 ranking events on this season’s schedule, 12 of which are open to the whole tour, plus the usual elite invitation tournaments and the new World Mixed Doubles Championship.

So players at the top end of the game will soon have plenty to play in while those lower down the rankings have recently been offered a £20,000 earnings’ guarantee by World Snooker Tour to ease some of the financial burden. Discussions are meanwhile ongoing for new events in Europe, with the potential for these to be added to the calendar this season.

But which players will come good when the action finally restarts?

Ronnie O’Sullivan begins the season in a stronger position than ever. World champion for a record equalling seventh time and world no.1, this sporting colossus has never enjoyed a higher profile and it will grow even further when the documentary filmed about him over the last 12 months is aired later this year.

t’s been said many times, but what a career he’s had. His first ranking title came in November 1993, his most recent in May 2022. He has had to face an array of formidable challengers in those three decades, sometimes coming up short but always coming back.

Looking down now from the mountaintop, O’Sullivan has nothing left to prove, which makes him especially dangerous to his main rivals, none of whom can approach the new term with the same relaxed attitude.

Perhaps the greatest unknown quantity is Mark Selby. Last season was a write-off for the four times world champion as he faced up to problems he had long kept bottled up. He is in a better place now but, to complicate things, he recently suffered neck pain which has required treatment.

Selby is ranked third in the official two-year list but factoring in the points which will come off his ranking, including the 500,000 he won at the Crucible in 2021, his provisional end of season position is currently a perilous 24th.

There is plenty of time for that to change before May, but Selby needs to start winning matches soon. Otherwise it is not impossible that he could head to Sheffield in the spring in danger of being relegated from the elite top 16.

Judd Trump suffered what was perhaps an inevitable backwards step last season after three extraordinary campaigns from 2018 to 2021 in which he won 14 ranking titles, plus the Masters.

That hit rate was always going to be hard to keep up. Last season he won one ranking title, the new Turkish Masters, plus the prestigious Champion of Champions and reached the world final, not a bad year but not as impressive as what had come before.

By now it may have been expected, not least by Trump himself, that he would have taken over from O’Sullivan as the sport’s preeminent figure, but he was outplayed by him for long sections of their Crucible final. The challenge for Trump this season is to wrest back trophies but also the limelight.

Those perennial warhorses John Higgins and Mark Williams each produced a high standard last season but were left rueing several near misses between them. Higgins reached six finals but won only one. In three where he finished runner-up he had been a frame from victory, most notably 9-4 up to Neil Robertson in the Tour Championship only to lose 10-9.

Williams won the British Open but lost a decider to Robertson in the Masters semi-finals after the Australian needed two snookers, a last frame thriller to O’Sullivan in the Tour Championship quarter-finals and yet another deciding frame in the World Championship semis where Trump beat him 17-16 in a Crucible classic.

Higgins and Williams are the very opposite of underachievers but these close defeats still sting, even 30 years on from turning pro.

Robertson has been on an extended break after a stellar season in which he won four big titles before coming up short again in Sheffield, losing 13-12 to Jack Lisowski in the second round despite making a maximum break in the final session.

The Melbourne left-hander will play in the mixed doubles competition but has not entered the campaign’s first three tournaments and so won’t be seen in a ranking event until the Northern Ireland Open in October – six months after his Crucible defeat.

This may seem odd but Robertson has enough money and ranking points in the bank to take a lengthy break, and there have been so few events in the meantime that, even if he is rusty, it’s not as if anyone else will be particularly sharp.

The main challenge to the established order seems likely to come from China, with Zhao Xintong, 25, and Yan Bingtao, 22, leading the charge.

Zhao sensationally broke through last season by winning the UK Championship and swiftly followed this up with victory at the German Masters. Things unravelled a little at the end of the campaign when he lost 10-9 from 8-4 up to Higgins at the Tour Championship before a second-round exit at the Crucible.

When players suddenly achieve success, expectations change – their own as much as other people’s. But Zhao is an outstanding talent with an apparent ability to just enjoy what he is doing. He doesn’t have the mental scars of the older players and plays an eye-catching game that makes him an obvious crowd favourite.

Yan is younger than his good friend but his game is more layered. He won the longest frame in Crucible history against Selby last April, an 85-minute grind, and was also completely unfazed by a pigeon landing on the table during the same match.

However, Yan also lost 9-0 to Zhao in their German Masters final, so if anything a lack of consistency seems to be his Achilles’ heel. If he can achieve a more reliable baseline level of performance he could do some real damage.

Kyren Wilson, a top player lacking the titles of those around him in the rankings, made a good start to remedying that by winning the European Masters in Germany last month. Barry Hawkins had played superbly before his form collapsed in the title match, a worrying trend for a player who has now lost six of his nine ranking finals.

Shaun Murphy and Mark Allen have shed so much weight between them this summer that they’ve had to invest in new wardrobes. They remain players who, on any given week, could win any given tournament. What difference will the new healthier approach make? Snooker is not a physical sport but stamina is important, as is mental health, and fitness can do wonders for that.

A familiar question looms over Lisowski: can he finally win a ranking title? Dashingly talented but at times frustratingly erratic, he has done superbly well to bed himself into the elite top 16 without landing a trophy. Lisowski demonstrated genuine steel to beat Robertson at Sheffield and took Higgins to a decider in the quarter-finals, a display which suggested that the next step for him isn’t far away.

A player to watch closely is Hossein Vafaei, Iran’s representative on tour who seems to be improving all the time. He won the Shootout last season and has every chance to end the current campaign as a top 16 player.

Last season we saw unlikely title wins for the little known Chinese player Fan Zhengyi, an out of form Joe Perry and Robert Milkins, whose game seemed to have completely gone before he came good at the Gibraltar Open. There is greater strength in depth through the ranks now than ever, so further success for players down the list often derided as journeymen is entirely possible.

Young talent in Britain is thinner on the ground than it once was but 21 year-old Welshmen Jackson Page and Dylan Emery are both promising prospects. Chinese hopefuls such as Pang Junxu and Wu Yize could also be dangerous.

The problem for everyone is plain: there are only so many tournaments so there can only be so many winners. Plenty of players will produce a high standard but ultimately come away empty-handed.

The snooker season is one long game of thrones, where heart, nerve and luck are all required to weather the various storms a player will face. Some weeks you’re up, some you’re down. Sometimes nothing clicks, and then suddenly it all comes together.

Fans of the sport these days are rewarded with a greater variety of winners, some familiar, some unexpected. These are the players who we now rely on to rebuild snooker’s profile after such a lengthy break. 

I’m a bit surprised that there is no mention of Luca Brecel, Stuart Bingham and Ricky Walden in David’s analysis. Those three are currently in the top 16. Stuart has been a strong presence at the top since he won the World Championship in 2015. Luca is only 27 and has three ranking events to his name. Last season he reached the final of the UK championship and won the Scottish Open. This summer, he has already won the ranking Championship League, the season opener. He could do really well this season. Ricky is also the winner of three ranking events. Back injuries have derailed his career but he is now back in the top 16 and I rate him very high.

Me, I will of course follow the two Belgian rookies: Ben Mertens and Julien Leclercq. Other than those two, I will look at the performances and results of Michael White and Lyu Haotian, two players who showed phenomenal talent as teenagers but whose careers derailed badly because of a combination of external factors and personal issues. I hope that both can finally do their talent justice.

This is how the calendar looks like (without the qualifying rounds except for the World qualifiers)

Championship League – 28 June-29 July, Morningside Arena, Leicester – Winner: Luca Brecel

European Masters – 16-21 August, Stadthalle Fürth, Fuerth, Germany – Winner: Kyren Wilson

World Mixed Doubles – 24-25 September, Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes

British Open – 26 September-2 October, Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes  

Hong Kong Masters – 6-9 October, Hong Kong Coliseum, Hong Kong

Northern Ireland Open – 16-23 October, Waterfront Hall, Belfast

Champion of Champions – 31 October-6 November, University of Bolton Stadium, Bolton

UK Championship – 12-20 November, Barbican Centre, York

Scottish Open – 28 November-4 December, Meadowbank Sports Centre, Edinburgh  

Championship League – 6 December-9 March

English Open – 12-18 December, Brentwood Centre, Brentwood  

The Masters – 8-15 January, Alexandra Palace, London

World Grand Prix – 16-22 January, The Centaur, Cheltenham

Snooker Shoot Out – 26-29 January, Morningside Arena, Leicester  

German Masters – 1-5 February, Tempodrom, Berlin, Germany

Welsh Open – 13-19 February, Venue Cymru, Llandudno

Players Championship – 20-26 February, Aldersley Leisure Village, Wolverhampton

Turkish Masters – 13-19 March, Antalya, Turkey

Tour Championship – 27 March-2 April, Bonus Arena, Hull

World Championship qualifiers – 3-12 April, English Institute of Sport, Sheffield

World Championship – 15 April-1 May, Crucible Theatre, Sheffield

Events marked in blue have already be played. Events marked in red are non ranking.

WST and WPBSA tribute to Clive Everton

After yesterday’s announcement about Clive Everton’s “retirement”, WST paid him a well deserved tribute:

Snooker Scene: End Of An Era

Clive Everton MBE, founder and editor of Snooker Scene magazine since 1971, has stepped down after more than 50 years at the helm.

Clive hopes to find a buyer to take the magazine forward, otherwise September’s issue will be the last.

An amalgamation of previous publications called Billiards and Snooker and World Snooker, the first edition of Snooker Scene was published in 1972, costing 12p.

Originally intended as a monthly record of results and reports from tournaments, over time the magazine became a much more significant influence across the sport.

Clive, a leading commentator for BBC from 1978, was also the sharpest journalist of the sport’s 1980s boom years. Unafraid to challenge authority, he would regularly scrutinise the actions of the sport’s decision-makers in Snooker Scene’s pages.

During the late 2000s, Clive played a vital role in the revolution which led to the WPBSA and WST coming under the wing of Matchroom Sport and Barry Hearn taking control. As declared on the front cover, the magazine told fans what was really going on in the corridors of power.

At its peak in 1989, Snooker Scene had 21,850 subscribers. Up until today it still has a loyal following. It has introduced many new fans to snooker, and has been a constant companion to those who follow the sport month by month.

Clive joins the Hall of Fame in 2017

Clive, who was inducted into the Snooker Hall of Fame in 2017 and awarded an MBE in 2019, told us: “It’s the end of a very long era and I feel a great sense of pride. The magazine has been a reliable record. It has had an impact on the politics of snooker because I wanted to keep the readership informed. Barry Hearn’s transformation of the sport might never have happened otherwise.

I am glad to have made a contribution and to have left snooker in a better state than I found it. Billiards and snooker has always been my passion and I am fortunate that I have been able to make a living out of that.

His final editorial began: “This is an editorial I have dreaded ever having to write but a combination of factors has led me, with the utmost sadness and regret, to decide that this issue of Snooker Scene will be the last under my ownership/editorship.

It has been a key part of my life for the last 51 years, appearing monthly since January 1971 apart from two months during the first Coronavirus lockdown. I shall miss it dreadfully. Although I will be 85 this month, I was fully intending until very recently to continue to at least until the end of the season but conversations with doctors, accountants and colleagues have led me to conclude that this, our 619th issue, should be my last.

In a joint statement, WST Chairman Steve Dawson and WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson said: “We congratulate Clive for the incredible feat of editing Snooker Scene for over 50 years. This must be a unique achievement in the sporting world. For many years, particularly in the pre-digital age, it was the most important source of information on snooker. Countless fans would have relished that moment every month when the magazine dropped through the letterbox.

Clive has been a remarkable servant to our sport, through his playing days, his times as a commentator and journalist, and as a friend and mentor to many people throughout snooker. We wish him all the best for his retirement and hope our fans worldwide will join us in saluting his contribution.

Ken Doherty added on Twitter: “So sorry to see the end of the ever popular Snooker Scene magazine. I grew up through the early 80s reading about pro comps, pro-ams and young players coming through, hoping my name would be in there one day. Clive Everton has been an outstanding journalist for snooker, a pioneer.

It’s hard to describe my feelings at this time. I have been one of the “loyal followers” and have kept every single issue I received since I subscribed. I also have been a contributor, providing pictures for most issues between 2012 and 2018. It really feels like the end of something I cherished.

I also met Clive countless times at events, notably at Premier League fixtures as early as 2007. He has a remarkably preceptive mind and immense knowledge of the game.

We were both present when Stephen Lee played his last ever match as a professional, on 11th of October 2012. Clive was commentating, I was taking pictures. Clive immediately understood what was going on and he was quite baffled too as it had only been nine days since the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) had released a statement confirming that the Crown Prosecution Service would not be taking further action against Lee over claims of match fixing relative to a 2009 UK Championship match. Clive’s deep concerns however were not about Lee, they were about the negative impact this incident could possibly have on snooker as a sport, a sport he loves with a passion.

Happy retirement Clive, and take good care of yourself. Snooker Scene will be missed.

Magazines like Snooker Scene don’t sell easily nowadays as they have largely been “overthrown” by digital media: blogs, podcasts, youtube videos and more. This is a concern to me however because proper and honest “paper” magazines and books, if kept in libraries, are our faithful “memories” of past events. They report on the context around them, and contain in-depth analysis . Current digital media can of course be released much more quickly after the events and at a lower cost, but rarely go very deep into their analysis. And also there is the important question of their integral conservation without alterations over time.

Snooker success stories… and self-perception.

Yesterday WST shared this story …

World Championship Had 14 Million Streams On iPlayer

This year’s World Snooker Championship had a huge 13,922,000 streams on the BBC iPlayer, more than popular drama programmes such as Conversations With Friends and Doctor Who.

A report from BBC shows that snooker’s 17-day Crucible showpiece was the eighth most watched programme on the iPlayer between April and June this year, when compared to ‘boxset’ style shows. Wimbledon was the only sporting event to attract more streams over the same period, with 14,442,000 (albeit Wimbledon only ran for four days in June).

Conversations With Friends had 13,045,000 streams, with Doctor Who just behind on 12,913,000.

In May we reported that the final between Ronnie O’Sullivan and Judd Trump had a peak audience of 4.5 million viewers on BBC, the highest figure for eight years.

Warner Bros. Discovery Sports, which shows the tournament in over 50 countries across Europe, also recorded extremely strong figures on its Eurosport linear channel. Overall the World Championship was its best tournament on record in the UK in terms of average audience and market share with the final seeing a 29% increase against 2021. Other countries including Italy, Poland, Spain, Germany and France also hit record numbers on Eurosport.

I know that some will disagree, just for the sake of it, but I’m 100% certain this mediatic success has to do with Ronnie winning it for the 7th time, and definitely sealing his status as the greatest snooker player of all times (so far).

And yet, he feels like he has underachieved… 

Ronnie O’Sullivan: ‘I feel like I’ve underachieved, that will never change’

Crucible2022ROSThinker - Getty
Ronnie O’Sullivan feels he could have won much more over his immense career (Picture: Getty Images)

Ronnie O’Sullivan feels he has underachieved in his snooker career and will always feel that way, despite widely being considered the greatest player to ever pick up a cue.

The Rocket won his seventh World Championship title this year, equalling Stephen Hendry’s record tally and largely ending the debate to which of the two is snooker’s GOAT.

At 46 years old O’Sullivan is back at the top of the world rankings and won his latest Crucible crown in some style, largely looking untroubled despite facing the likes of John Higgins and Judd Trump along the way.

His achievements on the table are immense, but he feels that there could and should have been more silverware in the cabinet over his epic career, having turned professional back in 1992.

This is not the Rocket whinging or getting down on himself, he describes himself as ‘comfortable’ with what he has achieved, but his mindset will never let him be fully satisfied.

I’m comfortable with what I’ve achieved in my sport. I’m up there, me and Hendry, it’s a debate, I’m happy to be in the debate,’ O’Sullivan told The Climb Podcast. ‘But I’m comfortable with the facts and what I’ve done over the years.

Whether I feel like I’ve done a good job or not, I don’t think I have, I feel like I could have done better, I feel like I’ve underachieved.

That will never change, but facts speak for themselves, I’m comfortable with getting out my piece of paper and saying: “That’s my CV, what do you reckon? Do I get the job?

I’m comfortable that my results have allowed me to not worry about not playing well, not winning tournaments, getting beat in the quarters, people judging me.

O’Sullivan has often felt that he needs to prove himself to people over his career, given the enormous expectation that has been on him since his teenage years, but he says that is no longer in his mind.

The legend of the baize feels he can now block out any comments on his performances or results from those who clearly don’t know what it is like to be in his shoes.

They don’t even know what it’s like to be where I’ve been, where I go,’ he continued. ‘It’s a very lonely place with people talking like they know what it’s like to be there, they couldn’t stand it for five minutes, they’d run a mile.

Crucible2022ROSWinner-16.jpgO’Sullivan made yet more snooker history with his seventh world title in May (Picture: Getty Images)

The pressure, the anxiety, the stress and expectations that come with it, it takes a lot more than just being talented.

It takes character, bollocks, courage, all sorts of things…dedication, discipline, challenging yourself, it takes you wanting to take yourself apart and build yourself back together.

That ain’t easy to do, but you’ve got to be willing to do that to be one of the most successful people at what you do.

So I don’t worry about what people say or think about me anymore, because they don’t know.’

Those feelings are genuine and they have to do with Ronnie’s own perfectionist and anxious nature. But I believe that they also have to do with the weigth of “external” expectations, and faith, coming from the media and … from his own father. It’s good that he doesn’t allow them to bother him anymore.

I remember once sitting in a media room with Phil Yates. Phil was telling me how Ronnie was a massive underachiever. It’s true that, at the time, Ronnie had “only” won three World titles. In the course of the discussion, I pointed out to Phil all the things that Ronnie had had to overcome as a very young person, without even being allowed some privacy to deal with his griefs and issues: both parents going to prison, personal issues with depression, alcohol and drugs, etc… Contrary to so many others, he had come out of those things, better and stronger and achieved a lot. Phil and me ended up agreeing that judging Ronnie on talent only, not taking into account the circumstances of his life, wasn’t actually fair.

Ronnie Senior is an extremely proud father who has total faith in his son’s capabilities, more faith than his son himself actually. It’s great but sometimes it’s hard to take too,  because the said son is only human and Senior can be brutal at times. Here is an telling anecdote… Ronnie and me were in his car, on our way to one of the Premier League features. Ronnie wasn’t looking forward to it. That night he was due to play his close friend Jimmy White. Jimmy was going through a bad patch, financially as well as healthwise. Ronnie only needed two frames that nigth to secure his play-offs place. His heart was telling him to maybe not try that hard and give Jimmy some chances, his honesty was telling him to block those feelings out and try his best. He wasn’t in a good place, he had told me so much but still ended up winning that match by 6-0… During the trip his father called. He was all fighting talk. He however sensed that his son was not on the same “tune”, got angry and started to shout and say some very harsh words, including “underachiever”. He probably only wanted to spur him up, but it actually hurt Ronnie, badly. I could see that he was close to tears.

 

Some snooker and Ronnie news – 17.08.2022

WST has published the format for the Mixed Doubles tournament coming end September

2022WorldMixedDoublePoster

BetVictor World Mixed Doubles Format Announced

Ronnie O’Sullivan and Judd Trump will be on opposing teams in the opening match of the new BetVictor World Mixed Doubles in Milton Keynes next month.

The innovative tournament sees the world’s top four men each paired with one of the top four women in a team format. Televised live by ITV, the invitation event runs over the weekend of Saturday September 24 and Sunday September 25 at the Marshall Arena at MK Stadium in Milton Keynes.

The teams will compete in a round robin format, each match played over four frames. At the end of the group phase, the top two teams will go through to the final, which will be best of seven frames. The two players in a team will make alternate visits to the table (rather than alternate shots)

The Saturday afternoon session fixtures, from 1pm, will be:

Ronnie O’Sullivan and Reanne Evans versus Judd Trump and Ng On Yee

Followed by Mark Selby and Rebecca Kenna versus Neil Robertson and Mink Nutcharut.

On the Saturday evening from 7pm, the two losing teams from the afternoon matches will go head to head, then the two winning teams will meet.

All four teams will be in action again on the Sunday afternoon 1pm session, with the order of play to be announced on the Saturday evening. The top two teams from the group stage will go through to the final on Sunday from 7pm.

2022WorldMixedDoubleROSEvans.png

A WST spokesman said: “It’s a fantastic format and we’re delighted to start the event with Ronnie O’Sullivan and Judd Trump going head to head in their respective teams, reviving memories of their World Championship final clash earlier this year when the Rocket won his seventh Crucible crown.

It’s an incredible line up of players and we’re fascinated to see how they will adapt to the team format. Snooker is one of the very few major sports where men and women can compete together and this is a fantastic opportunity for us to showcase our sport to a huge audience both in the arena and on ITV’s main channel.

Now that the format has been released we expect to see any remaining tickets sell fast, so fans are urged to take the opportunity to see snooker’s most decorated stars compete in a unique format.

The video shared by in the comments section by Kalacs is part of the Breakdown podcast  episode where Ronnie will talk about pressure, training, anxiety and more The full episode will be  out next week. This information was shared on twitter by Eurosport and Ronnie himself. 

RonnieFoodBankPlansAugust2022

Ronnie is always looking for new endeavours outside snooker…. here is Phil Haigh reporting on his latest project

Ronnie O’Sullivan reveals hopes to open food bank: ‘I need challenges like that’

Phil Haigh Monday 15 Aug 2022

For years now he has tried to not put all his eggs in the snooker basket, diversifying his interests to keep the pressure off his potting and give his mind other things to focus on.

This is partly in preparation for when playing his chosen sport is no longer an option, but at the same time he believes it has helped him prolong his career at the very top.

It’s very dangerous for any sportsman to just invest totally in the sport,’ O’Sullivan told The Climb Podcast. ‘I see it with snooker players, they invest so much in snooker that when it’s over, it’s like, “Who am I? What can I do?

I don’t want to be that person who finishes his career and just feels lost. It’s so important to have a purpose in life. For me I’m always looking for the next purpose and it can never be snooker.

It’s too demanding, it’s too difficult, it’s too on your own, it’s too fickle. To try and invest your whole time and energy and it can be taken away from you – not because of anything you’ve done, but the competition might be better or you have a bad back – so you think, I can’t play, so what do I do? It’s difficult to make that transition, I think.

O’Sullivan does punditry work, has written books, occasionally opens a shop and is always engaged with his running, but he now has a new focus ahead of him.

The Rocket spent Christmas Day at a food bank in London and, along with not getting the satisfaction he wants from snooker, has been moved into wanting to set up his own.

I woke up the other morning and thought these last weeks since I won the World Championships, the first week I was knackered and a bit low and didn’t feel like doing anything,’ Ronnie continued.

Then I came out of it, but it wasn’t as good a payback as I thought, I’m not feeling the same high as when I won the first, or third of fourth one.

That’s not a good sign. I thought, what will actually make me happy and give me a purpose in life?

I thought, I know what I need to do, I need to open up a food bank, for people who can’t get the basics in life, a bit of food!

That’s probably the next thing I want to do because I worked with one in Walthamstow.

‘I was helping there on Christmas Day, it goes all year round it’s great what they do, but I was there on Christmas Day and I just looked at the people there and what they do, the people who come there and I just felt good being there, I felt good being around those people. The whole thing about it felt right, to be part of it.

It takes people giving their time for free, with no reward, other than them just wanting to give something back.

For me now I need challenges like that and things that make you feel good about yourself.

It’s a very generous idea but, quite frankly, I’m not sure Ronnie has any understanding of the size and complexity of such a project, nor of the level of commitment this would require…

That said, I’m sure he’s genuine in what he says. I have been with him at events, and at exhibitions, and on numerous occasions I have witnessed him spontaneously trying to help homeless persons he had just spotted in the street, usually by going to the closest shop to buy and bring them some warm food or drink and taking time to have a chat with them.  And that even happened right after matches he had lost.

Phil Haigh reflects on the 2022 Ranking CLS

Right in the aftermath of the first ranking event of the 2022/23 season, Phil Haigh has published this well-thought-out piece:

Championship League Snooker: Five things we learned from the latest edition

Luca Brecel and Lu Ning
Luca Brecel beat Lu Ning in the final in Leicester (Picture: Matchroom Sport)

The Championship League opened the snooker season on 28 June and it finally came to a close on 29 July with Luca Brecel crowned the first ranking event winner of the campaign.

Let’s be clear, this is nobody’s favourite tournament, even the Bullet wouldn’t be putting it in his top five events as he carries the trophy back to Belgium.

Very short-format matches, over a quite incredibly long time, behind closed doors and with many players rusty after their summer break.

The Crucible it ain’t, but that’s enough of the negatives because despite all that there are things to take away from the Championship League.

Of course the biggest names do not take it as seriously as when they head to Sheffield of York, or even Milton Keynes or Brentwood, but over a month-long ranking event plenty has cropped up.

We have seen 106 centuries over the tournament as players warmed up to the task and having played 10 matches to lift the trophy, Brecel deserves a lot of credit for emerging from a high quality field.

Luca Brecel is talking the talk and walking the walk

Luca Brecel
Brecel is a player on the up (Picture: Matchroom Sport)

Brecel is announcing himself as a regular contender at the top of the sport both with his words and with his cue.

After winning his first group, the 27-year-old made it clear he was expecting to do well and we should all get ready to see him win a lot more matches.

‘I practiced a lot during the summer, playing some really good stuff in practice so it’s not a surprise, but it’s always nice to do it on the match table,’ said Brecel.

‘I feel like I’m playing a lot better than last season so hopefully it’s going to be a good season again.

‘I don’t have many points to defend this season so the only way is up. If I can get some good results like last season, I could finish maybe top four by the end of the season, so a lot to play for.’

It is a huge task for him, but the Bullet will climb to ninth in the world after lifting the trophy, his best ever ranking. It is his third ranking title and the first time he has won them in successive seasons.

He showed great poise under pressure in his third group, needing to beat Zhao Xintong 3-0 in his last game to reach the final, which is exactly what he did. At 1-1 in the final he made two big breaks looking incredibly calm to get over the line.

Brecel has always had the talent, but with confidence, experience and a winning habit now added into the mix, he is going to be a threat in everything this year.

Zhao Xintong is close to the top but not quite there

Betfred World Snooker Championship - Day Six
Zhao Xintong showed fragility when it mattered in Leicester (Picture: Getty Images)

Zhao Xintong was making the Championship League look extremely easy when many others were not. There were plenty of rusty players on show, but the Cyclone wasn’t one of them.

He breezed through his first two groups and kicked off the final Friday with two wins, meaning he just needed to avoid a 3-0 loss to Brecel in his last match to reach the showpiece.

Having looked imperious, Zhao faltered for the first time in the entire competition, missing a number of balls he would expect to get when he really needed to get them.

Zhao won’t be losing too much sleep over it, but it was a concerning lapse at the crucial point. The 25-year-old is heading for the top of the sport, but he still has things to learn and improvements to make.

He showed off his talent and work ethic in this event, both of which mean that he could dominate snooker at one point, but it is not going to happen quite yet while he still shows fragility at times.

Pang Junxu is going places

2014 Haining Open
Pang Junxu continues his ascent through the world rankings (Picture: Getty Images)

22-year-old Pang Junxu cemented his position as one of the brightest young stars in the sport as he continues his march up the world rankings.

The Chinese won Rookie of the Year after turning pro in 2020 and he is improving all the time, working hard at the Ding Junhui Academy.

China’s greatest ever player has claimed Pang is the hardest practicer in the academy, which says a lot, and it is paying dividends as he makes the kind of progress early in his career that so many youngsters find difficult, if not impossible.

Pang topped his first group ahead of Ryan Day, Dylan Emery and Reanne Evans, before much more impressively seeing off Ronnie O’Sullivan, Ali Carter and Yuan Sijun from his second group.

He didn’t emerge from his final group, but did pick up draws against grizzled vets Stuart Bingham and Ricky Walden.

Pang is not bursting into finals or anything, but making very impressive progress. We can expect to start seeing him reach quarter-finals in the near future and break the top 32 for the first time. An impressive player.

And while we’re giving a nod to young players to impress, a word for Chang Bingyu, Aaron Hill, Yuan Sijun, Ben Mertens and Florian Nuessle, who all caught the eye at times. There is plenty of emerging talent around.

Mix it up more in the commentary box

One treat of the Championship League is the variety of voices we get in the commentary box during the Matchroom event.

There were a number of players gracing the airwaves, including Kyren Wilson, Michael Holt, Joe Perry, Gary Wilson, Fergal O’Brien, Mark Davis, Steven Hallworth, Peter Lines, Rod Lawler and possibly some others that I’ve forgotten.

It’s great to mix things up and get insight, stories and opinions from players we don’t necessarily hear from that often. It might not work so much in other events, but it’s great when it happens and if players can be given the opportunity to commentate on the odd frame elsewhere, then they should.

Also, a shout out to commentary heroes Dave Hendon and Phil Yates who were working on every single day of that monstrous comp. This is nothing new to learn, but they do a great job nearly the entire year round these days.

Ronnie O’Sullivan really can create a headline out of nowhere

The world champion and world number one has found all sorts of ways to get himself into headlines over his long career and he continues to do so at 46 years old.

O’Sullivan breezed through his first group stage in Leicester but then suffered shock defeats to Pang and Yuan as he fell at stage two.

With little on the line against Ali Carter in his final match, the Rocket was clearing up in the final frame and spiced up the break by loudly breaking wind.

It isn’t the first time the Rocket has done this and he seems to find it very funny, which the referee did as well to be fair, as did a huge amount of people on social media.

Depressingly enough, the clip I posted on Twitter of the incident was far more popular than anything else I’ve ever stuck on that website.

The sport’s biggest star really does attract attention, even for as little as a fart.

Bonus thing we learned…

Some fans might not love the Championship League, but the players don’t mind it at all.

Here’s Anthony Hamilton: ‘It’s a good tournament. It’s a good time of the year to play it.

‘Not too much pressure, not too much money to be lost, if you know what I mean. Just gets people back in the swing of it a little bit, I think it’s good timing.

Thank you Phil for this. It sums up perfectly why I believe that this event is the perfect season opener. 

I will add that, with every match streamed, it’s an excellent opportunity to watch players we don’t see so often on TV, including the rookies. It’s also important for the lesser known players needing sponsors. The main tour isn’t cheap for the players with, basically, half of them earning nothing in most events. In this one it’s “only” a quarter of them earning nothing, and all matches being shown on YouTube or Matchroom.live might motivate more sponsors eager to give their brand exposure.