A very strange and worrying move by the ACBS (Asian Confederation of Billiard Sports)

I stumbled upon this piece of information issued by World Billiards and I find it weird and very worrying:

We regret to inform billiards enthusiasts and all cue sports lovers that the Asian Confederation of Billiard Sports (ACBS) has threatened to ban any player who competes in the World Billiards Championship and Singapore Open in Singapore in November. This is terrible news for our sport.

The ACBS threat of a ban, not yet communicated uniformly to all affected players and countries, but advised to several players, is that players “will be banned if they play in any event not sanctioned by the regional governing body or the IBSF”. This means that players risk being banned if they play in any event in Asia that is not sanctioned by the ACBS, and this would presumably include snooker (masters, open, junior, women’s, 6 red).

It is worth noting that no other regional body has ever made a threat like this. All other regional bodies encourage international events in their region as they are good for the players and help raise the profile of the sport. The ACBS threat is not good for either the players or the sport.

World Billiards will not reciprocate in any way to this threat. We accept players of all genders, ages, nationalities and abilities and we do not ban or threaten to ban players from competing wherever and whenever they wish, except for disciplinary breaches.

The World Championship and Singapore Open will proceed as planned, as will the rest of our calendar around the world.

This appalling threat from the ACBS raises many questions: What level of events are included in the threat? Does this include any open event in Asia? Does this include invitationals, Q school, amateur wild cards into WST events? For how long would players be banned? What is the appeal process? What does the ACBS hope to achieve with this ban? How will this help grow and promote the sport in Asia? Why would the ACBS want Asian players to have less opportunities to compete? After this last minute attack on the World Billiards Championship (announced months ago), why would any organisation risk bringing an international event to Asia? What are they scared of? Did they not learn anything from the threat of a ban a few years ago by another organisation?

We think Asian National Sporting Associations and players are entitled to answers to these questions and they should be seeking answers from the ACBS without delay. Let’s hope National Sporting Associations across Asia will stand up for the rights of their players to be free from threats such as this one.

This is a sad day for our sport and for players everywhere, but particularly for our friends from Asia who will be denied playing opportunities that are available to the rest of the world.

We stand alongside the affected players.

WBL Board

I would greatly appreciate any contribution/comment that would help me, and every fan of cue sports, understand what’s going on here. It’s obviously some kind of “war for power” and it risks to worsen and reignite the IBSf/WPBSA-WST conflict. But who, other than power-junkies individual will benefit from such a move? Surely, it can only weaken and damage cuesports on the international scene.

Snooker (and Pool) News – 22.08.2022

This is a day without snooker but not without snooker, and pool, news …

The qualifiers for the 2022 Northern Ireland Open start tomorrow, and will be played over six days. The top 16 players are not involved in those qualifiers.

After that, there will be nearly a month without any snooker other that the six-reds World Championship in Thailand … if it happens. I write “if it happens” because I have heard rumours that it might not actually happen. Those rumours are however unconfirmed and the event is still on WST calendar.

Hopefully it will happen, but, even so, September will be a rather “empty” month for most snooker players. As a Ronnie fan, I’m glad that he won’t miss many events because of his arm injury, but as a fan of the sport, well … this is not great.

Some of the top guys aren’t going to stay idle though … 

Mark Allen and Mark Selby sign up for Ultimate Pool events during quiet snooker period

Mark Allen and Mark Selby
Mark Allen and Mark Selby are swapping snooker tables for pool tables (Pictures: Getty)

Mark Allen has signed up to make his debut in Ultimate Pool, while Mark Selby is returning for more pool action in the coming days in a quiet time on the snooker calendar.

The Pistol is playing in the Ultimate Pool Players Championship over 3-4 September, drawn in a group alongside pool legend Michael Hill, as well as Ronan McCarthy, Emma Cunningham, Eddie Barker and Luke Gilbert in the 8-ball event.

As Ultimate Pool explain: ‘All six contestants will compete in the hectic round robin on Saturday, playing each other in quickfire races to six frames against the clock on one main arena table.

The top four players at the end of the day will qualify for Sunday’s knockout phase; following the group final on Sunday night, the last player standing will advance to November’s eight-player Finals Weekend.

After missing out on the European Masters this week, Allen is not back in action on the snooker table until the British Open, starting on 26 September, so he is making the most of the pretty spacious gaps on the calendar and heading to the Players Pool and Snooker Lounge in Newcastle-under-Lyme.

Selby is back in Ultimate Pool to play alongside brother-in-law Gareth Potts in the Pairs Cup, as they did last year.

Selby did play in the European Masters this week in Furth, but is not playing again until the World Mixed Doubles on 24 September in Milton Keynes.

Mark Selby Gareth Potts
Selby and Potts enjoyed teaming up last year (Picture: Ultimate Pool)

The four-time snooker world champion will be in action on 29 August, which you can see on FreeSports in the UK, while to watch Allen, you will have to sign up to ultimatepool.tv to stream the Players Championship.

Allen is the latest snooker player to have a crack at a pool tournament after Judd Trump’s trip to the States to take on the US Open and the likes of Gary Wilson and Martin Gould had a stab at the UK Open earlier this year.

Why not eh?

Mark Selby, of course, has history in pool. He was the 2006 World Eight-ball Pool Federation champion and runner-up at the Chinese Eight-ball World Championship in 2015. He’s the only man to have been world champion in both snooker and pool.

The WBBSA reports on future World Snooker Federation and WWS events in Australia

Australia to Host 2023 World Snooker Federation Championships

The World Snooker Federation (WSF), in association with the Australian Billiards and Snooker Council (ABSC), has today announced that the 2023 WSF Championships will be held at in Sydney, Australia.

The Championships will run from 31 January – 11 February and will include two prestigious open tournaments each carrying a World Snooker Tour card for the winner.

Organised by the WSF, working in partnership with snooker’s world governing body the WPBSA, and the ABSC, the fourth staging of the Championships will be held at the Mt Pritchard District and Community Club, known as ‘Mounties’ in the western suburbs of Sydney, Australia.

As in 2022, the event will include the WSF Championship (4-11 February 2023), previously won by Luo Honghao, Ashley Hugill and most recently, Si Jiahui, who defeated Lee Stephens 5-0 earlier this year to earn his place on the World Snooker Tour.

The event will also see the third staging of the WSF Junior Championship (31 January – 3 February 2023), which has seen Gao Yang and Anton Kazakov lift the trophy in previous years.

Both tournaments will once again be open to players of all nationalities and genders, with the winner of each to earn a two-year professional Tour card from the start of the 2023/24 season. There will also be additional opportunities for elite performers at the event to compete at World Snooker Tour events.

Alongside the Junior Championships, the Asia-Pacific Women’s Snooker Championships will be staged by the ABSC, together with World Women’s Snooker (WWS). Learn more at the WWS website.

Jason Ferguson, WSF President said: “I am delighted with today’s announcement that this season’s WSF Championships will be held in Sydney, Australia.

Since its inaugural staging in Malta back in 2018, the event has continued to grow and is now recognised as the most prestigious amateur snooker competition in the world, offering direct access to the professional World Snooker Tour.

With the unwavering support of the ABSC, it has long been our ambition to bring the event to Australia and despite the challenges posed to us all by the coronavirus pandemic over the past two and a half years, we are excited now to be able to confirm its staging in 2023.

Mounties is a world-class venue and together with our partners we are all hugely excited by the prospect of what will be a fantastic event.

Entry for both tournaments will be made through WPBSA SnookerScores with further information to be released in due course.

Meanwhile the IBSF 2022 “Youth” snooker championships continues in Romania,

Liam Davies from Wales has won the under-16 event, beating Bulcsú Révész from Hungary in the final, and the under-18 event, beating Antoni Kawalski in the final. 

Also WPBSA has published the draw and schedule for thhis season first Q-Tour event

The draw and format for the first event of the WPBSA Q Tour are now available to view via WPBSA SnookerScores.

The event will take place at the North East Snooker Centre, North Shields, with 118 players in the draw. The tournament will run from 2-4 September 2022.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cue Sports News – 25.07.2022

This post doesn’t really belong to any of the usual categories… it’s a bit of a bric-à-brac

Today would have been Vic Hartley 91st birthday. Those who had the privilege to know him, work with him and call him a friend will want to remember him. He was a witty, kind and very endearing man. A great referee who passed his knowledge onto countless aspiring referees. I miss Vic. I’m sure I’m not alone …

Happy heavenly birthday Vic! 

Yesterday, marked 12 years since Alex Higgins passed away, and as usual there was an outpour of tributes all over the Internet. I didn’t join in. I do understand how important Alex is in the history of snooker, I really do. I know that without him, our sport wouldn’t be where it is now. I know he inspired a whole generation of aspiring snooker players. I do admire his skills at the table. But I can’t admire the person he was. I know that he could be charming and generous when he wanted to, but, fundamentally, he lived most of his life as a selfish, obnoxious, violent and dishonest person.  Countless people tried to help him and he just tried to take advantage of them. That’s why there was nothing on this blog about Alex yesterday.

Finally, a completely different topic:

The 2022 World Billiards Championship will be held a RoSSA, Ronnie’s Snooker Academy in Singapore.

WorldBilliardsChamps2022

Here is the announcement

The 2022 World Billiards Championship is heading to Singapore!

We are pleased to announce that the 2022 World Billiards Championship will be hosted by Cuesports Singaporeand held at the Ronnie O’Sullivan Snooker Academy.

We’re excited to take the World Championship to Singapore for the first time and look forward to fantastic, state of the art playing conditions.

The event will be preceded by the Singapore Open Billiards Championship which will be a Level 3 ‘warm-up’ event. The 2022 RoSSA World Billiards Championship, level 6, will follow directly after.

Dates:

November 19th – 20th – Singapore Open Billiards Championship
November 21st – 24th – 2022 RoSSA World Billiards Championship

Both events will be played under the timed match format.

Follow the link above for more details.

Congratulations RoSSA

The psychology behind the ability to win

The snooker is back tomorrow with Group 3 of the 2021/22 Championship League. Group1 has been won by Liang Wenbo, Group 2 by Graeme Dott. Both have struggled in recent yers, but both are ranking events winners.

Today WST has published this interesting interview with Chris Henry:

Jumping The First Hurdle

Winning a first professional title is a moment that a snooker player remembers for a lifetime. Many, of course, never get to experience that sense of relief and elation, to be the last man standing at a tournament and lift the trophy.

The closer a player gets to crossing that barrier, the more the pressure intensifies. How often have we heard the expression: “If he wins one title, he’ll go on to win a lot more.”? In any sport, there are players with enormous talent who never make that breakthrough.

Top coach Chris Henry has worked in snooker for many years and has helped some of the sport’s biggest names – in fact both of this year’s World Championship finalists, Mark Selby and Shaun Murphy, had him in their corner.

Henry’s approach is grounded in neural science: repetition and habit help the brain to normalise potentially difficult situations. He believes that the most stressful competitive scenarios can be simulated in practice conditions, which can be a key to success.

Henry explained: “A lot of it is subconscious. There is something in the brain called a PCM – Psycho Cybernetic Mechanism. It is basically like a performance thermostat. If you imagine you are in a room and you want it to be warmer and you turn the thermostat to 22 degrees, the heat comes on. However, once you reach 22 degrees the thermostat recognises that and cuts out the heating. Our subconscious has a certain level of performance and achievement wired into it and if we start to outperform our self image and self belief, it is very difficult to get beyond that level.

“For example, if someone is about to make their first century break, they start to get very nervous. The brain doesn’t recognise that level of performance. That’s when a part of the brain called the amygdala kicks in. Its job is to protect the person from potential danger, or something it doesn’t recognise.

“What we have to do is create memory files to bypass that. We can do that when practising, because the subconscious doesn’t know the difference between what is real and what isn’t. I was working with Peter Ebdon when he beat Stephen Hendry in the 2002 World Championship final. We used to do sessions in his mother in law’s garage, with visualisation and role play about winning the World Championship. Because he had lost to Stephen previously at the Crucible, he used to visualise beating him specifically in the final. Incredibly, we looked at the draw and saw he was in a different half. It was amazing that it transpired to be Stephen in the final and Peter managed to achieve his all-time goal.”

Henry was also working with Mark King when he clinched his maiden title at the 2016 Northern Ireland Open. Essex cueman King had previously spent 25 years as a professional in pursuit of silverware, before he defeated Barry Hawkins 9-8 in a dramatic final to realise his dream.

King said: “There was a lot of visual preparation before the win in Belfast and for a long time it involved my family being there. For me, that was the be all and end all. For everyone to be there was magical. That is what you strive for. I’d seen people like Mark Selby and John Higgins with their family at the table after collecting the trophy. I said that I wanted a piece of that joy. For that week, I was the best. I won it, got the trophy and all of the feelings. There was no disappointment and I didn’t need to go back to the drawing board. It was just great

“I am still playing because I want to win again. I don’t want to just pick up the money. There are a lot of people who will think that I will never win another trophy. They will think that was my week and that I’ll never do it again. I want to shut them up, do it again and show that it wasn’t a one off.

Anthony Hamilton had a similar experience to King, chasing a maiden title for 26 years. In conversations on the best players never to win a ranking title, his name was always among the first to be mentioned, But that changed at the 2017 German Masters, when he beat Ali Carter 9-6 in the final in Berlin.

In fact in 2016, Hamilton almost reached the final of the tournament won by King. Up against Barry Hawkins in the semi-finals, he accidentally feathered the cue ball at a critical moment of the deciding frame and lost 6-5.

“A good ten years before Germany, I’d actually come to terms with not winning one,” Hamilton reflects. “I wasn’t even considering it. I’ve had a back injury since I was at 35 years old and I realised that I wasn’t going to win tournaments. I stopped worrying about it.

“The semi-final with Barry in Belfast was the first time in ten years that I hadn’t felt completely useless. I wasn’t just some old dude fudging the other players around, like I am now. Everything clicked at that point and I was a proper snooker player again. I was in control. Yes, I touched the white and lost to Barry, but I felt I could have carried on playing snooker for another 24 hours straight at that point. That is an amazing feeling. It felt great and it manifested itself in Berlin.

“To win that tournament, with my parents in the crowd, was an absolute fairy tale. It is something I can take to my grave with me. If I saw it in a sports film, I would think it was too cheesy. I was in a real vein of form and I carried it through. With confidence and sharpness, it is amazing what a snooker player can do.”

David Gilbert was another whose name would spring up in the ‘best player never to…’ debate, especially after he had suffered a series of gut-wrenching results, including a17-16 defeat at the hands of John Higgins in the 2019 World Championship semi-finals and a 10-9 loss to Mark Williams, having led 9-5, in the 2018 World Open final.

So a landmark triumph at the Championship League ranking event at the start of the current season, beating Mark Allen in the final, was particularly sweet for the Tamworth cueman

“I just finally smiled I guess, which is quite rare playing snooker,” Gilbert recalls. “It is a nice feeling to finally be able to go back to the snooker club and not have to listen to the local guys, who have hammered me for years. They can’t really say anything. It is there in black and white. I am a winner.

“It didn’t matter if it was the Championship League, the Shoot Out or the UK Championship. A win is a win. I won’t get carried away and start talking like I’ve read every self help book going. I want to win another one now. Whether that will happen I don’t know. I will keep putting the effort in and keep trying to improve.”

Gateshead’s Elliott Slessor is still searching for a first appearance in a ranking final. He went on a fine run to the semi-finals of this year’s British Open and also reached the last four of the 2017 Northern Ireland Open. He doesn’t believe that the maiden title barrier is as daunting, if you set your sights beyond it.

Slessor said: “If you are trying to win multiple events then it shouldn’t really matter. That pressure is always going to be there. If you look at the multiple winners like Mark Williams and Ronnie O’Sullivan, whether they win one or ten, it doesn’t matter. They are greedy for success and always want more.

“They are the best set of players that have lived, but underpinning that is the mentality of greed and always wanting more. You have to shoot for the stars. If you miss, then you miss. I think a lot of people cut their goals off too short though. They are just content with winning one or getting to the final. If you don’t aim for the very top, then I don’t understand why you are playing.”

Another thing your hear frequently is “winning is a habit”. There is a lot of truth in it, and you can see why reading Chris explanations above. When winning becomes a familiar territory, the stress generated  by “seeing the winning line” is considerably lowered. “Been there, done it, can do it again”. And it also explains why it’s so hard to come back after a bare spell or a string of  “Final’s defeats”. The brain has to be re-wired, the confidence restored.

Chris mentions the amygdala. The amygdala, and the hypothalamus play in important part in the way we respond to perceived danger and/or agression. They are at the root of two important emotions possibly triggered by perceived danger: fear and anger and our response to them: flee or fight.

The effects of fear are well known: in snooker, at its most extreme it can “block” a player to the point they can’t deliver the shot. For those who remember him, Liu Song suffered from such “mental block” to the point it ended his career as a player. He was still fantastic in practice but literally “froze” in match situation.

The effects of anger are less obvious, but I would say that they aren’t positive most of the time. We had an example of an “angry” match in Group 2, it wasn’t pretty. Anger and clarity of thoughs aren’t exactly compatible. Someone like Elliot Slessor might need help in that respect for instance.

 

 

 

About Valentino and Stephen

Today, in Valencia, Valentino Rossi bid farewell to MotoGP. At 42, with 115 wins and 9 World Titles to his name, the famous nr 46 put an end to his extraordinary career. He finished 10th in the competition, and this season, his last, has been disappointing, but his very last lap was pure Valentino Rossi celebration. There was a lot of emotion … in the paddocks, in the “yellow” tribunes … and amongst his rivals who gathered around him at the end. He went out as a celebrated champion.

All the best for the future Vale, and thank you!

In stark contrast, Stephen Hendry’s farewell to snooker was very low key. On May 1, 2012, Stephen Hendry, aged 43, lost by 13-2 to Stephen Maguire, sat calmly in the media room and simply said “I have played my last professional match”, a sentence met by stunned silence in the room. Stephen had made a 147 in the first round, beaten the defending champion, John Higgins, in the second round, but this last match was an abdication. He went out with a session to spare. There was no fight, no panache at all. After a few errors early in the match, he gave up. This is not how a great champion should go out. There was a tribute at the Crucible on the next day, but Stephen looked quite shy out there, almost uneasy.

Since his return to the professional tour, Stephen Hendry hasn’t been pulling any trees. Most recently, he was beaten 4-0 by Chris Wakelin (who played very well).

After such heavy defeat, this is what Stephen had to say to Eurosport:

Hendry admits his ultimate dream is to return to the Crucible Theatre by qualifying for the World Championship, scene of his greatest victories in 1990, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996 and 1999 – and will accept another World Snooker wildcard in future if he feels like there is room for improvement.

I’m enjoying the process, my game is improving all the time on the practice table,” said the seven-times world champion, who is competing on the second year of a two-year invitational wildcard with White extending his golden 41-year career via similar playing privileges.

I know that kind of means nothing, but when I first started with (my coach) Stephen Feeney, I wanted to get back to enjoying playing snooker again even if it was on the practice table.

THE ULTIMATE GOAL IS TO PLAY ONE MORE MATCH AT THE CRUCIBLE. TO QUALIFY FOR THAT WOULD BE INCREDIBLE. ALL THESE MATCHES ARE PART OF THE PROCESS, AND GETTING ME COMFORTABLE IN ARENAS AGAIN.

 

I know that many fans believe that there is no point to this, that he’s just embarrassing himself, that the focus should be on the young ones. I agree with this last part, but, I believe that there is room for both the young guns and the older legends.

I wasn’t into snooker when Stephen was winning everything, I wasn’t a fan of him, in the last 8 years of his career, but I sincerely wish him to fulfill his dream to play (at least) another match at the Crucible, that the last one is one he can be proud of, one he fights through to the last ball and comes out of with his head high, saluted by a standing ovation. He’s a great, great Champion, he deserves to take farewell of the Crucible on a high.

News from the “Cues” planet – 17.09.2021

Snooker is back for us today as the 2021 English Open gets underway…

Meanwhile, this is (some of) what happened yesterday in our cuesports universe:

Judd Trump bowed out of 2021 US Open Pool Championship (report by WST)

Trump Bows Out Of US Open

Snooker’s world number two Judd Trump is out of the US Open 9-ball after an 11-10 defeat at the hands of South Africa’s Jason Theron.

Trump was making his 9-ball debut this week and started promisingly with comfortable wins in the first two rounds, before an 11-5 defeat of Saudi Arabia’s Abdullah Al-Shammari set up a clash with former US Open champion Jason Shaw. Scotland’s Shaw showed his class and highlighted that Trump still has much to learn in the discipline, charging to an 11-1 victory to send Trump to the loser’s side of the draw.

The Ace in the Pack put up a strong showing against Theron, but it wasn’t enough to avert the deciding frame defeat. Theron now progresses to face Japan’s Naoyuki Oi.

Trump said: “I think I will do it again, as a sport it is on the up. I like travelling to America anyway, and it is good to play a sport in another country.

I had a lot more support from fans than I was expecting, and there were enough positives to make me do it again. A week’s practice and I’d still be in the tournament.

I honestly think I was at about five per cent of the level I could reach so that gives you hope, and it was nice to play Jayson Shaw, one of the real top pool players.

You see the level in a match like that, and he could go close to winning it. But other top players who have won events recently went out in the same round I did.

5%? one week practice? Humble as usual… 😉 OK.

Judd will do it again, surely, if only because Emily Frazer, from Matchroom, announced that they will organise a similar tournament in London next year: the UK Open Pool Championship. If I got it correctly (*), this tournament will have a huge prize money and is provisionally scheduled to be played next May.

One thing I like about this tournament is the double elimination format and I would love to see this tried in snooker. Of course it’s only realistically possible with short formats and it requires more tables and a different, more complex, organisation. On the other hand, it would guarantee two matches for everybody and, the early rounds losers are bound to get easier, more winnable matches in the “losers” draw. This, I believe, would benefit the younger players massively: it’s an additional earning opportunity, even if it’s a modest one, some ranking points for the grabs, and another opportunity to play competitive snooker and learn. What’s your view?

Pankaj Advani won the 2021 Asian Championship

Pankaj Advani defends Asian Snooker Championship title in first tournament since 2019

Pankaj Advani had won the title in 2019 before the 2020 edition got scrapped due to the pandemic.

Press Trust of India  – September 16, 2021 
Pankaj Advani defends Asian Snooker Championship title in first tournament since 2019

Pankaj Advani poses with the winner’s trophy after he defended his Asian Snooker Championship title. Image courtesy: Twitter/@PankajAdvani247

Doha: India’s ace cueist Pankaj Advani on Thursday defended his Asian Snooker Championship title defeating Amir Sarkhosh of Iran here.

The Indian great was competing in his first assignment in almost two years due to COVID-19 .

Advani had won the title in 2019 before the 2020 edition got scrapped due to the pandemic.

His tally of Asian titles across both snooker and billiards now stands at 11, apart from the two Asian Games golds in 2006 and 2010.

I’m glad to defend this title and pick up from where I left off before the onset of the pandemic. The gap only increased the drive and hunger to compete and do well on return,” said Advani.

In the best-of-eleven final, Advani was up against former winner and a seasoned campaigner Amir who was in formidable form.

It was the Indian though who dictated most of the final in his 6-3 victory. Advani drew first blood by winning the first frame with a 55 break. After that a 50 break in the second and some fine potting in the third made the ultimate winner enjoy a 3-0 lead before the Iranian pulled one back.

At 3-1, the Indian employed his billiards knowledge to give his opponent limited scoring opportunity and capitalised on every opening he got to go 4-1 up. The next two frames were shared by the finalists with a remarkable display of quality potting from both players.

However, just when the Indian was one frame away from getting his hands on the coveted trophy, Amir found his touch and bridged the gap to 5-3.

A fine break of 43 gave Amir the lead in the ninth frame but the crowd got to witness a perfect climax from the 23-time world champion as he pieced together an exquisite championship-winning clearance break of 63 to end the match and a two-year wait for an international title.

Advani will stay back to compete in the IBSF 6-Red Snooker World Cup starting on Friday.

 

Pankaj competed on the main tour a few years back but wasn’t happy: he was home sick and he missed playing billiards, his favourite cuesport. He made the right decision for himself. As a person, he’s a quiet, friendly and very humble character despite a remarkable career. He’s a sporting hero in his country, India.

(*) Those who know me will know that my hearing isn’t the best and I rely on reading lips. This isn’t always easy …

Judd Trump surfing to victory on his pool debut

Judd Trump made the best possible start in Antlantic City (report WST)

Trump Scores Whitewash Victory

Snooker’s world number two Judd Trump stormed to an impressive 9-0 defeat of the USA’s Joe Magee in his 9-ball pool debut at the US Open in Atlantic City.

The Ace in the Pack is following in the footsteps of fellow snooker legends Ronnie O’Sullivan, Steve Davis, Jimmy White and Alex Higgins in switching cue sport codes and trying their hand at 9-ball pool.

Trump came into the match concerned that the break could be a problem area of his game. However, after winning the lag, he potted from his first break off and impressed in that department throughout.

Magee offered little resistance and failed to capitalise on any errors made by Trump, who eased to victory. Next up he’ll face Dhruvalkumar Patel in round two tomorrow.

“I was quite nervous in the first couple of racks, but as soon as I knew he wasn’t a top player it helped me get my confidence,” said 2019 World Snooker Champion Trump. “My break off was pretty good as well, I was potting a lot of balls and getting chances, which I was worried about before it started.

“I’ll go away and have a quick chat with Karl Boyes, my newfound pool coach, to try to get some feedback. I’ve got no idea where I went wrong and if I was too attacking or anything like that.

“It is good because it gets me out of my comfort zone. It is a different type of pressure when I get here, because I am so confident of myself in snooker. I get to the pool world and everyone is expecting me to clear up every time. I hope I can take the experience back to snooker and learn from it.”

Joe Magee isn’t a top player indeed, he’s a local guy. If I understood correctly, this event is really an “open” as anyone wanting to pay the entry fees can actually enter. Judd Trump will certainly face much stronger opposition in the coming rounds.

That said, he was impressive. Being a top snooker player, he was expected to dominate his opponent in the potting department, and he certainly did. The table is much smaller and the pockets are big. That said, the balls are heavier, the cloth, and cushions are quite different anf the cut of the pockets is different as well; a snooker player may still need a bit of time to fully adapt to the competitive pool conditions. Judd worked with a coach ahead of the event and he certainly proved to be a quick learner.

The real “test” comes when the snooker player is faced with a type of shot that is not played in snooker. The very first “challenge” is the break. Ronnie played in the Mosconi Cup in the 90th, and he tried himself a bit at pool in the US in 2006; the break is a shot he struggled with a bit: “You break like a girl” was the verdict of one of his pool friends 😉. Judd didn’t struggle: he only came “dry” once. Maybe we should have expected that though as Judd has tremendous cue power, and I would class him as a “power player”, whilst Ronnie or Ding, for instance, are typically “touch players”.

Judd didn’t really need to play any other “typically pool” type of shot: Basically once he was in, he cleared. Joe couldn’t take any of the rare opportunities he had, and that in turn removed any kind of pressure Judd might have felt.

Here are the match and post-match interview:

I don’t watch a lot of pool: a bit of the mosconi cup is my usual annual pool regime. I did however enjoy what I saw yesterday. The dress code is casual but none of the  players I watched looked shabby. The setup is interesting although I can’t really see that beeing used in snooker. There were other familiar faces and voices around as well: Marcel Eckardt was the referee in Judd’s match and Phil Yates was in commentary.

I think that it would be interesting to have a competition mixing different cuesports. Maybe a team event, with “three players” teams, a snooker player, a 9-balls pool player and a 3-cushions player, with all players competing in all three disciplines. Such event would probably broaden the horizon of most fans. It might also encourage the various federations to collaborate, which in turn might help the cuesports “bid” for the Olympics. I’m not entirely convinced that cue sports are well suited for the Olympics, but IF they became Olympics sports, it would definitely help their exponents to be recognised as “true” sportspersons in the various countries and that in turn will help with funding, broadcasting and exposure.