The good, the bad and the ugly … news

Ok … let’s start with the good news

Ronnie was on twitter again yesterday with this:

ROS TWITTER 2018-10-12 at 08.53.06

Ok, of course he isn’t n° 132 in the world, he’s third. He’s n° 132 in the one year list very simply because he hasn’t played, and won, a single “ranking” match yet this season. Hopefully that will change on Monday. What made me smile here are the banter between Ronnie and his Nemesis Elliott Slessor and the fact that Ronnie seems to be stimulated by the idea of winning a tournament from the very bottom in the rankings. Go for it!

Now the bad news is this, published by WPBSA

Following a WPBSA investigation into alleged breaches of the WPBSA Rules by David John, a decision has been taken today that Jamie Jones has a case to answer.

The allegation is that Jamie Jones was party to, or facilitated the manipulation of the outcome of David John’s match with Graeme Dott that was played at the International Championship Qualifiers in Preston on 29th September 2016.

Jason Ferguson, the Chairman of the WPBSA has taken the decision to suspend Jones from attending or competing on the World Snooker Tour with immediate effect. This suspension will remain in place until the conclusion of the hearing or hearings and the determination of this matter. Jones has the right to appeal his decision.

The WPBSA would like to make it clear that no matches played by Jamie Jones are under suspicion in this matter.

The matter will be referred to the WPBSA Disciplinary Committee where a formal hearing will take place at a venue and date to be confirmed.

WPBSA Rules extracts

Section 2 – Betting Rules

  1. Betting misconduct
    • Corruption:

2.1.2.1  to fix or contrive, or to be a party to any effort to fix or contrive, the result, score, progress, conduct or any other aspect of the Tour and/or any Tournament or Match;

2.1.2.2  to seek or accept or offer or agree to accept any bribe or other reward to fix or to contrive in any way or otherwise to influence improperly the result, score, progress, conduct or any other aspect of the Tour and/or any Tournament or Match;

2.1.2.4  to solicit, induce, entice, persuade, encourage or facilitate any Member to breach any of the foregoing provisions of this paragraph 2.1.2.

WPBSA Members Rules

 Reporting Breaches

4.1   In the event that a Member is approached or solicited in any way (whether directly or indirectly) to influence the outcome or conduct of any game of snooker or billiards whether or not in return for payment or any other form of remuneration or benefit (an “Approach”), that Member (the “Reporting Member”) shall report such an Approach to the WPBSA (via the Company Secretary or a Tournament Official) as soon as reasonably practicable and in any event not later than 24 hours after any such Approach being made. Further, the Reporting Member shall provide the WPBSA (via the Company Secretary or a Tournament Official) with all information in his or her knowledge relating to the Approach and shall co-operate in any subsequent investigation and/or other action(s) arising out of such a report.

4.2   Any Member becoming aware of an Approach (as defined in clause 4.1 above) being made to another individual shall report such Approach to the WPBSA (via either the Company Secretary, a Tournament Official or the Anti Corruption Hotline) as soon as reasonably practicable and in any event within 24 hours of becoming aware of such Approach.

The full WPBSA Members Rules can be viewed here.

Going by the wording, Jamie Jones isn’t actually under investigation for fixing matches himself, but rather for not having reported a case of match fixing that he was aware of, and even to having been part in it, likely by facilitating the meeting between David John and the fixers. David John at the time was certainly in a very bad position financially – he had won next to nothing – and it may be that Jamie Jones just wanted to “help” him, in which case he’s been both terribly naïve and terribly out of order. The fact that he has been suspended immediately suggests that there is  more than just not reporting an approach.

The ugly part in this is that there doesn’t seem to be any way to stop it, despite the players being caught and punished and that’s because punishing the players doesn’t tackle the roots of the issue. When you read/hear that players under investigation have been beaten, that their flat are being arsoned, that their families are being threatened it’s obvious that the problem extends well beyond the guilty individuals, who are, at least in some cases, victims as well as culprits. And, quite honestly, I can’t see how it can be tackled. Of course, inflicting a lengthy ban to a player might well mean that you won’t see him play as a pro again, but then, the “mafias”, the underground organisers of match fixing, will just target someone else, likely someone they can pressure and scare into it, someone vulnerable who won’t dare to talk.

Managing expectations…

ronnie-osullivaned

Yesterday Ronnie came on twitter with these:

I can declare my game won’t be at the highest level until I decide to put the same work ethic the other guys do on tour. But don’t write me off, cause when I decide tooI’ll be competing for trophy’s

I’m still playing just not enough to compete with the top guys. Wanna flow with it for a bit and then see what I fancy doing, sometimes you gotta take a step back, instead of forward, if that makes sense 😂

I’m still gonna play but I must have realistic expectations. These next 2 years are about rebuilding and reinventing.

When he won in Shanghai, last month, he wasn’t playing at his best, but he was competing hard. I noticed some changes in his stance too. He’s working with Sightright and I think he isn’t completely comfortable with the changes just yet.

I know, because I heard it from him more than once, that he doesn’t like playing below his ability as he believes that seeing him at his best is what fans expect and deserve. The last tweet is the key one: he’s making changes – rebuilding and reinventing – and doesn’t want people to be disappointed because they had too high expectations in the first place.

We’ll be waiting Ron! Good luck.

Maria Catalano to ‘Brave the Shave’ at UK Women’s Snooker Championship

 

Catalano to ‘Brave the Shave’ at UK Women’s Snooker Championship

If you are planning on coming to the Northern Snooker Centre for the LITEtask UK Women’s Snooker Championship next month, you might notice one of our leading players looking a little differently than normal.

World no.3 Maria Catalano will be ‘braving the shave’ on the eve of the tournament in support of Macmillan Cancer Support, a registered charity based in the UK which provides support for people affected by cancer.

Maria has decided to undertake the challenge in memory of her late father Antonio who very sadly passed away following a short battle with cancer earlier this summer and has been overwhelmed by the support that she has received.

“I would like to thank everybody for the support with my challenge and focus of supporting Macmillan,” said Catalano. “My reasoning for this is all about saying thank you. I’m not going to say I’m not scared because I am, but there are always woolly hats and hopefully my Italian roots will make my hair grow back quickly!

Maria Catalano plays snooker

“What this has taught me is to never ever take life for granted. It is a cliché I know but you really can be here today and gone tomorrow. I want to turn my heartbreak into a positive and give something back and just to raise awareness of the great man my dad was. I am so grateful for the donations and the awareness, it is deeply appreciated.”

Catalano, who earlier this year reached the final of the 2018 World Women’s Championship in Malta, is also known for being the cousin of five-time world professional champion Ronnie O’Sullivan who has today given his backing to her challenge.

“Antonio was my uncle and I used to spend a lot of time up there when I was youngster in particular,” said O’Sullivan. “He was the kindest, most gentle, lovely human being you can imagine meeting. He was very hard working with the ice cream business and a big family man. He will be forever missed.

“I know how close Maria was to her dad and how painful it was for her, so all credit to her for doing something like this.”

All of us at World Ladies Billiards and Snooker are of course fully supportive of Maria and are delighted that she will be undertaking the challenge surrounded by her snooker family at approximately 7:00pm at the Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds prior to the start of the new season.

To read Maria’s story and to help her to smash her £2,000 target donate now at: https://bravetheshave.macmillan.org.uk/shavers/maria-catalano

source https://www.womenssnooker.com/catalano-to-brave-the-shave-at-uk-womens-snooker-championship/

If you wish and can support Maria, please do so although it might prove difficult if you are not living in UK. Indeed the interface is such that only postcodes with UK structure are accepted…

And, IMO, Antonio Catalano’s illness and death may at least partly explain why Ronnie seems unprepared to sacrifice his quality of life in order to add to his already remarkable tally. Italian families are often very closely knitted and the Catalano are no exception. Antonio was Ronnie’s mother’s brother. He only lived about 5 weeks after the cancer diagnostic was delivered. That’s a harsh reminder that live is fragile and that you never know when your time comes.

A tweet by Jason Francis …

Jason Francis tweeted this earlier this afternoon

I may place some Snooker Legends Shows with Ronnie on 27/28th Oct and 1/2 Nov. Nights can be a private appearance on your home table or at your club for a select few, a theatre show with full arena set up, or a club night with me, ROS and JV. jason@snookerlegends.co.uk

Which means that Ronnie does not intend to play in the International Championship in China.

I may be wrong but, to me, it seems increasingly likely that Ronnie does not plan to have a full season, traveling around the world. He can afford it, of course, his spot at the Crucible is safe, but next season might be a big challenge with a lot of points to defend…

But then of course, last season he won the Grand Prix and the Players Championship. Being the defending champion will not guarantee that he gets a spot in those this season. So, should he want to play in them, he’ll need to do really well in the Home Nations Series and the UK Championship.

That said, except in the Shanghai Masters, he hasn’t really done well in China, so, maybe, this season he wants to focus on the UK events only, and the ones for which he doesn’t need to qualify, something he’d hinted at last season in fact.

The Pink Ribbon 2018 – Andrew Norman is your Champion!

PinkRibbon2018-3160

Andrew Norman won the Pink Ribbon 2018 beating Harvey Chandler by 4-2 in the final.

Congratulations Andrew!

And congratulations Harvey as well. They both were the best players there all week, and by some margin. The final was extremely close, much closer than the score suggests.

Andrew is now off the tour for a few years and competed as an amateur. Harvey is a professional, a rookie, and if he plays on the tour the way he did in Gloucester over the last days he is  certainly one to watch.

Andrew deserves even more credit for this victory because he’s been working tirelessly on the organisation of the event, this year and all previous years. Andrew is everywhere: early morning getting everything ready, during the day, behind the bar, playing snooker, serving food, generally helping everyone and, when everyone is gone for a drink, at 1:30 in the morning, Andrew is still there brushing the tables after the last matches!

Andrew told me that the prospect of being able to play on the World Seniors tour has been a huge motivation to practice hard again lately. clearly it paid off.

Here are a few images taken during the Final

This year the event managed to raise more money than it did last year despite the clashes with the Riga Masters and the Challenge Tour Event 3. Well done to Paul Mount and his team!

PinkRibbon2018-3144

And finally big thank you to Clive Brown, the tournament director, and his team of referees. Everyone one of them worked their socks off to have the event running smoothly!

PinkRibbon2018-3148

Next year will be the 10th anniversary of the Pink Ribbon. Don’t miss this special occasion to celebrate one of the best pro-ams in the World and one run for a great cause too!

During the event I published all the pictures on Facebook. Here are the public links:

Day 1 of Amateur Rounds – 28 July 2018

Day 2 of Amateur Rounds – 29 July 2018

Last 64 & last 32 – 30 July 2018

The Finals Day – 31 July 2018

It was great to see the diversity of players all there to support the charity: from the very young, to the very old, able-bodied and disabled, men and women, unknown and legends.

And finally a special mention for young Ben Mertens, from Belgium. Ben is only 13 and he qualified for the pro stages in both half of the draw. He reached the last 32.

PinkRibbon2018-2439

The week-end at the table … and off it

The week-end has been extremely busy at the snooker tables, and this girl has been very busy herself, hence the lack of post over the last two days.

So then … here is what happened.

Neil Robertson won the Riga Masters, the first ranker of the season.

Here is the report on Worldsnooker

Neil Robertson won the first ranking title of the 2018/19 season by beating Jack Lisowski 5-2 in the final of the Kaspersky Riga Masters.

Australia’s 36-year-old Robertson collected the trophy and a cheque for £50,000 after winning six matches in the Latvian capital.

World number ten Robertson brings his career tally of ranking titles to 14, joining Mark Selby in joint-sixth place on the all-time list.

Last month Robertson revealed he was full of optimism for the new season, having changed cue for the first time in 20 years, and he couldn’t have made a better start to the campaign. He becomes the first player to win the title in Riga twice, having lifted the trophy in 2016.

Lisowski made it to the final of a ranking event for the first time in his career, notably beating Graeme Dott 4-0 in the quarter-finals and Stephen Maguire 5-1 in the semis earlier in the day. But the 27-year-old from Gloucestershire was no match for Robertson in the final.

Former World Champion Robertson won the first two scrappy frames, then made a superb break of 117 to go 3-0 ahead. Lisowski pulled one back and had chances in frame five, but Robertson cleared from the last red for 4-1.

The sixth went to Lisowski and again he had chances in frame seven, but Robertson got the better of a safety exchange on the last red and went on to seal victory.

”It was a tough final, we both played fantastic to get there but then we struggled tonight because the balls ran awkward,” said Robertson, who has won at least one tournament in every year since 2006. “I really had to use my experience. Jack will learn a lot from this, he will win many titles because he is such a talented player and it’s good to see his game coming on.

”I want to build on this and win multiple tournaments this season. I’m really enjoying playing at the moment.”

Lisowski said: “It’s a step in the right direction for me. I’m just disappointed to put on a display like that in the final. It was the first time I had played on the match table and I couldn’t adapt to it.

“I scored very heavily all week and barely missed a ball. Then in the final I missed a straight pink in the first frame and that unsettled me straight away.”

Earlier in the semis, Robertson scored a 5-0 win over Stuart Carrington, who reached the last four of a ranking event for the first time.

The next tournament is the Yushan World Open in China, running from August 6-12.

This was Jack Lisowski first ever final, and Stuart Carrington also excelled himself by reaching his first semi final.  Despite a somewhat depleted field, it was a good tournament. Zhao Xintong and Zhan Yong also did well reaching the last 16; Zhao took Shaun Murphy’s scalp. Graeme Dott, Liang Wenbo and Ricky Walden are both clearly returning to form as well , which is good to see.

The heartbreak of the tournament … has to be awarded to Liang Wenbo!

Detailed results on Cuetracker

Barry Pinches won the Challenge Tour Event 3

barry-pinches

Image Worldsnooker

Here is the report on Worldsnooker

Veteran Barry Pinches won the third event on the new Challenge Tour series by beating Jackson Page 3-2 in the final in Latvia.

Former pro Pinches, age 48, beat a player 32 years younger in the final to take the £2,000 top prize.

Norwich cueman Pinches, a former UK Championship quarter-finalist, moves up to fourth place in the Challenge Tour rankings, with the top two at the end of the ten-event series to be promoted to the World Snooker Tour.

Results

Round one
Mitchell Mann 3-0 James McArdle
James Cahill 0-3 Charlie Walters
Jamie Curtis-Barrett 3-2 Andreas Ploner
John Foster 2-3 Steven Hallworth
Jackson Page 3-0 Felix Frede
Kevin van Hove 3-1 Dylan Emery
Jake Nicholson 3-1 Lucky Vatnani
Sean Maddocks 3-1 Daniel Womersley
Callum Lloyd 2-3 Brandon Sargeant

Round two
Saqib Nasir 0-3 Mitchell Mann
Barry Pinches 3-0 Charlie Walters
David Grace 0-3 Jamie Curtis-Barrett
Luke Simmonds v Steven Hallworth
Jackson Page 3-2 Kevin van Hove
Jamie O’Neill 3-2 Jake Nicholson
Joshua Cooper 3-2 Daniel Womersley
Patrick Whelan 2-3 Brandon Sargeant

Quarter-finals

Pinches 3-0 Mann
Curtis-Barrett 3-2 Hallworth
Page 3-2 O’Neill
Sargeant 3-0 Cooper

Semi-finals

Pinches 3-2 Curtis-Barrett
Page 3-2 Sargeant

Final

Pinches 3-2 Page

Barry Pinches is a lovely man who loves his snooker with a passion despite never really making it through to the top; he never got past the QF in any ranking event, but DID win a PTC, beating Ronnie in the final! He just loves to play and I’m sure he’d love nothing more than getting back on the tour.

The Pink Ribbon is down to the Pro stages

The biggest Charity Pro-Am is back again in SWSA in Gloucester. Because the clashes with the Riga Masters and the Challenge tour, one could fear that it would be a bit flat. Not at all. The Capital Venue was busy and buzzing all week-end. No tournament is more inclusive than this one: seniors and juniors, disabled and able-bodied,  pros, top amateurs and complete “non-players”, from UK, Ireland, Asia  and mainland Europe, all happily doing battle at the table for a great cause.

It continues today and tomorrow.

The best source to follow it, and have a look at the pictures is the SWSA Facebook Page

Be patient with results. With over 275 entries Clive Brown is a bit snowed under!

PinkRibbon2018-2340

As for for Ronnie …

Those who follow his Instagram will know that he’s been in Sheffiled last week

Running and going back to training after a couple of lazy weeks …

Ron Running 2018-07-28 at 17.59.18.png

Coooking on his boat …

AND practising! (at Vic Snooker Academy it seems)

Ron Practising 2018-07-28 at 17.58.56

And this came up on social media  …

Ron PHC? 2018-07-28 at 18.01.31

Not sure what to make of this. Actually the poster only just shows all the winners of the event since its first edition in 2004. I wouldn’t take this as a sign that any of the players on the poster will be there. I would be surprised if Ronnie entered.

A tribute to Marius Ancuta

Adrian Thiess, the man who organised the snooker exhibitions in Romania with Ronnie, Stuart Bingham, Mark Williams, Mark Selby and more, a well as the first ranking tournament in Romania, the 2016 European Masters, paid tribute to Marius yesterday on his Facebook page:

ThiessonMariusAncuta

Am gasit poza asta in telefon. Marius la prima vizita a lui Ronnie O’Sullivan in Romania. Noi la Isoletta. Am stat pana la 5 dimineata. Nu imi vine sa cred ca nu mai esti my friend… iti promit ca primul eveniment de snooker cu Ronnie iti va purta numele.

(automatic translation) I found this picture in the phone. Marius on Ronnie O ‘ Sullivan’s first visit to Romania. We at isoletta. I stayed until 5 in the morning. I can’t believe you’re not my friend anymore… I promise you the first snooker event with Ronnie will wear your name.

and yesterday this news came in the Romanian media

Sambata, 21 Iulie, 10:29

Marius Ancuța, unul dintre cei mai cunoscuți comentatori de snooker, a murit joi, la vârsta de 50 ani. Comentatorul celor mai importante evenimente din snooker pentru Eurosport a fost un pion important în popularizarea acestui sport în România.

La auzul veștii triste, Adrian Thiess, cel care a organizat mai multe turnee demonstrative de snooker la București și Cluj, dar și cel care a adus în România Campionatul European de snooker în 2017 și 2018, a luat decizia ca în cel mai scurt timp Capitala să găzduiască o nouă gală de snooker, care să poarte numele lui Ancuța și să-i fie dedicat fostului comentator.

Din informațiile GSP.RO, primul nume care a fost deja contactat pentru a participa la evenimentul de la București este campionul mondial Ronnie O’Sullivan, care și-a dat deja acordul să fie prezent la turneul organizat în memoria lui Marius Ancuța. Ronnie e de 5 ori campion mondial 2001, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2013 și a fost unul dintre jucătorii pe care “Mario” îi aprecia cel mai mult.

De profesie medic stomatolog, Marius “Mario” Ancuţa a devenit în martie 2016 primul antrenor român de snooker acreditat de World Profesional Billiards and Snooker Association.

(google translate)

Marius Ancuţa, one of the most famous snooker commentators, died Thursday at the age of 50. The commentator of the most important snooker events for Eurosport has been an important step in popularizing this sport in Romania.

At the hearing of the sad news, Adrian Thiess, who organized several snooker demonstration tours in Bucharest and Cluj, but also the one who brought the European Snooker Championship to Romania in 2017 and 2018, made the decision that in the shortest time the capital to host a new snooker gala that bears the name of Ancuta and to be dedicated to the former commentator.

From the GSP.RO information, the first name that has already been contacted to attend the Bucharest event is World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan, who has already agreed to be present at the tournament organized in memory of Marius Ancuta. Ronnie is 5 times world champion 2001, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2013 and was one of the players Mario liked most.

As a dentist, Marius “Mario” Ancuţa became the first Romanian snooker coach accredited by the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association in March 2016.

Now a word of caution about the news. I have no doubts about Adrian Thiess emotion or his intention to pay tribute to Marius but it would not be the first time that an exhibition is announced, and claims are made that Ronnie has agreed to it, but that eventually it doesn’t happen for various reasons. It would be nice and appropriate but let’s wait and see.