The Pink Ribbon 2018 – Andrew Norman is your Champion!

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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

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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!

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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 …

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Coooking on his boat …

AND practising! (at Vic Snooker Academy it seems)

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And this came up on social media  …

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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:

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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.

From Snooker Legends to World Seniors Snooker Tour

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Jason Francis, creator of Snooker Legends, chairman of the World Seniors Snooker Tour and the man who has been at Ronnie’s side for about five years, tells us about his snooker and business journey since the creation of Snooker Legends in 2010 until today and the building of a viable, well organised and international Seniors Tour.

This is the “second edition” of Jason’s story, but even if you did read the first one, you will find plenty more interesting  stuff in this one.

Jason here is the narrator of his own story, and the whole book takes us through his dreams, his endeavours, his experiences – good and lesss good – and his emotions, from the day he thought about creating snookers shows featuring Legends of the game, and Alex Higgins in particular, to the idea of a proper Seniors Tour giving a future in the sport to those who have given so much to it, still love it with a passion, but aren’t quite good or strong enough anymore for the very competitive main Tour and its hectic schedule.

Along the way, Jason tells us about the players he’s been working with. Jason is a positive person and, clearly, he focuses on the good in people rather than their weaknesses. He’s telling us about the real persons, not the stereotyped images crafted by the media in order to create stories featuring villains and good guys. There are many players you will look at differently next time you see them on TV!

Jason also tells us about his sometimes difficult relationship with World Snooker and Barry Hearn. But then again his focus is on “making things work” rather than “starting a war” although, at a time, that scenario was a real possibility. There were issues, hurdles, misconceptions and, at times distrust and envy. But there were also people really wanting to overcome those and build something for the better of the sport they love.  Ultimately, now they are working together: the WPBSA Seniors Tour is reality.

Jason has been at Ronnie’s side from mid 2012 until end 2017. He tells us about their relationship, building trust and friendship, the highs and lows, the successes and the crises, the laughter and the tears and, finally, where they stand today. By the way, Ronnie wrote the foreword of this book.

I really enjoyed the book. Just one regret: the editorial work could have been better, there are a few glitches here and there and it’s a pity.

The book is available on Amazon

And here is David Hendon, assistant editor at Snooker Scene and Eurosport commentator chatting with Jason about his book:

Farewell Marius …

Yesterday we got the sad news that Marius Ancuta has left us … he was only fifty I think, far too soon. Marius was the voice of snooker in Romania. He was to Romania what Rolf Kalb is to Germany. Marius loved snooker with a passion and had been commentating on Eurosport since the early 2000s. He also commentated on numerous exhibitions, featuring top players like Ronnie, Jimmy White, Mark Williams, Stuart Bingham… too many for me to remember.He introduced thousand of new fans to the sport. He was enthusiast, sensible and very knowledgeable.

More importantly yet, he was a good warmhearted person, a lovely bloke without one ounce of vanity. Thank you for everything Marius, I feel privileged to have known you. Rest in peace … and, in moments like these, the non-believer I am wants to dream that maybe, only maybe, there is some place, somewhere, where you are now sitting, whispering commentary next to a table, with Paul Hunter and Joe Davis doing battle.

Farewell Marius … 

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Marius (right) in Bucharest with Alex Crisan, Ronnie and Mark Williams

Do you know about WDBS?

World Disability Billiard and Snooker? Really? Can you play snooker when you have only one hand, or no hands? When you can stand on only one leg, or even just can’t stand at all? When you don’t see properly? Well yes you can!

I have been at quite a number od WDBS events and those guys are just simply amazing. The creativity these guys display to overcome the hurdles they face are fantastic. The solidarity is heart warming. Many of them are rather isolated socially, most of them don’t have much money being unable to work in a regular environment. For some even this has become their family.

WDBSA has made this short film

If you have the opportunity, come along and watch them live.

Here is their calendar of events:

World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) has today confirmed its calendar of events for the first half of 2018.

Last year saw five competitive snooker events staged for people falling under up to 36 different disability profiles, a total which is set to be equalled within the first six months of 2018 alone.

With interest continuing to grow both within the UK and internationally, we will continue to provide tournaments for players with physical, learning and sensory disabilities.

Physical disabilities

People with physical disabilities, including wheelchair and ambulant players (Groups 1-5) will have opportunities to play at two new venues in 2018 as we head to Preston and Bruges for the first time.

The first WDBS event of the year will be played at the Elite Snooker Club in Preston from 2-4 February for the J&S Trading Northern Classic, before we stage our first ever event outside of the UK, the Belgian Open from 23-25 March at The Trickshot club.

Sensory disabilities

 The first event of the year for deaf and visually impaired players (Groups 7-8) will be the Parris Cues UK Open, which again will be held at a new venue to the WDBS as we head to Barratts Snooker Club in Northampton.

Home to current top 16 professional Kyren Wilson, the venue boasts over 20 snooker tables and like all WDBS venues is fully accessible.

We will also return to the Cueball Derby for the Paul Hunter Disability Classic between 18-20 May following last year’s tournament which new winners across all participating groups.

Learning Disabilities

We will also stage competitions for Group 6 players at all events alongside our regular Friday open days, subject to sufficient entries being received.

 Six-Red Championship

 We will also return to Redz Snooker Club in Cwmbran for the Welsh Open from 29 June – 1 July following a successful inaugural event at the venue last year.

The event will again be open to players from all eight WDBS classification groups, who will compete against each other with matches to be played under the Six Red format of the game.

WDBS Chairman Nigel Mawer said: “Last year was hugely encouraging for WDBS as we hosted a record number of events and so we are looking forward to be able to offer even more opportunities for disabled people to be able to play snooker competitively in 2018.

“We are particularly looking forward to our first tournament in Belgium, which is another significant development as we look to expand our global presence and attract further international support.”

If you would like to support the WDBS team as an event sponsor please get in touch via our contact form for more information.

Hopefully 2019 will offer even more events. The last one had over 50 entries. And if you are a referee, or a coach, get in touch because there is always a shortage. In the last event, Paul Collier came to the rescue!