A bit of light stuff with Laila and Ronnie

Laila Rouass makes her return on UK television in the Holby City series and, of course, the media have been at it, but not in a bad way.

Laila and Ronnie have been on Sunday Kitchen last week-end … if you wondered why he wasn’t in the ES studio at the Shoot Out here is your answer…

‘When he winds me up’ Laila Rouass jibes at Ronnie O’Sullivan on Saturday Kitchen

LAILA ROUASS jokingly mocked partner Ronnie O’Sullivan on Saturday Kitchen today as she revealed the food she cooks for the world snooker champion when he “winds her up”.

Saturday Kitchen: Laila Rouass on cooking aubergine for Ronnie

Saturday Kitchen’s Matt Tebbutt welcomed actress Laila Rouass and world snooker champion, Ronnie O’Sullivan, on the BBC cooking show this morning. In the usual fashion, the chef asked the guests what their food heaven and hell were but was taken aback when the actress joked she rustles up Ronnie’s least favourite food when the couple clash.

Matt introduced: “Morning guys, we’ve got a couple of guests today actress Laila Rouass and world snooker champion Ronnie O’Sullivan.

“You’ve both done the show independently before now we’re doing things slightly different today.

“[Laila’s] food heaven is [Ronnie’s] food hell and visa versa, is that right?”

Revealing her food heaven, the actress said: “My food heaven oh god what was it? I can’t remember. Aubergine and coriander.

Read more: Ronnie O’Sullivan’s diet to lose weight and ‘feel 100 percent’


Saturday Kitchen: Laila Rouass hit out at partner Ronnie O’Sullivan (Image: BBC)


Saturday Kitchen: Laila and Ronnie revealed their food heaven and hell (Image: BBC)

“I love aubergine because my mum cooked it, it’s Lebanese food and my mum loves cooking Lebanese food. I’ve grown up with aubergine.

“But you’re not a fan, though?” Matt asked Ronnie.

“It’s very hard to get it right. If it’s right it’s okay but if it’s not I don’t like it and coriander is a complete no-no.”

“Some people taste coriander and they think it tastes soapy,” Matt said. “Ronnie, what’s your idea of food heaven?”


Saturday Kitchen: Matt joked it was “amazing” the couple got on with each other (Image: BBC)


Saturday Kitchen: Matt was amused by the couple’s eating habits (Image: BBC)

“I love fish cod is nice anything fishy,” the snooker champion replied.

“I hate cod I really don’t like I’ve tried to cook it,” Laila commented.

“It’s amazing you still get on,” Matt joked.

“She’s adapted her menu. I put a menu out every Monday,” Ronnie remarked.

“When he winds me up I just make aubergine for supper and then he just starves,” Laila joked.

Later, Matt quizzed the couple on their respective favourite foods and why they were drawn to them. 

Laila revealed: “My mother was a chef and her speciality was Lebanese food so they roast a lot of aubergine and that’s something I grew up with. But [Ronnie] can’t stand aubergine.”

“It doesn’t do anything for me, aubergine it doesn’t have any flavour and coriander does the opposite for me it kills me,” Ronnie said.  “My mate calls me the fish man because I always have fish wherever I go,” he continued. “Red meat can sit around too long whereas fish goes and I can get on with what I need to do.”

“That’s quite visual, thanks for that,” Matt joked and Laila added: “On a Saturday morning.”

Discussing her imminent return to Holby City as Sahira Shah, the actress said: “I left 2012 and so it’s good to be back. Sahira is a go-getter she’s really talented, she’s really ambitious. It’s like visiting an old friend going back to Holby.

“I was supposed to start filming in May but then we went into total lockdown so it delayed until October hence I only stopped filming two weeks ago.”

“If you’ve got to touch somebody they’ve got to be in your bubble so they bringing in somebody that’s in your bubble,” she explained.

“There was one day Ronnie wasn’t playing and I said Ronnie can come and they looked at his pictures and they said, ‘No, he’s just too hairy we’re never going to be able to match them’ so he didn’t come in in the end.”

And Laila has got Ronnie interested in the Buddah and Greek philosphers … as well as being “boring” in everyday’s life.

Ronnie O’Sullivan and Laila Rouass’s new life – Buddhism, green tea and early nights

EXCLUSIVE Laila says the snooker champion’s rock and roll days are behind him as he now prefers green tea and turning in at 11pm

Laila Rouass and her fiance, former wild man of snooker Ronnie O’Sullivan

He’s not quite at the pipe and slippers stage but it looks like The Rocket’s turbo boosters have been turned down a few notches.

For years, snooker speed king Ronnie O’Sullivan grabbed the headlines for his booze and drug antics as well as his ­wizardry at the table.

But at 45, a father of three – and even a grandad – the current world champion really does have a more philosophical approach to life.

And he can thank fiancée Laila Rouass for that.

The Holby City actress has been researching the ­teachings and methods of the Buddha and Greek philosophers as part of her studies in wellbeing.

She says Ronnie has bought into the idea too and is a calmer cueman as a result.

Laila says she’s been inspired by philosophers to help her future husband Ronnie (Image: Alpha Press)

Gone are the days – and nights – of living it up with rock giants like Ronnie Wood and Liam Gallagher.

Now, says Laila, 49, her fella is more likely to be found tucked up in bed for an early night with a cup of green tea.

Having seen the effect on Ronnie, the former Footballers’ Wives star is now setting up a workshop, a ­website and an Instagram page to help ­others through the stresses of lockdown.

Laila, who has been with Ronnie for nine years, said: “I enrolled on a Yale University course on wellbeing and happiness which has led to me starting a new initiative about self-compassion.

“It’s been a lifesaver for me. I’m ­putting together a workshop using the likes of Epictetus, the Stoic philosopher, whose philosophy is about dealing with setbacks – like at the moment.

Two Ronnies – O’Sullivan and Wood – along with Stereophonics frontman Kelly Jones back in 2004 (Image: Richard Young/REX/Shutterstock)

“To Epictetus, all external events are beyond our control. We should accept whatever happens calmly and dispassionately.

“But individuals are responsible for their own actions, which they can examine and control through self-discipline.

“Buddha’s whole view was about what happens in life not being permanent.

“It’s about changing your mind state. That’s kind of what I’ve done through lockdown. In some ways, it’s been so ­useful for me to have this time.

“Our mindset also affects how we treat ourselves and how we eat.”

Speaking about how her new philosophy has affected Ronnie, Laila added: “I did the course but he’s kind of got into it as a result.

Ronnie now has a healthier lifestyle (Image: REX/Shutterstock)

“There’s a thing called ‘Intuitive Eating’ which sounds a bit Gwyneth Paltrow/hippy dippy, but it’s based in scientific fact and research.

“It’s a philosophy of eating that makes you the expert of your body and its hunger signals.

“Essentially, it’s the opposite of a traditional diet. It doesn’t impose guidelines about what to avoid and what or when to eat. It’s listening to your body and eating food that makes your body feel good.

“So Ronnie’s started realising, like me, that this stuff actually works. It’s just small practices that you can include in your daily life that make you happier.

“He’s started doing it and is loving it. He knows that if he has a big, fat Maccy D’s he’s not going to feel good afterwards.

“But it’s not easy to get into that mindset and break old habits. It’s easy to realise what it is, but it takes ­practice to actually do it.” It all seems to be having an impact on Ronnie.


Ronnie O’Sullivan plays a shot during the first round match on day two of the 2020 ManBetX Welsh Open (Image: Getty)

Laila went on: “He’s so boring these days. He likes watching TV, going out for dinner.

“All those rock and roll days are well and truly over.

“Before the pandemic, I’d be like, ‘Let’s go out! Let’s go to the club. Let’s go downstairs and have a dance’. And he’d be, ‘No, mate, no, no, no’ – that’s what he’s like – so we’d be having our green tea at 11 o’clock at night.”

Charismatic Ronnie has long been regarded as the sport’s most naturally gifted player – and its greatest ever.

He has six world titles and many believe he would have more but for off-the-table distractions.

Ronnie has turned to sports psychiatrist Steve Peters over the years, with great success.

He has said that he fancies giving something back himself when he hangs up his cue, possibly as a drugs and alcohol counsellor or carer.

“When I finish playing I want to train as a counsellor. I want to understand the business and mental health side.”

Fans will hope a retired Ronnie is a few years off, of course. He has the small matter of the world championships to defend in April.

He doesn’t make himself favourite to win. But then he’s always been philosophical like that.

Laila might have got Ronnie into the Buddah, early nights and green tea, but she failed to get him on Holby City … and that’s because he’s too hairy!

Snooker legend Ronnie O’Sullivan ‘too hairy’ for Holby City role with girlfriend Laila Rouass

Sahira Shah (Laila Rouassa) will make her return to the hospital tomorrow to run Darwin Ward and over the weekend, Laila was on Saturday Kitchen with her husband and snooker legend Ronnie O’Sullivan.

With soaps using the two metre rule when filming, it means any scenes that involve two characters being in close proximity either have to be altered or, a family member must be called in to replace the other actor. During Laila and Ronnie’s appearance on Saturday Kitchen, they revealed he wasn’t able to be used as a body double because he was too hairy to be a patient.

Laila told presenter Matt Tebutt: ‘It’s so funny. What happens now is if you’ve got to touch somebody, like a patient, you’ve got to know them, they’ve got to be in your bubble. So they bring in somebody that’s in your bubble and just cut away. I was like ‘oh yeah Ronnie can come’ and they looked at his pictures and they said ‘no no, he’s just too hairy – we’re never going to be able to match them’.

Laila continued: ‘So he didn’t come in in the end. I think it would have been fun to have him as a supporting artist. I think it’s the Italian [in him].’

Well, having seen it close-up, I can’t argue with the”hairy” bit!

Now, surely that’s enough gossipy gossip  for an entire year.

I promise, I’m back to snooker tomorrow!



Ronnie nominated for SPOTY

Ok, unless you are living on Jupiter, you probably know this already: after 30 years of being ignored, snooker has a spot in SPOTY! Indeed Ronnie has made it into the shortlist.

Here is the report by WST:

Ronnie O’Sullivan is on the shortlist of nominees for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award for the first time in his career.

The shortlist is announced today and O’Sullivan has been named as one of six nominees, alongside Lewis Hamilton, Stuart Broad, Jordan Henderson, Hollie Doyle and Tyson Fury.

O’Sullivan won the World Championship for the sixth time earlier this year, beating Kyren Wilson 18-8 in the Crucible final. That reinforced his status as snooker’s greatest ever player, having won a record 37 ranking titles and 20 Triple Crown events. He also holds the records for the most century breaks, with 1,070, and most 147s with 15.

O’Sullivan won his first ranking title at the age of just 17 at the 1993 UK Championship, and 27 years later he is still a regular winner of tournaments and ranked second in the world. At 44, he is the oldest World Champion since Ray Reardon in 1978.

BBC Sports Personality of the Year will be televised on BBC One on the evening of Sunday December 20th and the winner will be named on the night after a public vote.

It’s the first time a snooker player has been in the mix for the main award since Stephen Hendry in 1990. The only snooker player to win it was Steve Davis in 1988.

WST Chairman Barry Hearn said: “This is fully deserved for snooker’s greatest ever player and one of the most talented British sportsmen of all time. His nomination is well overdue so I am delighted that he is finally on the shortlist. Ronnie’s popularity among fans has helped us to grow snooker around the world. I hope he wins the award and that anyone who loves sport will vote for him based on his incredible achievements over the years.”

BBC’s Director of Sport Barbara Slater said of this year’s awards: “As we know, it has been a strange and unprecedented year, but we have still been fortunate enough to see plenty of sporting highlights which we look forward to honouring on the night.

“The 67th BBC Sports Personality of the Year award promises to be another exciting and tough choice for audiences.”

Votes can be cast by phone or online on the evening of Sunday 20 December and the number to call for each contender will be revealed during the programme. For further information and full Terms and Conditions, go to bbc.co.uk/sportspersonality.

The prestigious award has been running since 1954. Here are the former winners:

1954 Sir Chris Chataway

1955 Gordon Pirie

1956 Jim Laker

1957 Dai Rees

1958 Ian Black

1959 John Surtees

1960 David Broome

1961 Sir Stirling Moss

1962 Anita Lonsbrough

1963 Dorothy Hyman

1964 Mary Rand

1965 Tommy Simpson

1966 Bobby Moore

1967 Sir Henry Cooper

1968 David Hemery

1969 Ann Jones

1970 Sir Henry Cooper

1971 HRH Princess Anne

1972 Dame Mary Peters

1973 Sir Jackie Stewart

1974 Brendan Foster

1975 David Steele

1976 John Curry

1977 Virginia Wade

1978 Steve Ovett

1979 Lord Sebastian Coe

1980 Robin Cousins

1981 Sir Ian Botham

1982 Daley Thompson

1983 Steve Cram

1984 Torvill and Dean

1985 Barry McGuigan

1986 Nigel Mansell

1987 Fatima Whitbread

1988 Steve Davis

1989 Sir Nick Faldo

1990 Paul Gascoigne

1991 Liz McColgan

1992 Nigel Mansell

1993 Linford Christie

1994 Damon Hill

1995 Jonathan Edwards

1996 Damon Hill

1997 Greg Rusedski

1998 Michael Owen

1999 Lennox Lewis

2000 Sir Steve Redgrave

2001 David Beckham

2002 Paula Radcliffe

2003 Jonny Wilkinson

2004 Dame Kelly Holmes

2005 Andrew Flintoff

2006 Zara Phillips

2007 Joe Calzaghe

2008 Sir Chris Hoy

2009 Ryan Giggs

2010 AP McCoy

2011 Mark Cavendish

2012 Sir Bradley Wiggins

2013 Andy Murray

2014 Lewis Hamilton

2015 Andy Murray

2016 Andy Murray

2017 Mo Farah

2018 Geraint Thomas

2019 Ben Stokes

I must confess that I had never heard about three of the six nominees, but then I’m not one bit interested in football, I never understood cricket, and all I know about horse racing comes from reading Dick Francis crime novels …

There were plenty of reactions on social media and here are some of them:

And, of course, the Eurosport gang is delighted about the nomination of their very own Ronnie …

Here are the links and some excerpts.

About Ronnie being nominated for SPOTY for the first time

“I think it’s more a reflection on snooker rather than me. Snooker is where it is in comparison to other sports,” O’Sullivan told Eurosport before the announcement was made.

“I think a lot of snooker players get overlooked because of the sport, not because of their achievements.”

And he was quick to point out that he thought someone else was more deserving of a nomination.

“If it was on their achievements, you’d probably have to say Judd Trump was deserving of getting in the top three because he’s broken records: winning six ranking tournaments last season was a great achievement,” he added.



Eurosport pundit Neal Foulds says the nomination is well deserved for O’Sullivan.

“Ronnie’s career has spanned a long time. There was a period when he was seen as a bit of an under-achiever. When it got past 2000 you thought he’s won a few things but he’s this wonderful talent who hasn’t won that much – now he’s won it all and he’s won it again and again.

“He’s the current world champion and all those years must amount to something. It’s never boring when he is playing, there is always something going on, and he deserves to be on that list.”

Jimmy White added: “It’s about time he got recognised for his amazing achievements in snooker. I hope everybody votes for him.”

Ad Desmond Kane on why Ronnie would be a worthy winner


Ronnie O’Sullivan is the greatest snooker player of all time and one of the most naturally gifted sportsmen in the world. His first nomination for the Sports Personality of the Year Award is not only right, it should also be used to celebrate a body of work that continues to brim with intimitable brilliance after lifting his sixth world title with an 18-8 win over Kyren Wilson in August.


He has been blackballed more times than he’s potted them, but Ronnie O’Sullivan has finally reached the palace of wisdom as a SPOTY nominee. Finally, the British public gets to decide how much they appreciate his effervescent and rapidly moving repertoire of timeless snooker supremacy.

After three decades of refusal, the Sports Personality of the Year Award’s judgemental judging panel has deemed snooker’s greatest player worthy of a place on the public ballot paper. For that, we should all rejoice.

Such has been the eccentricity of the SPOTY decision-making in the past, one would not have been surprised if Wicks’ lockdown workouts were chosen ahead of O’Sullivan by a panel who have previously deemed Dressage as a form of sporting excellence, achievement and personality worthier of their attention.

It is a rather tragic and farcical state of affairs that it has taken this long for an appointed “expert independent panel” to reach the conclusion that the ongoing Essex man is lively enough to make the shortlist. It appears to be a curious piece of nonsense riddled in class bias and snobbery against the working class roots of snooker and a refusal to recognise the incomparable levels of commitment that it takes to master the most imposing of all cue sports.

Since the inception of SPOTY in 1954, snooker has gradually been potted off the table. This is a prize last won by a snooker player when six-times world champion Steve Davis triumphed in 1988, a time when Nelson Mandela was still inside, the Berlin Wall had yet to topple and David Hasselhoff had yet to sing about it.

As for Ronnie himself, he was interviewed both by Rachel and in the studio

I think that Ronnie spoke very well there. He sees it as being more about snooker resurgence and image than about himself. He also says that he would watch the show from home…

Is the the 20th of December the day of the Players Championship Final? Why not celebrate the occasion with  another trophy?


Good Luck Ronnie!

Ronnie fan? Here is stuff to listen to, to watch and, maybe, to vote for.

On several occasions in recent articles, Phil Haigh referred to the third podcast Ronnie did with Peter Cohen

Peter, who is a life coach, has been Ronnie’s friend for nearly twenty years, and has been at his side in many difficult moments. Here is how he introduces this podcast:

072 Interview With 6x Snooker World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan

In 2002 I recorded a podcast with (then) two-times World Snooker Champion, Ronnie O’Sullivan, recording a second one the following year. Now, eighteen years on, Ronnie and I recorded a third podcast together reflecting on what has changed and what has stayed the same.

In this fascinating interview Ronnie will explain how he has changed from being the young and hungry young player to one of the sport’s senior players – more interested in his own improvement and development of the game over winning competitions and prizes. Together we explore what drives him today both within the game and, more importantly, outside it along with the challenges of being a celebrity and the distraction that trying to meet the expectations of others can present.
As well as his frank reflections on addiction and his ongoing commitment to personal development, Ronnie will also share his views on mastery and how practice is important but not as important as building habits of the right things and doing things in the right way.

From a life in the spotlight since the age of seventeens, Ronnie O’Sullivan is now living life on his own terms.

It’s a very nice, positive interview, an one that shows how getting perspective in life has helped Ronnie to find a better balance and peace.

Ronnie has also been speaking to Colin Murray about his six World Titles, and the program “The Joy of Six” was shown on British Eurosport yesterday evening. I’m told by Buzás Gábor, you works for Eurosport in Hugary, that a shortened version of that program will be shown on International Eurosport on November 22, 2020. So that’s good news. But meanwhile an audio version has been published on “The Break” .

Click on the picture below to listen, it’s well worth it. 


And here is the broadcast:

Finally Eurosport have started their campaign to get Ronnie a SPOTY recognition.


Ronnie O’Sullivan’s sixth World Championship triumph will surely see him selected among the final six for the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year, writes Desmond Kane. And snooker’s greatest player finally has a serious shot at winning the award on a public vote.



It has taken a global pandemic for snooker to be considered worthy enough, but there is no surely no way to avoid the stark truth confronting SPOTY with as much menace as Alex ‘Hurricane’ Higgins blowing the top off a few cold ones back in the golden years: Ronnie O’Sullivan will finally make it onto the public ballot paper after years of refusal.

With no Wimbledon, Euro 2020 and the Olympic Games in a sporting calendar decimated by the ongoing health crisis, snooker suddenly has its big break this time after being blackballed by the committee of judges more times than blacks have been sunk at the Crucible Theatre.

The only snooker player to win the gong since its inception in 1954 was Steve Davis in 1988 with fellow world champion Stephen Hendry finishing second behind Paul Gascoigne in 1990 when the green baize was still considered trendy enough for a podium spot in the yearly bash. Higgins himself finished second behind decathlete Daley Thompson after his second world title in 1982.

The road to Damascus has been a long one, but if Paul the Apostle rather than Gazza was converted in the end, there seems to be several doubting Thomases on the judging panel in failing to appreciate what snooker brings to the table. Especially when Joe Wicks has enjoyed a productive few months on Zoom.

Never underestimate the ability of whoever comes up with the final list of nominees to abdicate their sense of responsibility in continually overlooking snooker’s greatest player of all time for whatever reasons they refuse to disclose. Even a closed shop would find room for the Rocket Man this time. Either that, or let’s call the whole thing off.

Whether or not they like O’Sullivan’s persona or prefer his sport, is neither here nor there. Some people enjoy marmite, some recoil in horror at the very thought of it, but personal opinion should not be allowed to spread fake gospel. Which it certainly seems to have done in previous incarnations of a curious selection process which seems to have less rhyme or reason than refusing the final black on 140, which O’Sullivan contemplated doing for fun back in 2010 before referee Jan Verhaas intervened.

In such a respect, O’Sullivan has given snooker credibility, a narrative and a serene sense of chaos beyond the darkened environs of his sport by conjuring up a consistent level of magic and mayhem that has rarely been witnessed in any professional arena, far less one that involves a bloke in a bow tie brandishing a cue and a lump of chalk on a 12ft table.

It would be interesting to hear why O’Sullivan has been continually ignored since he won the UK Championship as a 17-year-old in 1993 because the reasons are about as credible as attempting to outrun the virus in a camper van. It appears to be a curious piece of nonsense riddled in class bias and snobbery against the working class roots of snooker and a refusal to recognise the pristine levels that it takes to master the most imposing of all cue sports.

It is a hoary repetitive old tale made even more remarkable when the BBC have given the grandiose title of triple crown to three events it covers on terrestrial TV – the UK Championship, the Masters and the World Championship. You can forget all the hyperbole about snooker majors, a new phenomenon allowed to slip into general discourse without any historical fact, there is only one major and it is back in the clutches of the game’s ultimate entertainer.

More engrossingly, at the age of 44 and playing well within himself, O’Sullivan conquered the Crucible by playing in fits and starts in a quite august August. The concentration levels and class to win such a tournament should not be underestimated even without a frazzled crowd due to the Covid conundrum.

The three frames he played against Mark Selby to recover from 16-14 behind in running out a 17-16 winner in the semi-finals with breaks of 138, 71 and 64 was arguably up there with the best combination of bone shakers world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury unearthed to floor Deontay Wilder in February.

It was three of the most poignant frames O’Sullivan has played in his 28-year career as he discusses on the exclusive hour-long special ‘Ronnie O’Sullivan: The Joy of Six’ on Friday 16 October at 10pm on Eurosport 1.

“I think the sixth one was more enjoyable, in many ways, than any of them,” said O’Sullivan in reflecting on his 18-8 filleting of Kyren Wilson in the final.

“Not because of the way I played, but because there was no pressure on me because I don’t feel like anyone expected me to go all the way this year whereas in previous years it’s always been ‘it’s Ronnie’s to lose’.”

Phil Taylor – a 16-times world champion darts player with a better aim than Dirty Harry – made it onto the list of nominees a decade ago and finished runner-up to Champion Jockey Tony McCoy. Do not underestimate snooker’s popularity if O’Sullivan is finally granted due respect with the ceremony due to take place on 20 December in Manchester.

He took a year off between his fourth and fifth victories at the World Championship yet was astonishingly not nominated in 2013. Seven years later, the BBC have the chance to make up for years of refusal by doing the right thing by O’Sullivan this time.

Anything else would amount to an abject dereliction of duty.

Desmond Kane


Lewis Hamilton (Formula One)
Marcus Rashford (Football)
Ronnie O’Sullivan (Snooker)
Tyson Fury (Boxing)

From Saturday on Eurosport delivers two-week celebration of snooker

This was announced by Eurosport yesterday:

Eurosport delivers two-week celebration of snooker – and brand new vodcast

By Eurosport

16 hours ago

ESBanner-Ronnie and Trump

This article gives us an idea about the kind of stuff they will cover in these vodcasts 

Ronnie: My favourite rivalry and how my dad helped me on way to greatness

1 hour agoUpdated 9 minutes ago

ESBanner-Ronnie Rivals.jpg

Classic matches on BBC – Program and Schedule

As announced a few days ago, the BBC will show some classic matches during the  postponed 2020 Snooker World Championship time slot.

WST has published the detailed schedule:

The BBC has announced the list of all-time classic World Championship matches which will be televised on the original dates of this year’s tournament.

The event has been postponed until later in the year but fans can still enjoy two-hour episodes each day on BBC Two, starting this Saturday, April 18.

Here’s the full list:

All times BST

Saturday 18 April (15:00): Steve Davis v Tony Knowles – 1982, first round.

Sunday 19 April (14:00): Ray Reardon v Alex Higgins – 1982, final.

Monday 20 April (14:00): Steve Davis v Jimmy White – 1984, final.

Tuesday 21 April (14:00): Neil Robertson v Mark Selby – 2014, semi-final.

Wednesday 22 April (14:00): Steve Davis v Joe Johnson – 1986, final.

Thursday 23 April (14:00): Jimmy White v Stephen Hendry – 1988, second round.

Friday 24 April (14:00): Stephen Hendry v Jimmy White – 1992, final.

Saturday 25 April (12:30): Stephen Hendry v Jimmy White – 1994, final.

Sunday 26 April (14:00): Stephen Hendry v Ronnie O’Sullivan – 2002, semi-final.

Monday 27 April (13:45): Peter Ebdon v Matthew Stevens – 2002, semi-final.

Tuesday 28 April (13:45): Ken Doherty v Paul Hunter – 2003, semi-final.

Wednesday 29 April (13:45): Shaun Murphy v Matthew Stevens – 2007, quarter-final.

Thursday 30 April (13:45): John Higgins v Judd Trump – 2011, final.

Friday 1 May (13:45): Ronnie O’Sullivan v Barry Hawkins – 2013, final.

Saturday 2 May (12:30): Neil Robertson v Judd Trump – 2014, quarter-final.

Sunday 3 May (13:00): Steve Davis v Dennis Taylor – 1985, final.

Monday 4 May (13:45): Judd Trump v Stuart Bingham – 2015, semi-final.

We will also be showing a wide range of Crucible Gold clips on our Facebook and YouTube channels – the schedule will be announced later this week.


Snooker related news – 9 April 2020

There have been quite a few snooker related news in the last couple of days.

Barry Hearn suffered a heart attack – his second – but is now out of hospital

Barry Hearn thanks NHS after coming through his second heart attack

Phil HaighThursday 9 Apr 2020

Barry Hearn has sent his thanks to the NHS as he recovers from a heart attack he suffered on Sunday.

The chairman of the Professional Darts Corporation and World Snooker Tour suffered a ‘minor’ heart attack at the weekend and had an operation on Tuesday. The veteran promoter, 71, returned home on Wednesday and appears to be in good spirits as he makes his way back to fitness.

Hearn tweeted: ‘Humbled by the thousands of “get well” wishes so thanks to each and everyone of you. Massive shout out to Broomfield and Basildon hospitals – don’t know what we’d do without the NHS. God bless you all and stay safe.’

Hearn added on Thursday morning: ‘Memories like this keep you going. Can’t wait for more ! Patience people sport will be back soon but we have a bigger battle to win first. God bless the NHS.’

This echoed the sentiments of his son Eddie, who confirmed the news on Wednesday, tweeting: ‘As if we can’t thank the NHS enough, I want to particularly thank the staff at Broomfield & Basildon. My dad @BarryHearn was taken to hospital on Sunday after a minor heart attack and was operated on yesterday.He is up and well and returns home today in good spirits!Thank you’

Barry first suffered a heart attack in 2002 and his family have a long history of heart problems. ‘I’ve waited 30 years for it so it didn’t come as a surprise,’ Hearn told the Mirror after his 2002 attack, ‘My father had it, and his father had it before him. No male of the past four generations in our family has got past 45. So anything more is a bonus.’

The man credited with booms in darts and snooker in recent years, along with his legendary career as a boxing promoter, was inundated with messages of support on Twitter.


As all the readers of this blog will know by now, I don’t always agree with Barry Hearn’s views on the way snooker should be managed and promoted but there is no doubt that he has massively improved the state of the Tour over the last 10 years. There are a lot more tournaments, more exposure and more money … I just wish the latter was a bit more evenly shared so that lower ranked players wouldn’t struggle so badly to make ends meet.

All the same, I’m whishing him the very best and sincerely hope that he fully recovers.

Speaking of the past state of snooker, David Hendon has written this nice piece for the WST site.

Snooker, like all professional sport, is currently on hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic. Everyone involved in the game is looking forward to its return but this is not the first time snooker has been forced to take a break, as journalist and commentator David Hendon explains…

Without Joe Davis, snooker’s first World Professional Championship may have arrived much later than 1927. And yet the game’s first star shone so brightly that he unwittingly played a part in its decline thirty years later.

Unlike the leading lights of today, Davis had no established players to watch, analyse or learn from but his father was a publican at the Queens Hotel, Whittington Moor in Chesterfield and the establishment boasted a full-sized snooker table.

Snooker was still in its infancy when Davis was in his. Billiards was the prevailing cue sport of its time and Davis, and his younger brother, Fred, became proficient players. Billiards, though, often lacked dramatic tension as a spectator sport because its matches could be so one-sided. In 1926, Davis lost in the world professional final by 6,500 points to Tom Newman. Audiences could admire the skills on show, but excitement was thin on the ground.

Davis saw an opportunity with snooker, the young upstart of the cue sports family, to make a name for himself and, more widely, for the game itself. Others had tried with little success. In 1924, Tom Dennis, a player and billiard hall owner, wrote to the then governing body for billiards asking them to consider promoting an open snooker tournament. The sniffy response he received read: “It seems doubtful whether snooker as a spectacular game is sufficiently popular to warrant the successful promotion of such a competition.”

Two years later Davis, supported by the promoter and table-maker Bill Camkin, managed to persuade them to reconsider. Ten players entered the inaugural championship and a trophy was purchased using half of the entry fees. It is still presented to the world champion to this day.

The tournament’s first match began on November 29, 1926. The following May at Camkin’s billiard hall in Birmingham, Davis defeated Dennis 20-11 in the final. The Billiard Player, the leading cue sports organ of the time, gave the event four paragraphs of coverage. There was clearly still a long way to go.

And yet the championship continued, albeit with a small but determined band of players. These were very different times. Davis had never driven a car but a rail strike in 1934 meant he could not get from Nottingham to Kettering to play Tom Newman, the only other entrant. Davis duly purchased a car, was given rough instructions on how to drive it and set off for the match.

Davis kept on winning and, as he did so, his reputation and celebrity grew. There was to be two decades of Davis dominance, interrupted only by the second world war. He won his 14thworld title in 1940 and his 15th and last when the tournament returned in 1946, after which he retired. This proved to be the start of snooker’s problems.

Davis had in fact only retired from competing in the championship but still played in other events, undertook exhibitions and television appearances and was by far the best known figure in the still fledgling sport. The fact he was not playing in the World Championship therefore seriously devalued it – like Hamlet without the prince – and the interest, such as it was, dwindled to the point that by 1957 no promoter wanted to touch it.

And so professional snooker entered a dark period of extended hibernation which was to last until 1964. This was the time of JFK and the Beatles. The 60s were swinging but snooker lay dormant. Perhaps it had been a fad after all, a novelty whose time had come and gone.

These were grim times for the players, who retreated back into normal life. Fred Davis had a hotel in Llandudno; Rex Williams a family printing firm in Staffordshire. Players still undertook exhibitions but making a living was hard, with the sport enjoying very little exposure outside of a few matches on black and white television, usually involving Joe and acting as filler between horse races on the BBC’s Grandstand.

Williams, who at 17 had won the English amateur title, was now 30 and restless. This should have been the prime period of his career. He took it upon himself to revive the World Championship on a challenge basis, with the reigning champion – in this case John Pulman – taking on a single opponent.

The governing body gave their sanction and Pulman beat Fred Davis 19-16 in the first World Championship to be staged for seven years. Pulman would win six further world titles on this basis against a series of challengers, Williams included, until 1968.

Williams believed that the players needed to take greater control of their destinies and pulled together a players’ association, which would become the WPBSA. Largely through his efforts, snooker’s profile was growing again. The players came back blinking into the sunlight of a new era, still uncertain but at least with playing opportunities and a World Championship restored.

The championship proceeded on a challenge basis until 1969 when the open format was revived. It coincided with the arrival of colour television, which led to Pot Black providing a national showcase. Suddenly, the leading players of the day were household names, from the head-masterly Ray Reardon to errant tearaway Alex Higgins. The public took to them, and to the game, and it led to increased interest from sponsors and television. Now, promoters could not get enough of snooker as a professional circuit was born and a boom beckoned.

And what of the man who had started it all?

In 1978, Joe Davis took his seat in the Crucible theatre in Sheffield, the new home for the World Championship, and watched Fred, at the age of 64, compete against Perrie Mans in the semi-finals. The match was so close, so exciting, and for Davis so personally involving, that he collapsed. He died a few months later at the age of 77.

Davis would surely marvel at the sport today, at its players, administration and global reach, but he had lived long enough to see the championship to which he gave life blossom into a major sporting attraction, and for snooker itself to rise from the ashes of indifference and burn brightly in the public consciousness.

Thanks to Roger Lee for the pictures.

And the BBC will show some Classic matches from April 18 on:


Here is what’s on the menu from April 18 to April 24:

  • Saturday:  Davis v Knowles (82)
  • Sunday: White v Hendry (92)
  • Monday: Reardon v A Higgins (82)
  • Tuesday: N Robertson v Selby (2014)
  • Wednesday: Davis v Taylor (85)
  • Thursday: Davis v Johnson (86)
  • Friday: Hendry v White (88)

The BBC will show snooker come April


Following the BBC annoucements on social media, WST has published this:

The BBC will televise some great Betfred World Championship matches from years gone by during the dates of what would have been this year’s tournament.

The London 2012 Olympics and Euro ’96 are just some of the other memorable moments that viewers on the BBC can relive this summer after the coronavirus pandemic decimated the sporting calendar. For more detail CLICK HERE

The Betfred World Championship would have run from April 18 to May 4 but has been postponed, potentially until July or August.

We’ll also be reliving some magical Crucible moments from the past 40 years on our social media channels – for a taster click here.

Well at least that’s something…