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:

CrucibleClassics.jpg

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

BBCSpecialApril2020

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…

 

Ronnie to feature in new Fifth Gear Series

It’s well-known that Ronnie loves his cars … he’s an experienced track driver, he featured in Top Gear in 2004, and now the news has filtered on twitter that he will feature in the new Fifth Gear series, a British television  magazines series about cars (produced  in recent years by Discovery / History , the ones that also produced the American Hustle).

Fith Gear July 2018

Ronnie has been on Fifth Gear before when in 2010 he tried himself at car racing

The quality of those two snippets isn’t great but hey!

Vicky gave Ronnie the fright of his life there!

Unfortunately I couldn’t find back the 2004 Top Gear episode where Ronnie had a quite hilarious chat with Jeremy Clarkson and was involved in a snooker challenge, needing to pot all the balls before the Stig completed a race around the track in Ronnie’s car.

But then Tim found this one, showing part of the show. Thank you Tim !

And big thanks to Silvry who has now unearthed the full episode, with Ronnie part (starting around 00:25) with the interview. It will make you smile!

And to stay in the theme… this is one of Ronnie’s favourite songs, it’s called “Fast Car”

and he loves listening to it when driving…

I have to say that I love the whole album, by Tracy Chapman, simply named “Tracy Chapman”. I was released in 1988, 30 years ago, and it’s still very relevant.

 

A busy week-end

After qualifying for the Shanghai Masters on Friday, Ronnie obviously decided that he deserved to relax a bit ahead of the English Open starting tomorrow.

On Saturday he was marshalling at a cross-country event near Chigwell and supporting his daughter Lily who was competing in the under-13 race. Recently Ronnie has started running again, but with caution, because the injuries he has suffered aren’t completely healed yet.

Today he was on “Sunday Brunch”, on Channel 4, all smiles, eating cake, cooking fish and discussing snooker and his new book “Double-kiss”.

The episode is available here however you need to login to watch it, and provide an address in the UK or Ireland to be able to register.

This is Ronnie’s bit