20.8.06

ON THE WATERFRONT

The Waterfront Hall in Belfast, where we have spent a very pleasant week, is a first class venue and we all hope that the Northern Ireland Trophy will grow into an established event.

The middle of August is probably too early for this tournament, not least because the next one isn’t until October. In the summer, people think cricket, tennis, golf and athletics. The media also think football, as they do at all other times of the year.

However, any tournament at any time is better than none at all and though the crowds have not been brilliant, they have not been terrible either.

What’s surprised me is how high the standard of snooker has been bearing in mind how nobody has played professionally for the best part of four months.

Leading the way has been Ronnie O’Sullivan, quite superb after stuttering to a 5-4 victory over Stuart Pettman in the opening round.

His final opponent, Ding Jun Hui, has once again demonstrated his formidable skills and their best of 17 frame meeting today could be a classic.

It may feel far too early to some, but snooker is back and, as this showdown proves, still as entertaining as ever.

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