28.4.08

SIR RODNEY'S TABLE TALK

Sir Rodney Walker, the chairman of World Snooker, has missed the point about the row over playing conditions at the 888.com World Championship.

In response to John Higgins’s trenchant criticisms following his Crucible defeat to Ryan Day, Walker told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Sportsweek programme on Sunday that, as the table was the same for both players, Higgins’s comments may merely have been a reaction to losing.

“Ryan Day was playing on the same table and lots of other players have played on it,” Walker said.

“Maybe – and I’m not saying John didn’t have a legitimate complaint – with the benefit of hindsight he may not have been quite so critical as he was at the time.

“Emotions were running high. Overall, as John did say at one point, it’s the same for both players so they’re both affected equally.”

Yes, it was the same for both players but, as I wrote yesterday, this doesn’t mean it’s a level playing field.

I take nothing away from Day at all because he deserved to win but only the best conditions produce the best quality snooker.

If the grass on Centre Court at Wimbledon has not been cut, it would be the same for both players but conditions would not be conducive to top quality tennis.

Ditto if someone digs up the greens at St. Andrews or covers an F1 track with oil.

The main problem at the Crucible was odd bounces off cushions that were impossible to predict and a high number of bad contacts.

Higgins allowed this to get to him and has admitted that he shouldn’t have.

However, I don’t believe his comments were down to sour grapes on his part. He first complained to World Snooker officials when he was leading 5-3.

Peter Ebdon has also complained and he’s still going in the tournament.

Walker is not an expert on playing conditions – neither does he claim to be – but he would be better advised to listen to what the top players are saying rather than shrug off their complaints.

3 comments:

Dan said...

If we were talking about best of 9 matches then i could maybe understand the complaints, but over such long matches then i think its fair to say it will even out.

how would some of the these players cope with the conditions the players of yesteryear had to play under?

Anonymous said...

inconsistent bounces on several occassions had an impact on the matches. This should not happen.
I was surprised in the Higgins match that he continued playing at 6-6 and did not refuse to play until the cushions were replaced.
Criticising the players for demanding consistent conditions is behaviour that will only put world snooker in an even poorer light. The sooner they acknowledge they have not done very well in the past at developing the sport for all 96 professionals and drop ridiculous court actions the sooner they will regain the respect of the public and be allowed to make a fresh start with a positive image for sponsors and the sport. Ronnie had the sense to apologise for his poor behaviour perhaps world snooker can have the sense to follow his example and say we have messed up in the past, drop all grudges and get on with the job.

Geoffrey G Brooking said...

I think John Parrott's right in saying that they should re-cloth the table after every round.

And as this is a World Championship why have we not got a cloth expert at the tournament itself?