Andrew Higginson believes the Barry Hearn era will herald an improvement in the standard of snooker being produced on the circuit.

Higginson beat Liang Wenbo, the world no.16, 3-1 to qualify for the final stages of the World Open in Sheffield today.

And with the new Players Tour Championship giving players additional chances to compete, Higginson reckons fans will be treated to better snooker than ever.

“I think you’ll see the standard of snooker rise this season because there’s competition snooker week in, week out,” he said.

“I haven’t stopped practising and playing this season, whereas last year there were times when you’d put your cue down for two weeks at a time.

“I think Barry Hearn has made a fantastic start. It’s a great time to be a snooker player.”

Of course, the standards are already high but Andrew is probably right that more players will produce a better quality of snooker this season.

Why? Because they are playing all the time in meaningful matches and it is therefore easier to keep sharp.

I certainly think we will see a number of players fire up the chart of century makers.

With seven ranking events, 12 PTCs plus the Masters, the Premier League and the Championship League this campaign it is likely Stephen Hendry’s single season record of 53 centuries will go.

As for Higginson, he has got himself into the top 32 for the first time this season but with the new ranking system, where the list is revised three times during the year, is guarding against complacency.

“I finally got into the top 32 but I don’t want to just be there for five months,” he said. “But I’ve qualified for Shanghai and now the World Open, so I can’t ask for a better start than that.”

Winning breeds confidence. The other side of that coin is that if a player gets on a bad run their confidence is seriously eroded.

Michael Holt has lost all five of his matches so far this season but at least there is still plenty of time to turn things round. A couple of wins at the Paul Hunter Classic in Germany this week would certainly help.


Betty Logan said...

I think he has a point. The last time the quality increased sharply was when the first wave of players of the open era came through - O'Sullivan, Higgins, Williams, Hunter and Stevens leading the pack. Since 2005 the standard has regressed somewhat and a large part of that is due to talented players not being experienced enough to retain their tour cards. The PTC will clearly shake it up.

Anonymous said...

I am now wondering if Liang Wenbo's top 16 place only held for five months.

kildare cueman said...

The PDC World Darts Championship, promoted by Barry Hearn's Matchroom, is moving from the Circus Tavern in Purfleet to the Alexandra Palace in London because of demand for tickets.

Prize money will rise to £1m - £15,000 more than this year's 888.com World Snooker Championship.

One wonders where snooker could be now had Hearn been allowed to get hold of it.

Do you remember writing that Dave?
April 07.
Didn't take long for Hearn to turn things around.

Executor said...

What Andrew Higginson needs is get rid off nervousness in front of cameras. I hardly remember when was the last time he won a televised match. Pretty frustrating for his fans (like me). And hardly understandable after what he produced in Newport few years ago.

Anonymous said...

I think Higginson could break into the top 8 under the new regime.

Anonymous said...

On a separate topic David, do you know if Ronnie O'Sullivan will be playing in the Shanghai Masters in a week or so? He has on occasion missed overseas events. Thanks

Anonymous said...

Good to see Davy Morris get through,is it his 1st venue?

And Ken's climb back up rankings another boost with todays win against Perry.

Looking forward to TV stages now, I think it will be exciting to watch.(As a player even scrappy games can be entertaining - sometimes more :)

Leon MonĨiunskas said...

Labas Englanders,

Goode news that TV in Lithuania are going show snooker live TV again. This great for sport in our great country.

We have great supportering on the game in Baltics countries and hope tournament play here soon.

Many great player people for us player to copy.

Betty Logan said...

Whose decision was it to flog the TV rights to Eurosport for next to nothing? The Walker regime or the previous one? Because it's possibly been the single greatest decision in the history of snooker administration.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Eurosport is the only reason I ever got into snooker. The "old" Eurosport from 1992 got me hooked.

Anonymous said...

I think it was Hearn who introduced snooker to Eurosport with the premier league, many years ago.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave/all,

Yes, Eurosport (previously known as Screensport) used to screen highlights on a Tuesday night of the previous weekend's matches in the Dr Martins Premier League starting in 1992.

No shot clock and, compared to today, pretty boring. But it was in 1997 when Ebdon complained about O'Sullivan's left handed play in the final.

With regards Higginson's comments he is spot on. To me, we will see more of the journeyman (like Andrew,) have more impact and seen on tv, as well as the younger guys coming through.

Would definitely like to see these Open draws done in more tournaments. If the top 16 are good enough to be there, they shouldn't be worried who they play. Unfortunately, that has been a myth, as we all know. Only a handful can win, the rest, like the likes of Ryan Day are average and can succumb to journeymen and up-and-comers.

Open draws and now the 3 cut-off for rankings will finally begin to give snooker a competitive sport market and allow those who are desperate to succeed a chance, against the guys who rest on their laurels.

Thanks, Joe

kildare cueman said...

I disagree with Joe @ 5.50.

Open draws are not the way to go, as the worlds 3 or 4 best players can knock each other out early, whereas they should be able to meet in the semis or final.

Open draws, while ok for one novelty tournament, are effectively rewarding mediocrity and punishing excellence.

This is unacceptable in a professional sport.

It seems as if you are frustrated with the "protection" that is afforded to the top 16.

I think the way to make the rankings more fluid is to do away with the first round losers points.

If you don't win a match you get no points, or maybe 10 points a frame or something like that. This would end the current situation where exciting newcomers who win two or three matches in every tournament, still end up receiving less points than a top 16'er who wins a couple of matches all season.

By all means a top 16 player should be awarded privileges like money and entry into the masters and seeding, but they should not be given assistance to stay there at the expense of the up and coming.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kildare,

I was only making an argument which has been commented which is, we don't see any fresh faces beit young or old on the tv.

Yes, I do believe that only a handful of the top 16 are consistent and will always be there. The rest could've quite easily been knocked out at 11am in a 3rd round qualifying match in Prestatyn in the past. Competition is tough nowadays, and we are seeing through the PTC that some of the top 16 are struggling.

Early days, but good to see in the game.

And maybe your right with the open draws - as having 3 cut-off lists - will make things extremely challenging throughout the season as it is.

Thanks, Joe