It would be a certain irony if the 12bet.com World Open rescued the fortunes of Stephen Hendry and Peter Ebdon.

Hendry, like a number of players, was of the view that, while the new shorter format should be welcomed, it should not carry so many ranking points.

However, he is already in the last 16 and a good run in this tournament will ease his worries of top 16 relegation later this season.

Hendry has not been in world beating form by any means but the World Open could well prove to be the ideal tournament for him.

Why? Because one of his main problems in recent years has been consistency, linked to the fact that his concentration has gone walkabout at crucial times and that legendary focus has been dented.

In such short matches this is far less likely to happen. Hendry will need to up his game to win the title but you have to be in it to win it and he's still going strong.

There was no bigger opponent of the Barry Hearn's blueprint than Ebdon earlier this year. Had he got his way the ranking system would be as it was and he would not have the chance, as he does now, to return immediately to the top 16 and be at the Masters next January.

His match with Fergal O'Brien last night was not of the highest standard. Ebdon in particular seemed unable to control the cue ball, whether because he found the table playing differently to his first match or for other reasons unknown.

But a win is a win and it was yet another match in which the favourite came through.

Wasn't this tournament supposed to be a 'complete lottery?'

I never did believe that. And what the event has proved is that the rankings don't lie.

The top players are where they are because they are the best: not only more skillful but also more able to hold their nerve at crucial moments.

A number of lower ranked players in this tournament have had clear chances to win frames and matches but haven't taken them.

The one table set-up has meant that there is no hiding place and frailities have been exposed. This - not the format - has been key in producing the results we've seen.

Davy Morris, 21, makes his TV debut today. Talk about a baptism of fire, he takes on world champion Neil Robertson.

Similarly, James McBain will take his first bow in front of the cameras against former Shanghai Masters winner Ricky Walden.

Good luck to them both but it will be tough. Even experienced campaigners have wilted in the heat of the SECC as the cream has risen to the top.

TV Times:
BBC2: 1.30-4.25pm, 7-8pm, 11.50pm-2.40am (BST)

Eurosport International: 1.30-6pm, 9-11pm (CET)

Eurosport2: 8.30-9pm (CET)
British Eurosport: 12.30-5pm, 7-10pm


porridge said...

And I completely agree. About the lottery part, that is.

Dott, I remember it was, said before the tournament, that he's "never won a best-of-five match" (guess he was slating the format at least a bit). Now I'm sorry, but for him actually saying just that, proves that there indeed is a point in this shorter format. While it's not everyone's cup of tea, after this tournament there will be players who wish that there would be a whole tour consisting only of best-of-5 events. It needs obviously certain characteristics to do well. Actually this could be very much like clay surfaces in tennis. While in snooker you can't really play on clay tables (haven't tried it though), providing the whole range of formats is the next best thing.

Of course, this tournament may be won by a player who haven't been even near of winning anything and some people will go berserk. But will they be the same who slated 6-red format when it got a supposedly lucky world champion, Mark Davis. Now, who proved to be the in-form player after that? You'll see the same players doing well in particular formats in the long run, and there will be no hint of lottery.

I love World Open, it's simply brilliant. I wish it never goes away, even though it should be somewhere else.

Anonymous said...

I'm amazed at all the whinging that some players are doing e.g.Allen, Ebdon, Hendry, O'Sullivan ... They really should wake up to the fact that snooker now has the Mohammed Ali of sports promoters (Barry Hearn) running the show. He could sell ice cream to eskimos.He's not in the job for 5 minutes and is delivering already. Perhaps these players would like it to go back to the clowns of the old administration who would have taken snooker spiralling in to oblivion in double quick order indeed.My advice to them would be "Engage brain before opening mouth"

On another subject, with the exception of Murphy and Ebdon, why have some players gone back to their old ways of not waving to the crowd in any kind of meaningful way? Arrogance or what? Will they never learn? Or leave it all to Barry and when he's doing the business big style still criticise him.I think if brains were dynamite some of these players wouldn't have enough to blow their caps off

Cloudyman said...

I have to say that when the World Open was first mentioned, I thought it would be a fun watch, and something different - but not "true" snooker.
But I am actually really, really enjoying it, and I love the format.
You've still got all the drama, pressure and entertainment - just a bit more condensed.
I don't agree with the ranking tariff, but I want more!

Keith said...

Perhaps best of 5 is actually the prefect length for casual TV viewing of early rounds? However dull a match might be, you think "I'll just watch the end of this frame..." and pretty soon you might as well watch until the end. Not having a second table you can flick over to helps with that as well.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,

I don't keep count of past tournaments or this one, but had round 3 started on the tv (impossible i know, but just like every other tournament,) then this tournament probably has had if not the same, but a higher amount of top 16ers going out; selby, murphy, wenbo, allen, day at round 3?

That's about the going rate at the moment when the top 16 come in eh?

Thanks, Joe

Sonny said...

After feeling genuinely fed up with the best of 9 clone formats and in particular the Grand Prix, I am delighted the World Open is proving to be a success. It was always going to be like this, the only lottery is the draw. One table means no hiding place. Big ranking points and big prize money means big pressure. Whether it's 2-2 or 9-9, if it's a decider you need nerve or inspiration to win through and so this event has proved.

I knew it was working from the first regulation ball Graeme Dott missed in the second frame of the very first match. He missed it due to the pressure of losing the first frame. In no other match would he have missed a ball like that in only the second frame.

And the beauty of it is, after this the next big event is the UK where we have some longer matches to look forward to. The contrast is exactly what snooker has been crying out for, notably in the last 3 or 4 seasons when the previous administration were concucting all sorts of bad ideas to give the Grand Prix something different. Mainly betting scandals.

I am now a huge fan of the World Open and long may it continue in this format and on the BBC for the next 25+ years as the prequal to the longer format UK Championship.

Betty Logan said...

I have to say I've probably watched more of this tournament than any other apart from the WC in recent years. There are players I simply wouldn't usually watch over 9 frames, but the format itself is inherently exciting which is a major boost for the grinders. I said a few weeks ago this could be Pot Black for the 21st century - Pot Black was a success because the tight format made it exciting whoever was playing and the short length made it ideal for casual viewing, and the World Open does both those things. Casual viewers don't want to give up an afternoon or an evening for a snooker match, but most matches now are over in under two hours, so they don't require any more commitment than a film or a football match.

The matches aren't proving to be anymore unpredictable than the standard format - if top 16 players have gone out it is probably more down to the random draw than the match length i.e Mark King, Carter and Dott all lost to top 8 players, while Day, Wenbo and Allen all lost in Shanghai as well. Selby while expected to win lost to a player on the cusp of the top 16 so Murphy is the only real shock so far.

This is definitely the way forward for snooker...could this be the death knell for the best-of-9?

Anonymous said...

I have to admit when Hearn first announced the World Open and the best of five format, I was ready to laugh him outta the building, but i've really enjoyed it, certainly more than any tourney in the last few years. I just pray for a full house for Sunday's final and here's to 25 years of best of 5.


Anonymous said...

Great matches and surprisingly non-random. They really should do away with the music though... Rap, hip-hop... ecch!! Where is Iron Maiden?

Sonny said...

Anon @ 4:56pm - they did play some Alestorm last night between frames so it's not all bad!

Dave H said...

It seems a bit harsh when someone loses a frame to hear 'Another One Bites the Dust' blast out across the arena!

CHRISK5 said...

In terms of the shorter format,
it's very similar to the PTC/EPTC,
which the players have got used to

As discovered since the tournament
began - Those who would be considered the favourites in a
longer format are still winning through anyhow.

Some of the shot selections from
messrs Pettman,Haneveer,O'Brien
wouldn't occur on the practice table or in their cubicle comfort zone - even in best of 5's,the
pressure is still the same,if not
bigger & the one table set-up
being a huge factor too.

For Hendry & Ebdon,this event &
it's inflated for TV points tariff
could well be their salvation
for a Top 16 place.

Apart from Ronnie's 'playing dumb
on the maxi prize antics' - I am
enjoying the World Open very much &
the best is yet to come.


Hi David. As Hendry and Ebdon proved, there is no substitute for expireance.

Anonymous said...

what song is it between frames that goes on about someone losing a leg?

Greg P said...

I just realised something... wouldn't it be funny if Hendry retires and becomes a BBC couch pundit with JP and the Nugget?

Every time poor Jimmy White flicks on the TV to watch snooker, he will see a panel of everyone who stopped him winning the world title! I'd call it Bastard's Corner!

Anonymous said...

CHRISK5 You are a prize prick questioning,Pettman,Haneveer, and O'Brien's shot selection. I bet you would of played the perfect shot,inch perfect, have you ever been on tv? Or are you still winning games on blade interactive/sega?? How many unlocks have you got?

Greg P said...


I heard the song you're talking about, it is "Shipping up to Boston" by the Dropkick Murphys

You might remember it from the 2006 movie The Departed (or you might not). It is an awesome tune isnt it? One of only a few things memorable about that movie in my opinion (like Jack Nicholson hamming it up in every scene, and also Alec Baldwin had a load of really funny lines.)

"I'm gonna have a smoke. You wanna smoke? What you don't smoke what are you one of those fitness freaks?"


Anonymous said...

Good one Greg P. My morning laugh.

Matt said...

The format is OK but does anyone know what the Top16 looks like at the moment?

McBain/ Couch- Both played very poorly in the first two frames because it was their first time playing on the TV. Still they managed to pot a ball in the third frame.

O'Sullivan v White- Match of the day but Ronnie could beat White quite conversingly although anything can happen, you never know to you?

Best of 5 frames does work.

Anonymous said...

Is Dennis taylor paying the bbc for constantly advertising the legends tour?