I enjoyed day one of the 12bet.com World Open.

I liked the fact there was only one table, I liked that we got to see five matches, I thought the set looked good and there was plenty of interesting snooker.

I can understand some players not liking the best of fives but there was only one ‘shock’ and, given his form at the Shanghai Masters, I’m not sure Shaun Murphy losing to Dave Harold registers that high on the Richter scale of upsets.

The format is cutthroat but the Stephen Maguire-Stuart Pettman match proved the tournament isn’t just a lottery.

As I said in one of my previews, a decider is a test of nerve regardless of how many frames there are in the match.

Pettman faltered badly when presented with two excellent chances to win. The length of the match in this scenario is an irrelevance.

I keep hearing that ‘anyone can beat anyone in a best of five.’ So what? Anyone can beat anyone over any distance. It depends entirely on how you play.

And decades ago the World Championship final was played over several weeks. Concessions had to be made to television, and they still do because, without it, snooker wouldn’t be a professional sport in any meaningful way.

Graeme Dott was probably right to say the World Open should not have such a high ranking points tariff but players have to understand the compromises that are made to get these tournaments on in the first place.

It’s a BBC event and understandable that the BBC want it to have the necessary prestige bearing in mind the amount of money they are ploughing into the professional circuit.

There was a good crowd in early on and it tailed off as the day went on. It’s better for the players if it’s a packed house but snooker needn’t beat itself up about this.

I went to tournaments in the ‘good old days’ and I can assure you it wasn’t always standing room only.

Spectators, as in any sport, are discerning and will watch the players who interest them.

Attempts were made yesterday to make it more of an experience for fans, all of which I applaud.

But, put simply, snooker ain’t darts. In that sport part of the appeal is having a drink – usually more than one – and joining in with the atmosphere, singing along when they play music, mugging for the cameras and generally having a laugh.

Snooker is a sport which requires its audience to spend long hours basically sitting still in silence. Nothing much can be done about this: you either like it or you don’t.

So rather than go for changes in the arena, it would be better to make them backstage. Get the players to do autograph sessions or spend half an hour coaching or doing trickshots. Have them interact more with the public and there's more chance that public will return.

The future of snooker rests more on the shoulders of the players than it does on those of Barry Hearn. He can create more opportunities but they have to embrace them and make them work.

Times change. I remember Steve Davis in the mid 1990s saying, ‘There are too many tournaments like the International Open.’

This was when the circuit was rich with events. Right now, snooker would like a couple more tournaments like the International Open.

I can understand it if many players, particularly those higher up the rankings, don’t like the World Open format but getting in a sulk about it isn’t going to improve their prospects or those of the sport.

To today’s action...Brazil’s first professional Igor Figueiredo takes on Mark Williams. Stephen Hendry will attempt to arrest his decline in form against Bjorn Haneveer. People’s champion Jimmy White tackles Paul Davison. Plus, the draw will be made for the last 32.

Much to enjoy, then.

TV times:
BBC2: 2-5pm, 11.40pm-2.30am (BST)

Eurosport2: 4.30-5.30pm (CET)
Eurosport International: 8.45-11pm (CET)
British Eurosport: 7-10pm (BST)


kildare cueman said...

I enjoyed day one myself. Seems to be a bit of pressure out there. I think maybe, that the players should think of it as a best of nine thats 2-2 at the interval.

Good for the TV, good for the crowds, good for sponsors, and good for qualifiers.

Maybe its not so good for the top players, but they're getting paid, and well, work isn't always fun.

Anonymous said...

kc i dont think players are able to kid themselves on like that.

esp as they have only hit a ball on the pratice table. at 2-2 interval they will know how they and their opponent are playing.

to me, they cant meaningfully kid themselves on, as you suggested.

Anonymous said...

it is a Lottery

i bet Igor has more guts about him on TV than Pettman has ever had.

Anonymous said...

Yes, quite right. And if they're not having fun playing snooker then it's time to hand in their notice and choose a new career! I know a few million people out there would love to trade places...

Redandblackblog said...

I think it's great and today's matches are all quite interesting so that will help further. Dave do you know what time they plan to do the draw?

CHRISK5 said...

The only events on the Snooker circuit capable of recreating that
carnival darts atmosphere would be
Power Snooker,Sky Shootout & to
some degree,the Wembley Masters.

As said,Snooker can't do darts all the time & audiences must respect the players' concentration levels.

I like the the 12Bet livery display
& the one table set up,especially
for early round matches,which makes
a change from having to wait until
the Semis for this aspect to occur.

The Arena layout is smaller than
I thought it would be - what would
be the maximum spectator capacity ?
I am guessing 500-600 tops.

Anonymous said...

I must say I was getting a bit worked up over the poor attendance last night. But I do believe it will be a good week.

Anonymous said...

I still think World Snooker messed up by not playing McManus/McGill match in Glasgow... It would have guaranteed a full house last night!

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed the tournament yesterday especially Dave Harold's performance.His positional play against Shaun Murphy in the final frame was truly exemplary.
My only misgiving is how is all the tv time going to be filled from the quarter finals on with such short matches?
I also feel compelled to comment on the full John Higgins interview.Hazel Irvine asked JH why he did not report it to Barry Hearn,which he did not answer but instead went off rambling about something else, just like a politician. Let off lightly again, good job it wasn't J Paxman asking the questions! But on reflection nobody can defend the indefensible.

Dave H said...

Good point about McManus v McGill - crazy decision

Anonymous said...

Live scoring not working

Dave H said...

That's a shame.

I had Wednesday in the sweep.

Anonymous said...

its just disappointing after waiting so long it cant cope with 1 bloody table.

Ruthie said...

I really agree about the autograph sessions. I think it used to be the case at the Irish Masters when it was an invitational that the players had to sign autographs as part of their participation in the event. Much nicer for fans to have an organized autograph session than have to hang around at stage door or try to rush forward at the end of a match.

CHRISK5 said...

It's because the prototype display
had Ronnie smiling...no wonder
it crashed so soon !

Anonymous said...

How many times have the commentators mentioned that the first frame is the most important?

The second frame makes the difference between being level or being two up or down with three to play.

Each subsequent frame can mean the difference between winning or losing.

Surely then, the first frame is the least important?

Ali said...

Live score is working fine now.
Dunno if it had problems earlier

Anonymous said...

I suspect the mayor of Glasgow will eventually become totally embroiled in the whole randomized draw scenario and inadvertantly pull out the name Sid Hood in error.


Hi David. Day one of BBC coverage of this event, also showed, what I think, was another lovely tribute to the late and great Alex "Hurricane" Higgins. The biggest story ofcourse, has to beat Dave Harold's 3-0 win over Shaun Murphy. No disrespect to any plaer is intened, but one has to ask, Is it really a Shock for anyone to beat anyone in a five-frame match?
I am a life-long snooker fan, as our friend and colleague, and also my snooker coach, Joe Johnson, can tell you. I am pleased to see it however it pans out.

In my opinion though The World Chanpionship and UK championship, along with The Wembley Masters, Should remain with the same format they currently have. In my view, in regard to The formats of The World Championship, The UK Championship and The Wembley Masters, it is a case of,If it is not broken, don't Fix it, These formats, in my view, are not broken , so don't fix them.

I am a fan of rewarding success but I also think the rankings should remain the same from the start of a season until the end of that season, after the conclusion of The World Championship. I am strongly of the view that it is great to see new faces, inviting every player to play in events, but also to try and keep the established players in the publc eye to.

Going back to my comment on the ranking system, I heard Steve Davis on this afternoon's BBC coverage, that due to the system currently in place. the identity of the top 16 with automatic entry to the televised phase of The World Championship, will not be reveled until the tournament one before The World Championship has finished. It my view the system should hold a ranking list, based on at least the performance of players over the whole of the previous one season, carry that ranking into the following season, and so on.

Anonymous said...

Dave, please make some picks. It is genuinely entertaining and does wonders for the betting industry.

porridge said...

On BBC website, the headline goes: "White closes on O'Sullivan clash".

It can mean only one thing: King will win 3-0.

You'll see...

Anonymous said...

i think the setup holds circa 400, when full.

crazy decision indeed, when mcgill has been there watching and alan was in today too.

Betty Logan said...

As a format it's been hard to fault. The flatter format and random draw has ensured we've seen some unfamiliar faces on TV which was what many fans wanted to see, and the holdovers guaranteed the top players and big names necessary for sponsorship and to get bums on seats. The short format has ensured lots of exciting matches, and since most matches are concluded in 90 minutes to 2 hours then I'm sure the format will be popular with casual fans who don't want to spend all evening or afternoon watching snooker.

We're only a couple of days in, but I really like the event and hope the BBC retain it.

Anonymous said...

I see Stephen Hendry wasn't entirely convinced by the sport's revolution in his post-match comments on the Beeb yesterday. Doesn't fancy the Players Tour format, nor is he in favour of the new ranking system. Nice to see a sportsman air some honest views for a change, rather than just come out with the same old rhetoric.

Anonymous said...

Haneveer had already twictehd the brown which would have meant no need for a free ball.

The result would have been the same. This tournament has been ideal for exposing why the lower ranked players are where they are regardless of the system or anything else they choose to blame.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the 'if it isn't broke don't fix it' format discussion, we are still waiting year after year to get rid of the ridiculous late night finals. Very few europeans ever get the pleasure of watching the world championship final if they have jobs.

We still have that problem with pretty much all tournaments. When will this be dealt with? Perhaps someone with influence (Dave Hendon) could pull Barry Hearn aside and plead our case?

Anonymous said...

10.53. what nonsense, A free ball wouuld have left him close to the yellow, with easy position on the green. impossible to miss, nerves or not.