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31 May 20 09:49
Date Joined: 16 Mar 11
| Topic/replies: 11,934 | Blogger: jed.davison's blog
I'm convinced that this could be a factor in upcoming tournaments.

If we accept that all professional snooker players are capable of fantastic snooker, which having practised with several I can assure you is true, then it's fair to say I think that the further removed match conditions are from practise the more effect it can have on their ability to produce their best.

There will of course be players who thrive in front of a crowd, but for many more it can prove an inhibiting factor, a source of distraction. After all, who has ever been helped with a tricky red along the black cushion by some eejit unwrapping an Everton mint?

There are one or two players I believe will be hugely overpriced at Sheffield without a crowd present. One potential qualifier in particular I think could actually win it.

There's also the question of who has been practising during lockdown, because only a few will have private tables.
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Report gobelins June 20, 2020 10:17 AM BST
jed - the obvious question is who is the qualifier you think could win it? I've been thinking of a few possibles regarding the qualifiers, although the reduction in frames in some of the qualifying rounds makes it less likely they'll get to The Crucible.

The lack of a crowd will clearly be a big factor, and what may be deemed little things - such as the players not sitting together at The Crucible (if there is no crowd) is potentially a further advantage to the lesser ranked players, as the intimidation factor is clearly reduced. There are definitely some players who will be at a disadvantage having no crowd present, although I'm not sure R.O'Sullivan and J.Trump are necessarily two of them. Ordinarily, you would think that both would prefer (and benefit) from a crowd, as they would have the bulk of the support, but there will be less demands on both players this year in terms of promotion, interviews and selfies/signing autographs etc. This may help Trump given the amount of times he would be asked about the 'Crucible Curse' and it may help O'Sullivan as the tournament tends to revolve around everything he does or says.

In short, the big question is - how much the pressure will be reduced in an empty Crucible?
Report gjohn101 June 20, 2020 10:43 AM BST
Didnt watch a whole lot of it but was thinking circumstances probably helped Sam Craigie the other week. Maybe a couple of similar types, talented but fragile, might emerge from hiding next few weeks or months. Gonna try pick one or two out for fun.
Report Latalomne June 20, 2020 11:48 AM BST
I chucked a fiver at Craigie at 1000 on the back of his first round performance, GJ. 

Brecel looked a different player to normal, far more composed.  Day was looking better for a while - certainly FAR better than he's shown for the previous 18 months, too, before reverting more than a tad to type.

I'm struggling beyond that.
Report gjohn101 June 20, 2020 11:59 AM BST
Haven't really looked into in detail lata, there mightnt be a lot in it. Just might be able to pick out one or two, I'd say thats all.

More relevant for likes of craigie, I'd say, he was playing last time with no ranking points at stake so no big pressure. Be playing for his tour card next time so I'd probably be more mindful of that than the crowd factor tbh. Can overthink all this stuff at times!
Report gobelins June 21, 2020 10:44 AM BST
If that table is replicated at The Crucible then we could be looking at 125+ centuries. And, while it was good to see S.Maguire playing to such a high standard, the pockets were shockingly easy - this is meant to be a ranking event.
It was interesting to hear N.Robertson afterwards saying that it felt like a practice match, and like J.Higgins he anticipates the best ever standard of snooker this year at The Crucible. So, presumably that means the number of centuries will be higher than normal, as this appears to be the accepted barometer for determining the standard these days. S.Hendry said afterwards that he thinks it will be difficult to subject a player to sustained pressure under these conditions (other than by winning frame after frame in one visit like Maguire did so well).
So, if there are easy tables and a huge reduction in pressure, does this act as a real leveller, or will the better players ultimately come through as they are better players irrespective of everything else?
Report Latalomne June 21, 2020 12:17 PM BST
I presume you mean 125+ centuries in the first round, Gobelins?!?  WinkLaugh

Robbo just doesn't look like he has any real fight in him at the minute, to me.  No real grit.  Possibly a reflection of how he said he felt about the game.  Possibly just a lack of match practice.  I do think that's going to be a leveller too.

It did very much have the feel of first chance wins the frame. 

Surely there still has to come a point where some of the lesser lights (depending on who qualifies) wake up and realise the enormity of the situation, though?
Report gjohn101 June 21, 2020 1:50 PM BST
I may be alone but i think having a world championship under these conditions is wrong. Even if you get 100-150 spectators in, it's not a bona fide world championship and will come forever with an asterisk attached. If you just want to keep people happy (especially your bookie pals) then go for it, but at least tighten the table and make it a bit of a challenge for the players. Did they think players would be so rusty this week they needed to make it even easier to compensate? Good job if so, guys.
Report thegiggilo June 23, 2020 2:03 AM BST
No pressure on O'sullivan under these conditions and fresh after a break,stands out a chance he will ever get..Cool
i'm on at 11/2,this is a perfect set up for him..
Report gobelins June 23, 2020 7:12 AM BST
That's a fair point Lata haha! I erred on the cautious side!

It's good to see you around gj - you are not alone, I agree with your thoughts on the championship. Playing at an empty Crucible devalues the championship to such an extent, that it will be barely recognisable. But, given that it now looks almost certain that it will take place, we need to start giving some serious thought to jed's opening post.
Report gjohn101 June 23, 2020 2:57 PM BST
Ah no fear of that gobe. I wont just be giving it serious thought, i will be overthinking it till my brain hurts and then wondering afterwards why i just didnt keep it simple Wink

Didnt maguire say he hadnt picked up a cue for 3 months before making a monkey of robbo the other day? May even have been using a new cue into the bargain. Maybe that was the key, went in with low expectations and no pressure. But hard to read these things.

O'Sullivan is tricky. Maybe this presents a unique opportunity but if they treat the venue like a virtual prison, players locked up between venue and hotel for 2 weeks, how would he cope with that? Not even convinced he'll turn up given such circumstances.
Report Latalomne June 23, 2020 3:27 PM BST
That was said about Mags beforehand, GJ, but he suggested it was slightly different to that after his victory - ie he got his new cue, found out about the restart and realised he needed to knuckle down and practice.
Report gjohn101 June 23, 2020 5:00 PM BST
Cheers lats. Not even sure where i heard it, was only half paying attention.
Report gobelins June 26, 2020 7:17 AM BST
Yours is probably a better strategy gj - I'm making a case for everyone at the moment. I've been thinking about M.Allen, who is showing this week that these conditions suit him, and he also tends to play well in China where he basically plays his match, does a bit of practice and then goes back to his hotel room (and then watches a few films or takes the opportunity to bad-mouth China and the Chinese!). He doesn't have all the distractions that usually go with a tournament in the UK. I'd also expected him to put on a lot of weight, during lockdown, but if anything he seems to have lost some. He's also in a very favourable section at Sheffield, so maybe...

I seem to be doing this for quite a few of the 20/1+ shots. Whoever wins the tournament, it will look so obvious afterwards!
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