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gobelins
01 Feb 21 18:21
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Date Joined: 30 Aug 04
| Topic/replies: 833 | Blogger: gobelins's blog
After a rare best-of-9 snooker tournament, we return to snooker for which its sole purpose appears to be gambling. I don't understand what the point of The Shootout is at the best of times, but without a crowd? Why? We then head to Stage 2 of the Championship League. I suppose they may create new "champions", but there should be no place for these events with such a crowded schedule (usually). Hopefully, the best-of-3 pro-ams will be removed once tournaments return to China, although I wouldn't be surprised if they stayed. Until then, let's continue to watch decent ranking events like The German Masters being crammed into 5 days, and then give the players a few days rest to prepare for The Shootout and Championship League. Strange times...or are they?
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Report Latalomne February 1, 2021 10:11 PM GMT
The German Masters wasn't really crammed into 5 days, though, was it?  The qualies were played before Xmas (as is normally the case) over a further 4 days.   

The Championship League has been a permanent feature for a long time now.  It is invitation only, so there are lots of players who aren't getting a look in, which might go some way towards explaining the introduction of the WST, which is new but was described as "inaugural".  Even I won't be betting on the Shootout, though.  I think there's a place for it all, personally, save maybe for the latter at the present time.

Honestly, I don't think much will change scheduling-wise for at least 12 more months.  I can't imagine China is going to be opening up its doors when COVID is still so rife here, and the whole quarantine situation would make it wholly impractical unless there was a proper Chinese "swing" where all of the events were played over one six-week period or so.
Report pandora1963 February 2, 2021 12:31 AM GMT
the shootout is garbage, like many of these new dumbed down tourneys that hearn has introduced. I;m sure hearn wuld love to turn the world championships into best of 9s and played over five days if he could.
Report gobelins February 2, 2021 7:55 PM GMT
While it is true that the German Masters is played over 5 days normally, even when played at The Tempodrom there are 5 tables in use - all visible to the crowd. Personally, I think the tournament would be better played over 6 days, as this would remove the need for players to have to play 2 rounds in one day - but I don't suppose it makes too much difference. But, with the tournament being played at Milton Keynes, it meant that 3 sessions were needed over the opening 2 days, with half the matches being played on outside tables, and having to start at 09.30am. It felt, as is increasingly the case these days, that the opening rounds were just something to get out of the way. This is a 32-man event (at the venue), not 128, and with a few days gap to the Shootout, it seemed like a good opportunity to increase the length of the tournament by a couple of days subject to agreement from Eurosport and German TV.

The Championship league has been running for many years now, but its original purpose was to provide an additional playing (and earning) opportunity for players, at a time when tournaments were thin on the ground. Now that there are 20+ ranking events each year, as well as several invitational events, and the calendar is full for 9-10 months of the year, it seems a legitimate question to ask why it is still needed. Removing it could allow a few days gap between tournaments, which isn't the case at the moment, as no sooner has one event ended then another one starts. For me, events like the Championship League serve only one purpose, hence the thread title.
Report Latalomne February 2, 2021 8:53 PM GMT
Every match of the German Masters was available online (I think BF ballsed up one session where the links didn't actually work), but 365 certainly showed all of them (same goes for the qualies, too, I think).  You can use Ctrl and + and zoom in on the live video window, the quality holds up pretty well.

The impression I get is that most of the players are quite happy with the calendar.  Yes, there are periods where fatigue (physical and mental) is clearly setting in, but I don't think anybody is under any obligation to play every tournament.  I actually thought the WST format was actually quite a good one for the lower-ranked players with a guaranteed minimum of 14 frames' experience on offer - something that might otherwise take them three or four tournaments to achieve.  It also gave 7 of the 8 players in each group the chance to earn a bit of cash, at a time when their other opportunities to earn might otherwise be a bit few and far between. 

It's not for the purists, I get that, but Shootout and Welsh Open aside, unless you'd qualified for the German Masters L32, there is/was nothing for those outside the Top 16 (unless you got a CL invitation) between the Scottish Open (mid-Dec) until the Gib Open (1st March).  I imagine most of those players are delighted to be given the chance to compete, TBH.
Report gjohn101 February 4, 2021 12:41 PM GMT
Interesting discussion. I remember Bazz Hawkins doing an interview at the worlds last year, might go and try dig it out. Anyway, spoke about how mentally drained he felt and how tough a lot of the players were finding it. Found it interesting because hawk isnt a fella you'd expect to be complaining for the sake of it. Its ok to say theydont have to play everything but when a couple of k could be the difference between making the players or tour championship, thats easier said than done if your name isnt judd trump or neil robertson or the privileged few who can afford to.

The itv series is a good concept and there are some good things about the calendar and some bad things. For all the events, there are a lot of players not getting a huge amount of game time at all, stuck in a losing spiral, and others getting way too much. The balance is all wrong i think, militates against young players getting the best possible education.

I think the shoot outs ok tbh. The bigger issues are elsewhere. Shouldn't be ranking though, that was always stupid.
Report bobweenit February 4, 2021 12:42 PM GMT
Oh my lucky i was fluckin ze channels and found ze sho00toutExcitedExcited
Report bobweenit February 4, 2021 1:09 PM GMT
Nice start on ze hitman. Easy work
Report bobweenit February 4, 2021 1:28 PM GMT
Howard backer punished . Lumping a barman 10 up haha
Report Latalomne February 4, 2021 1:42 PM GMT

Feb 4, 2021 -- 6:41AM, gjohn101 wrote:


Interesting discussion. I remember Bazz Hawkins doing an interview at the worlds last year, might go and try dig it out. Anyway, spoke about how mentally drained he felt and how tough a lot of the players were finding it. Found it interesting because hawk isnt a fella you'd expect to be complaining for the sake of it. Its ok to say theydont have to play everything but when a couple of k could be the difference between making the players or tour championship, thats easier said than done if your name isnt judd trump or neil robertson or the privileged few who can afford to.The itv series is a good concept and there are some good things about the calendar and some bad things. For all the events, there are a lot of players not getting a huge amount of game time at all, stuck in a losing spiral, and others getting way too much. The balance is all wrong i think, militates against young players getting the best possible education.I think the shoot outs ok tbh. The bigger issues are elsewhere. Shouldn't be ranking though, that was always stupid.


I completely agree John, that the balance between top and bottom is out of whack.  Maybe Hearn should consider some tournaments just for those ranked 17-128 or 33-128?  New players to the tour are at a massive disadvantage at the moment, and it is really hard for most of them to progress, hence me saying that I think the WST Pro Series is a good idea for them (whatever else you might think about it).  Guess the difficulty is, if you exclude the ELITE players, how do you rationalise the ranking points system, unless you just make it about non-ranking point financial and experience-based gain?

As for Baz, he's on record as saying he's struggled with life in general since his brother-in-law sadly took his own life.  If we look at the numbers, Baz played 395 frames all in in the 2019-2020 season (the 18th most) v Judd's mammoth 700.  I accept your point about tour/players champ qualifications, but maybe some would actually fare better if they were more selective with the tournaments they played rather than trying to do it all?

Report bobweenit February 4, 2021 2:04 PM GMT
I'M LOVING ANGELS INSTEAD
Report bobweenit February 4, 2021 2:10 PM GMT
That a boy Robbie. Alice bands have no place on ze baize Olly boy
Report gjohn101 February 4, 2021 2:33 PM GMT
Good points lats, i have no issue at all with the wst. Obviously serves a purpose in the present circumstances. I've always thought the best way was for two top divisions, a very strong b tour where new players would have to prove themselves before making the final leap. Hearn does well for top players but i dont believe his capitalist "sink or swim" or "losers get nothing" mentality is in the wider interests of the sport. Maybe in another 10/15 years, given anticipated growth, you could then start building it up to 128 players. By then i think we could be talking about a separate asian tour anyway.

You're right about barry, has had his troubles. But i do have a feeling a lot of players feel the same, either they just never talk about it or no one asks them. Found a link for it anyway, i thought what he said was interesting.

https://uk.sports.yahoo.com/news/barry-hawkins-says-lockdown-came-143217386.html
Report Latalomne February 4, 2021 3:05 PM GMT
I remember us talking about the two divisions idea before.  I suspect Hearn would probably end up running 2x tours each playing every week for 9 months!  Laugh  I do think there's scope to do something like I suggested above, though, with the ELITE getting the odd week off and the lesser-ranked players filling the void.

As I said, mate, I have no doubt there are times where players have had enough of it - you can see it.  Mags, Dotty (to an extent), Cabby, Dave, Tubbs have all gone through patches where they've clearly had enough in the last couple of years.  I think they just have to get used to the idea of being a bit more true to themselves, and if they're not feeling it, they take the responsibility for themselves and withdraw.
Report gjohn101 February 4, 2021 3:45 PM GMT
Wouldnt be against that suggestion at all lats. Anything that would address rhe scourge of burn out and increase opportunity across the board gets the thumbs up from me. And i think players arent always the best for making decisions in their own best interests. Playing is the default position for most of them, not sure it would even occur to a few of them that having a week off here and there might pay dividends in the long run. Wouldn't even surprise me if trump won another 2 or 3 titles and then got knocked out in first round in Sheffield!!
Report bobweenit February 4, 2021 4:12 PM GMT
Been some big busts already in this
Report wondersobright February 4, 2021 4:13 PM GMT
did you hear the introductions for this match?
Report wondersobright February 4, 2021 4:17 PM GMT
haha what a mug
Report wondersobright February 4, 2021 4:18 PM GMT
pot the brown and then can milk the game
Report wondersobright February 4, 2021 4:41 PM GMT
fortey looks a fair player
Report bobweenit February 4, 2021 7:38 PM GMT
Loving the milkmans home trim
Report bobweenit February 4, 2021 7:39 PM GMT
Looks like a geezer
Report Angela Rebecchi February 4, 2021 9:53 PM GMT
Gilbert very fortunate there. Would have been out if Peng didn't take so long each shot.
Report gobelins February 5, 2021 9:11 PM GMT
gj - I've just read that Hawkins interview, and I think he said in a couple of sentences what I took 3 paragraphs to say!! BTW - I hope you're doing OK, and somehow keeping sane?

Lata - My main point was really that the tournaments are too close together. And, I don't think the argument that the players are generally happy with the schedule justifies cramming it with generally poor quality events in order to provide the players with playing, and earning, opportunities. There should be a space between one event ending and the next one starting, and the events which don't have 128 players at the venue should not have players being relegated to outside tables (which obviously couldn't have happened in Berlin, and could have been avoided in Milton Keynes by adding a couple of days to the length of the event). There is a sameness (and a blandness) about so many of these tournaments now, and that's not just because they are now virtually all in Milton Keynes. That said, I accept that this could actually be a reason in favour of The Shootout or the best-of-3 round-robin thing.

As Stuart Bingham said in a recent interview during The Masters - it's a numbers game for him now. And, it must be the same for so many players with such a crowded schedule, with so little time to work on their game and/or try new things. But, I agree the players aren't going to say to Hearn - let's reduce the number of tournments by 5, so we can have breaks between events! And, I suppose snooker is just following the mantra of every other sport - more is better, and even more is better still. And, just like the players - I suppose I/we have the choice of watching or not watching. Anyway, rant over, at least it's only 71 days to The Crucible...
Report Latalomne February 6, 2021 11:57 AM GMT
I think you nailed it with "I suppose I/we have the choice of watching or not watching".  Happy

(I still think my idea of tournaments just for 17-128 / 33-128 would be the best way of finding some middle ground - except, as you - and Baz in his interview piece, and the fact both he and Butch (the latter from Group 1!) chose to take part in the CL, which isn't even a ranking tournament this time around - points out, "I don't the players would want less tournaments")
Report brentford February 16, 2021 11:04 AM GMT
Apologies for butting in as someone who never posts on the Snooker forum but as a lifelong fan of the sport, just a few observations

Surely elements of the tennis style calendar could be adopted so that you have different grade tournaments, some of which would simply not be worth the while of the big boys playing but could still be played over credible distances and offer good opportunities both of experience, small earning opportunities and a way of selling streaming services if they weren't appealing enough for the likes of Eurosport or ITV to invest in. There are still plenty of good/interesting matches well down the ranking list, it might also offer an opportunity to increase the amount of true professionals that could be sustained by the sport which currently feels too small a group.

The calendar of back to back tournaments of note in a normal season cannot be a good thing when top players either end up pulling out or have to play inside of 30 hours of completing a marathon week and look like they've come back from a 'mad one' in Amsterdam (look at Robbo's hair for evidence of such occasions)

I also don't think the gap from May through to about September in terms of meaningful tournaments is required, with the much expanded schedule and modern venues, there is absolutely no reason some worthwhile tournaments couldn't be played in June, July and August in the UK.

The shootout I think does have a place as just widening the familiarity of the player pool to the tv audience but clearly shouldn't be worth ranking points and the level of crowd 'involvement' in a normal year has been at times beyond what the sport should be accepting - I think when James White is saying some of the verbals were a bit over the top, you probably know that they really are.
Report gobelins February 21, 2021 9:54 AM GMT
I'd agree with a fair bit of that brentford. There doesn't seem to be any reason why the season can't start a bit earlier, which would allow some gaps between tournaments. But, I disagree about The shootout. It is a joke, and it has no place on the snooker calender.
Report Latalomne February 21, 2021 11:05 AM GMT
If the season were extended, surely it's odds-on Hearn would look to add more tournaments to fill the gaps?
Report San Quentin February 21, 2021 4:08 PM GMT
The Shootout was a fantastic tournament all that's needing change is the name.Most players would agree as a tournament well deserving of ranking points and all that goes with it.I know not for the snooker purists but those types always resit change.Actually not as random as some may think.
Report Latalomne February 21, 2021 6:08 PM GMT
The fact that 21 main tour players withdrew and several others didn't enter to begin with suggests that not everybody shares your enthusiasm for it, SQ! Happy
Report gobelins February 22, 2021 6:29 PM GMT
You're spot on San Quentin, but the purists resist change when they deem the changes are not in the best interest of the sport they love. I plead guilty as charged. It's interesting that you think that the only thing wrong with The Shootout is its name. I'd probably be barred from this forum for life if I suggested a few alternatives on here.
Report Latalomne February 23, 2021 10:41 PM GMT
"The plan is always to have snooker every week of the year.  We never quite get there." - Barry Hearn talking to Rob Walker in a piece just shown on ITV4.  Hoping to return to China in September, but not if they insist on 14-day quarantine, unless they do a Chinese swing.
Report brentford February 24, 2021 12:33 PM GMT
My heart sank a bit when I heard him say that,
not sure why you would want it every week of the year currently unless you effectively fill it with some tournaments designed for players outside of the top 10 - otherwise you just inevitably get more big names taking events off and reduce quality and interest.
The expanded tour has in the main been a massive plus from where the sport was but burning out star names or potentially even having big names waiting to here whether they could turn up to a soft field doesn't seem at all in the best interests of the game.
Report Latalomne February 24, 2021 1:07 PM GMT
Yeah, I know what you mean, but from what he was saying about interest from new countries, you would have to think that he'll be wanting to take the better players there? (once we get to the stage where that's an option, of course)
Report wisewords February 24, 2021 2:33 PM GMT
We're already going to Saudi Arabia. it should have happened in 2020 but for the pandemic. the global expansion is only at an early stage
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