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28 Apr 22 14:44
Date Joined: 10 Jan 02
| Topic/replies: 12,964 | Blogger: CLYDEBANK29's blog
In 2003 the only player in the draw over 40 was Steve Davis, then aged 44.  Higgins Williams and O'Sullivan were among the top 4 seeds and all in their 20s

In 2022 3 of the 4 semi finalists are 45 or over and 2 of the losing quarter finalists are over 40

I'm looking at the PDC Darts WC from 2003 and the unseeded Simon Whitlock and Steve Beaton were the only players who competed in 2022
Pause Switch to Standard View WSC 2003 compared to WSC 2022
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Report gjohn101 April 28, 2022 3:11 PM BST
To all the pundits who insist, no debate allowed, that standards have never been higher and getting even higher all the time, this simply proved that the likes of O'Sullivan and Higgins are raising their game and even better players now than they were in their 20s and 30s. I remember that idiot used to present on eurosport saying to Williams last year that he was a better player now than 20 years ago and Williams just laughed straight into his face. Generally, they prefer not to ask those questions, though, for obvious reasons.
Report wisewords April 28, 2022 5:05 PM BST
I think the level of professionalism in snooker has drastically increased. If you read the stories from Jimmy White if you can see that the players didn't live the life in the past and their careers at the top end of the sport fizzled out pretty quickly.
Report gobelins April 28, 2022 6:45 PM BST
There was a debate on here about 8 years ago about this, with the Class of '92 approaching 40. There was a point of view put forward that Steve Davis could dominate the game in the 80s, because the game had started booming as he turned professional, and was full of old men like Reardon, Spencer and Charlton. And, yet here we are now, 8 years on, with the older generation taking 3 Semi Final places against players producing the best standard the game has ever seen. In fairness, these 3 are absolutely superb, and all 3 are genuine greats of the game - but the Mark Williams of the early 2000s would beat the Mark Williams of now comfortably. Even respected ex-players like Angles talk up the current standard with classics like 'there are now about 25 top 16 players'. I'm not sure how that works Alan, but that is nonsense.
Report CLYDEBANK29 April 28, 2022 6:51 PM BST
I brought up darts as clearly they are similar.  In most sports you are fooked as you reach 40, your legs start to go, you start to lose flexibility and muscle. Snooker and darts are games involving technique and mental strength. It seems clear however that darts is becoming much more competitive relative to snooker.  Whether snooker is more or less competitive is uncertain.  It clearly was hugely popular in the 80s and that drove the participation and standard such the old guard where finished by the mid 90s.  Something that we might be seeing in darts now.
Report gjohn101 April 28, 2022 9:55 PM BST
The standard rose appreciably through the 90s, not just because hendry pushed it to another level but because there was a generation of players ready to take off who were inspired by the boom of the 80s and probably had several clubs within handy reach. The only thing saving the sport from serious decline, apart from the enduring excellence of that generation, is the global spread of the game. But i don't think the foreign players have the same mental and match play capabilities that the great players have here, they have no tradition of that in their own countries so i think it will take time to develop. Meanwhile in the uk, i think the last figures i saw were that there are less than 15,000 people playing snooker in england which is pitiful. I know nothing about darts but i imagine they can achieve a much higher playing base than that.
Report Latalomne April 29, 2022 4:21 PM BST
We've touched upon it on several other threads over the course of the season, but the tour is not really set up to blood new players.  There are too many opportunities for those having good seasons/two seasons and not enough for those who aren't.  There have been occasions this season where the bulk of the tour hasn't had competitive action for circa 6 or 7 weeks, and then when they do get it, they might be up against a top 16 player first round...  A few tournaments purely for the players not making The Masters, the Tour Championship, the Players Championship, not getting invited to Championship League etc would not go amiss, IMHO.  It might not change anything, but it would at least give some more faces the chance to experience and learn to deal with the pressure of going deep in tournaments, as well as helping to keep their eye in during what would otherwise be quiet times.
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