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Latalomne
17 Feb 23 08:59
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Date Joined: 20 Jul 01
| Topic/replies: 54,000 | Blogger: Latalomne's blog
A phrase we hear often, but do the stats back it up?

Well, my records only go back to the 2015-16 season, but I thought it would be interesting to look at things purely from a scoring perspective.

If we rank players purely on the rate at which they make 50+ breaks, those hitting "top 16" figures in 2017/18 (used this season to try to retain as many current players as possible whilst still providing meaningful data) were scoring one every 2.67 frames.  Today, that number has dropped to every 2.45 frames, a difference of 0.22 frames.

If we rank players purely on the rate at which they make 50+ breaks, those hitting "top 32" figures in 2017/18 were scoring one every 3.2 frames.  Today, that number has dropped to every 2.72 frames, a difference of 0.48 frames.

If we rank players purely on the rate at which they make 50+ breaks, those hitting "top 64" figures in 2017/18 were scoring one every 4.28 frames.  Today, that number has dropped to every 3.34 frames, a whopping difference of 0.94 frames.

No less than 58 of the players who have played in ranking events this season are scoring 50+ breaks at their fastest ever rate within that period (2015/16 to 2022/23), and that is excluding players in their first season.  That in itself is an INSANE number (all other things being equal).  It's something I first clocked early on in the season, but I felt sure it would have unwound more than it has by now.  The gap between top and bottom has certainly never been tighter.

As for the cause?  Maybe players are now working harder than ever?  Maybe the way some of them break build has changed?  (balls open = better chance to make a telling contribution)  Maybe the tables are playing easier?  My gut feeling is that it's a combination of the three.  Easier tables = more confidence to take on pots that you might not have taken on previously, plus a realisation that if you are to do well from the game, you need to put the work in away from the match table....
Pause Switch to Standard View The standard has never been higher
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Report pandora1963 February 17, 2023 11:25 AM GMT
Interesting. I love Steve Davis, but everytime i hear him on the beeb i hear him saying this, and i just don't believe it. You must watch a lot of snooker Latalomne like i do, and some of the dirge in the qualifiers is embarrassing, I see matches when either player can barely make 20, yet we are continually told the standard has never been higher.I just don't believe it. I think the 90's was peak standard, we had ronnie,  hendry, hunter, williams, stevens etc all playing wonderful stuff.
Report Latalomne February 17, 2023 12:02 PM GMT
Just for you, Pandora, I shall run a couple of players' season-long stats for the 90s.

Hendry
1990/91 - 2.59
1991/92 - 2.94
1992/93 - 2.47
1993/94 - 2.49
1994/95 - 2.72
1995/96 - 2.18
1996/97 - 2.67
1997/98 - 2.71
1998/99 - 2.66
1999/2000 - 2.73

Best - 2.18, which would place him joint 5th this season.  His average across that decade is 2.61, which would put him 21st this season.


Ronnie
1993/94 - 4.01
1994/95 - 2.65
1995/96 - 2.78
1996/97 - 3.09
1997/98 - 2.74
1998/99 - 3.04
1999/2000 - 2.43

Best - 2.43, which would place him 12th this season.  His average across that decade is 2.96, which would put him 48th this season.

I was going to do Paul Hunter, but I think his numbers might be off.  Surely he must have made at least one 50 in his 1998 WC Last 96 and Last 64 victories?  (each BO19s)

Statistically at least, it is impossible to argue that there are not more 50 breaks now than ever before (which can be explained for a variety of, and likely combinations of, reasons, not all of which necessarily mean that the standard is actually higher).
Report Latalomne February 17, 2023 12:04 PM GMT
And of course, the one thing that doesn't take into consideration is the number of chances a player needs in order to make that 50+ break, eg it's easier to do it with the frame already secured and the balls nicely spread.
Report gjohn101 February 17, 2023 1:21 PM GMT
Great stuff lats. We all understand the "standard has never been higher" mantra is a standard WS/BBC tactic to convince/fool the average punter and maybe sponsors into believing everything is rosy in the garden. Do they actually believe their own rhetoric? Some definitely I'd say, but if they actually subjected these claims to even the most rudimentary analysis, I've no doubt they'd willingly concede it's more full of holes than a smelly Dutch cheese.

Have some deeper thoughts on it, as I think we all do, and will expand a bit more when I get time. Seriously good analysis mate.
Report peckerdunne February 17, 2023 2:46 PM GMT
Good stuff Lat, however it's cloth ball and table dimensions you will b very year or be told ,he truth.

I'm 100% sure about these standards of modern day are not what they say.
Report Latalomne February 17, 2023 4:49 PM GMT
BTW, the extension to Ronnie's numbers above see him taking just 1.9 frames per 50+ break (prior to this afternoon's match) this season, which is a tiny fraction below his best on my numbers (1.88).
Report stu February 19, 2023 3:08 PM GMT
Is the supposed modern 'bucket pockets' issue a factor in these kind of stats comparisons?
Report peckerdunne February 19, 2023 8:27 PM GMT
I've loved the milkmans talent for many a year but there's only one reason he is thriving now.

TOLERANCE.
Report gjohn101 February 19, 2023 11:31 PM GMT
Pockets are a factor for definite. They simply cannot be. I would say pocket receptiveness to be more technically accurate as it may well be that the size remains standard but, for various reasons, balls will drop more easily.

For me, the biggest development is in the cloth, that's where the modern player has the most critical advantage. Faster tables, springier cushions, packs split more easily and cue ball can be manoevred around table with minimal effort. Goes without saying, not having to strike the white as hard to get desired result will lessen the risk of missing the pot. Cue power still a useful weapon but you only have to look at the current form and achievements of the pistol to see how a player can happily do without.
Report gjohn101 February 19, 2023 11:33 PM GMT
*Simply cannot NOT bePlain
Report Latalomne February 20, 2023 3:23 PM GMT

Feb 19, 2023 -- 8:27PM, peckerdunne wrote:


I've loved the milkmans talent for many a year but there's only one reason he is thriving now.TOLERANCE.


Totally disagree, on the Milman, Peck.  He might have been helped by the tables, but he 100% has a belief now that he never had before.  I remember starting a thread about him a good few years back where I said he played like he wanted to lose (not for financial gain, but like an addicted gambler), just for that "see, I was right, I'm rubbish! moment.  Listen to his interviews since winning Gib.  He's like a completely different man.  That's mindset.  His scoring is rubbish, BTW, but he is currently winning an insane amount of frames for how well he scores.

Report Latalomne February 20, 2023 3:28 PM GMT

Feb 19, 2023 -- 11:31PM, gjohn101 wrote:


Pockets are a factor for definite. They simply cannot be. I would say pocket receptiveness to be more technically accurate as it may well be that the size remains standard but, for various reasons, balls will drop more easily. For me, the biggest development is in the cloth, that's where the modern player has the most critical advantage. Faster tables, springier cushions, packs split more easily and cue ball can be manoevred around table with minimal effort. Goes without saying, not having to strike the white as hard to get desired result will lessen the risk of missing the pot. Cue power still a useful weapon but you only have to look at the current form and achievements of the pistol to see how a player can happily do without.


Agree with all of this, mate.  The main reason that pots don't drop on these tables (even now) is pace, so it does make total sense that if you can get away without hitting it too hard, you will see benefits.

Report peckerdunne February 21, 2023 1:16 PM GMT
Thanks lat, if you agree with John and we do, that's where the mindset of confidence has derived.

It's only been 25 years, so something has indeed changed.
Report stu February 21, 2023 4:30 PM GMT
The historical comparison is what would a prime Hendry be like on these current tables...might be a frightening thought I reckon.

Even a prime Jimmy White would poss be knocking some heavy stats in...?
Report Latalomne February 21, 2023 7:55 PM GMT

Feb 21, 2023 -- 1:16PM, peckerdunne wrote:


Thanks lat, if you agree with John and we do, that's where the mindset of confidence has derived.It's only been 25 years, so something has indeed changed.


I'm not entirely sure it is, mate.  Prior to Sunday, Milkman's scoring was no better this season (it was exactly the same) than it was in his previous peak year (on my numbers) of 2015/16.  In terms of scoring rank, he's actually dropped from #55 in 2017/18 to #61 today.  Instead of now beating himself up when things go wrong, he is dealing with his emotions far better and playing much better shots afterwards.

Report Latalomne February 21, 2023 7:58 PM GMT

Feb 21, 2023 -- 4:30PM, stu wrote:


The historical comparison is what would a prime Hendry be like on these current tables...might be a frightening thought I reckon.Even a prime Jimmy White would poss be knocking some heavy stats in...?


Jimmy's down to 3.65 frames per 50 break this season, which is his best on my numbers (previous best - 2016/17 - he was at 4.47 frames). 

Unquestionably the numbers he and Hendry would have been posting would have been very different!

Report gjohn101 February 21, 2023 8:46 PM GMT
I recall Hendry saying in an interview, or maybe in his book, that there were certain shots he tried to avoid because they weren't in his locker and while I can't remember him being specific, I'm pretty certain they came down to power shots, deep screw etc. Wouldn't have bothered him on these tables I don't think, I mean him in his prime not the washed up has been who occasionally turns up these days.
Report peckerdunne February 22, 2023 8:29 PM GMT
Well let you had me coming round until I just saw Rob literally soak his cue to the floor :laugh:]
Report peckerdunne February 22, 2023 8:30 PM GMT
Well Lat*
Report peckerdunne February 22, 2023 8:31 PM GMT
Throw his cue on the floor*       ffs
Report Latalomne February 23, 2023 12:53 PM GMT
Just the number of matches catching up with him, hopefully (plus he said he'd been commuting, which won't have helped).  He was dreadful last night, but then Ali was very good indeed.
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