Bloody hell, the season’s started again! The Wuxi Qualifiers are on at SWSA (or whatever they’re calling it now), and one nice thing already about this flat structure business is we finally get to see Reanne Evans play on liveworldsnooker.tv!
(Oh, and Robbo got a 147. Fair enough. ;-))
[Update: She won! She’s going to China…to play Robbo. Go get ‘im!]
I’ve noted before that on the WS livestream during big tournaments, while the regular BBC feed switches to the studio, we often get to watch the players waiting for the balls to be set up for the next frame, which for me creates kind of a fascinating Zen thing sometimes. Well, after much recording through the World Championships, I can now present my first edited snooker video: Snooker Players Waiting. Hope you like it.
Watch for Ali. He kind of ends up the star, but you may find your own.
Okay, so the Worlds are over, and frankly, I think the whole thing was fucking amazing. I talked on the phone with Matt after Ronnie won, and he was still a little shell-shocked. He knows what an achievement this was for his hero (and his top three ever with Alex Higgins and Steve Davis), but Ronnie himself was talking like it was just a very nice thing. Grownup Ronnie still had his head together in terms of the bigger picture - almost freakish when you consider how all athletes and teams react to winning a World Championship - and it’s something Matt especially is learning from, having also a history of being up and down like…well, Ronnie said it. ;-) We also agreed that the final would not have been the classic it was without Barry Hawkins, who represents the good that can come from the schedule changes the Big Barry (Hearn) has made, building himself up PTC-by-PTC, putting in the miles and the money, and working his ass off to earn his place and then end up challenging The Best. Hawk made Rocket work, Rocket made Hawk work, and that’s what a great snooker match should be. But the guys in the 20s and below in the rankings need to remember that this time a couple years ago, Hawk was one of them, and anyone who makes it onto The Tour has those opportunities. (No, this doesn’t mean we’ve drunk Bazza’s Kool-Aid, not entirely. You know us, right?)
Anyway, so who is this weird-looking guy in that video up there? As I was watching the liveworldsnooker feed, I wasn’t seeing the stuff the BBC was putting on between frames, but I saw on Twitter a lot of people slagging this comedian who was doing some sort of a bit on snooker. When I talked to Matt afterward, he was thrilled to tell me it was one of our faves, Andy Zaltzman, who with John Oliver runs the brilliant podcast The Bugle - which, though it’s international, makes a point to throw in snooker references every couple episodes, to our delight. So worlds collided for us! Now the bit is on YouTube, I got to see it and declare it Classic Andy, awash in puns and metaphors. We’re so glad he got to get his snooker on for more than a few seconds for once - and on the BBC in primetime! Hoorah Zaltor the Magnificent!
Now snooker is over and we can get some damn work done for the next couple months. Whew.
After his win over Ricky Walden in the Worlds semi-final, liveworldsnooker.tv followed Barry Hawkins back to his dressing room with coach Terry Griffiths and SWSA poobah (and great guy - we met him in October!) Paul Mount. Ricky soon came back to congratulate them. All class everywhere.
If you haven’t subscribed to the fairly new World Snooker YouTube channel yet, do so because it’s actually quite good. (See? I give them props when they do stuff right.) To me, this video is about two things: of course it’s about the crowd reaction to prodigal son Ronnie O’Sullivan as he faces Ali Carter in their 2012 World Final rematch (especially in comparison to #1-ranked Mark Selby). But it’s also about MC Emeritus Rob Walker doing his thing. He’s an odd bird, Rob, but he gives it his all.
Like Barry Hawkins is “Eagle-Eye” now? Jeez, Rob - don’t mess up the easiest player nickname ever…