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 The Scottish Masters
 World Championships Form Guide

Recently an interesting aspect to the Scottish Masters struck me, the last four men in the tournament were all English. Peter Ebdon, David Gray, Nigel Bond and the eventual winner, Stephen Lee were the English men in question.

The reason that this statistic even caused a stir of notice from me is that if anyone from outside the British Isles or from one of the other home countries does well at anything there nationality always seems to make it onto line one of the story.

I was pleased that Snooker had an upsurge in Scotland after the arrival of Stephen Hendry. Prior to his debut in 1985, the only players to make an impact were Ian Black, Murdo McCloud, Jim Donnelly and of course Walter Donaldson in the 1940’s.

After Mr Hendry’s raid on the ranking tournament’s filtered back North of the border, a new breed of Scot’s player began to emerge, such Players as Alan McManus and John Higgins quickly followed suit.

Now the game is also a successful hunting ground for Welsh players too such as Mark Williams and Mathew Stevens, these two players are following in the illustrious footsteps of the great Welsh triumvirate of Ray Reardon, Terry Griffiths and Doug Mountjoy.

Now that the game is open, I think that it is only fair to recognise the international aspect of it. When you look at the top thirty-two, you see that there are several Thai players, a player from Malta, a prominent player from Hong Kong and Ken Doherty from the Republic of Ireland.

If we do decide to take pride in the international influx in the modern game, we should also not be ashamed to recognise the achievements of the English players, after all for the next couple of weeks Ronnie O’Sullivan, from England is World Champion, the first Englishman since, John Parrott to lift the cup in eleven years. Well-done Ronnie and good luck to all the players for this years tournament, and may the best man win, wherever he is from.

Surely in sport, it is good sportsmanship to positively recognise the achievement of the best players over a major tournament, regardless of their home country, but if they happen to be English and proud of it, that should be OK too.

Perhaps the time has come for an overseas player to win at the Crucible once again. Perhaps someone from Thailand is due a good run or someone from mainland Europe.

I feel sure that there will be shocks along the way this year as there is in the early part of the tournament every year. At the same time, I feel that the winner will be one of the following players who have won tournaments this season.

  • Stephen Lee
  • John Higgins
  • Stephen Hendry
  • Mark Williams
  • Paul Hunter
  • Ronnie O’ Sullivan

Of the outsiders, some names stand out:

  • Ali Carter
  • Peter Ebdon
  • Mathew Stevens

We will all have the answer of course in seventeen days, but it is quite good fun to speculate.

I plan to be glued to the television throughout the entirety of the tournament and regardless of the nationality of the eventual winner will enjoy the tournament as it is snookers showpiece event and is always a credit to the sport.

David Smith


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