I find it interesting that
Snooker fans often talk in the most glowing terms about certain players and
seem to totally disregard the achievements and abilities of other players from
previous eras altogether.
I remember John Spencer playing
Jimmy White in a tournament some years ago, at one point he needing five
snookers to win, John managed to achieve three of them and a free-ball and
apparently calmly went on to clear the table and steal the frame on the black.
I still have this frame of Snooker on video and watch it from time to time
because it highlights the contrasting styles of two generations of players so
well. John refused to give up the frame while Jimmy was so eager to get on with
the next that he threw away the present frame that he was involved in.
John Spencer won the world
championship three times while Jimmy as has been well documented has yet to
lift the coveted trophy even though he has managed to appear in six finals.
Ronnie OSullivan often
demonstrates a similar impatience to get on with the next frame and has even
conceded frames that he could have won in the hope, I suppose of producing an
enhanced performance in the next frame.
I also remember Terry Griffiths
facing Steve Davis, at the time "the best player on the planet" in the Lada
Classic final of 1982. This final came down to the very last black, Steve had
fought back admirably in the final and was level at eight frames to eight in a
best of seventeen games final. With just the pink and black left on the table
Steve potted an incredible pink from distance into a baulk pocket and was left
with a very awkward black. Steve bravely went for the black only to see it
wobble in the jaws and head for the opposite top pocket.
Now this for me was the crucial
part of the frame as I am sure it was for Steve and Terry, Terry came to the
table with the cue ball almost touching the side cushion with the black almost
straight into the opposite pocket. This shot would have been difficult in front
of your friends at the local club but in front of a television audience and an
auditorium full of spectators with a large cheque awaiting and the chance to
beat the best, the pressure must have been immense. If Terry had missed the
pot, he would have been known as a person that crumbles when the pressure is on
but to his eternal credit he potted the ball and lifted the trophy. Terry also
won one world professional title and appeared in another world final and won
many other major titles including I think three Masters titles.
I am fortunate to have both
played, at a very amateur level and watched Snooker live and on television for
many years, the modern fans I think have little knowledge of the rich heritage
that Snooker and indeed Billiards has in this country. I feel that more should
be done to safeguard and keep this heritage alive for future generations.
My point in writing this piece
is that I would like to make a plea for a more creative and perhaps down to
earth solution to the above mentioned shortcoming to be considered. I would
like to see more recognition given to players for their achievements and the
role they played in making Snooker, the big business that it is today. Not just
a few lines in the current world champions book explaining how he was inspired
to take up the game after seeing player X win a tournament in style.
I have recently seen a
television programme to commemorate the 35th anniversary of Star
Trek the American, science fiction television series originally made in the
Every year Star Trek fans gather
together at conventions to meet stars from the shows, purchase memorabilia and
have a good time, these conventions take place in this country as well as
America and the American stars often come over to this country to appear.
Imagine a seniors Snooker competition, where all the senior players were
in attendance. Perhaps doing trick shot routines, signing autographs, telling
stories, giving talks with video footage from key matches, playing frames
against selected fans and perhaps selling authorised related items in a
convention centre or large hotel perhaps even raising money for charity.
If this event was promoted
effectively and run for the fans rather than purely for business people I think
that it would bring the game back to the people.
At Star Trek conventions there
is always a trade hall dealing in items such as posters, videos etc so
theres a legitimate place for traders to make a few quid and for
collectors of a certain persons merchandise to get a hold of what they
want. This practise could also be incorporated and perhaps the heritage room
run by Roger Lee could have a travelling exhibition space. I would personally
like to attend the type of event that I have described and feel that younger
players could be invited along to coaching workshop thereby investment in the
future of our sport could also take place.
Perhaps Sir Clive Everton the
legendary commentator and writer could attend as guest of honour and chair a
debate on the future of Snooker, or even Mr memory Snookers own statto
Phil Yates could take on all comers in a charity quiz around who did what and
when. Maybe he could solve the mystery of how Steve Davis went from having no
nickname to having more than anybody, including "The Ginger magician", "Golden
Balls", "Romford slim", "The Romford Robot", "Mr Interesting", "The Nugget", or
as he is referred to in my local Snooker club "Stevie D".
What type of event would you like to see that
currently does not take place? Please feel free to e-mail with your