In reply to Mr Everton's article las seasons in
One event that occurred last Snooker season
stuck with me in a way that revealed some disturbing issues relating to
performance and the aftermath of matches.
The event that I am referring to was the
infamous match with Ronnie OSullivan and Quinten Hann. I am concerned
that this match inadvertently penalised the gambling fraternity which forms a
significant portion of Snookers following.
I have spoken to a number of people who feel
that Quinten let them down for not trying in the same way that perhaps a Jockey
might be accused of not pushing his mount at a strategic point in a race thus
allowing a competitor to take the prize.
I am not accusing Quinten of cheating myself but
feel sorry for those punters who might have placed bets on him to either win or
perhaps take a specific number of frames based on reading previous form. The
way that Quinten played and chose his shots meant that the form book was
quickly rendered useless, when the charge is levelled at certain players for
bringing the game into disrepute I wonder whether Quintens behaviour is
included in this definition?
Speaking of reputation, it might be worthwhile
canvassing several Snooker gamblers and asking the question, would you
consider betting on either Quinten Hann or Fergal OBrien?
Fergal may not be blessed with the same degree
of natural talent as Quinten, in the accepted sense. But he is blessed by a
high degree of tenacity and fighting spirit, which means that you as a punter
would be sure that your money would be given a serious chance by the
application of the afore mentioned battling qualities in the pressure cooker
atmosphere of competitive match Snooker.
Perhaps some players believe that against
certain opposition they have absolutely no chance and therefore consider that
trying at all flies in the face of common sense? I would like to take this
opportunity to name some players who do not subscribe to this view and to
illustrate how we, the paying public have benefited.
Tony Knowles if he had not tried in 1982 against
Steve Davis the final may not have resulted in the win for Alex Higgins that
has become part of Snooker folk law. As we all know, if someone like Steve
Davis in his heyday squeezed through the first round at Sheffield, he was sure
to get stronger as the tournament went on.
If Dennis Taylor had crumbled in 1985 and
started smashing the pack from behind at 0-7 down we would not have been
treated to a final black ball shoot out watched by 18.5 million people, and
another piece of history would not have taken its place in the following years.
If Quinten Hann did his talking with the cue and
not with flamboyant gestures about the futility of it all, we as paying
customers might have been treated to the sight of him lifting his first major
trophy and then as the floodgates had been opened many more to follow.
I wonder whether people with inside information
close to the players get a feeling of when to bet on their associate and when
to leave it alone?
I once heard a story about a top player who lost
his cue in the post, apparently the buzz went around that due to this factor
and the fact that he was playing a very capable and competitive player in the
next round, perhaps it would be a good idea to bet against the player who
had lost his cue.
Ironically the top player in question was John
Parrott and due to John Parris finding that he had a virtual replica available
took this cue in to the match and emerged victorious.
I heard that due to the fact of this story
getting around inside the Snooker fraternity, it cost a well-known gambler
£15,000 because he assumed that John Parrott couldnt possibly beat
Ken Doherty with a new cue. Well done again to the tougher competitor coming
through on the day despite the odds.
Returning to the example that I used about
Jockeys I believe that they are fined if it is proven that they did not
try sufficiently at least in part to make sure that the reputation of the sport
is as clean as possible. It might be a good idea to have a serious word with Mr
Hann prior to the new season getting under way in earnest so that the faith of
the Snooker gambler might be restored a little?