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Ssb - it's christmas time...

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  • Ssb - it's christmas time...

    With the greatest respect to the Haikou World Open qualifiers I’ve seen quite enough snooker for one year and written more than enough about it.

    2012 was a year in which snooker’s major titles were shared around between an elite group of players who, under any format or system, would be the best.

    Ronnie O’Sullivan, focused throughout the 17-day Crucible marathon, won a fourth world title.

    Neil Robertson, who has developed into one of snooker’s finest big occasion performers, captured the Masters.

    Mark Selby, whose capacity to dig deep in matches when many others would have lost heart is his great strength, won the UK Championship.

    Selby thus returned to the no.1 position assumed by Judd Trump, who won the new International Championship.

    Trump had lost to a rejuvenated John Higgins in a gripping Shanghai Masters final which reaffirmed the Scot’s ability to play his very best under pressure.

    There were ranking event wins too for Mark Allen, Ding Junhui, Peter Ebdon, Ricky Walden and Barry Hawkins.

    There were big breaks, pressure clearances, unbelievable misses and all the drama and excitement our game is capable of conjuring up.

    Above all, it’s been busy. Make no mistake, reports of snooker’s death have been greatly exaggerated.

    The sport now has a very solid financial base and is expanding into hitherto unthinkable markets around the world, with more to be explored in the years to come. It would be nice if the media would recognise this now and again.

    Before the UK Championship there was a story on the BBC website, whose coverage of snooker is at best sporadic, asking if Trump could rescue the sport.

    Rescue it from what exactly? Having a record number of tournaments? Or record prize money? Or record global television audience figures?

    There are still many in the game, some players included, for whom the glass is eternally half empty but by any objective assessment snooker is in robust health heading into 2013.

    There have always been moans and groans, often with justification, sometimes for no other reason than people like moaning and groaning.

    But the game goes on. It continues to challenge the players and fascinate those who enjoy watching it.

    And snooker fans are now much better served online than in years gone by, particularly through the wealth of snooker blogs and sites that have popped up in recent times. These are written almost entirely by people spending their own time and in some cases money trying to help spread the snooker world, and for this they deserve respect.

    There’s been much to write about. 2012 saw some superb snooker matches. Among them was O’Sullivan’s recovery against Stephen Maguire in the German Masters final. There was Ali Carter’s win over Trump from 12-9 down in the second round of the World Championship. There was Higgins’s recovery from 7-2 down to pip Trump in Shanghai.

    The greatest of them all, Stephen Hendry, made a dignified exit from the stage he once owned, retiring from competitive play at the Crucible. O’Sullivan has also walked away, perhaps permanently.

    Those who remain, and who aspire to the achievements of these two great champions, have a responsibility not just to entertain on table but to represent snooker professionally. Some do it better than others but it was ever thus.

    They deserve respect for their talents. Television is the game's shop window but the players keep the shop in business.

    What remains true is that snooker, like life itself, is a land of opportunity: go out and grab it and make your dreams come true. Don't blame others if it doesn't happen.

    It’s all there for the taking in 2013. Until then, Merry Christmas everyone and all the best for the New Year.


  • #2
    My 4 favourite moments for 2012:

    1. Hendry's final 147
    2. Neil Robertson (Master win)
    3. Higgins (2-7 comeback)
    4. Barry Hawkins (Goldfield's win)
    My favourite players: Walter Lindrum (AUS), Neil Robertson (AUS), Eddie Charlton (AUS), Robby Foldvari (AUS), Vinnie Calabrese (AUS), Jimmy White, Stephen Hendry, Alex Higgins, Ronnie O'Sullivan, Dominic Dale and Barry Hawkins.
    I dream of a 147 (but would be happy with a 100)