There may have been a mini storm blowing over Sheffield, but…
Inside the Crucible…
QUALIFIER Gary Wilson fired himself into the quarter-finals of the 2019 Betfred World Snooker Championship.
Wilson, 33, from Wallsend, pulled off a dramatic two frames from 10 – 10 to go 12 – 10. It looked like Selby was in for a comeback but steely Wilson knocked in a tremendous 90 plus break to book a place in his first quarter-finals at the World Championship.
Sheffield saw sunshine and showers, and although it was hotting up inside the Crucible, fans outside were just as tense and hooked to the conclusion as those lucky enough to get tickets inside.
If you’re ever lucky enough to get tickets inside the venue, you will witness the tension, the nerve, the steel of players as they play for snooker’s most coveted professional prize, the World Championship trophy, first won by Joe Davis back in 1927.
But, even if you’re not lucky enough to put your bum down on a seat inside the up to 1000 capacity theatre of dreams, then being outside, which SnookerZone was, is just as tense, nervy and exhilarating as being inside!
Fans cheered as Wilson made the frame-winning break and knocked the former World number one out of the tournament, another big scalp to have bitten the dust since amateur James Cahill knocked out Ronnie O’Sullivan on Tuesday early on!
What makes this more sweet for Wilson is the last time he played Selby was in the China Open a few seasons ago in the final and lost.
The Tyneside Terror, as he is nicknamed, throughout this match certainly terrorised Mark Selby with some outstanding breaks and some clever tactical safety play.
There have only been two qualifiers to have won the World title – Terry Griffiths in 1979, and Shaun Murphy in 2005.
Yet, Gary Wilson, a somewhat longshot may well have taken the confidence in that match with Selby to dare dream of being the third qualifier to lift the coveted title?
Self-Belief can be a powerful thing…
WATCH WILSON’S PRESS CONFERENCE
BELIEVE YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO BE THE BEST LIKE GARY WILSON?
First, you need a good coach to get you on the right track…
Go below to read some interviews with top coaches and then BOOK a lesson with one and get on the right track…
SnookerZone has been enjoying a few days away at the Theatre of Dreams the Crucible Theatre and the CueZone in Sheffield – and we’ve been soaking up the atmosphere in and around the venue.
If you’re a snooker fan and you’ve not yet stepped foot on Sheffield soil to experience the atmosphere and buzz of this World Championship snooker experience, then, what are you waiting for? Be bold. Be brave. Take the plunge and become hooked on this iconic venue and all it has to offer.
Before we update you on what’s been going on. It’s important to let you know that this blog is not a 24-hour news service and we’re not necessarily a blog that will update every aspect of the pro game. This blog is mainly for interviewing amateur players, the odd professional or ex-professional, and to keep in the loop on amateur scenes as well as provide the odd tips we’ve picked up from coaches and from our own play as a whole.
Stay tuned for more coming interviews wise in the coming weeks after the commotion of the World Championships have ended on Monday May 6th.
What’s been happening in Sheffield at the snooker?
A bit of background first.
The draw started all those weeks ago at the Championship Qualifiers at the English Institute of Sport as 128 players including amateurs, one who is still going in the main event at the Crucible.
James Cahill is still going strong in Sheffield in his second round match against the Scottish fiery Stephen Maguire but it may well be too much for the amateur to take – but you never know.
After the euphoria of reaching the Crucible and knocking out the World number one Ronnie O’Sullivan in a dramatic first-round encounter, the amateur is holding his own. We will post updates on our Facebook on certain happenings going on in Sheffield both on and off the baize in the surrounding areas near to the Crucible. If you haven’t yet already, SEARCH on FACEBOOK for SNOOKERZONE and LIKE our page.
There’s also still time to enter our competition which can be viewed on our Facebook page.
There’s been plenty happening already. To summarise…
James Cahill became the first amateur to qualify for the Crucible and BEAT World number one Ronnie O’Sullivan in the first round…
The longest frame in Crucible history happened in the first round between Luca Brecel and Gary Wilson at 79 minutes, beating the record of Mark Selby and Marco Fu in 2016 at 76 minutes
Mark Williams the World Champion, tweeted yesterday April 26th that he was experiencing chest pains and was in the hospital having tests. They found his heart was OK.
Neil Robertson is safely through to the quarter-finals as a three-time ranking event winner this season. Robertson is for sure one favourite to lift the trophy this year, nine years after his first – could it happen?
Three qualifiers remain so far in Round 2 – including James Cahill. They are Gary Wilson Wilson and China’s Zhou Yuelong, as well as Cahill.
To see any exclusive pictures from the venue, then SEARCH SNOOKERZONE on FACEBOOK and LIKE our page.
Saturday is Day 7 of the event, which started on April 20, and ends on May 6!
We’ll update later on further developments, and for pics, we’ll be posting a few after we come back on Tuesday. But again, if you want to see pics, GO TO THE FACEBOOK PAGE NOW and LIKE SNOOKERZONE…
SnookerZone is blogging from a Sheffield hotel room!
Although there are a lot of great mainstream writers, journalists, commentators, and pundits, snooker will always benefit from new voices, new opinions, and new commentary.
Any sport looking to progress should be open to new voices. This, on the one hand, helps promote the game, but, it also helps to reveal that the sport is not just left in the hands of a few elite…
In this first EXCLUSIVE guest post from a new blogger on the scene, Elliott West, a man with 35-years knowledge of watching the game and being part of it, he explains more on the new wave of snooker writing hitting the sport…
Over to Elliott…
Despite snooker being a major sport with large viewing figures, this has always failed to translate into article space in newspapers. With 20 tournaments now on the tour, both UK and international press publicise no tournaments outside those of the Triple Crown events, the Masters, UK Championship and World Championship. As a fan and avid blogger, this makes me very sad and in my opinion devalues the sport in general. The sport should be admired and followed by many more but this media drought prevents any new audience from being inspired.
Newspapers would argue that there isn’t the interest, outside of when Ronnie O’Sullivan is doing well or has made a media outburst and would point to the internet as a source for snooker information. However, what works better, a source you have to actively search for or the printed word that travels and circulates with the reader. Think of the Metro newspaper in London, for example, this literally read multiple times, largely because the reader disposes of the paper on a tube or train and another person picks it up to read. This is a trick that this market has failed to grasp, they would spend money on articles on multiple football coverage than widen their base by educating the readership on the game, state of play and the players involved in the industry.
Technical Evolution Brings Opportunity…
[bctt tweet=”Bloggers such as myself, are able to open the eyes of the reader and get them to see snooker from another angle, an apt thought seeing as the game is based on angles.” username=”@chrisgaynor”]
When I attend a tournament, I largely get backstage and there is always a press room and multiple photographers at the event yet it does amaze me because where do all these articles and pictures go? It certainly isn’t in the UK press and fans have to rely on largely Eurosport or the World Snooker website to get their information. When I first started watching snooker in the late 1980s, there were only 4 channels and you literally had to flick channels or trail through the Radio and TV Times to find out when the next tournament was on. Now the sport extends the globe from Beijing to London with multiple cable and satellite channels covering tournaments.
FANS CAN NOW VIEW SNOOKER FROM NEW ANGLES
Fortunately, despite this gloomy outlook, there is hope. Blogging sites and forums do provide inside information from events and allow the vast fan base to learn about players past and present, view VT footage and interviews with players and pundits within the sport. Bloggers such as myself, are able to open the eyes of the reader and get them to see snooker from another angle, an apt thought seeing as the game is based on angles. Eurosport has also been largely responsible for opening up the snooker floodgates to a larger market. Many countries across Europe, such as Bulgaria, France and Germany where the sport isn’t widely played but now has an immense viewing audience.
JAMES CAHILL’S snooker dreams have all come true in just two days.
The 23-year-old amateur from Blackpool only yesterday qualified as the first amateur to make history and appear at the Crucible for the first time after winning three best of 19 matches at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield.
But, today, he now knows who he’s going to be playing there – and that’s the 19-major winner and five-times World Champion and World number one Ronnie O’Sullivan in the first round at the iconic venue that has seen some epic dramas since 1977 – on Monday afternoon.
Cahill’s odds on odds checker of beating the Rocket and causing an upset in the first round are 22/1 with the Rocket odds on at 1/25.
Top boss Barry Hearn, who did the draw with Legend John Parrott, a winner in 1991 of the World Championship when he defeated Jimmy White, said that Cahill had everything to gain and nothing to lose.
The amateur is one of several debutants including a string of Chinese players including Tian Pengfei and 19-year-old Luo Honghao, making a debut at the Crucible in his first season as a professional.
Judd Trump, one of three top 16 players whose had a consistent season winning two ranking titles faces a tough first round against the Thai potter Thepchaiya Un-Nooh.
SnookerZone can see a few upsets coming in this year’s first round as the field is top notch with some former World Champions making the cut for the Crucible.
2006 World Champion Graeme Dott will face the 2015 World Champion Stuart Bingham as a qualifier, the second consecutive time Dott has qualified for the event.
YESTERDAY saw the launch of Snooker 19 – the new revolutionary cuesports game which saw World Snooker team up with Ripstone and Lab 42 to create the “definitive snooker gaming experience” on XBox, PC, and Playstation 4 & Nintendo Switch later on in year.
The virtual launch coincided with the conclusion of the real 2019 World Championship qualifiers at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield where 16 qualifiers will now pit their wits against the top 16 players in the World at the iconic snooker venue hosting the World Championships since 1977 the Crucible Theatre starting on Saturday.
Snooker 19 aims to mimic the whole tour scene where players earn those ranking points to move up and players can also earn to buy cues and top equipment to give them that edge over the rest.
“Being big fans of snooker, we’re thrilled to finally bring Snooker 19 to the masses,” said Justin Forrest of Lab42, Game Director of Snooker 19. “This has been a big passion project of ours and the chance to work with World Snooker was a dream come true. We’re confident that we have created the definitive snooker experience, and hope you will agree when you try Snooker 19 yourself.”
Snooker gaming has gone through an evolution. From the days of the Jimmy White Whirlwind game on Atari’s to the early versions of World Championship Snooker on Playstation’s 1, 2 and 3.
There are lots of snooker games now on mobile and tablet, including Pro Snooker 2018/19 and Snooker Live Pro with stars Neil Robertson and Judd Trump. Fans now have a choice of when and where they can pretend to be their favourite stars – but it does beg one question: Will it make kids want to pick up a cue in real time, or will it just keep them hooked in their bedrooms?
For SnookerZone, nothing quite beats playing the real thing…
We’ll review the game in full, when we come back from the real thing in Sheffield in just under two weeks time!
Meanwhile, you can now start enjoying the virtual experience on PC, XBox and Playstation below…
JAMES CAHILL has made history as the first ever amateur who will appear at the Crucible.
The 23-year-old, though an amateur in name, has already knocked some big guns out of professional tournaments this season, such as Mark Selby in York at the UK Championship but will make his debut at the Crucible in Sheffield sometime next week, and it could even be as early as Saturday!
He defeated the other amateur in the final qualifying round Irishman Michael Judge, but Cahill, who is Stephen Hendry’s nephew (not blood-related) will be pumped up for the up to 1000 capacity venue in Sheffield in the next few days.
Rob Walker, the MC who appears on Judgement Day for the Qualifiers, said on Cahill’s historic win at the English Institute of Sport about his debut: “I’m going to get that crowd absolutely pumped up for you….”
Cahill, ironically nicknamed the King’s Nephew, added and joked he was going to go home now and get a haircut ready to look good for the cameras, but said seriously that he would love to play Ronnie O’Sullivan in the Theatre of Dreams, and that may well come true if the draw goes for him tomorrow at 11 AM.
The Blackpool born potter joins 15 others who will have come over a marathon seven days at the English Institute a few miles down the road from the Town Centre where the Crucible is based, having to win three gruelling best of 19s to qualify for the iconic venue which has hosted top snooker players since 1977.
On the other qualifiers who have qualified so far, the likes of Gary Wilson, Zhou Yuelong will be making their second appearances at the venue, within the last three years.
2018 Shootout Champion Michael Georgiou and the 2019 Shootout Champion Thepchaiya Un-Nooh have also qualified for the Crucible.
SnookerZone will list the FULL 16 in due course and update it RIGHT HERE below…STAY TUNED…
James Cahill (amateur)
Anthony McGill (was 7 – 2 down to Robert Milkins!)
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh (defeated 2018 English Amateur Champion Joe O’Connor)
Luo Honghao is 19 and will be making his first debut at the Crucible in his first season as a pro
Tian Pengfei is another Chinese debutant who saw off a valiant comeback from 2005 World Championship runner-up Matthew Stevens…
Li Hang ( He came through a marathon match with Leicester’s flame-haired assassin Ben Woollaston!)
Scotland’s Scott Donaldson came through a marathon of a match against Lu Ning in the final match played at the EIS and it was a decider which Donaldson came through to be the 16th qualifier to book a place as a debutant at the Crucible for the 25-year-old Perth player.
The World Championship is days away and here at SnookerZone, we like to find stories to celebrate this festive occasion that lasts throughout April and beginning of May.
Over the years, the Crucible, the venue for the World Championship since 1977, has seen some iconic snooker, but, also, the in the round Theatre of Dreams and its up to 1000 space capacity has played host to some talented fans, either painters, sketchers, graphic artists and other themed talents all with one common thread: to showcase the sport they love and their own talents (of course).
Jimmy Mole, 43, is one such talent who has been on a mission to showcase the talented snooker champions of past present and future in model form.
Already he’s created miniature models of some of the World’s talent, including…
Stuart Bingham (see model pic below), who rocketed to glory in 2015 to become World Champion
Alex Higgins, the two-time World Champion, most famously for winning the 1982 edition and cradling his baby daughter Lauren in his hands whilst lifting the trophy.
Those are just two of the models Mole has created, and SnookerZone managed to catch up with him for a short interview to find out more…
Naturally, as a snooker fan, Mole grew up with the greats and from the age of nine, watched the likes of Steve Davis, Dennis Taylor, and Jimmy White, and of course, the Hurricane, and his love spiralled from there. He doesn’t play he just loves watching and has been to the Crucible many a time…
Jimmy told SnookerZone how the idea for creating models came about…
“I guess I was looking for a way of combining my design job with snooker and this seemed the ideal option as it was pretty unique. It depends what will happen, it’s out of my hands, it is now on Kickstarter and if it’s something people want they will need to pledge money to make it a reality. They may appear online to buy in the future but they are actually available via KS now! So please pledge!I’ve spent 2.5 years in my spare time – it’s around 120 hours per character I guess from planning to casting. They are made of resin plastic similar to citadel models. I sculpt them on the pc, 3d print a master and then create silicone molds and casts of the master.”
He added on the Kickstarter website: “This project idea came to me in 2016. I was enjoying Xmas at home with my family and, being a fan of snooker I was looking for a way of combining this into my job somehow. I decided right then to make some rough plans and notes – I then proceeded to start getting those ideas and sketches on my computer, over the course of the next 2 years and 4 months I have spent around 500 hours on the 3 miniatures on my days off, weekends, holidays and evenings etc. The last month I have worked on this project full time and tirelessly to get it over the line and present it to people who will hopefully connect with it and pledge towards the campaign.”
A CHALLENGING SNOOKER PROJECT
Jimmy said that creating the 1:16 scale models was a challenge, especially the Alex Higgins one because of the amount of detail involved.
“It was enjoyable to see it finished though,” he added…
Jimmy’s models have had some interest already. The 1979 UK Champion and Snooker Legend John Virgo, now 73, said he would like to see a statue of himself in the future.
Jimmy adds: ” A few other players have said its good – but I’m hoping they will pledge money as players are my main target. A £100 or £200 pledge from some players would really help. Some of the top players could pledge lots more money easily for the top reward as it’s nothing to them.”
[bctt tweet=”It was enjoyable to see it finished though” said Jimmy Mole when creating the model of two-time World Champion Alex Higgins…” username=”@chrisgaynor2″]
The fan from Birmingham is hoping that the project gains some traction on Kickstarter so that the models can become commercially viable. He’s banking his success on the Kickstarter based pledge site…
He said: “It depends on the KS success. If KS is successful the plan is to ship to backers and then make each statue available 1-2 months later in shops/online. But if the KS fails there is no guarantee of them ever becoming available as they are still prototypes (90%) done, but I will struggle to find time to complete as I have a family and will need Full-time work should my project fail.”
He added on the KS website: “I feel so passionate about making this project work. I love the idea of creating the rest of these characters so people can collect them, celebrate them and paint them etc. Snooker isn’t given much of a look in by the news and sports channels nowadays and I think it would be good to get it back on the map and pay homage to the skill it takes to play the game.” (We say hear hear to that!)mbo_
Judgement Day is fast approaching this week at the World Championship qualifiers at the English Institute of Sport as the event reaches its final couple of days before fans will know which 16 have qualified for this year’s Betfred World Championship at the Crucible in Sheffield.
The drama is unfolding nicely as we know for sure that one lucky amateur is guaranteed to walk out at the iconic venue next Saturday for the first time.
That lucky amateur will be either Michael Judge or Stephen Hendry’s nephew James Cahill, as they will play each other in the final qualifying round for a place in the last 32, or what some call the ‘first-round proper’.
Irishman Judge, 44, according to research, actually holds the record for the number of times he’s failed to qualify by reaching the final qualifying round. Hopefully, the former professional, who’s appeared at the Crucible three times, can get a fourth walkout at the Crucible this time around. Cahill, 23, also a former pro, has had a season where in the UK Championship this season as an amateur, he beat former World number one Mark Selby in the first round!
No Ordinary Joe…
2018 English Amateur Champion Joe O’Connor, who’s in his first year as a pro, has made it through to the final qualifying round at the EIS but faces a tough test in the Shootout Champion Thailand’s Thepchaiya Un-Nooh. If O’Connor makes it onto the big stage at the Crucible, it will have been a good season for the 23-year-old debut pro potter from Leicester, who reached a semi-final of a ranking event earlier this season in the Welsh Open.
Women Ng On Yee and Reanne Evans didn’t make it past their first-round meetings, but Hong Kong’s On Yee put up a good fight against the former World Championship semi-finalist Alan McManus losing 10 – 6.
The event continues until Wednesday 17th April…The main event begins on Saturday the 20th April where the 16 qualifiers will have known their fate of which top 16 players they will be playing in the first round proper.
The 2019 World Championship qualifiers are well underway, and here’s a few quick updates going on so far…
Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham currently has a high break of 146, and that’s the 24th 146 in snooker history. Mark Allen and Ronnie O’Sullivan have made 3 146’s in their careers.
Reanne Evans and Ng On Yee are currently playing their matches with Reanne struggling against China’s Zhang Yong. She’s 7 – 1 down and looks like she won’t be progressing further this time.
Ng On Yee is nip and tuck with former World Championship semi-finalist Alan McManus…
Current English Amateur Champion Joe O’Connor breezed past his first-round opponent Joe Swail 10 – 1 awaiting his next round.
Teenager Jackson Page is three frames behind against the Irishman Fergal O’Brien, who, remember was involved in that longest frame in snooker history of just over two hours in the final round of the qualifiers last time around against now top 16 player David Gilbert.
All matches are best of 19 with first to ten with the 16 players who come through having won three best of 19s will qualify for the Crucible starting on the 20th April.
The current World Champion is Mark Williams (see pic).
It’s main event the World Seniors Championship will now be hosted at snooker’s iconic and much-loved venue the Crucible from August this year.
The move means that the 1000 capacity venue will now host both the World Professional Championship and World Seniors Championship four months in between each other as fans will now be able to get their fix of snooker at the iconic venue twice in a year.
Jason Ferguson, Chairman of the WPBSA said: “It’s great news to place the World Seniors Championship in the venue where our legends created their legacy.
“Being able to use the event to also showcase the talents of the women’s and the disability tours sends an important message for our sport and also opens up the dream of playing in the Crucible Theatre for everyone.”
It comes as the World Seniors Masters is currently going on in Sheffield at the Crucible right now, along with the World Championship qualifiers a few miles down the road at the English Institute of Sport near Sheffield Arena.
The new four-day event will also showcase both the World Women’s Snooker tour and World Disability Snooker tour select players as a way of showcasing snooker to a wider audience.
Fans who don’t get to see snooker at the Crucible will now have a chance to choose whether they want to see the Senior Legends in action, or, the current top stars of the game.
Three-time ranking event winner this season Ronnie O’Sullivan has joked in interviews that he is now “ready for the Seniors tour” – keeping people on edge to know what he might do next should he decide to pack in the professional ranks.
However, with winning in his DNA as a pro and a new perspective on snooker via SightRight, the Rocket is far from finished on the pro tour.
[bctt tweet=”Fans who don’t get to see snooker at the Crucible will now have a chance to choose whether they want to see the Senior Legends in action, or, the current top stars of the game.” username=”@chrisgaynor2″]
Aaron Canavan is the current World Seniors Champion.
Cliff Thorburn is currently the World Seniors Masters Champion as the 2019 World Seniors Masters gets underway this week.
The winner of the WSSM gets £7500 and Canavan is playing in the event.
The WSSC event takes place from 15-18 August at the Crucible Theatre Sheffield, home of the annual World Snooker Championship since 1977.
Paul Billington, Director of Culture and Environment at SCC, said: “We’re delighted to bring a second major snooker event to Sheffield, the true home of the sport. Many of the legends who will take part in the ROKiT World Seniors Championship made their name in our iconic Crucible Theatre, where this new tournament will also take place.
“As well as the chance to watch legends from the men’s game, this event showcases women’s and disability snooker at the highest level opening up the game to a whole new audience.
“We look forward to welcoming snooker’s elite and many visiting fans to Sheffield for what promises to be a thrilling showdown.”
The competition will see 20 of snooker’s best-loved personalities play over 12 sessions across four days. Tickets go on sale for all 12 sessions on Thursday 18 April.
Tickets to the women’s and disability sessions can be purchased for just £1.47 with any full price World Seniors ticket.
Tickets will also be available for a VIP meet experience with senior players, that will be held on the final day.