Just awful?…

Back in March…

Stephen Maguire’s name wasn’t even on the qualifications list for the Coral Tour Championship.

Maguire battled hard and got his rewards…

But since the chaos of the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown, one of the qualifiers Ding Junhui decided to withdraw from the event on safety grounds.

The next name on the list was Stephen Maguire.

And what a week for the 39-year-old it’s turned out to be.

He started the week without any real expectation as he hadn’t played he said properly for three months, and then, knocked in six tons, a record in a best of 17.

He said that was a one-off fluke.

Within three days, that record was matched by Shaun Murphy.

And now, the Scot finds himself in the final after having battled hard against the current World Champion and World no 1 Judd Trump, who was vying for a seventh ranking title in Milton Keynes.

A grind…

Maguire told ITV after: “I’m over the over the moon.”

He added: “It wasn”t that pretty to watch or play but it’s a fight out there sometimes.”

It was a grind early on as they went into the evening session 4 – 4 and the evening session went much like the first with nip and tuck snooker.

Judd Trump
Feeling the heat: Judd Trump

Both men weren’t at their best but at the final mid-session interval, Maguire upped his game and won the last three frames from 6 – 6 to book his place in line to win 250K in the final.

Big paydays…

That would be Maguire’s biggest payday since winning a ranking major in 2004 where he pocketed 70K.

Maguire earlier won the World Six Reds and bagged 105K in the 2019 edition. He stands to win 150K in the TC, and, on top, 100K bonus for the Coral Cup.

Judd Trump, 30, was kicking himself after, and, clearly disappointed, he lashed out over the playing conditions.

He added: “It’s too hot to play snooker.”

“I struggled the whole tournament really. The conditions were poor, that’s why the standard was so bad.”

Stephen Hendry is known for pulling no punches in his assessments of matches. He loves players knocking in tons.

During the break, seven times World Champion Stephen Hendry pulled no punches about the standard in the match, considering previous matches had seen record tons.

He said: “It was just awful.”

The other semi-final between Mark Allen, who knocked out Shaun Murphy, who made six tons and still lost, will play Mark Selby.


Snooker’s Blue Ribbon Event Hangs in Balance…

And this week’s Tour Championship in Llandudno has been postponed until July, due to the rapidly viral deadly Coronavirus outbreak.

The snap announcement came from World Snooker Tour this morning that the penultimate ranking event of the season would be potentially played later on in the year at the end of July (21-26th).

Originally, the event in Wales was going to be played behind closed doors – but government advice yesterday has changed the whole framework of sporting events for the next weeks/months.

The Crucible
The World Championships at the Crucible hang in the balance regarding whether it will be postponed or even canceled!

The statement read on the WST website: “We appreciate this is very short notice and a disappointment for the fans and the television audience, however, the assessment could only be made at short notice after yesterday’s announcement from the government which came at 5pm.

The box office at Venue Cymru in Llandudno will contact ticket holders . Those tickets will be transferred automatically to the rescheduled dates. Fans who are unable to attend in July can contact the box office after April 1st for a refund.”

Announcements on future events including the World Championship will be made in due course, with all scenarios to be considered depending on further government advice.

The World Snooker Championships hang in the balance as advice from UK government was for people to avoid social gatherings such as pubs, clubs, theatres and other venues and just go out to get food and essential items.

On the Crucible Theatre website, it says that ALL shows will be postponed until April 5th with ongoing reviews following on from government advice. The theatre also hosts the iconic snooker event played each year there since 1977.

The statement reads: “For performances from 5 April onwards, we will continue to review and follow recommendations from the relevant authorities and will keep in touch with ticket holders. There is no further news on World Snooker at this time. We continue to liaise with the team at World Snooker and will provide an update on plans for this year’s tournament as soon as it is available.”

They add: “We appreciate that these are worrying times for many people and thank you for your understanding as we continue to follow all available advice. We are sorry for any disappointment our closure will cause, but we are committed to playing our part in helping people stay safe. Please look after yourselves and each other.”