Advantages Hearne is back
Disadvantages Boring without Ronnies antics..
The "Pukka-Pies" UK Open Championships??? Oh how snooker has fallen from grace. Pukka-Pies to me is that ubiquitous and faded advert you see in the chip shop next to the Mushy peas, the one with the young atractive couple in bed enjoying the said pie, presumbly after great sex (up north, before sex, of course), not the people who should be sponsoring our second most presitigious snooker championships.To lower the tone even more all the players were given some tasty 'Pukka Pies' pies to enjoy during the tournament and duly obliged, Mark Williams, by the look, managing to get through all of the other players pies before being knocked out in round two. Now theres someone who has let himself go. The winner would get their weight in Pukka Pies to go along with their cheque.
The tournament has had many different sponsors over the years including Super Crystalate, Coral, Tennents, StormSeal, Royal Liver Assurance, Liverpool Victoria, PowerHouse, Travis Perkins, Maplin Electronics, products aimed at the retired who enjoy emproving their house like they enjoy snooker, that demographic reflected by the venues the tournment has been played at, Bournemouth, Blackpool and Preston rest home central. This years venue of Telford is hardly sexy. Snooker was never glamarous but its pretty dull today.The game is in upheavel right now, Sir Rodney Walker and his right hand men recently usurped as head of the game in a rowdy annual meeting. Because three guys were voted off the board, Steve Davis and Barry Hearn will take over the game in the intrim and face a vote on December 16th.
The rebellion is over shringking Prize money and the sponsors all but dissapeared, the smoking ban and banking collapse to much for the game to deal with and so the players have had had enough with Walker, hoping magic man Hearn can roll the back the years and bring back the good times. Hearn is the man who has even made fishing popular on cable TV!Davis is talking big and calling for the game to be more global,which could mean the World Championships going to China and so much bigger prize money, this issue believed to be at the heart of the players concerns over Walkers five year plan. They wanted to sign with China for the World Championship but Walker patrioticly went with the BBC.
The first UK Championships was held in 1977 with £2 grand for the winner and the way its going now it could be back to that level very soon, only 70k for the winner last year. The lesser players are saying they cant live on their wages anymore and starting to get part-time jobs like they did in the 1970s. If you are bombed out early in the big four events your season is screwed if your not top 16.After Cliff Thorburn won the World Championships in 1981 the UK Championship was still Brit`s only and so could no longer ignore the serge of Commonwealth talent. In 1984 it became an open event, the decision coinciding with snookers peak.
Over the years its been dominated by Davis in the 1980s and Hendry in the 90s (the two meeting in the first round this year), Davis winning six out of his nine finals, Hendry six out of his eleven, but the latter over nearly two decades.
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