Snooker Convention



Snooker Convention
Snooker; Face to Face with the Fans and it’s Heritage

I find it interesting that Snooker fans often talk in the most glowing terms about certain players and seem to totally disregard the achievements and abilities of other players from previous era’s altogether.

I remember John Spencer playing Jimmy White in a tournament some years ago, at one point he needing five snookers to win, John managed to achieve three of them and a free-ball and apparently calmly went on to clear the table and steal the frame on the black. I still have this frame of Snooker on video and watch it from time to time because it highlights the contrasting styles of two generations of players so well. John refused to give up the frame while Jimmy was so eager to get on with the next that he threw away the present frame that he was involved in.

John Spencer won the world championship three times while Jimmy as has been well documented has yet to lift the coveted trophy even though he has managed to appear in six finals.

Ronnie O’Sullivan often demonstrates a similar impatience to get on with the next frame and has even conceded frames that he could have won in the hope, I suppose of producing an enhanced performance in the next frame.

I also remember Terry Griffiths facing Steve Davis, at the time “the best player on the planet” in the Lada Classic final of 1982. This final came down to the very last black, Steve had fought back admirably in the final and was level at eight frames to eight in a best of seventeen games final. With just the pink and black left on the table Steve potted an incredible pink from distance into a baulk pocket and was left with a very awkward black. Steve bravely went for the black only to see it wobble in the jaws and head for the opposite top pocket. 

Now this for me was the crucial part of the frame as I am sure it was for Steve and Terry, Terry came to the table with the cue ball almost touching the side cushion with the black almost straight into the opposite pocket. This shot would have been difficult in front of your friends at the local club but in front of a television audience and an auditorium full of spectators with a large cheque awaiting and the chance to beat the best, the pressure must have been immense. If Terry had missed the pot, he would have been known as a person that crumbles when the pressure is on but to his eternal credit he potted the ball and lifted the trophy. Terry also won one world professional title and appeared in another world final and won many other major titles including I think three Masters titles.

I am fortunate to have both played, at a very amateur level and watched Snooker live and on television for many years, the modern fans I think have little knowledge of the rich heritage that Snooker and indeed Billiards has in this country. I feel that more should be done to safeguard and keep this heritage alive for future generations.

My point in writing this piece is that I would like to make a plea for a more creative and perhaps down to earth solution to the above mentioned shortcoming to be considered. I would like to see more recognition given to players for their achievements and the role they played in making Snooker, the big business that it is today. Not just a few lines in the current world champions book explaining how he was inspired to take up the game after seeing player X win a tournament in style.

I have recently seen a television programme to commemorate the 35th anniversary of Star Trek the American, science fiction television series originally made in the 1960’s.

Every year Star Trek fans gather together at conventions to meet stars from the shows, purchase memorabilia and have a good time, these conventions take place in this country as well as America and the American stars often come over to this country to appear. Imagine a senior’s Snooker competition, where all the senior players were in attendance. Perhaps doing trick shot routines, signing autographs, telling stories, giving talks with video footage from key matches, playing frames against selected fans and perhaps selling authorised related items in a convention centre or large hotel perhaps even raising money for charity. 

If this event was promoted effectively and run for the fans rather than purely for business people I think that it would bring the game back to the people.

At Star Trek conventions there is always a trade hall dealing in items such as posters, video’s etc so there’s a legitimate place for traders to make a few quid and for collectors of a certain person’s merchandise to get a hold of what they want. This practise could also be incorporated and perhaps the heritage room run by Roger Lee could have a travelling exhibition space. I would personally like to attend the type of event that I have described and feel that younger players could be invited along to coaching workshop thereby investment in the future of our sport could also take place.

Perhaps Sir Clive Everton the legendary commentator and writer could attend as guest of honour and chair a debate on the future of Snooker, or even Mr Memory Snooker’s own statto Phil Yates could take on all comers in a charity quiz around who did what and when. Maybe he could solve the mystery of how Steve Davis went from having no nickname to having more than anybody, including “The Ginger magician”, “Golden Balls”, “Romford slim”, “The Romford Robot”, “Mr Interesting”, “The Nugget”, or as he is referred to in my local Snooker club “Stevie D”. 

What type of event would you like to see that currently does not take place? Please feel free to e-mail with your suggestions.

David Smith