Snooker News

Deserved Success for Lee

The Players Tour Championship Grand Finals ended last night with Stephen Lee emerging victorious to claim his first major trophy in six years.

There is no need to repeat all of what I wrote about the Englishman in the previous article¬†but basically a huge amount of plaudits need to be sent the 37 year-old’s way.

Lee has battled hard ever since Barry Hearn took control of the sport in 2010 and has since returned to the elite bracket in the ranking list and then some.

Indeed, at the next cut-off point at the end of the season Lee will be knocking on the door of the top eight which is a remarkable achievement late on in his career.

Undoubtedly the best and most consistent player in 2012 so far, it is debatable whether or not he will put in a genuine challenge for the World Championship next month.

Without being cruel in any way, the reality is that Lee is overweight and may suffer with stamina with the 17-day marathon in Sheffield.

That said, if he continues to play like he has been over the last couple of months he will be a match for anybody and has proven he is not afraid of any of the top players by whitewashing Neil Robertson and Mark Selby this weekend.

As for the tournament as a whole, I think it is fair to say that it has been a success.

Everyone was pleasantly surprised by the attendances that steadily increased as the week progressed and if it was staged in any other week of the year – and the game’s biggest draw generously decided to turn up – there could have been approaching a full house nearly every day.

Cheltenham and St. Patrick’s Day are two very difficult things to compete with and it is a little surprising that the Bailey Allen Hall was as successful as it was in light of that.

The set-up of the venue and the arena itself was very good and having a tournament in the centre of a young, vibrant city is exactly what the sport needs.

Whether or not Galway will host the PTC Grand Finals again next year or not is one thing, but hopefully big-time snooker can return to the west coast of Ireland next season because the signs of potential that were evident this week are encouraging.

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