With the semi-finals in the Shanghai Masters on the horizon this weekend, let’s have a quick recap of what’s been happening in snooker over the last seven days.
Six of the Best
Time moves quickly in a snooker season and Stephen Maguire’s triumph in the Six Red World Championship already feels like old news.
The Scot got his hands on the trophy for a second time last Saturday, adding to his 2014 title with an entertaining 8-6 defeat of countryman John Higgins in the final.
Maguire’s reward for glory in Bangkok was pretty sweet, a cool four million baht cheque – worth about £106,000 – being offered to him in prize money.
The six red format doesn’t really get a fair go, which is a shame because it can be an entertaining game to watch.
There’s definitely a place for it on the calendar and having it at least once a year shouldn’t bother anyone.
Maguire has proven to be somewhat of a specialist and probably wouldn’t say no to a couple of other tournaments being added under the same guise.
Trump’s Streak is Over
Ronnie O’Sullivan, Neil Robertson, Mark Allen, and Shaun Murphy have emerged unscathed to reach the semi-finals in the Shanghai Masters this week in China.
The tournament’s biggest stories both occurred on Thursday, with O’Sullivan staging a remarkable comeback to deny Kyren Wilson in a decider and Allen ending Judd Trump’s winning streak.
The latter had won his last 13 outings, which included capturing silverware in both the World Championship at the end of last season and the International Championship during the early months of this one.
Allen is the kind of player who doesn’t care too much for reputation but his 6-1 victory was made all the easier thanks to a rare poor performance from the world number one.
Meanwhile, no home grown players managed to make a quarter-final appearance even though the 24-man event began with a total of nine Chinese competitors.
Click here to view the Shanghai Masters draw (Times: CET)
Pay for the Lights
Snooker bodies have oft been guilty of a lack of transparency but World Snooker is really trying hard this season to prove themselves worthy of the title.
Twice in the last week there have been instances of situations where the sport’s commercial arm could have been clearer about a tournament’s set-up.
The prize money for the Six Red World Championship wasn’t revealed until the eve of the final.
Then, people were left in the dark as to which Chinese players were going to complete the Shanghai Masters line-up as wildcards.
Speculation online ensured that the majority understood there was a qualifying tournament happening last weekend but official details were nowhere to be seen.
What’s so difficult, in this age of communication, to have relatively simple things like this out in the open?
It didn’t really help that these instances happened only a few weeks after the much criticised Paul Hunter Classic, a tournament that was downgraded from ranking status to a 16-man field that nobody had any clue of the criteria for which players were selected.
It’s somewhat concerning that between January and March next year, the calendar on World Snooker’s website currently stipulates that there are two cases of a “possible ranking event”.
When we’ll get to hear about the outcome of those discussions is anyone’s guess.
The semi-finals in the Shanghai Masters take place on Friday and Saturday with two best of 19 belters to look forward to.
O’Sullivan takes on Robertson for a final berth after close pals Allen and Murphy do battle.
There is a top prize of £200,000 so there’s bound to be a bit of tension and drama as the action unfolds.
Elsewhere, the UK Women’s Championship returns to the Northern Snooker Centre in Leeds this weekend.
Ng On Yee is the reigning champion but is not competing this year, which makes world number one Reanne Evans the heavy favourite to add to her collection of trophies.
Click here to view the UK Women’s Championship draw (Times: CET)