It’s been a quiet enough week on the baize with no big snooker event taking place but there’s still plenty to review from the last week in the sport.
Snooker Loopy, Nuts are we
World Snooker announced a few days ago that a new Snooker Radio service would be launched in time for next week’s English Open in Crawley, giving “fans around the world the chance to keep up with the latest news and results.”
“Snooker Radio will be available…for free, and also on a second channel on the commentary earpieces on sale at the venue in Crawley.
“Presented by expert analysts Hector Nunns and Michael McMullan, Snooker Radio will include commentary from table two at the 19.com English Open as well as information on latest scores and results on the other tables, plus live interviews with players and other guests.”
Fans can enjoy the new service from anywhere in the world simply by visiting the World Snooker website from the start of the tournament.
It’s an interesting concept and perhaps somewhat surprising that it hasn’t been trialled in the past.
The likes of tennis and golf, two sports that also rely heavily on visual aid, have successfully reached the masses via radio, so there’s no reason to suggest that snooker couldn’t do the same.
Getting in skilled journalists like Nunns and McMullan, who is an experienced radio personality in Ireland, will help to strengthen its cause.
It will be interesting to see how polished it is from the off, because the whole idea could very much go either way in terms of it being popular.
Nevertheless, it’s good to see World Snooker breaking from the norm and trying something a little different in an effort to make the sport, including its characters, more approachable.
Championship League Commences
The only big snooker event of sorts that took place on the Main Tour this week was the Championship League.
Neil Robertson and Stuart Bingham respectively emerged from Groups 1 and 2 to book their spots in March’s Winners’ Group.
It was a fitting end to an unusual few days for Robertson, who last Friday suffered a comical travelling mishap that resulted in his forfeiture from the World Open.
Scheduled to play a preliminary round fixture against Ian Burns at the Barnsley Metrodome in South Yorkshire, the Australian somehow managed to find himself driving in the direction of little-known Barnsley village in Gloucestershire instead.
Robertson found Leicester safely enough for Monday’s Championship League opener and proved that he at least knows his way around a snooker table.
For Bingham, victory in Group 2 will have done his confidence the world of good heading into the defence of his English Open crown next week.
The 43 year-old, who is 16/1 with Betway98 to retain the title, opens his account in Crawley against Poland’s Kacper Filipiak.
Andrew Pagett Wins on Challenge Tour
The third event of the 2019/20 Challenge Tour was completed last week at the Northern Snooker Centre in Leeds.
Andrew Pagett edged Robbie McGuigan, Mark Allen’s stepson, 3-0 to win the final and collect the £2,000 top prize.
Pagett had earlier defeated the likes of fellow former professionals Sanderson Lam and Zak Surety in close deciders.
The victory sends the Welshman to first place in the Challenge Tour rankings, with seven events still to be completed on the series.
The player in top spot at the end of the season is guaranteed a two-year card on the Main Tour, while those ranked from second to ninth enter a play-off competition for an additional pro ticket.
As mentioned, the next big snooker event on the calendar is the English Open.
The first Home Nations tournament of the campaign gets under way on Monday with the majority of marquee names in action, including reigning Betway UK champion Ronnie O’Sullivan.
Click here to view the draw (Times: CET)