Let’s take a look at a few of the stories from the last week, with two ranking events and the English Amateur Championship to dissect.
Robertson’s Run is Rumbled
It has been a remarkable month, let alone week, for the man they call the “Thunder from Down Under”.
Robertson produced electric snooker that saw him reach three ranking event finals on the spin, including last week in Cheltenham when he contested the World Grand Prix title decider against Graeme Dott.
A close 10-8 victory for the Australian ensured that he pocketed a neat £100,000, adding to the £80,000 he nabbed for winning the European Masters at the end of January, and the £35,000 he somewhat disappointingly took home for finishing runner-up at the German Masters in between.
“Home” might be a stretch because Robertson hasn’t been able to see a lot of his young family recently due to the relentless schedule and his equally relentless form.
However, it all came to a sudden halt on Friday when Kyren Wilson, who lost to the 38 year-old at the Centaur last Saturday, overcame an evidently exhausted Robertson with a 5-0 drubbing in the Welsh Open quarter-finals.
The latter, who hasn’t entered next week’s Shoot Out, didn’t seem to mind too much and will be rewarded with a truly well-earned rest over the coming fortnight.
Ronnie’s Rocket is Rumbling
Sticking with the Welsh Open, Wilson’s reward is a semi-final date with four-time champion Ronnie O’Sullivan.
The “Rocket” has been patchy this season but there were signs during his 5-1 thrashing of Mark Selby that he was returning to his best.
It’s good timing too, because before this week began O’Sullivan was outside the provisional top 16 in the Race to the Players Championship rankings list.
The lucrative ranking event in Southport takes place in a couple of weeks and features the highest 16 money earners from this season.
O’Sullivan may be considered the best snooker player ever but that won’t grant him the automatic right to defend his Players Championship crown.
The five-time world champion’s run to the last four in Wales means that he has leapfrogged his way into the final qualifying spot, and the 44 year-old would face world number one Judd Trump in the first round should those positions remain the same.
Of course, O’Sullivan has more pressing matters to deal with and will be focussing on his latest attempt to capture what would be a record-breaking 37th ranking title.
Shaun Murphy and Yan Bingtao face off in the other semi-final at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff today.
Updated provisional ranking lists following day five of the ManBetX #WelshOpen
— Matt (@ProSnookerBlog) February 14, 2020
Hancorn Wins 100th English Amateur Championship
There was a special moment on the amateur scene last weekend as Ben Hancorn triumphed in the 2020 English Amateur Championship – the 100th time that snooker’s longest running competition was played.
Bristol based Hancorn overcame former Ruhr Open champion Rory McLeod 5-3 in the final to lift the iconic trophy and claim the prestigious title that was first contested for in 1916.
The 37 year-old joins an illustrious roll of honour that includes greats of the sport such as John Pulman, Ray Reardon, John Spencer, Terry Griffiths, Jimmy White, and Stuart Bingham.
Hancorn, who lost to David Grace in the final twelve years ago, said: “2008 was a really disruptive year for me.”
“I stopped playing and my wife said get your cue back out – so I did. For a couple of years I didn’t expect to reach another final, but I found some form when it mattered.
“To be the 100th (champion) is great, I can’t believe it, it’s fantastic. It’s one of those occasions I’ll never forget.”
The Welsh Open concludes this weekend with £70,000 up for grabs when the champion is crowned on Sunday.
Also taking place today and tomorrow is Challenge Tour Event 9, with Andrew Pagett seeking to defend his lead at the top of the order of merit in Llanelli.
Next week, the most controversial snooker event on the calendar is scheduled with the Shoot Out returning to the Colosseum in Watford.