after the Welsh Open
Features, Main News, News, Ranking, Tournaments

Three Things Learned After the Welsh Open

After each big tournament this season we’ll be reflecting on the latest action, so let’s take a look at a few things learned after the Welsh Open.

Murphy Likes Finals Again

Shaun Murphy produced a scintillating performance to claim his ninth ranking title in Cardiff on Sunday.

The “Magician” conjured up a bag of tricks as he outplayed Kyren Wilson in a one-sided 9-1 thrashing.



His second success of the season, the ease in which Murphy emerged victorious can firmly consign to the past his recent wobbles in title deciding encounters.

Okay, Murphy ended a six-game losing streak in ranking event finals by winning the China Championship in September.

But the manner in which he beat Mark Williams that day, scrambling past the Welshman 10-9 after blowing a four-frame advantage, may not have instilled him with a great deal of confidence in his ability to complete tournament wins more comfortably.

Three centuries and an overall relaxed display at the Motorpoint Arena would suggest otherwise now.

Since the start of 2017, only Ronnie O’Sullivan (17), Judd Trump (14), and Neil Robertson (12) have eclipsed Murphy’s tally of reaching 11 finals on the Main Tour overall – impressive company to be among.

Ronnie’s Coral Cup Reign

There are two huge ranking events coming up soon with the Players Championship next week in Southport, followed shortly after by the Tour Championship in Llandudno.

Ronnie O’Sullivan is the reigning champion in both of the Coral Series tournaments, but there’s a good chance that he won’t get the opportunity to defend either.

After the Welsh Open, in which the “Rocket” reached the last four before losing to Wilson in a decider, O’Sullivan has risen to 16th on the provisional one-year rankings.

That would be enough to at least see him qualify for the 16-strong Players Championship at the end of February.

However, O’Sullivan boasts only a narrow advantage over the chasing pack heading into the unpredictable Shoot Out, the last counting event, this week.

With £50,000 up for grabs for the champion, any player ranked between Gary Wilson in 17th and Ricky Walden in 36th spot could still in theory dislodge the 44 year-old.

Should O’Sullivan edge through to the Players Championship, he’d face world champion Judd Trump as the 16th seed.

It all adds up to an interesting upcoming few days at the Colosseum in Watford.

With his destiny in his own hands having entered, O’Sullivan is the favourite to win the single frame Shoot Out and all the best bookmaker offers can be found at bookmakers.tv.

Ray Reardon Looks Terrific

One of the highlights after the Welsh Open final was seeing Murphy being presented the trophy by six-time world champion Ray Reardon.

The Home Nations silverware is, of course, named after the Welsh great, who is still going strong at the age of 87.

In fact, many pundits and fans were extremely complimentary about the former world number one’s healthy appearance.

Suited and booted, and brandishing a beaming smile, Reardon offered a visibly proud Murphy with several genuine words of congratulations.

The Home Nations series has been a wonderful edition to the calendar since it was launched in 2016.

One of its best features is its recognition of a quartet of the sport’s greatest names courtesy of their association with each trophy – Reardon in Wales, Steve Davis in England, Stephen Hendry in Scotland, and the late Alex Higgins in Northern Ireland.

For Reardon, it must be a nice feeling to be remembered in such a special way, and fully deserved too.

Photo credit: World Snooker Tour



Creator of SnookerHQ and a journalism graduate, David has been actively reporting on snooker since 2011. He has been published in national publications and has appeared on BBC World News and on talkSPORT radio as an analyst.

3 Comments

  1. For me, it’s noticeable how the top players have learned to approach these best-of-7 tournaments, and the results are much more consistent. I also saw how much table conditions are playing a crucial role, particularly with the break-off shot which is now critical.

    Kyren Wilson is a very technical player, and he has been a bit out-of-shape all season. It was evident in the early rounds, despite the 147. He actually managed to make some adjustments during his semi-final against Ronnie O’Sullivan, but with the extra pressure of the final and the start made by Shaun Murphy, it was exposed again. I’m sure he will be able to fix it if he gets a chance – there’s almost two blank months before the World Championship. On the other hand, Ronnie O’Sullivan needs more matches.

  2. Don’t forget Ronnie is in the Shootout himself and could move up the rankings with a good run and leave someone else vulnerable in 16th. The Rocket is well suited to the Shootout so, despite it being unpredictable, he could safeguard his own position this week just as much as being dislodged.

    The fact he could lose his spot though is a reminder how farcical it is that the Shootout has ranking status.

  3. Pingback: Three Things Learned After the Welsh Open – Bouncing Bill

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World Rankings Top 16

World Rankings after the Tour Championship – won by Neil Robertson.

1. Judd Trump
2. Ronnie O’Sullivan
3. Neil Robertson
4. Mark Selby
5. John Higgins
6. Kyren Wilson
7. Shaun Murphy
8. Stephen Maguire
9. Ding Junhui
10. Yan Bingtao
11. Barry Hawkins
12. Mark Williams
13. Mark Allen
14. Jack Lisowski
15. David Gilbert
16. Anthony McGill

Fin Ruane Snooker Academy