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Some Snooker Stats

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Thundery wintry showers


I follow snooker very closely and have done since the late 1990s (basically ever since Stephen Hendry stopped winning everything in sight), though I'm sometimes afraid to admit it due to the "boring" reputation that televised snooker has.

[b]Favourite snooker players[/b]
It has to be Jimmy White and more recently Judd Trump for their all-out attacking styles and spectacular shots. Other favourites over the years have been Ronnie O'Sullivan, Stephen Hendry, Mark Williams and Steve Davis. Ronnie O'Sullivan blows hot and cold- there are periods when I want to see him win, and other times when I want him to lose. Over the years I've followed Stephen Hendry's matches more closely than those of any other player, and he has featured in most of my favourite matches, but I was nonetheless rooting for Jimmy White in those 1990s world championship finals.

[b]Best snooker players of all time[/b] [b]in terms of ability[/b]
For me it's between Stephen Hendry and Ronnie O'Sullivan. Ronnie has the best "A" game that I've ever seen (Stephen's potting and break-building were similarly good but his safety play less so) but has so far lacked the consistency that Stephen Hendry showed in the 1990s.
John Higgins is arguably the greatest all-round player, but in my view potting and break-building count for more than safety.

[b]Best World Championship[/b]
For me that would be the 2002 World Championship. There were many entertaining matches, and in particular Stephen Hendry's matches with Ken Doherty and Ronnie O'Sullivan were classics, while Peter Ebdon's determination produced an enthralling match with Matthew Stevens, in which he almost lost but potted a very difficult pink down the cushion to stay in the match. Then the final produced a "twist in the tale", as Hendry could not perform as consistently well in the final as in earlier matches and Peter Ebdon came out a deserving winner in a tense deciding frame. Ebdon is most often associated with tedious slow grinding play these days but I used to find him quite entertaining to watch when he got a bit of fluency going.

[b]Best finals[/b]
For me it's a close-run thing between the 1998 Benson and Hedges Masters final (Stephen Hendry vs Mark Williams, which went to a re-spotted black in the deciding frame) and the 2006 Masters final between Ronnie O'Sullivan and John Higgins (which was also won on the black in the deciding frame). The 2006 final was the higher-quality encounter, whereas the 1998 one ranked more highly for drama and tension. Both finals had a combination of high breaks, good potting, good safety duels on the colours, and unexpected misses under pressure.
In my opinion no World Championship final has quite ranked up there with those. The 1992 and 1994 ones (between Stephen Hendry and Jimmy White) were very entertaining, but spoilt by Jimmy bottling it at critical moments. The 1985 final was before my time, but doesn't look like it was particularly enthralling until the closing stages of the deciding frame.
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