It's been a few days since the mighty Snooker Titans reached the lovely city of Cluj and I am still mesmerized of what happened there.
Ronnie O'Sullivan, Steve Davis, Mark Selby and the amazing Reanne Evans got together in a genuine clash of styles, on 18 & 19 of June at the Polyvalent Hall from Cluj. As expected, it was a genuine treat for all the snooker fans: cracking pots, surprises, a lot of laughter and a tremendous display of snooker skills from all the players.
Everything started with the press conference, on Saturday around 4pm, a perfect moment to watch Steve Davis in his element: making jokes all around about how at his age he is "glad to be alive" nonetheless to be here in Romania and that the most important thing in snooker is "balls" (you may interpret that as you wish hehe).
The opening match featured the names of the current world champion, Mark Selby and the most powerful woman in snooker these days, Reanne Evans; and to be quite honest it was a genuine delight to see them.
The 1st frame landed on a re-spotted black, which was magically potted by Selby who then added breaks of 67, 62, 86 and 84 to go 5-0 before Reanne could win the fifth frame, Mark wrapping it up quite quickly and grabbing the last frame to win 6-1.
The same scoreline was to be the "name of the game" for Ronnie O'Sullivan and Steve Davis who were up next.
"The Rocket" was sure to get a standing ovation (as did Sir Steve Davis in all fairness), top breaks of 85 and 112 getting him a 3-0 lead, before Steve could make a 53 (tremendous shot on the pink!) and get his first frame on the board.
Sadly though, it was also going to be the last, as Ronnie got going with breaks of 43, 97 and 107 to get his place in the final.
The second day of cue action started with the classical autographs session, which was a genuine delight for all the snooker fans who gathered at Nuka Bistro from Cluj, the lads being very happy to take pictures with them and sign their card or book, in my case (thank you Steve!).
But back to more serious matters: the evening started with the likes of Steve Davis and Reanne Evans who played their match on a "best of 7" rule, because Mr "Nugget" had a surprise for the audience: a trick-shot treat.
Needless to say he amazed the audience with his unique sense of humor and made us all fall in love with his jokes. Oh, and the trick-shots were great too. Not that he managed to get too many (as he himself said it), but they were pretty cool to be quite honest.
In the end though, the most important thing is that he captured our attention and that the entire audience was hooked on what this living snooker legend was showing us. And yes, I know it's a clique, but you can't buy stuff like that.
During the break, the lovely Sabina Virtosu and her colleague Cassandra Mathews from "The Aces" delighted the crowd with some amazing music.
The last match of the day, which was also the final, featured the names of the five-time world champion, Ronnie O'Sullivan and the current world champion, Mark Selby.
The first to break the ice was Selby, who made a total clearance of 112 points, but Ronnie used a 66 to get the following one and runs of 26 and 45 to go 3-1 up.
"The Jester from Leicester" fought back with breaks of 80 and 96 to draw level, but O'Sullivan put his nose back in front with a great 125 total clearance.
Still, the next three frames were cashed by Selby whose breaks of 44, 93 and 100 proved quite enough for a 6-4 victory over the most talented snooker players of all times.
All four players got a trophy and had to deal with an ecstatic crowd that literally wanted "a piece of all of them".
The next day the lads (Ronnie & Selby) switched from snooker to tennis, as the organizers took them for a bit of peace and quiet to a tennis field.
Lucky us that we had the chance to see them once more and we bumped into them (Selby, Ronnie & Reanne) at the airport, just before we took off. Well, that's what I call a true farewell ;-)
So, another edition of Snooker Titans Trophy in the can and what an edition it was!
Pure snooker bliss!
Photos by Monique Limbos
P.S. So, so happy to have met Monique!
Just a few more days until the Snooker Titans Trophy will kick off in Cluj Napoca with some of the biggest names the game of snooker has: Ronnie O'Sullivan, Mark Selby, Steve Davis and Reanne Evans.
After the raving success that this event has recorded starting with its first edition back in November 2015 when Ronnie O'Sullivan and Stuart Bingham, closely "watched" by Michaela Tabb, were the stars of the show, and continuing with the April event (2nd & 3rd) when the same O'Sullivan returned with la crème de la crème (aka. Stephen Hendry, Jimmy White and Mark Williams), the Snooker Titans Trophy is getting on the road and reaching Cluj Napoca.
So, on 18 and 19 of June, the Romanian public will get spoiled with the likes of five-time world champion, Ronnie O'Sullivan, six-time world champion & snooker legend Steve Davis, current world champion Mark Selby & the one and only 11-time world Ladies champion, Reanne Evans.
The event will take place in one of the most prestigious locations from Cluj, the Polyvalent Hall, where the European Open will also be staged in October this year.
The Snooker Titans Trophy Cluj will start on Saturday 18th of June with the clash between Reanne Evans and Mark Selby and will continue with Ronnie O'Sullivan facing Steve Davis.
On Sunday, 19th of June, we will see the players that lost the day before get together in a magical display of snooker, only to end the day with the Final, that will bring together Saturday's winners.
All matches will be played on best of 11 rule, the one in charge of what happens in the arena being the Romanian ref, Alex Crișan.
The man behind this event, Mr Adrian Thiess (from McCann/Thiess Events and who was kind enough as to offer us a few words) regards this event as, first of all, as a great way of getting an honest feedback from the Transylvanian audience, especially since this is the city that will stage one of the most important ranking events in World Snooker calendar - the European Open (3-9 October), and second of all, as a much-waited-for gift for the snooker lovers that were promised to see Ronnie O'Sullivan in November last year, but unfortunately due to some regretful circumstances weren't granted their wish.
As for the first ranking event to be staged on Romanian soil, the same Adrian Thiess says:
"It's not an important event just for Cluj Napoca, but also for Romania as a country. To be part of the World Snooker calendar is something pretty huge."
"Cluj will benefit from this because it's a serious contestant for becoming the European Cultural Capital in 2021 and I strongly believe that such an event will boots its chances."
Mr Thiess has also huge plans outside Romania, the likes of Ronnie O'Sullivan and Ding Junhui being part of a series of exhibition matches that will be staged throughout the month of August across China.
But back to our beloved Snooker Titans Trophy Cluj. The event will continue with "the same pattern", the snooker lovers being able to get an autograph from their idols, on Sunday from 11 am, at Nuka Bistro as part of an official autograph session. What more can you wish for?
As for the tickets, they are still available on eventim.ro so be sure to buy yours for this a truly unique opportunity.
To see the legend Steve Davis play against the most gifted snooker player, Ronnie O'Sullivan, but also the current world champ Mark Selby and the "ladies hero" Reanne Evans it's definitely one of those rare occasions that pop-up into your life.
SML blog will be there, so please be sure to keep in touch here, as well as on Twitter and Facebook to find out the lastest news.
See ya all in Cluj Napoca! #RomaniaLovesSnooker
Photo credit (ROS): Monique Limbos
Sunday 22nd of May 2016, the Circus Arena from Bucharest, Romania: three big snooker names are about to entertain the Romanian audience and I feel privileged to be part of the crowd.
Mark Selby, Neil Robertson and Judd Trump promise to get the 1st edition of the Best of Snooker gala under way, in the place that has quickly become the house of snooker and Olivier Marteel is going to be the ref in charge. Things can't be better than this.
The 1st match feature the names of Judd Trump and Neil Robertson. This should be interesting since I have never seen any of the boys play live.
A few minutes pass and I realise these guys are here to entertain: they feel relaxed, they joke with the audience and amongst themselves and I see Robertson play a masse shot.
I mean, of course that Steve Davis is the best looking dude when playing this type of shot, but Robbo isn't far from looking gorgeous too. Too much information, right? Well, sorry about that.
So, first frame goes to Trump, but the second one goes to his Australian opponent despite Judd's break of 52.
The standard of play is not the highest, but Robertson manages to hit an 83 to go 2-1 up, before "The Ace in the Pack" draws level and then goes marching on with runs of 53, 34 and 85 to win 4-2.
Only 10 minutes pass and the second match of the evening kicks off with the same Judd Trump, this time facing the current world champion Mark Selby (who, may I add, gets a pretty warm reception from the crowd).
It's easy to see how Selby's earned his nickname, for he is a very funny guy. Still, the lads are about to play snooker, so the applauses stop and ... here we go again.
The opening frame gets won by Trump on the black who quickly adds another one (this time a more scrappy affair) and hits a perfect 96 to go 3-0 up. His Lounoutin shoes do wonders, I reckon! The line: "Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore." springs to mind.
But Selby hits back with breaks of 57 and 69, only to see things being wrapped up with a 61 from Trump. Second match of the evening and he's won it by the same scoreline.
Last two to meet are Neil Robertson and Mark Selby and what do you know, the scoreline is going to be the same, 4-2.
First one in is Selby (thanks to a break of 75), but Robertson catches up pretty quickly with runs of 52 and 48 to which he adds the first century break of the evening (108) and carries on spoiling us with a 109 to go 3-1.
Selby answers with a 75, but it's a bit too late and Robertson closes safely with a top break of 46.
Bottom line: these three the funniest guys I have ever seen play snooker. The matches weren't a display of tremendous snooker skills, although Trump had some pretty amazing shots from time to time, but it was a classical exhibition match: fun and games.
At the end of the night, each of the three players got a trophy and so did Olivier Marteel, who was a key figure in the lads' way of making the audience laugh.
The Best of Snooker gala promises to return with a second edition somewhere in October (according to the organizer), but there is still a lot of snooker to be played by then.
As for me, I can only say that it was tremendous fun to see these great cue-masters so relaxed and laid-back. It was good to see their "non-robotic" faces and I think it's good to see them like that from time to time.
I dare say it makes them more humane in our eyes and makes us treasure their performances & victories even more.
Now, who's up for some more snooker? ;-)
On 22nd of May a myriad of great names will delight the Romanian audience hungry for snooker, as Mark Selby, Judd Trump and Neil Roberson will cross their cues in the first ever Best of Snooker gala.
In recent years snooker has been gaining a lot of fans across the planet and Romania is no different from the rest in this regard, as the appetite for snooker has been going through the roof in these past months.
And so it really is no surprise to see the current world champion Mark Selby, the 2010 world champion Neil Robertson and the 2011 UK Championship champion, Judd Trump join forces in some pretty amazing exhibition matches that will take place at the Circus Arena from Bucharest, Romania on May 22nd.
The organizer of Best of Snooker gala has exclusively shared for SML blog how the idea of bringing such great snooker names, came to life:
"The idea of staging the Best of Snooker gala came out of passion for this sport and the desire of seeing the best players in action at the same time and not on the telly. Snooker is a beautiful sport which undoubtedly deserves to be followed LIVE and not in front of the TV screen."
"Once we decided to stage this event, choosing the players was relatively an easy job: we needed only the best, the ones that are in their prime at the moment, players that mesmerise the crowds."
"The first player that came to mind was Neil Robertson (the current world number five), then we decided to contact Mark Selby (the current world champion) who made such a great show this year at the Crucible and who promised us that will bring his best form to Bucharest."
"Having already two top snooker players all that was needed was "The Ace in the Pack" (aka. Judd Trump) to have the winning recipe."
The exhibition matches will kick off on Sunday 22nd of May at the Circus Arena from Bucharest from 7pm sharp.
The first match will feature the names of Judd Trump and Neil Robertson, closely followed by the match between Mark Selby and Judd Trump, only to save the best for last and see Neil Robertson taking on Mark Selby.
And because such a distinguish snooker gala needs a top referee, the organizers brought Belgium's best, Olivier Marteel to take charge, while the Romanian referee Bogdan Gamaleț will act as MC.
But the Best of Snooker gala is actually just the first event out of a series of various ones, the organizer assuring the Romanian fans that:
"We are honoured to bring three of the best snooker players in the world to Bucharest, but we won't stop here. The Best of Snooker gala is more than just an event for us, it's a revolution if you want to call it like that, an outstanding show."
"Thus we have plans for a series of exhibition matches that will take place in other parts of the world also."
That being said, it's easy to see why it's a must for each and every snooker fan to take part in this Best of Snooker "movement" which brings together "la crème de la crème".
Tickets are still available at: eventim.ro and biletoo.ro
Who's writing all this?
- Well, hello there my dear chums! My name is Ramona and I blog passionately about snooker. Lovely to meet you! Now shush and let me write!
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