The Bjorn Coenraad Kika tournament

About a month ago I was telling you about an amazing charity tournament (the Bjorn Coenraad Kika tournament) that will be organised by Annet van Riel and international top snooker referee Jan Verhaas on the 18th of March in Leiden, the Netherlands in order to raise awareness and money for children that are fighting cancer.

Everything started when the 3-years old Bjorn, the son of their Dutch fellow referee Keesjan Coenraad was diagnosed with  kidney cancer. You can read more about it here.

The entire snooker community came together and not only organised the aforementioned event, but also added a special auction that will take place during the actual event. And the auctioned items are beyond you can imagine!

1. 3 SUPER VIP tickets for the 2017 World Championship Grand Finale (40 years since the tournament is held at the Crucible) in, Sheffield, UK. These cards are for all four sessions including backstage passes, a 40-years anniversary goodie bag, photo with the mighty World Championship Trophy, exclusive tour and access to the Champions Dinner and the After Party.

This is also a unique opportunity to meet all former world champions and referees in person.

2. A signed cue bearing the signatures of 13 players that hold a privileged place in the TOP 16; the likes of Ronnie O'Sullivan, Mark Selby, Neil Robertson and John Higgins.

3. 3 x 2 tickets for both matches for the opening day of the 2018 Masters (including backstage passes and a (small) tour).

4. The 2017 Dafabet Masters programme, signed by all the players.

5. The 2017 Ladbrokes World Grand Prix programme, signed by all the players.

6. A unique shawl, hand-knitted by Annet van Riel

7. A Michael "Mighty Mike" Van Gerwen (MVG) signed darts shirt (aka. the two-time world darts champion)

8. The original World Cup darts shirt of Raymond "Barney" van Barneveld (aka. five-time world darts champion) signed by the man himself. This is actually a unique item and therefore it can't be found anywhere else!

9. A "180 darts plate", signed by MvG, Barney, Peter 'Snakebite' Wright, Bobby "The Dazzler" George and referee George Noble

10. 5 snooker lessons x 1 hour in the company of Corne Kuijpers coach, held in his own training center in Roosendaal

11. 3 snooker pictures on canvas (1 x Jan Verhaas & Neil Robertson, 1 x Ding Junhui and 1x  Mark Selby & Ding Junhui). Plus an autographed photo of the TOP 16 players from the 2016 World Championship (including the likes of Ronnie O'Sullivan, Neil Robertson, Mark  Selby, Ding Junhui and Judd Trump)

12. An enjoyable evening with Roy Stolk (snooker related or just a friendly chat)

13. Various Iron Maiden items which is a tremendous and unique opportunity to all the fans out there!  - a pair of Drum Sticks, which were specially made for Nicko McBrain (signed)
 - a picture of the whole band with signatures from the entire group
 - 3 t-shirts signed by Nicko (1 x Size S, 2 x size 3XL)
 - a special DVD with Nicko (this was recorded back in 80s, but re-launched a few years ago and it's also signed by him)

14. The original chairs used in the theatre tour with Within Temptation (only 3 pieces are available)

15. One cue-ball, signed by Ronnie Wood, the guitarist of the Rolling Stone, a balls set 1G pro, with the signatures of  Judd Trump and Ronnie O'Sullivan on the case and another balls set 1G pro donated by Saluc.

16. A large photo (150 x 180 cm) of Neil Robertson, taken after he won the World Championship back in 2010 (signed).

17. 1G PRO snooker balls, signed by the aforementioned players, plus Ali Carter, Stephen Hendry, Ken Doherty and many others! These balls are all sold separately.

18. An Eredivisie shirt of Ron Vlaar from AZ football with the signatures of the entire AZ-team!

19. Jan Verhaas' signed gloves (the pair will be used during the last session of the 2017 World Championship final)

20. A caricature drawn by cartoonist and snooker referee in training Martin Tench. The caricature can be drawn completely the way you want it!

21. 2017 Coral Snooker Shoot-Out referee shirt with the signatures of all the quarter-finalists: Anthony McGill, Shaun Murphy, Andy Hicks, Anthony Hamilton, David Grace, Xiao Guodong and David Gilbert

22. 2017 Snooker Shoot-Out players shirt signed by Michael White (former winner of this tournament)

23. The real Kika boat (including the trailer, but not the engine).

Those of you unable to reach the tournament or the action can also lend a helping hand by donating money on this page, especially opened for this occasion.

Complete information about the story, the organisation that is fighting on behalf on these beautiful souls (Kika) can be found here.

Please take the time to contribute for this is indeed a good cause and bare in mind that every cent counts.


The Shoot Out remains ranking event

A lot has been said about the Shoot Out tournament as it was turned into a ranking event for the first time this year, but it seems like the majority of the players don't have a problem with that.

World Snooker has published today the vote results regarding if this tournament should continue as a ranking one, or not. And as the news press release states: "Of the 125 players who voted, 90 voted to keep the Shoot Out as a ranking event, and 35 voted to remove it."

World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn said: “I am very pleased with the result of the vote, with 72% of tour players voting in favour. The Shoot Out will go ahead as a full ranking event in 2018, and following that we will evaluate its commercial success, as we would for any other tournament.”

The 2017 edition of the Shoot Out saw Anthony McGill prevailing the "speed test", this counting as McGill's second ranking title after winning the Indian Open in 2016.

Interestingly enough though, after the match the Scotsman said: "Don't get me wrong, I am over the moon, but this shouldn't be a ranking event. It's not even snooker rules."

McGill wins the 2017 Shoot Out

Anthony McGill beat China's Xiao Guodong to win the 2017 Coral Shoot Out tournament and get his second ranking title after conquering the Indian Open back in 2016.

This is actually the first year that the Shoot Out is considered to be a ranking event, which made a lot of eyebrows raise, but no-one can write off the fact that is a pretty interesting test of endurance for the snooker players that are accustomed to perfect silence and no shot-clock.

McGill had a long way to reach the final, having to face the likes of Oliver Lines, Jamie Curtis-Barrett, Mark King, Jack Lisowski, Anthony Hamilton and Shaun Murphy, all these encounters being equally difficult.

Not to mention the final, Xiao Guodong being one of China's most proficient snooker players in action at the present time. Plus, the man is no stranger from reaching the Shoot Out final, back in 2015 sadly losing to Michael White.

As expected, the final started with a few safety shots until McGill took on a long red and knock it off the table, this leaving his opponent with ball-in-hand and a lot of possibilities.

But Xiao didn't make the most of this chance, soon losing position on 15 and leaving a red down the right pocket after a safety shots exchange.

This time though, McGill went full blood and potted one ball after another, a break of 67 sealing his much-deserved victory.

Although extremely happy to have one more trophy added to his collection and cash the £32,000 prize money, Anthony couldn't but openly state that: "Don't get me wrong, I am over the moon, but this shouldn't be a ranking event. It's not even snooker rules."

Not much to disagree with the lad there, so hopefully things will change in the future.

Much to my delight though, we have some real tournaments coming our way, like the Gibraltar Open which runs from 3-5 March.

Snooker Dutch community comes together to help kids who are fighting cancer

A few days ago, the news that Annet Van Riel and Jan Verhaas are organising on 18th of March a tournament and  very special auction to raise money for children that are fighting cancer, came to my attention.

So, I decided to share it with you my dears because I know that many of you would be interested in this subject and would love to give a helping hand.

Me and Annet go a long way, as I like to say, a few years back she being so kind as to grant me an interview. Back then she was the Chairman of the Dutch Snooker Federation.

Now, he is still involved in snooker and runs the ever-up-to-date with all the latest snooker news from the Netherlands, but also your regular snooker news about professional snooker.

The idea of putting together a charity tournament is not new, both Annet and Jan being involved with this sort of events in the past, but now the drive is a bit more different, because it carries a lot of emotional baggage.

The 3-years old Bjorn, is the son of their Dutch fellow referee Keesjan Coenraad and the sweet soul is fighting kidney cancer in the hospital for several weeks now.

This is one of the main reasons why another charity tournament was started as well as a very special auction to take place during it.

The tournament is open to anyone who wants to play snooker and help children who are fighting this terrible disease, the entry fee being 20 euros.

But these two didn't stop here, a special page being made available for those who are not from the Netherlands or don't want/ or have the time to take part in the tournament but still want to donate money for this cause.

The Dutch athlete Daphne Schippers visiting the children hospital

All the money collected from the entry fees, the auction and the page will go into Kika's account - a Dutch organisation that raises funds for cancer research and special investigation to discover more than one way of treating children with different types of cancer and aiming to get a 95% cure rate.

Annet van Riel said: "It's heart-breaking to see a friend and his family suffer like this. As a mother, myself I feel it is your worst nightmare to see your child battle for his life.

For the family Coenraad this nightmare became real. If we can just put a little smile on their faces, it's worth it!"

Some cool snooker memorabilia 

The tournament will be held in Leiden, the Netherlands on 18th of March (you can find more information here) and will benefit by the auction of some very special snooker items (t-shirts, snooker balls) that are signed by the snooker's greatest players and legends.

The event is meant as a way of raising more awareness regarding this terrible disease called cancer, but also as way of showing a genuine support to the families that are struggling with a kid who is fighting cancer.

The page that receives donations from all corners of the world can be visited here. Don't worry if you can't donate a lot of money, every cent counts!

Jan Verhaas 

I know that I don't normally do this and I have always tried to keep this blog as objective as I could, but I believe that this is a matter that needs to be addressed and if you can help, why not do it?

We hear a lot about this disease but somehow, we think that it could never happen to us or to someone close. The truth is that ... we don't really know. So, it's important to show our support anyway we can.

Annet and Jan are doing their best in this case so if you want and you can, please be sure to join in.