The Masters - a personal note

05:47:00 Ramona Dragomir 2 Comments

BBC 2 - the home of snooker
The Wembley arena closed its doors to another edition of The Masters, this year the big and fancy tournament turning 36! And when you reach this age then it is only normal to have a fabulous party...and The Masters had a spectacular party, as many surprises join the beautiful myriad of snooker players. It was an amazing tournament with a wonderful draw, with tons of twisted situations and with classic snooker played all the way through.

For many of you this might come as a surprise, but this was my first Masters...I mean, this was my first Masters when I knew all the players, knew the scores, knew who’s playing who and at what hour...that kind of details that a year ago didn’t matter too much for me. Snooker has been an old passion of mine, revived by last year World Championship and has been sustained by this blog that I’ve decided to start. Now, I can’t imagine my world without it and I can’t imagine how on earth I was able to watch snooker all those years not knowing all these details I know now :-)) Anyway, for me it was a first (at a certain level) and it was great fun. Mainly because it was nothing I thought it would be. When the seed players left the competition I was something like " Oh, and now what?!" It was an odd situation I must admit it, but it was also a breath a fresh air that was brought to this tournament.

A lot of limit situations were known at the 2011 Masters
The 2011 Ladbrokesmobile Masters was an unique tournament, nothing like anything you’ve seen before and if I well remember Steve Davis said that one of his boys have leant in school that what happened to this year’s Masters can only happen once every 125 years! So how lucky are we that we had been involved in this competition?! :-)
Also I want to mention that this was the first time that I’ve had the opportunity to watch the Masters on BBC 2 and it was awesome! I don’t know why but it gives the tournament such a personal touch and you as a viewer get such a cozy feeling when you are watching the snooker boys on BBC. Maybe is just me, but this television gives something special to this kind of events. And in my opinion, as a foreign person, BBC made me feel like I was part of the competition. :-)

Michaela Tabb dusting the Masters trophy
During the tournament I often found asking myself where is this going to lead to, for I knew we will have a brand new champion, but who was the man? Was it going to be a surprise, or maybe not? Well, now that we all know that Ding Junhui won the trophy I must say it’s not a big, big surprise. Of course that at the beginning of this tournament I thought some other player will cash the big check, but as the matches started to develop and the players started to show their form, it became quite clear that Ding was going to reach the final stages. And he did! It was a point when I thought that Mark Allen was going to be his opponent, but what do you know? The Masters had one more surprise to pull out of his bag so Marco Fu took his place instead. And what a cracking final that was! The Far East nations are conquering the world of snooker one step at a time, and this tournament showed how powerful those nations can be. China is a strong economic competitor, there’s no secret in that, but now it also seems that it enters the snooker world with grace, patience, dedication and talent. You can’t argue that Marco Fu, Ding Junhui or Liang Wenbo are not true snooker players, with a huge amount of enthusiasm toward this beautiful sport.

On duty: Hazel Irvine, J. Parrott, S. Davis and Ken Doherty
What I’ve really liked about this year’s Masters is that with the top seed players out from the first round (only Robertson reached the quarter-finals), it was nice to finally see more of the players that are partially eclipsed by those who are favorites. I mean Mark King, Jamie Cope, Graeme Dott, Peter Ebdon, Stephen Maguire, Mark Allen are all wonderful players who have so much to give in this sport, so it was really nice to see them play. No offence to the other players for I love them all with all my heart but sometimes you need to focus on those who are not quite as popular as the rest. They are also in the Top 16 and with this brand new way of re-organizing the ranking system you know they are there for a reason and that they’ve earned that place fair and square.

I just love the fact that I have had the possibility to see Michaela Tabb, Eirian Williams and Jan Verhaas on the screen as the refs in charge of the situation. These guys are so good at what they do and they are doing their job so gracefully and so natural that it’s almost abnormal not to say you don’t admire their strength and their tenacity.

Ding Junhui is receiving the trophy
BBC had been screening throughout the tournament, as always, some really memorable mini-series of snooker documentaries. It was so nice to see the legends at their beginnings and to see how much they have grown since then. You can see that the conditions were not as good as they are now, they didn’t have what today’s players have, but they were so eager to compete and they’ve loved so much the game of snooker that they have been fully dedicated since the first day they held a cue in their hands.

With some really spectacular memories of what the Masters means for a snooker player and with yet a lot to be learn about the snooker business, I end this article by saying that what happened last week was a true lesson of life. One can be on top of the world, but that place is not something that you can hold forever. This doesn’t mean you have to be afraid of the competition, but it means you have to fight harder to maintain your position. Snooker is all about hard work and a bit of luck :-)