A Masters` tale

06:00:00 Ramona Dragomir 0 Comments

Televised snooker returns as "The Masters" will kick off today for the 36th time. Yep, was back in 1975 when the first Masters` edition was seeing the sun’s light. :-) Starting as an invitation event and remaning one over the years, The Masters succeeded in capturing people’s hearts and imagination so today, although no ranking points are involved both the players and the fans are looking forward to watch one of the most prestigious snooker events out there.

For those of you with a good memory the first final was given between the late John Spencer and the Welsh Ray Reardon and what a final that was! It was such a tight battle, bottom to the top, so tight that not even after the last frame (the score being 8-8) things weren’t clear enough. :-)) It all came to the black ball, for it was re-spotted in the end the last man standing being the "Dracula" of snooker. :-P

Hendry: "Got myself six of these babies!"
Since then many great names have had their share of The Masters and many have lifted the trophy over their heads. Of course that it’s impossible not to start with Stephen Hendry’s performance as he holds the record of winning the pretty shiny trophy six times! Oh, and I must mention that five of those victories were on a row; and if I were to also add the fact that he has been a runner-up three times, then you get the picture of a true snooker legend! ;-)
He succeeded in defeating John Parrott three times, first in 1989 with a score of 9-6, second in 1990 with a final result of 9-4 and third back in 1992 by the same scoreline. It was Hendry’s time! He was winning everything that had snooker written on it! :-P
In 1991 he won a very tight battle against Mike Hallett, 9-8 to win another Masters title, in 1993 he defeated the Thai James Wattana 9-4 and in 1996 he made history as he won 10-5 over Ronnie O`Sullivan. Now that’s how a true champion makes his way through the top!

Rocking at The Masters
But O`Sullivan also had his eyes on the prize, so he has won it three times! In 1995 he hammered John Higgins 9-3, then in 2005 came the second victory over the same opponent, this time the final result being 10-3 and finally he obtained the same score in the 2007 final, played against Ding Junhui.
If we were to add to those victories the five-time runner-up position Ronnie has been in, then you have a true snooker talent in front of you.
Cliff Thorburn has made Canada proud as he was the person to open a series of three Masters winnings over time. He started by defeating Alex Higgins 9-5 in the 1980 final, continued with a beautiful 9-7 victory over Ray Reardon in 1985 and finished with an 9-7 lead over the second person to win a UK Championship title, the Welsh Doug Mountjoy, in 1986.

Cliff winning one title after another
It seems like number three is a lucky number for many of the snooker players that have conquered the Masters title and it sure was for Paul Hunter too. This wonderfully talented and gifted player, with an angelic face and a very eager to compete attitude stunned the audience and captured in his own special way the Masters` trophy. It first happened in 2001 when he played the final against the Irish Fergal O’Brien, a very tight battle ended on a 10-9 score for the "Beckham of the Baize". Next year he defeated the Welsh Mark Williams in what was going to be a tight encounter also, encounter which ended on the same scoreline and in 2004 he and Ronnie O`Sullivan came together on one hell of a final that was also won by Paul with what was now “a usual score” of 10-9 :-) Although all those matches were very intense and hard, it always seemed like Paul was winning them effortless as he was cueing so naturally. He was and he will always be one of the greatest snooker players ever with that incredible magnetism, talent and warm smile!
Paul Hunter captured 3 trophies

With a new sponsor (Ladbrokes Mobile) this year’s Masters is announced to be one hell of a competition, because (if I’m not wrong) this is the first year that we won’t have any wildcards, but only the best of the best, la crème de la crème, also known as "The top 16". :-)) So with the most wanted snooker players on the planet, with that huge and overwhelming Wembley arena, with a total prize fond of £500,000 and with some really fast snooker tables things will definitely be ... how do you call it? Hm...a blast?! Hell yeah!
Not to mention that Mark Selby, the defending champion, has stated in numerously interviews the fact that he wants to keep his title and will give his best so he can win one more of those funny trophies for the other two at home, seem a little bit lonely :-))

Mark Selby, the defending champion
So my dear snooker lovers please clear your schedule and do your best to have your share of top class snooker this week. Starting today and ending on January 16 “The Masters" is a must for every snooker fan out there. But first of all, let’s see who opens the tournament and who are the boys that will keep us entertain this Sunday, shall we?

13:30 (UK time) - Mark Selby v. Mark King
19:00 (UK time) - Ali Carter v. Peter Ebdon

TV coverage
13:25 - 17:00 (BBC 2) Masters Snooker
13:30 - 16:30 (British EuroSport 2)
19:00 - 22:00 (British EuroSport 2)
00:30 - 01:20 (BBC 2) Masters Snooker: Highlights
01:20 - 03:20 (BBC 2) Masters Snooker: Extra
* Also you can watch snooker online at www.fromsport.com .Please select the tournament from the list.

Note: the matches are played "best of 11 frames" including the semi-finals, for the final the rule of "best of 19 frames" being applied.
Enjoy snooker dears and see you tomorrow for the highlights ;-)