Welsh Open 2011 - between Valentine`s Day and snooker

15:44:00 Ramona Dragomir 0 Comments

While most of the world is getting crazier and crazier with what gifts to buy for their loved ones, in the beautiful city of Newport, Wales a very important snooker tournament is taking place as we speak. It’s been in the circuit for many, many years (about 30 years) and although for some people this isn’t the most "catchy, cosy, homy" competition, this doesn’t mean it’s not truly appreciated it and that players don’t have a special place in their hearts for it.

Dusting the history book of snooker I’ve found out that this tournament was played since the early `20, when it was an only Welsh players competition, the first name to be remembered for it, being "The Welsh Professional Snooker Championship". Some of you may well remember that back in 1977 Ray Readon and Doug Mountjoy fought for a Welsh title, Ray being the one who conquered it. However, from 1992 its name was changed into “Welsh Open Championship", it became a ranking event and it was not longer open for Welsh players only. And since we were in the `90, guess who was the first player to lift that rather odd trophy over his head? Stephen Hendry of course, who beat the Welsh Darren Morgan 9-3. And so the history of “Welsh Open" has begun.

Until this moment, Hendry holds the record for winning the Welsh Open event three times, closely followed by Steve Davis, Ken Doherty, Mark Williams, John Higgins, Ronnie O`Sullivan and the late Paul Hunter with two titles in their pockets. Last year the Scot John Higgins was the one who beat "The Captain" Ali Carter in the final, as he took over with a 9-4 final score lead to conquer his second title and so this year he’ll be defending his title. ;-)

John Higgins - the Welsh Open defending champ
As Barry Hearn took World Snooker into his bare hands :-)) he tried to revive some of the left glory of this tournament, so he changed a bit the format and put only two tables into the arena, so the public could be in touch with snooker every single moment. The rule for each round including the Last 16 is "the best of 7" with no intervals, for the quarter-finals "the best of 9" rule will apply, the semis will be "best of 11", while the final will be "best of 17". Plus from this year, the tournament has a new sponsor - the Wyldecrest Park Homes.

So what’s going to be lads? A kind of reformed snooker tournament, with only the best players in the world, or a commercial lovers day with soap-operas films and teddy-bears that say "I luv you" and sing horrible bad? :-))) Well, some of you may want to declare your love to the one next you and that’s fine, but I beg you not to forget about snooker. There are some really interesting matches today (as well as in the ones to follow) and your opinion about this "new" format will be crucial. The life of “Welsh Open" might very much depend on what you think of it ;-) Ok, ok so maybe I’m exaggerating a bit here, but as a Snooker Loopy I am into my right to promote the sport, right? So get your asses to Newport! :-))) Kidding, kidding! I’m just asking you to give this tournament a fair chance, ok? :-)

Today programme:
11am (UK time)
Ding Junhui v. Marcus Campbell
Ricky Walden v. Dave Harold
not before 1pm (UK time)
Matthew Stevens v. Anthony Hamilton
Ali Carter v. Barry Hawkins
not before 2pm (UK time)
John Higgins v. Jack Lisowski
Mark King v. Michael Holt
not before 7pm (UK time)
Ryan Day v. Jimmy White
Jamie Cope v. Rory McLeod

TV coverage:
11:00 - 12:45 (British EuroSport)
13:00 - 17:15 (BBC Wales)
14:00 - 17:00 (British EuroSport)
19:00 - 20:00 (BBC Wales)
19:00 - 22:00 (British EuroSport)
19:00 - 22:00 (British EuroSport 2)
23:20 - 00:05 (BBC Wales)

Enjoy Welsh Open my dears and see you later in the day for the first comments! :-)