A #SnookerJourney to Cluj

00:50:00 Ramona Dragomir 0 Comments

Last Friday, on March 4 to be more precise, I had a pretty intense encounter with real snooker thanks to a bunch of people who are utterly and totally in love with this sport and have made it possible for me to get to Cluj and take part at an exhibition match who featured the names of Ken Doherty and John Higgins.

The event was part of Betfair Romania Snooker Days and promises to be just the first one in a series of snooker events meant to allow the Romanian public to get better acquainted with the snooker Masters.

To say it was surreal it would be an understatement, because words just fail to express how amazing this experience was for me. And the friends of this blog know that I have already witnessed the grand Ronnie O'Sullivan at work!

Everything started on my birthday, just three days before the actual event, when I was convinced to pack my bags and move my arse to Cluj. The journey was long (like 10 hours long by train) but it was worth it in the end.

The venue where these two great snooker titans would cross their cues was set to be the Sports Hall from Cluj and the show was scheduled to start at 8 pm. 

Needless to say that I was on a run since I set foot on the train station. Everything seemed to be moving at such a fast pace that even now, four days later, I still can't fully comprehend the magnitude on all this.

The snooker show featured not just two amazing living & breathing legends of snooker, but also the international snooker ref Alex Crișan and two Romanian snooker players (Lorin Druță and Claudiu Ilea) who tried their luck and played a frame each against the masters of the green baize. 

Then, the real treat began as the Irishman and the Scotsman started a best of nine match, which Doherty won by 5-4. It just had to be a decider!

The highlight of the match was by far the marvellous attempt of Higgins to score a maximum break. 

The magnitude of the moment was fully acknowledged by the crowed as, although certain shots were rewarded with a round of applause, the majority were savoured in silence.

I was almost paralysed in my seat, next to the lovely Zara who was also in awe of what was going on just a few meters away from us. Could we be witnessing a 147?

I remember that I was holding my hands like I was an insane religious person who was saying a prayer! This was just too intense!

Unfortunately though, the yellow didn't cooperate with Higgins' cue, nor with the crowd's huger for an unique moment of getting to see a LIVE maximum break being made by a four-time world champion.

And so, the yellow stayed on the table while the scoreboard froze at 120 points. It was such a shame, but at the same time it was so awesome to appreciate that this was a tiny piece of snooker history that we all were taking part at ...in some way or another; the ones that didn't fully see it, like really see it and remained with a plain face, or those who were too busy to criticize John's choice of shots - don't really matter. They never do.

The lads were extremely funny and open, made jokes and talked with the audience throughout the entire match and at the end, when the Romanian EuroSport commentator, Marius Ancuța asked Higgins to say a few words, I finally understood what he was saying! 

Well, maybe the fact that Marius asked him to speak really slowly helped a bit. :-P

I was lucky enough to get a pass and get my big cow eyes and snooker derriere at the after-party (Ralu you are my hero!) which of course concluded with me talking with both Higgins and Doherty. Well, maybe not actually talk but listening and saying: "Eeeerrrrm ...." from time to time. 

Still, I believe is a great improvement from just starring and drooling. 

Jokes aside this was a really amazing event and I really feel grateful for being allowed to be part of it. The entire team that was behind this event was amazing and the fact that it was set in Cluj made it even more amazing. Because I love Cluj! Just sayin'!

In the end I would just like to say sorry for the cheesy novel that has been unfolding in front of your eyes, you know I am an objective journo when I write about snooker, but this was a really special event so ... I shall keep my objectiveness for the next article.

My thanks go to all the people who made this event happen and to all the people who helped me get to this event (you know who you are).

See ya all at the next Betfair Romania Snooker Days event! ;-)