World Seniors Championship 2013 - Day 1

03:12:00 Ramona Dragomir 0 Comments

It's been an absolute thrill to see snooker's golden boys at work and this year it seems we have the most interesting and eye-catching line-up of players. Or maybe it's just me that's delighted to see Stephen Hendry back playing. Just saying!

Putting aside Andy Goldstein's fluffy hair and constantly annoying "Maybe we'll see a re-match of the 1985 World Championship Final" leitmotiv (because we had Steve Davis and Dennis Taylor on their way to perform against each other), the badly chosen walk-on music and the everlasting "the wonderful/the brilliant" adjectives - the entire day was a great exhibition of snooker, mainly because each player has brought his own personal style, so we had a few clashes here and there.

Dene O'Kane v Nigel Bond - scrapping away

The first stop was New Zeeland's revelation O'Kane who met the reigning champion Nigel Bond; and although it was expected to see a few fireworks, it didn't happen.

Actually the first frame was quite scrappy and boring, the biggest break being a 24 one. But in the end Nigel managed to win the opener and perform a bit better during the second (and last) frame, where with a top break of 42 signed his name on the quarter-finals list.

Tony Knowles v Darren Morgan - decider is the name of the game

Another senior champion, who lifted the trophy back in 2011, Darren Morgan scrapped his way with runs of 20 and 29 to take the opening frame against Tony Knowles, but when the Englishman responded with a solid clearance of 48 to force the decider, things got interesting.

However that didn't stop snooker's tough cookie Darren, as he hit a 57 to leave his opponent in need of two snookers, which became six later on, after Tony got a bit confused and forgot to ask for a time extension when the shot-clock started.

Final scoreline: 2-1 in favour of the Welshman

Tony Drago v Dave Harold - a bit of drama

While both players seemed in a very good state of mind at the beginning of the match, things changed after Tony missed a black - but most importantly the last black, which was also frame ball - as the scoreline was 45-51 in favour of Harold.
The "black chase" began, in the end Dave being left with a very similar black to the one that Steve Davis had in the '85 final, with the only difference that Harold potted it and so he won the first frame.

Being so close to clinch the opener, but failing to do so made Tony very angry and this was going to affect his play in the next frame. A scrappy frame that had swearing from Drago’s side and a decisive 32 break from Harold, ended with a 2-0 scoreline and an unexpected need to apologise for the Maltese player’s language, from Andy Goldstein’s part.

Steve Davis v Dennis Taylor - when fun meets snooker

Surely one of the most waited-for matches of the day, this was the perfect combination between having fun and playing snooker. And to Gouldstein disappointment it didn't end on the black.

The first frame was a bit scrappy, but the six-time world champion managed to win it by hitting in runs of 14, 15 and 18, while the second one proved to be a superb way of exploring the green baize from each corner.

A solid break of 94 completed after a full run around the table, set Steve Davis as the winner and got him and place in the quarter-finals.

Doug Mountjoy v Jimmy White - indisputable victory

The man who's been there while snooker was brought up, Doug Mountjoy and the man who's revolutionised it got together in a clash of styles, that could have been more than just a two-frame match, if it wasn’t for the "best of three" rule.
Jimmy opted for the "keep your opponent in his seat" strategy and hit a break of 56 followed by a 28 one to take the opener, while the second one was conquered with a unquestionable 93 for a secure place in the next round.

Doomed just to see the table three or four times, Mountjoy (who's now at the venerable age of 71) remained sad in his chair, not being able to show that he's still got a little spark of that competitive animal who won the UK Championship in 1978 and 1988.

Alain Robidoux v Tony Chappel - thrilling snooker

The match between Canada's Robidoux and Wales' Chappel started as a pretty common battle of cues, with a pretty scrappy first frame requested by Alain, followed by a another scrappy cue affair won by Tony.

But the decider was an entire different story. Not in terms of scrappiness, because it had plenty of that, but of drama because until the last ball was potted the match could have gone either way.

And when the odds seemed to point to Alain as the winner, the Canadian potted the cue ball this leaving the road open for Tony to come back, clear the table with a tiny break of 18 and win the match.

Cliff Thorburn v Philip Williams - zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

It’s painfully funny to see Cliff in action after all these years, but a bit too much of slow-motion snooker for my taste as it took the Grinder no less than 84 minutes to win over Williams, 2-0.

Joe Johnson v Stephen Hendry - Master at work

This match has reunited one of the finest players of all times, Joe Johnson and the man who's won about everything and done almost anything there is to be done as a snooker player, Stephen Hendry.

My hopes were not too high since the seven-time world champion hasn't play any competitive snooker since his retirement back in 2012, but I was so pleased to see him still going for every single shot.

Runs of 29 and 35 were enough to secure Hendy's first frame, while a more modest breaks of 25 and 21 were smoothing his way into the next round.

So, after Day One the quarter-finals line-up looks something like this:

Tony Chappel v Steve Davis
Jimmy White v Stephen Hendry (I bet you're looking forward to this one)
Darren Morgan v Dave Harold
Cliff Thorburn v Nigel Bond