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lucifer sam

World Snooker prediction competition 2021

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Yes, thank you LS for organising it. And congratulations to OFF for coming out on top - just like your hero always did!

On the question of Selby and his way of playing, he is an all-round player. He wants to win, just like all the other players, but unlike most of them he has the skill, the tactical nous and the all-round game to make it become a reality. He can defend (boy, can he defend!) and attack, whichever is needed. I really enjoy watching him and his bringing all those elements to bear on the game. I think he is the best player on the circuit at the moment - better than Trump. I think the only way to beat him is to do what Ronnie O'Sullivan did in the semi-final last year and to just bash the balls round the table in an effort to completely disrupt Selby's game, but there's not many who can or would dare to do that. 

With the class of 92 now looking ever-less likely to win the World Championship - sure they can still win the odd tournament and show flashes of brilliance, but it doesn't last these days - I think Selby is the man most likely to overtake Hendry's seven world titles, but who knows what new players might come up through the ranks in the next four or five years?

Mind you, people said all this about Selby in the mid 2010s and it all went wrong until his return to form this year.....

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5 hours ago, OveFundinFan said:

Back now to giving my support to Trump.

 

Trump is an amazing player, who when he's on fire, can play better than perhaps anyone else has, even an on-form Ronnie.  I think Trump's 2019 final performance was the best seen in a World Final - the second session was out of this world. Selby is targeting getting World No 1 back, but it won't be easy, because Trump seems to win so many ranking tournaments. 

But Selby is perhaps the one for consistency over 17 days that wins a World Championship. I don't think his pot success ever dipped much and his tactical play was what you'd expect from him. If Selby has his 2014-2017 mojo back, he could be hard to stop over the next few years, because in a four session match, just one bad session against him can cost you. This year's final proved that - Selby wore down Murphy in the second session and ultimately that made all the difference. 

Hendry was a very different type of player, but he also had consistency. If Selby can nail the consistency angle for a few more years, then Hendry's record could be under threat.  O'Sullivan is just one away from equalling it, but Ronnie hasn't had a good year - he's lost an awful lot of finals. He could be starting to lose his edge, although he's a player to write off at your peril. But even at his best, O'Sullivan could be explicable and self-disintegrate.  The 2005 and 2006 world titles were his for the taking, only to throw away matches against Edbon and Dott in those years. 

I feel that someone will reach seven - but it's just a question of who!

At the moment (and June will like this), I still rate Hendry as the greatest of all-time.  He was impossible to play for a few years. Jimmy White threw the kitchen sink at him and still lost. Hendry was amazing - five successive World Championships, five successive Masters, etc.  Hendry's record in triple crown events from 1989 to 1996 is mind-boggling - he won 17 out of 24.  O'Sullivan's records tend to be down to longevity - he's only once won more than one triple crown per season.  On the other hand, Hendry did the treble twice (Davis and Williams are the only other players other than Hendry to do the treble in a season).

But if Selby wins 8 or 9 World Championships (which he is capable of), I might have to think again when it comes to the greatest ;) 

My current of all-time greats (this changes a lot - and Trump would appear and go up very quickly once he wins another World title or two):

1. Stephen Hendry
2. Steve Davis
3. Joe Davis (the 1946 final was very long, but to score six centuries in a match on the old tables with the old balls is a measure of how good he must have been)
4. Ronnie O’Sullivan
5. Mark Selby
6. John Higgins
7. Ray Reardon
8. Mark Williams

Although Jimmy White will always be my favourite player, even when I found about his somewhat self-destructive lifestyle.

Edited by lucifer sam
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I would generally agree with your top eight, Rob, except that if you are going to include Joe Davis at all, surely he would have to be no. 1. He won the World Championship every year from 1927 to 1940, when the title was suspended because of the War. He won it again on its resumption in 1946 and then decided not to enter. However, he continued to win major tournaments until 1959 and was generally reckoned the best player until his retirement in 1964 - 37 years as the World's no.1 snooker player!

Of course things were different in his day, but I would say you either include him at no.1 or exclude him altogether.

One other small change, I would put Ray Reardon above John Higgins.

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14 hours ago, norbold said:

I would generally agree with your top eight, Rob, except that if you are going to include Joe Davis at all, surely he would have to be no. 1. He won the World Championship every year from 1927 to 1940, when the title was suspended because of the War. He won it again on its resumption in 1946 and then decided not to enter. However, he continued to win major tournaments until 1959 and was generally reckoned the best player until his retirement in 1964 - 37 years as the World's no.1 snooker player!

Of course things were different in his day, but I would say you either include him at no.1 or exclude him altogether.

One other small change, I would put Ray Reardon above John Higgins.

I included Joe Davis, simply because he always seems to get left out of discussions, when of course he is one of the greatest snooker players of all-time. Why should he be excluded, simply because there's so little footage of him playing?

Of course, it's so hard to place him, because there were very few other players and none were up to his standard - away from the World Championship, he tended to be handicapped in points per frame. I felt a bit sorry for younger brother Fred Davis, who tended to be very under-rated because he was in Joe's shadow. Fred ended up a multiple World Champion himself, but most of his titles came about because the best player in the world, Joe, was no longer entering the championship. Maybe Fred deserved a place in my list as well. Probably not John Pulman, who only became World Champion because Fred couldn't afford to travel one year to the Channel Islands and then John defended his title on a "challenge basis" at a time they were hardly any professional players. As soon as John Spencer and Ray Reardon turned pro, Pulman stopped winning.

Joe Davis practically invented the way that a frame of snooker was played and I guess that, in itself, could be a strong argument for him being No 1.

But I've tried to go on strength of opposition, mental strength etc, to form what is, of course, a very subjective opinion.  I think Steve Davis (who learnt to play snooker from a Joe Davis book) raised the sport to a new level, and then Stephen Hendry set that bar even higher, which is why those two are my top two.  O'Sullivan has shown flashes of utter brilliance, but not the consistent excellence of either Davis or Hendry. As already said, I feel Selby in particular has the ability to challenge all those above him, and who knows what Trump will achieve in the next 15 or so years?   

Edited by lucifer sam

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On 5/4/2021 at 12:23 PM, lucifer sam said:

At the moment (and June will like this), I still rate Hendry as the greatest of all-time. 

She does :) The trouble with time is that it dulls the memory, or, of course, generations come and go and never get to witness the true greatness of a man.

I still truly believe Stephen has it in him to take another world title ability-wise. His biggest issue, and it really is a huge problem for him, is psychology. When his cue got broken it took something from his game. He had such a reliance on it, and attributed so much to it, that he never really got over it mentally. 

People used to say he had no personality (they said it about Davis too - I loved it when he introduced himself on TV as "Steve Interesting Davis" that time), but it didn't matter as he won everything. Over time he started interacting with other players (I'm kinda blaming Mark Williams for this ;) ) and would have a laugh mid game about something that had happened, or make a quip, much to the delight of the audience,  but again, it was a change of personality, and that seemed to drag his game down further. I think, perhaps, that made him more human to his opponents, and therefore more beatable.

But the single biggest thing stopping Hendry coming back to somewhere near full strength is his mindset. In commentary about other players he's analytical, but about himself he is beyond critical. For example, one of the long pots Murphy made in the closing frames touched the corner of the pocket and wobbled before dropping, to which Hendry commented "great shot" - which it was. Had that been a shot he himself had played he'd have been kicking himself for it not being dead centre. He is SO critical of himself I believe THAT is what is stopping him from winning again (although it was a great match against Jimmy in the qualifiers). He's animated around the table. When things are going wrong we all know about it because he's mumbling and gesturing, or shaking his head. I think it's now so ingrained in him that he probably won't ever be able to overcome it, but if he could...well, just imagine!

It's always a bit sad as this competition draws to an end, because you know the playing is over, but we will be back, next year, and hopefully then I'll do better. Think that has to be my worst performance to date! Thanks for running it again, LS.

Edited to say: I'm happy Selby won it. I think after day 1 it could still have gone either way, but in the final session Mark just didn't put a foot wrong. His tactical game, in my opinion is as good as his potting, but it's that ability to put the ball wherever he wants it that really is outstanding. You see him working out where he wants the cue ball to finish, which often involves negotiating tricky angles and other balls, but when he gets down to take the shot you know it's going to end up as if he'd picked it up and put it there with his hand. He really does make good viewing. 

Edited by June01
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3 hours ago, June01 said:

It's always a bit sad as this competition draws to an end, because you know the playing is over, but we will be back, next year, and hopefully then I'll do better. Think that has to be my worst performance to date! Thanks for running it again, LS.

I think it was your aversion to picking Murphy that cost you this year ;)

Some interesting comments about Hendry. Yes, I think you're right. He was such a perfectionist that it eventually worked against him.  While he was never as laid back as Mark Williams in the first place, hopefully he'll see the way that Mark is now playing carefree snooker and realise that's the way to go. A relaxed Hendry playing carefree snooker, who doesn't beat himself up every time he misses a shot, could be an incredibly dangerous opponent indeed. It would take something to get all the way back to the top, but he'd become a player the others dread to play - a bit like Steve Davis at the end of his career.  

PS Sorry, but Hendry always was a bit dour.  He was out there to win, not make friends, which is fair enough. In many ways, he's the most interesting of the BBC team, because he just says it how it is, no sugar-coating. If someone's played badly, he'll just say so. I like his frankness, plus his insights to the mental side of the game.  I always watch the BBC rather than Eurosport coverage and two major reasons why are Davis and Hendry. I loved Jimmy White, but he's just not good at expressing the analytical side, plus O'Sullivan lacks class when he's off the table and says stuff which makes no sense.  So it's the BBC for me.

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36 minutes ago, lucifer sam said:

I think it was your aversion to picking Murphy that cost you this year ;)

I'm a "going with the heart not the head" kinda girl when it comes to things like this, even if it does work against me. :D

Edited by June01
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4 hours ago, lucifer sam said:

 I always watch the BBC rather than Eurosport coverage and two major reasons why are Davis and Hendry. I loved Jimmy White, but he's just not good at expressing the analytical side, plus O'Sullivan lacks class when he's off the table and says stuff which makes no sense.  So it's the BBC for me.

Me too, plus you get the two best commentators (as opposed to pundits) in Dennis Taylor and John (Where's the cue ball going?) Virgo. John Parrot is also worth listening to.

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Sadly the only channel you can watch snooker is Eurosport  as BBC are sometimes showing recorded highlights and Eurosport are showing it live. 

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1 hour ago, mickthemuppet said:

Sadly the only channel you can watch snooker is Eurosport  as BBC are sometimes showing recorded highlights and Eurosport are showing it live. 

I watched most of it on BBC red button.

Edited by lucifer sam

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Fascinating programme on BBC2 last night about Alex Higgins and how public interest in snooker developed relatively quickly and became a TV icon...thanks more to anything due to the advent of "Pot Black" and the characters playing during that era.

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38 minutes ago, steve roberts said:

Fascinating programme on BBC2 last night about Alex Higgins and how public interest in snooker developed relatively quickly and became a TV icon...thanks more to anything due to the advent of "Pot Black" and the characters playing during that era.

The next two episodes are on BBC iPlayer. Both well worth a watch. Better late than never but a big thanks to LS for setting up the competition again. Here's to next year :t:

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