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Monday, 22 February 2016

Welsh Open,A Ronnie Masterclass

Ronnie O'Sullivan last night produced a stunning fightback to claim a fourth Welsh Open title with a 9-5 victory over Neil Robertson.

This was a final match up most snooker fans had been waiting for,with Robertsons performances in the Champion of Champions & UK Championship putting him forward as perhaps the one payer around who could challenge "the Rocket".

There seemed to be some validity to these claims as he opened up early leads of 3-1 & 5-2,but Ronnie took a vital last frame of the afternoon session to go into the evening just two behind at 5-3.

Into the night then and it was Robertson who got in first again,but when he failed to make the most of his chance in the opening frame,Ronnie capitalized and that was to be that,with O'Sullivan finding his groove again and the normally unflappable Robertson wilting a little under the pressure..All this meant was,what had looked like been a thrilling night turned into a procession as Ronnie went through the gears to secure the title.

Where exactly do you even start summing up how well Ronnie played this week? From the very first match,with all its "146" controversy,he just looked in complete control around the table.This was as close to snooker perfection as we are ever likely to see.

Last year at this event Ronnie was not a happy bunny,dismissing the venue as been like "playing in a shopping centre",but this week he just exuded confidence and calmness and really never looked in danger.

As for the tournament as a whole,it was really great week.I'm still not a fan of the best of 7's for the early rounds and some of the scheduling towards the end of the week seemed to have little logic to them,but in terms of the action we saw it was arguably the tournament of the season so far.In the end we even had our  147 as Ding produced the moment of magic in his quarter final against Robertson.Ultimately he lost the match,but after a tough season for the Chinese superstar,this may be the lift he needs to get back on track.

He though,like the others will have to find something special if they are to compete with Ronnie the way he's the moment.Last month he won a sixth Masters title without ever really been near his best,but here was practically unplayable.This may be the last time we see him before the  Crucible, if he doesn't take his place in the World Grand Prix,that this win qualified him for,but wherever it is lines up next he will start a a warm favourite and playing like this will take all the beating.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Germa Masters Final.Gould Does It

Martin Gould is the 2016 German Masters champion ,after he completed a 9-5 victory this evening against Luca Brecel in front of a full house at the Tempodrom in Berlin.

This was a case of third time lucky for Gould,who had fallen short in his two previous final appearances,but perhaps it was those experiences that gave him the edge,as after a nervy first session, he really came into his own tonight with some superb single potting.

The match itself today started slowly for both players,but Gould found himself 3-1 up at the interval and moved it on to 5-3 at the end of the afternoon session.From here he pushed on when they resumed to extend that lead to 7-3 and although Brecel did manage to put two more frames on the board,the result was by now not in doubt as Gould sealed a famous 9-5 win.

This was a real triumph for Gould who has threatened on many occasions in the past to make the breakthrough to the next level in the game only to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Here though,in a tournament where so many of the games top stars failed to perform to their best,Gould has been a rare exception and is a well deserving winner.This also means he can be removed from the lists of "best player not to have won a ranking event" we snooker nerds like to come up with in our off time.

As for Luca Brecel,well this young man showed once again here in reaching the final what a raw talent he is.The hope now would be that he can smooth the rough edges off his game,because if he can,he will be challenging for titles for many years to come.

So what of the tournament as a whole? Well when this tournament started with a bang a few years back it immediately established itself as one of the highlights of the snooker calendar,but despite a wonderful venue & great crowds we still have the problem of the first couple of days where things just seem a little rushed,also it would be nice if there was a way of having more than one televised table.

As for the tv coverage,Eurosport once again brought us some of their own brand of studio analysis and although this time we were spared Colin Murray doing the presenting,I'm not sure Matt Smith is the right long term presenter,at least though, this time with him, it was actually watchable.It would be great if they can just get this final part of the puzzle correct and find a top quality anchorman,because the actual analysis from Jimmy,Ronnie & Neal was superb.

Anyway such is the way the season goes from now Gould wont get much chance to celebrate this title as the tour rolls on this week to the Shootout this weekend & the Welsh Open starting on the 15th.Who is to say on this evidence Gould wont be making it back to back titles there.



Saturday, 6 February 2016

German Masters Semi Finals Round Up

Both Martin Gould and Luca Brecel will tomorrow play in the biggest match of their careers as they battle it out for the German Masters titles after coming through two gruelling semi finals today.

In the first match of the day Martin Gould reached the third ranking final of his career,with a 6-2 win over Graeme Dott.

In a tournament that has been all about the shock results,these two were surprise winners last night, with Gould edging out Trump 5-4 & Dott recording a comprehensive 5-1 victory over his fellow Scot Stephen Maguire.

These wins,as well as events in the other half of the draw,would have meant both these men waking up this morning feeling they had a real chance of claiming this title.It is with this in mind and the added pressure of the single table set up in this imposing arena that maybe we can forgive them for what was an extremely edgy match of not high quality snooker.

What quality there on show did come from Gould though and with a high break of 87 he took a 4-0 lead to the interval.

Dott got off the mark in the next,but a 53 from Gould was enough to restore his four frame lead at 5-1.Dott did pull one further frame back,but a scrappy eighth went to Gould on the pink to seal the 6-2 win.

Into the second semi final and a hope that two of the games young rising stars might serve up some better fare,but sadly we were to have more of the same as Wilson & Brecel struggled to show their real talents in what turned into another hard slog

A lengthy first frame went to Brecel on the black and this set seemed to set the trend for what turned into a real war of attrition.The scrappy snooker continued to the interval with Brecel playing slightly the better & this been reflected in the scoreline with the Belgian leading 3-1.

Wilson got back to within one taking the next to trail 3-2.before Brecel knocked in his highest break of the night,a 67 to lead 4-2.

Wilson,despite struggling in vain to find any form,somehow got himself back within one at 4-3.but another timely break,this time a 63 moved Brecel within one of the final at 5-3.

Both had their chances in the next,with first Luca looking like clearing and then Wilson countering,but the key moment came when Wilson failed to cut a tricky green and Brecel cleared to pink to seal the 6-3 win.

So tomorrow will see the crowning of a new ranking event winner ,with Gould hoping it'll be third time lucky & Brecel looking to make history as the first player from mainland Europe to claim a ranking title.Lets hope both players can put todays slog behind then to produce the final that this event,this venue and these fans deserve.