Murphy: Late night finishes need to be looked at

Having clinched his first UK Championship success at 0:22 local time, Shaun Murphy has become the latest player to question the late-night finishes that are becoming all too common in ranking events these days…

Shaun told the Sheffield Star:

“It’s something which needs to be addressed.

“We want to get young people interested in the sport and for people who love snooker, finishing at midnight doesn’t avail itself to people.

“I hadn’t won a game all season, so all the finals that have been on the TV I’ve had to stay up and watch.

“I’ve been truly knackered the next day when I’ve got up, so what it must be like for kids watching?”

“The World Championship doesn’t receive much press coverage the day after the final because it finishes too late, it’s something which needs to be looked at,”

“If you’re a snooker player you have to get used to finishing late, trying to concentrate for long periods is part and parcel of what we do. But from a sponsors and TV audience point of view, we want to get kids watching.

“If kids want to watch tennis in the middle of the afternoon or snooker at midnight, then I know which sport their parents would choose.”

It is hard to disagree with what Shaun is saying there really, though personally I do quite like the late finishes because somehow the time seems to add an extra element of drama to the situation, I don’t know why!

It is not just children who will struggle to stay up late to watch the finals to a finish though, a lot of fans in Europe must also find it difficult to see out the matches, particularly given the time zones and the fact that they must finish even later for them.

As I understand, it is the BBC who dictate the start times and though I appreciate that they have schedules to stick to, it does not seem entirely logical to have the most important matches finishing at gone midnight, or even approaching 1am as the 2006 and 2007 World finals did. That said though it is not just the BBC as both the Bahrain and China Open finals went on past midnight this season, so there does seem to be a wider problem.

A quick look at the booking forms for the 2008 and 2009 World Championships tells me that the afternoon sessions of the final will now start at 2pm rather than 2:30pm this year, which is a move in the right direction at least. I can’t help thinking that it would make more sense to start the sessions at 1pm and 7pm in an ideal world though…