2009 in Review: Part Four

The final part of my look back at 2009 sees Neil Robertson take a second Grand Prix title, Ding Junhui take a second UK title and most importantly of all, the players opt for a change of leadership…


The month began with the 2009 Grand Prix as Neil Robertson saw off Gerard Greene, Ken Doherty, Joe Perry, John Higgins and finally Ding Junhui to win his fourth ranking event title. His semi-final victory over Higgins in particular was a classic and demonstrated that he now has the all-round game to regularly challenge snooker’s best.

Elsewhere, Jimmy White took his second trophy in recent times with victory in the Prague leg of the World Series, while Welsh prospect Jamie Jones won the fourth event of the PIOS season to set himself up to return to the main tour for a third time in 2010/11.

A quiet month drew to a conclusion with the Masters qualifiers from Pontin’s as the evergreen Rory McLeod defeated Andrew Higginson 6-1 to earn of the two wildcard places for the Wembley showpiece.


November began with the 110sport Legends of Snooker event which was won by Scotland’s Stephen Hendry in Glenrothes. There was also joy for Robert Milkins who became the third different winner of a Pro Challenge Series event with a 5-3 triumph over Joe Jogia in the final.

The big news however was the announcement that Pukka Pies would sponsor the year-ending UK Championship for the first time, succeeding Maplin Electronics in the role. While the Leicester-based company was not everyone’s first choice, by all accounts they did a terrific job in Telford and will hopefully be back in 2010.

The month ended with the all-important UK Championship qualifiers which took place with the notable omission of Jimmy White who was over in Australia taking part in the ITV1 reality TV show I’m a Celebrity. Another player far away from home was Alfie Burden who took the IBSF World Championship in Hyderabad to guarantee a return to the main tour for 2010/11.

Finally November also saw the 2009 Premier League come to a conclusion as the reign of Ronnie O’Sullivan was finally brought to an end by the brilliant Shaun Murphy.


If the previous couple of months had been relatively quiet, December more than made up for it as sensationally Sir Rodney Walker was removed as chairman of the governing body and replaced by Barry Hearn. Time will tell if this will prove to be the right decision but one thing you can guarantee is that there will be changes ahead!

On the table the month was dominated by the UK Championship which was eventually won by Chinese number 1 Ding Junhui following a 10-8 victory over John Higgins in the final.

Hot on the heels of this tournament was the inaugural 6-Red World Championship from Killarney which was eventually won by world number 47 Mark Davis. By all accounts the event proved to success and hopefully it can be even better next year.

The latest event of the PIOS season was won by young Scot Anthony McGill as he looks to secure a main tour place after narrowly missing out the previous season.

Finally and somewhat controversially, Jimmy White was announced as the recipient of the second wildcard spot for the 2010 Wembley Masters.