Premier League 2011: Opening Night Thoughts

So what did we make of that then? Click below for a few of my initial thoughts on the all-new Premier League which saw Matthew Stevens succeed in Skegness this evening…

It is always hard to judge an event based on the opening night, indeed after day one of the Shootout earlier in the year I was not impressed, only to be won over by what proved to be a magical Saturday from Blackpool.

Tonight though I would say that by and large I think that the format worked well, although due to the one-sided nature of the three matches we only really saw a glimpse of how the competition is really going to unfold. Closer matches and a few Shootout style deciders are probably going to be what takes it up a level.

For me as I have said many times before, the Premier League is a good event, an important addition to the calendar and an excellent night out. At the same time however I do not treat it as a serious snooker tournament, for me it is entertainment rather than sport in its purest form – not a criticism by any means, it’s just different which is the whole point of it.

I will be able to judge better when I manage to get myself down to an event sometime in the coming months but I saw nothing to suggest that it will be any less enjoyable than it has been in previous seasons.

The purist in me does think that the shot clock being reduced to 20 seconds is a little too much. The sound of the ‘bleeps’ as the clock ticked down to zero was pretty common tonight and for me it’s just too rushed and a little unnecessary in truth. That said, rather here than at a ranking event.

The other point that became apparent for me was that although you have the set-up of two semi-finals followed by a final, in reality it is all about accumulating frames for the bigger picture of the league table. The actual ‘winning’ of an evening other than giving the player six frames to their total, isn’t all that more noteworthy than if they were to take five frames. Perhaps a bonus point or two would enhance the value of winning a match or at least an event? Similar to what I would have liked to have seen at the World Cup really.

Still, was only the opening night and it will be interesting to see how the league table takes shape over the coming weeks. There were a number of good points raised in the live chat tonight, namely that those suffering opening match 3-0 defeats are going to be struggling with just four events each to compete in, while the individual fixture lists of the players may well have a bearing. Already it looks to be a tough ask for Jimmy White for example who now just has three events to score points in and opening matches to come against Mark Williams, Ding Junhui and Ronnie O’Sullivan.

What did you think? Hit or miss so far?