One Frame

While I suspect that many people reading this blog will have a keen interest in snooker, of course there are many others who do not follow the sport. Indeed excluding those that I know through attending tournaments, I do not know more than a couple of people who have any great understanding of the sport at a professional level.

With that in mind, tonight I posed the question on Twitter as to if you could show a ‘non-snooker fan’ one frame of snooker, in order to sell the sport to them, which would it be? Click below for the best of the replies and to make your suggestion…

As with any ‘best’ or ‘most memorable’ frame debate, it was perhaps inevitable that two frames in particular would soon be mentioned, and rightly so.

The first of these is frame 14 of Ronnie O’Sullivan’s match against Mick Price at the 1997 World Championship, when the Rocket would memorably make his first maximum break at the Crucible in a record time of five minutes and twenty seconds. Suggested by @StBlazeySnooker, @DaveClark147 and @StuartPike78, the break is as pure a demonstration of natural ability that you are ever likely to see and will be still be talked about many years from now. If that were to be shown to someone not familiar with snooker however, would that make the game look too easy?

The other obvious choice as put forward by @Onakage, @jaydee1972 and @PilgrimChris amongst others, is of course the final frame of that final, between Dennis Taylor and Steve Davis at the 1985 World Championship.

Another strong candidate from the Crucible Theatre is the unlikely 69 break made by Alex Higgins at the 1982 World Championship, a clearance that to this day remains among the most memorable ever seen on television. This suggestion came in from @StBlazeySnooker and @mathsisfun.

From one Higgins to another, one frame that would be close to the top of my list would be that won by John Higgins in the final of the 2006 Masters, to defeat Ronnie O’Sullivan 10-9. Started by a red to the right-centre that even watching now I still expect not to drop, Higgins’ clearance from 60 points behind was perhaps John’s finest hour to date and was suggested by @vintheman147 and @StevenB147.

Another memorable Masters final was that just two years previously, as Ronnie again lost out in a thriller, that time to the late Paul Hunter. Having trailed 7-2, Paul fought back bravely to eventually win his third Masters final in a classic final and the decider was nominated here by @Daen00.

How about those perhaps a little less obvious? One suggestion that I did like was that by @punter19922, who suggested the deciding frame between Stephen Hendry and Ken Doherty at the Crucible in 2002, when Hendry sunk a couple of ‘all or nothing’ shots under pressure on his way to a 13-12 win. Similarly, @MikeRob1990 called Hendry’s nail-biting deciding frame loss to Peter Ebdon just days later in the final of that tournament as his choice.

Thinking a little more out of the box, @Samrfc has suggested Rory McLeod’s dramatic Shoot Out victory against Tony Drago back in 2011 as his nomination, while there were a number of votes for Ronnie O’Sullivan’s stunning break of 93 against Ali Carter at this year’s World Championship.

While those are just a few suggestions, if you had to sell snooker with just one frame, what would you choice be?


  • Kenn Fong

    As much as I enjoy Ronnie’s speedy maximum vs. Mick Price, I don’t think it’s indicative of what snooker is. For one thing, there are no actual snookers scored or laid.

    The other factor has to be how good a friend this is and whether you think this person has an attention span. By all means use the aforementioned maximum by Ronnie if your viewer is impatient, but be prepared when your viewer sees an actual frame and it’s nothing like that. You might also consider whether this person’s interest is genuine or just polite curiosity about why you are devoting so much attention to this weird game. If it’s the latter and you think they’re not likely to want to watch more, just show them Ronnie vs. Mick Price and be done with it.

    Obviously you don’t want a safety battle, because every new viewer wants to see pots. The ideal frame should also include some back and forth so the new viewer gets a sense of how a match unfold.

    Although I have no suggestions, I have been thinking about this question for a long time because one of my friends, a young sports reporter in Alabama, is curious about my interest in snooker. So now I’ll shut up and let others make suggestions.

  • Andre

    Yeah I agree with Ken… It would depend a LOT on what type of person or friend we were “selling” that one frame… Indeed, if it was just one of Ronnie’s super fast breaks, than when the person saw a frame with more tactical battle, would lose the interest instantly….

    Anyway, here goes my selections:

    – For a person who just wants to be entertained for a few minutes, nothing else: Ronnie v Nigel Bond, 1996 Masters, frame 9: just watch that break and tell me if it isn’t one of the finest things ever done on a snooker table

    – For a person who wants to watch a a frame of snooker, with both scoring and safety – 2008 China Open Final Murphy v Maguire, deciding frame;

    – For someone who wants to watch a grueling battle: Murphy v Harold, China Open Longest frame opf snooker, LOL.

    – For someone who enjoy the shher pressure on both players: 2010 Uk Champs Final Higgins v Williams, deciding frame

  • Andre

    Ok that was just a list for different kinds of people and different mindsets towards snooker and life… but for someone who really doesn’t understand a thing about the game, he or she cannot possibly ask for a type of frame of snooker because they don’t know how the game works.

    I would still take a chance on that Ronnie frame, even though people then could have the wrong impression that the game is too easy or woulnd’t have patience for some tactical battles, which really is the essence of the game if you truly want to suceed, not just pot balls of course.

  • kirja

    I actually have been thinking this as I’ve wanted to show my friend what this sport is like. I want to add one suggestion: Last season’s Shoot Out, Tony Drago’s first round match. I haven’t found it on Youtube but it was awesome.

  • http://snookerprose.blogspot.ca/ Randall Morrison

    2006 World Final – Frame 31 – Graeme Dott vs. Peter Ebdon

    I know the match as a whole wasn’t necessarily the greatest, but this frame captures what snooker at the professional level is all about, if you ask me.

  • http://www.SightRightUk.com Steve Feeney

    Just ‘one’ Frame can never sell the game just like one ride at DisneyWorld cant sell a fortnights holiday there.
    Only a ‘montage’ of many will do to tell the whole story and show the real excitement, passion & drama …..
    – all the best moments, all the ‘exciting’ crowd pleaser hot shots from down the years, & worst misses, the tears (Alex Higgins), the joys (Steve Davis & Stephen Hendry lifting the title 13 times between them – each time!), the Heroes of the game – the cheers for ‘come on Jimmy’, the fist pumps of Peter Ebdon, the Ronnio speed 147, Rory’s Shoot Out pleaser, the crowd involvement – applauding, snoozing, cheering, the ‘ooohs’ and perhaps even some clips of the stars of the future – maybe all the World Champions how they were as youngsters and then as Champions, the blood & sweat in the club practicing, the waiting in the dressing rooms, the disapppointments of losing, the relief and / or bliss of Winning.

    Not one frame – but a story of the game to sell it – a story that makes people feel they want to play!

  • zabaks

    Well, i dont think frames where only one player is actually playing is a good idea. So, I might exclude all 147s or other one-sided clearences. Short version of both players participating would be that Masters decider, Ronnie goes 60-0 up, and Higgins strikes back.
    A long version (Re: attention spin in 1st comment by Kenn Fong) of both players battling it out must be that 1985 Final frame. Dennis going for doubles, he would not normally play, etc. Issues behind ability to play a shot come into play, psychology of the game.

  • Roman

    How about the Barry Hawkins vs Joe Swail decider from the recent ET1?

  • JohnH

    Quite easy this- show a frame from Pot Black in the late 70’s with a few mistakes and a battle on the colours – as this was primarily viewed by people who didnt know the game the commentary was set up with this in mind. Use a frame with some of Reardon, Spencer, Higgins or Mountjoy and let the presence of the prayers draw them in.

  • HML1

    It should be a really close, important frame. Like the deciding frame between Higgins and Carter in the Last 16 of the PTC Antwerp. A deciding frame, decided by one point. If you know nothing about the sport you will feel the tension. I’m sure.

  • Kenn Fong

    Tonight’s final frame of the match between John Higgins and Mark Davis in the round of 16 in the 2012 deserves serious consideration for the honor. Davis got off to a roaring start in the decider but broke down on frame ball. Then Higgins come roaring back but missed the pink that would have taken him into the lead.

    Higgins needed the pink and black to advance, Davis only needed the pink. After a short series of safeties, Higgins left Davis a chance on the pink and Davis’s aim was true.

    This frame had drama, heavy scoring, safety play, and a “David vs. Goliath” backstory about a journeyman player eliminating a former World Champion.