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The 2012 Pro Snooker Awards – Part Two

Following on from part one of my 2012 Pro Snooker Awards, click below to read part two, as I look to the best tournament, best venue and website of the year, amongst other things…

  • To view the 2008 awards, please click here and here.
  • To view the 2009 awards, please click here and here.
  • To view the 2010 awards, please click here and here.
  • To view the 2011 awards, please click here and here.

Tournament of the Year & New Event of the Year: International Championship

For the first time since I started Pro Snooker Blog, I have decided not to give the tournament of the year award to the World Championship, but instead the inaugural International Championship, which took place in Chengdu, China barely a couple of months ago.

With five full-ranking events being staged in China this season, one complaint amongst the snooker fraternity was that the formats of the various events were too similar. In fact, that they were all identical.

The new International Championship however has raised the bar, matching the prestigious UK Championship, both in terms of prize money, ranking points and frame duration, to give it the status as one of the majors. While in the eyes of the fans and probably the players, the event still has some way to go before it can be ranked alongside the UK, the event came across on the TV as being a legitimate ‘major’ and as something above and beyond what the other events in China have brought to the table previously.

The action on the table was not too bad either, with Judd Trump seeing off all who challenged him to win the title and become world number one.

And the pandas were quite cool too.

Final of the Year: Higgins 10-9 Trump, Shanghai Masters

Currently leading my poll to find the best match of 2012 is the final of the Shanghai Masters between John Higgins and Judd Trump, and who am I to argue with that?

Ronnie O’Sullivan’s victory against Stephen Maguire in the final of the German Masters would be a narrow second for me, while over a shorter format, Maguire’s black-ball win against Jack Lisowski at the UKPTC1 event was also a thriller.

See my previous ‘Best Match’ post for more on Higgins’ Shanghai win.

Venue of the year: Crucible Theatre

The easy choice it might be, but having attended matches at more different venues than probably any other year, it is still the one that stands out. There might be bigger venues these days, but even in my eighth year attending the Crucible, it still feels special walking in there on that opening Saturday morning and seeing the world’s best players at such close quarters.

As I say every year, do enjoy it while it lasts and if you have any chance of going there, even for one session, take it. It won’t be around forever, so make the most of it.

Talking Point of the Year: The Money List

If not the controversy of the year, the potential introduction of a ranking system based on money won, as opposed to points, has certainly been the most discussed topic in snooker circles during 2012, among both fans and players alike.

My detailed views on the subject can be found here and are largely unchanged, though it is interesting to note that since then has come the revelation that all but three of the full-ranking event tournaments to be staged next season, will see all of the players start in the first round.

While I do not personally believe that a system based upon a money list will yield any particular benefits, at least with a flatter qualification structure, it may be a fair one.

Innovation of the Year: Cuetracker.net

While not technically something that directly relates to the game itself, the CueTracker.net website has been a terrific addition to the snooker landscape, giving head to head statistics and various other statistics including century counts, matches won and frames won, which makes for always makes for interesting reading.

Another late contender would be the new camera angle which we saw at the Barbican Centre recently, offering a different perspective for those at home, while the improved live scoring facility over at Love Snooker also deserves a shout.

Tweeter of the Year: Mark Williams

He might not everybody’s cup of tea admittedly, but two-time world champion Mark Williams is a player who certainly cannot be faulted for his honestly, certainly when it comes to his Twitter account. While I might not necessarily agree with everything that he says, he is certainly the most interesting player to follow and isn’t one to sit on the fence.

His banter with last year’s Tweeter of the Year winner Steve Davis in particular has been amusing of late.

Tweeter of the Year (Runner-up): Not Mark Williams

Equally as entertaining as the real Mark Williams (although in a totally different way), is snooker’s leading parody account ‘Not Mark Williams.’

Keeping everybody at home guessing as to who exactly it is, indeed whether it is Mark himself, the witty account has kept the #teamfloat flag flying high during 2012 and given us a few laughs along the way.

Commentator of the Year: Stephen Hendry

While the retirement of seven-times world champion Stephen Hendry represented a significant loss for the sport on the table back in May 2012 and continues to do so, his move up into the commentary box has certainly helped to refresh snooker commentary at the BBC events this year.

He might use the dreaded ‘careless’ word a little too much at times, but you only have to look at the comments from many of the game’s current players on Twitter when Hendry is in the box, to see how highly he is regarded as a commentator already.

Speaking only when he has something worthwhile to add and not just for the sake of it, it is a refreshing approach in comparison to some of the other, more established men in the box and having only recently left the sport, he is as in tune with the modern game, which he helped to shape, as much as anyone.

Snooker Website of the Year: Snooker.org

Freshly re-branded for 2012 it might be, but the site formerly known as WWW Snooker remains for me the best website for snooker information on the internet.

It might be simple and it might not offer as many features as many of the other sites that have sprouted up, but for viewing draws, finding out the latest results and for checking archive results, it remains head and shoulders above the rest.

In fact the relatively basic nature of the site is perhaps its greatest appeal, as well as the fact that the information provided is almost always correct.

As in 2011, the biggest compliment that I can pay the website is that I would not be able to run this blog anywhere near as efficiently without it, and it was nice to learn recently that PSB was responsible for approximately 33,000 referrals to it in 2012.

Looking elsewhere, in terms of insight and opinion, Snooker Scene Blog continues to set the benchmark, while Snookerbacker’s humorous insight completes the trio of must-read snooker websites for me when I wake up every morning.

 

This completes the annual run of festive features for me in 2012, I hope that everyone has enjoyed them and that we will have an even more exciting year in 2013!