Having already considered what was the best match played during 2014, today I look at the contenders to win the best player award for this calendar year.
Click below for my nominations and to vote in the poll…
Please note that can vote for any other player by selecting ‘other’ in the above poll and entering your selection. The following players are listed in no particular order.
Although he surrendered his grip on the World Championship title this year following his defeat to Mark Selby in the Sheffield final, Ronnie O’Sullivan nevertheless enjoyed one of his most successful years in 2014.
Having started the year by winning the Masters tournament for a fifth time, Ronnie has since added the Welsh Open, Champion of Champions and UK Championship titles, as well having made two more maximum breaks to take his career tally to a record 13.
Ronnie also set a new record for unanswered points scored in a professional match as he defeated Ricky Walden 6-0 at the quarter-finals of the Masters in January.
All in all then, a very successful year for the world number three.
It was not to be a clean sweep for O’Sullivan however, as he was denied a sixth world title at the Crucible by the Jester from Leicester Mark Selby, who won snooker’s biggest tournament for the first time in his career with a trademark comeback.
For Selby it was a victory that saw him complete a career triple crown and having been required to defeat not only Ronnie, but the formidable Neil Robertson in the semi-finals, nobody can ever argue that he was not fully deserving of the title.
Away from the Crucible, Mark also made it to the final of the Masters and Haikou World Open events, as well as winning the Riga Open title in August.
While the second half of 2014 has not been as successful as Ding Junhui might have hoped, he nevertheless stands as the only player other than Ronnie O’Sullivan to have won more than one full ranking event title in 2014, following his successes at the German Masters and China Open tournaments.
Ding also became the 11th player in snooker’s history to have held the world number one ranking, as well as winning the first Asian Tour event of the current season in the summer.
Following a relatively fallow period of his career, Shaun Murphy has returned to winning ways in style in 2014, winning the Haikou World Open event in China, as well as a hat-trick of European Tour events in Poland, Germany and Bulgaria.
Shaun also became the first player ever to have made three maximum breaks during a calendar year.
Stuart Bingham claimed the biggest victory of his career this season at the Shanghai Masters and having also won two events at Asian Tour level, has been one of snooker’s most prolific winners of 2014.
He also made it to the semi-finals of the UK Championship for a second successive season, as well as the final of the Shoot Out in January.
And that is not to mention the likes of Neil Robertson (the century of centuries), Ricky Walden (Chengdu champion) and Judd Trump (better than ever), who all enjoyed success in 2014.
Who was your player of the year?