The late, late show

At the time of writing it is looking like we could see the latest finish to a session of snooker in quite some time as Anthony Hamilton and Mark Selby are the latest pair to play out a lengthy quarter-final…

What a day it has been over in Newport and what a night it could be as at the time of writing (9:45pm), we still have a possible two frames to see come to a conclusion in the Selby match while Neil Robertson and Marco Fu still have a whole match to complete.

This really does raise question marks as to the wisdom of the decision to hold the four quarter-finals on the same day on the same table as it became clear from an early stage in the day that the match between Stephen Maguire and Joe Swail was going to overrun and put the rest of the matches further back. While the second match on involving Ali Carter was much quicker, the third between Selby and Hamilton has been a gruelling affair I think it is fair to say and looks like going on for some time yet.

In some ways it is bad luck for the organisers because two of the matches have been much longer than is often the case, but with such good players involved there is always a risk that matches may last the distance and take some time. Also in the Hamilton match we have just seen a new record set for the longest time without a pot, smashing the old one by nearly ten minutes so it has been a rather unusual match!

Still though, it is a situation that I could see coming and make no mistake it is certainly an important issue because as well as being a problem for the television and the paying spectators who are going to have some trouble getting into work tomorrow if the matches go on for much longer, it is hugely unfair on Marco Fu and Neil Robertson. Their quarter-final was originally scheduled to be on at 7pm believe it or not and they are now potentially looking at starting the match over three hours late and finishing it well into the night. When you consider that the Joe Swail, the man awaiting the winner in the semi-final has been finished for over eight hours now and can get a nice early night while the others slug it out. The only positive is that the winner will not play their semi-final until 7pm tomorrow so hopefully they will be able to have a lie in and recover in time, both physically and mentally.

Would it have been better to have kept two tables on and had two matches on each? Or perhaps to have spread them out over a couple of days? Who knows, but work needs to be done to try and stop this from happening again.