PTC2: My Final Tournament Thoughts

So the dust is now settling on what was a fabulous event staged at the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester, namely the PTC2 as won in style by Judd Trump. Click below for my thoughts on Judd and a few other issues and observations from behind the scenes…

Crisis? What crisis. Those early season defeats for Judd now seem like a long time ago following an excellent performance against China’s Ding Junhui which saw the 2011 world finalist win his first title of the new season.

Funnily enough at the start of the tournament Judd’s form was by his own admission nothing to tweet home about, but the turning point proved to be his 4-3 win against Neil Robertson which went all the way to the final black, Neil eventually going in-off after both had missed a few attempts at the pot. From there Judd’s form improved markedly, indeed he was to drop just one further frame during his next three matches and by the end of the final he simply could not miss!

Now up to eighth in my projected seedings list with few points to come off during the remainder of this season, Judd has put his campaign right back on track and it will be very interesting to see where he finishes up. It was always going to be the case that he would enjoy himself after his Crucible run, indeed he said as much in one of his press conferences and with the 2011/12 season starting so early his performances would inevitably be affected. Now though he is back in the groove seemingly and he will be a danger for the rest of the season.

On the subject of my projected seedings list, good news as at the tournament I learned that the points from the 2009 Grand Prix tournament will be coming off at the first seedings cut-off, meaning that my list is thankfully correct! There had been some doubt but I can now confirm 100% that those points will be removed in addition to those from the 2009 Shanghai Masters.

Looking back at the event, as ever it was a pleasure to be invited to the media room at the South West Snooker Academy, a fabulous venue run by a good team. The event was very well received and the increase in audience numbers compared to a year ago when the venue staged the EPTC4 event at short notice was marked. As was said to me, it really felt like a ‘proper’ event and while not full to capacity, I felt that the arena came into its own in a competitive environment for the first time certainly that I have been present for.

I cannot though complete this post without commenting on what some of you will have noticed on Twitter, namely the issue of tweeting from the seating gallery at the venue which was raised by the tournament officials on the Monday. It was pointed out to me that the main problems are that in the case of tweeting from the TV tables, the stream to everyone at home is actually on something like a 20-30 second delay which could potentially lead to betting problems. In addition it was also felt that I would be too close to the tables and that it might distract the players, or encourage members of the public to use their phones also.

For me I can completely understand the first issue and see where problems might arise if I were to be tweeting live updates in that scenario. It should be noted however that with those matches being streamed, I largely avoided those tables and certainly had no intention of tweeting from them, indeed what would be the point?

As for the second issues I am not convinced by these as I spoke to a substantial number of players about the distraction factor and none told me that they found discreet tweeting to be a problem. Indeed photographers are allowed to take photos and I would argue that is far more distracting than silently tapping buttons onto a mobile phone out of view.

Ultimately it is World Snooker’s tournament and so their rules should be respected, but I would certainly welcome some discussion not only on the specific issue of tweeting during live matches, but more importantly the growing presence of social media generally. There are an increasing band of fans and bloggers including but not limited to myself, Snookerbacker, Snooker Island and so on taking time out of our personal lives to attend tournaments and provide you guys at home with updates as to what is going on at events and it is a shame that in places there are still obstacles and barriers in the way of doing so.

Simply put the world is changing, waiting until the next day for news is a thing of the past and fans want updates instantly, or as close to that as possible and the World Championship qualifiers this year showed how successful a tool Twitter can be in doing so. The point was also emphasised further when the live scoring failed at times on Tuesday and Wednesday and the only score updates coming out of the venue were via my Twitter feed.

My goal with this blog has always been to bring fans closer to the sport in any way that I can and going forward I therefore believe that the implementation of a considered, well-communicated policy by those in charge rather than an outright ban would be a welcome move.

Ok I shall get down from my soapbox on that point now!

Elsewhere it was nice to meet a few new faces as well as build upon friendships and people that I have spoken to at previous events during the last few years. There were too many to single out in full but one player who I had met on several previous occasions was Ireland’s Ken Doherty and this week I was able to sit down and conduct an interview with him which was somewhat surreal. As I remarked to him, four or five years ago I was happy enough to get an autograph from who was on of my favourite players as a youngster so to have the opportunity to interview him was a highlight of the week.

It was good to be able to congratulate Stuart Bingham on his Australian Open triumph also while also bumping into PSB’s latest blogger Jack Lisowski and his mother. Former pro Patrick Wallace too introduced himself and it was interesting to hear from him that he is now playing the PTCs for fun, rather than as a serious attempt to get back on tour one more time. For fun or not, he was playing pretty well and made a good clearance under pressure to defeat Jimmy Robertson in the first round.

Anyway thanks again to everyone at the venue for their hospitality once again, in particular Paul, Sarah and Janie and hopefully I will be back down there sooner rather than later!