Saturday, 7 May 2011

Dorchester delight

Snooker has had a zip about it this season.

That was celebrated at last night's end of season awards, held at the Dorchester in London.

A number of top players, referees, sponsors and journalists made the trip to the capital, for the swanky ceremony, which proved a fitting end to what has been probably the greatest ever snooker campaign.

Here's how the gongs were dished out...

John Higgins
Journalists Player of the Year
World Snooker Player of the Year

It's been a quite remarkable season for John Higgins. Winner of six events since returning from suspension, the Wizard of Wishaw has looked as determined as ever on the baize. It wasn't a big surprise that this year's World and UK Champion picked up two of the biggest awards going, but sadly he couldn't be there to collect them. Reports say he was stranded at Milan airport.

It's hard for me to argue about Higgins picking up two gongs. His performances this season have been off the scale, especially on the biggest stages. He's given us comebacks to enjoy in both major finals and yet more evidence that he could be one of the greatest all-round players to grace the sport.

Judd Trump
Fans Player of the Year
Performance of the Year

Popularity personified. Judd Trump is snooker's latest attraction. From now on, every match he plays in will be box office. Despite only really finding this stardom in the last two events of the season -where he won the China Open and finished runner-up in the World  Championship - this was enough to see him win two awards.

For Trump, it's justified reward for how he's rocketed to the top of the sport. His attacking style was always going to be a winner with the fans, and I'd argue his performances in Sheffield this year were the best of all-time for a player not to go on and lift the trophy.

Mark Williams
Players Player of the Year

This award is often the most prestigious in any sport. Winning the praise of your peers is probably the greatest compliment you can be given.

Mark Williams has won the German Masters and climbed back to number one in the world rankings this year. You can't argue he deserved something for that, but I also can't help but feel this says a little bit about how fellow players still feel about Higgins. His reputation has been dragged through the mud over the last 12months, and in my opinion, I think that might have something to do with the outcome of this award. There are a lot of fans who haven't forgotten what happened, and maybe the players are the same. Just a thought.

Rory McLeod
Moment of the Year

For his dramatic black-ball win against Tony Drago at this year's maiden Shootout event in Blackpool. Didn't expect it to win the award above the introductions to the final session of this year's World Championship final, but it was great.

Watch it again here.

Jack Lisowski
Rookie of the Season

A player who really has grabbed his opportunity on tour with both hands. In the PTC3, he beat Mark Selby to reach his maiden final, before losing out to Tom Ford.

He also qualified for the televised stages of the German Masters, before losing narrowly in the first round to Higgins. Great things are expected of him.

He looks like one of the game's really promising players.

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