Friday, 17 June 2011

UK Championship slashed

"It's like moving to a new house; it looks brilliant and the estate agent was a conman."

That's how one of my twitter followers described this morning's news that the UK Championship - the second biggest ranking event on the snooker calendar - is falling victim for frame slashing.

It was announced earlier this year that the tournament would be moving home from the Telford International Centre back to the Barbican Centre in York, where it was last staged in 2006.

This was greeted with applause from the snooker public. It felt as if common sense had prevailed with the switch back to a far more accessible and user friendly snooker venue.

But today that great decision has been undone, in my opinion.

Now, all matches up until the semi-finals will be played as a best-of-11 frames, but more importantly, over just one session and all televised.

I admit there's nothing worse than missing a classic out on the non-TV tables, but watering down the test of the competition is not the answer.

The reason the UK Championship has had very few unlikely winners throughout its history is because the matches are played over a longer format, meaning the top players tend to prevail.

I'm not saying we should seek to protect the top players, but with so many new shorter format tournaments being designed, I would hope the UK Championship would remain untouched in order to help it keep its feel as one of the real majors.

I often use the UK as a good indication of who should do well in the World Championship. Now, the two have very little resemblance

I didn't like what the game did to the old Grand Prix last season when they reduced matches to best-of-five frames, and I don't like what they're doing to the UK Championship now.

It's all very well shortening competitions and creating new ones to win fresh audiences, but what about the fans that have been with the game for years? Surely they deserve the old classics to be left alone.

Reading this post back, it seems a pretty damning verdict but when you're passionate about something, that's what tends to happen.

I have the feeling this decision is more about money. Switching the tournament to two tables instead of four means less staffing costs for World Snooker and BBC.

But if that really is the case, could they just say so.

No comments:

Post a Comment