Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Bond looks ahead to senior service

A bonfire bonanza of seniors snooker is nearly upon us.

The 2011 World Seniors Championship will take place in Peterborough on 5 and 6 November with Jimmy White looking defend the title he won a year ago.

Proving a massive hit with the fans who travelled to Bradford for the maiden competition last season, this year's tournament promises to be bigger and better with 16 players fighting for the crown.

The field includes four players still competing on the professional tour. Jimmy White and Steve Davis who were last season's winner and runner-up respectively, plus Malta's Tony Drago and Nigel Bond, who was another of last season's success stories reaching the semi-finals.

Bond won five matches en route to the final four last time out, including qualifying wins against Joe Swail, Dave Harold and Peter Lines, a victory against Peter Ebdon in the pre-qualifying match and the scalp of Ken Doherty in the quarter-final.

Currently ranked 44 in the world, Nigel is one of the heavy favourites to win the title this season and he's looking forward to launching a championship charge.

He said: "I'm looking to it because it's a bit of respite from the pressure of the ranking events.

"It was great fun to play in last year and I think I've got a great chance of winning it."

This season's event will be aired live on Sky, instead of repeated at Christmas, as it was last season.

Bond added: "This goes to show how popular it was.

"Hopefully we'll have a full house and there will be a real buzz about the weekend.

"Snooker fans love watching the older players because they're remembered for playing the game when snooker was at its ascendancy.

"The likes of Dennis Taylor, Jimmy, Steve Davis and Cliff Thorburn are household names and it must remind the fans of the good old days when these characters were on the box."

Although Bond now lines up along the senior stars, he's at the lower end of the bracket and remembers watching some of his rivals as a young boy himself.

He said: "I went to watch the 1987 World Championship final between Joe Johnson and Steve Davis at the Crucible and now I'm in an event against the players I used to idolise as a kid.

"A lot of these players were ending their professional careers as I was starting mine so it's great to be playing in the seniors with them now."

With a larger field of 16 players, Bond says it shows how popular the event is with the players, as well as the fans.

"There's been a lot more players picking up their cues after a long time and the tournament has come a long way," he said.

"Joe Johnson and his partner should take a lot of credit for getting the event off the ground last season but Barry Hearn has stepped in to help out with prize money and TV deals, so the tournament is in a really strong place." 

Full first round draw:

Tony Drago v Steve Davis
Dene O'Kane v Neal Foulds
Karl Townsend v Steve Ventham
John Parrott v Joe Johnson
Jimmy White v Tony Knowles
Nigel Bond v Dennis Taylor
Gary Wilkinson v Darren Morgan
Cliff Thorburn v Doug Mountjoy

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