Saturday, 12 November 2011

Paul Collier's Premier League nights: Banbury

The line-up for this year's Premier League semi-finals is taking shape.

Judd Trump and Mark Williams both secured their places alongside Dung Junhui this week.

Ronnie O'Sullivan needs to win just one frame in Grimsby in his match with Jimmy White to take the last.

Paul Collier spoke to OnCue about the night in Banbury and what he thinks on the tournament as it reaches its climax....

Everyone knows how much I enjoy the Premier League so it's a bit of a shame that we're already nine nights down and just have two rounds left.

It's really flown by this season, especially with there being so much else on the calendar.

The group stages have been tight all the way through so it's a little bit of a surprise that we go through to Grimsby pretty much knowing who will be in the finals.

The Grimsby fans will still turn out in vast numbers though, I'm sure. They always enjoy it, and, the players still have prize money to compete for.There will be no shortage in entertainment value.

Banbury was another huge success. In fact, it's the third season in succession we've been here.

Williams lost the final but got through. I think it's the first time he's done that since we introduced a shot-clock so it's a good achievement for him.

Matthew Stevens was playing as well and Ryan Day was backstage. They were all travelling to Belgium together for this weekend's PTC, so they livened up the players lounge.

So did John Higgins who came in with a moustache in support of Movember. It's quite funny as his hair is going grey and he had a ginger moustache. But that's what it's all about. It gets people talking about Movember and raises awareness. It's not just about handing out sponsorship forms.

He did well on the table in Banbury as well, of course. He won the event.

I think the pressure of him already being out meant he could enjoy it a bit more. He's admitted he struggles with the shot-clock but once it didn't matter he proved he can play to 20 seconds. It shows good signs for next season.

It was another good night but it was a shame the fire alarm kept going off. An idiot in the bar thought it would be a funny idea to brake one of the fire access points. Once that happens, it keeps going off.

You can't legislate for something like that.

It's that stage of the competition where people start reflecting on the format of the Premier League. I think this year has divided opinion. The people who come to watch like the fact they're seeing a tournament but the purists think it's not a league anymore. I loved the old format and still like it now but I'm not a big fan of the Shoot-Out frame.

To switch so dramatically in the rules during a match is difficult for me as a referee and also the players. Who knows? We may see some changes again next season to make it better.

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