Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Mixed fortunes at Crondon Park

Neil Robertson and Stephen Hendry's snooker stories couldn't have been any further apart at Crondon Park this week.

While the Aussie built on his impressive Masters victory with triumph in the Championship League group three, the seven-time world champion was dumped out after losing all six of his matches in Essex.

This marks the rise of one of the game's new greats but sadly the fall of snooker's greatest great.

Picture by Monique Limbos
It doesn't get any better than this for Robertson.

On Sunday he was lifting his first Masters title and with it a cheque for £150,000, proving he's the man for the big occasion. But two days later when he emerged through a tough group in the Championship League, he showed he can tough it out too.

Many people expected Neil not to bother with his Crondon Park outing, instead he showed what a true professional he is.

From the packed house at Ally Pally playing for thousands of pounds, he went to playing behind closed doors for just £100 a frame.

He battled through illness, fatigue and the obvious comedown from a big win to prove he's the real deal. We all know snooker isn't all big venues, television cameras and mass crowds.

But when the conditions were the exact opposite, he still managed to deliver. That is the mark of a model professional and a player who is going places.

Unfortunately, legendary Scot Hendry didn't fare so well. He lost all six of his matches and saw calls from his fans to hang up the cue.

I dare say he's having the exact same thoughts himself. From the days when he dominated the entire sport, he's now struggling just to keep in touch with the new generation of top players.

It's important to add Hendry played well in patches in these six matches, and was unlucky to lose three on a deciding frame. But trust me, this will be scamp consolation for a player who only cares for winning.

Hendry has never been one to take defeat lightly, and he'll see no positives from his most recent outing.

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