Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Fan profile: Dan Armstrong

It's time for another of OnCue's popular fan profiles.

Dan Armstrong shares his baize views this time including how he dreamed of playing like The Nugget and hios opinions on the shortening of formats under Barry Hearn.

Name: Dan Armstrong

Age: 29

From: Ramsgate, Kent

Occupation: Freelance writer

Highest break: 133

Followed snooker since: Early childhood. As long as I can remember, really.

First memory: I was too young to remember a specific match. My earliest memories of snooker are of the players personalities in the mid 1980s. They really were larger than life and made a brilliant game even more absorbing. Snooker was such a huge part of popular culture in those days. It was everywhere. I vividly remember the early days of Big Break on BBC1 and Pot Black, of course.

First favourite player: Steve Davis. I wanted so badly to be able to play at his standard. I would study everything he did on a snooker table then attempt to copy it on my mini-table.

First live match: I went to the 1990 World Championship semi-final. Two of my favourite players, Davis and White, were looking for a place in the final.

Best memory: My highest break of 133. There was a little bit of luck on my side that day. I had some beneficial kisses but, it that was an incredible feeling.

Greatest player: I have to say Stephen Hendry. His records speak for themselves. There are more naturally-gifted players, such as Ronnie, but while Stephen's records still stand, he's the man.

Favourite player: It's still Steve Davis. He is a true legend of the sport. He is one of the greatest players ever and a terrific ambassador for the sport. I love watching him play. He cemented my love of snooker but there are lots of other players I look forward to watching these days as well. Martin Gould, Stephen Lee, Shaun Murphy, John Higgins, Rory McLeod, Ding Junhui and Neil Robertson to name just a few. Then there's Ronnie O'Sullivan and Judd Trump. Their recent battles have been a joy to watch.

Snooker in 10 years' time will... hopefully be at a level of popularity on par or greater than it was in the 1980s. All the elements are there. Generally I've agreed with the changes Barry Hearn has made so far and they are bearing fruit already. Event attendance is picking up, as is interest in clubs across the country. Internationally, the game has never been more popular than it is at the moment. There are some terrific new players on the scene already, particularly from Asia. Change is never universally popular, so while it'll be a bumpy ride at times, snooker seems to be on the right track.

If I could make one change to the game: I'd reinstate the traditional best-of-17-frame matches at the UK Championship. As far as change to progress the sport in the public consciousness is fine, complete change is not. The UK & World Championship formats should not be fiddled with. Shorter matches may be preferable for some new viewers but it doesn't always help the players. If a player has a bad session, the best-of-11-frame matches eliminate any chance for them to find their form in another and bounce back. Longer matches are a true test of a player's skill and mental focus. If every tournament had short matches, new fans are going to tire of the format as much as traditionalists would be driven away. For snooker to thrive there must be a balance of traditional and new-style tournaments.

I love snooker because... it's the perfect game. It's as simple as that.

No comments:

Post a Comment