Thursday, 27 September 2012

Lee-ding the way

Stephen Lee openly thanks Barry Hearn for getting his career back on track.

The 37-year-old is one of many players on the circuit proving that age is no barrier in today's game, thanks to more playing opportunities.

If you brush aside the moans and groans that come with the PTC series - now in its third season - there are players like Lee making the most of competitive tournaments being played throughout the season.

His confident 4-0 victory against Ding Junhui in the final of the APTC2 in Yixing, China, marks his third PTC trophy and points to the reason for his resurgence in form and passage up to his current ranking of six in the world.

Lee is quick to tell people that he finds solo practice difficult. Having now spent 20 years on the professional tour, motivation must be difficult.

But like so many players, he has a family to support and snooker is what he knows best. Now, with umpteen tournaments in front of him - offering first class match practice against all kinds of players - his hunger, and indeed form, have returned.

Lee is an excellently gifted player who at his best is capable of beating absolutely anyone. But so regularly eclipsed by his fellow Class of '92 scholars Ronnie O'Sullivan, John Higgins and Mark Williams, it is easy to forget his immense talent.

If you're holding a debate about the best players never to have won either of World Championship or UK Championship, Lee's name need not be far from the top of the list.

Talk of his excellent, silky smooth cue action has become a bit of an old and tired cliche but you can't help but admire him in full flow. Not all of the top players have grasped the chance thrown up by the PTCs, but Lee is among the format's biggest benefactors.

Not too long before Barry took the sport by the scruff of the neck, he was desperately struggling and merely going through the motions. Changes in recent seasons have brought back some of his best form and extended a career that looked to be flagging.

1 comment:

  1. I think it's great to see him back to his best.