Friday, 7 September 2012

My Gloucester experience

There's a wonderful atmosphere everywhere you go within the South West Snooker Academy (SWSA).

I'm making my first visit to this unique snooker venue this weekend and have been impressed by every aspect of it.

The close proximity of the tables create an intimate atmosphere during the matches. The open-plan communal areas immediately generate a feel of community with players, fans, officials and media mixing freely. The team that look after the academy are not only warm hosts but snooker lovers too.

Combining all this makes for a mini-snooker haven.

While you're inside the academy, it feels as though you're within a specially-designed snooker bubble.

In fact it's unfortunate that this bubble, as far as professional events are concerned, will soon be bursting.

It was announced during the last event here that the academy's contract with World Snooker would end after this season's UKPTC4.

This is disappointing on two notes. Firstly as a snooker fan, I regret not coming here sooner for the pure enjoyment factor. Secondly based on my experience this weekend, it's a great shame to think that such a perfect setting for a PTC event will be lost.

I don't for one minute question the quality of facilities at Sheffield, but there is no way hosting events there provides the same all-round product as here in Gloucester.

In the SWSA we have a venue that can compete with the equivalent events being held across Europe.

With just one professional tournament left here, my advice to any mad-keen snooker fan out there is to get here and have a taste of a great place for snooker.

Just a day in and around the venue, you will get the chance to see many different professionals and amateurs battle it out on the baize and then get the chance to mix with them socially and gain an insight into the life of a snooker player.

Whatever happens between the SWSA and World Snooker, the game still has a bright future in Gloucester. While the venue may not host any more professional tournaments, I have no doubt it will continue to be a first-class base for its players and an excellent venue for amateur events.

Gloucester, thank you for your hospitality.

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