It’s that time of the year: snooker awards !
So, here are my picks on the 2017/18 Seniors season highlights and heroes…
First of all, one man who deserves a special mention is Jason Francis, the creator and original promoter of the World Seniors tour. Jason did put an extraordinary amount of work and passion in developing the tour: it had just one event last season, it had four this season, it will have at least 6 next season. Take a bow Jason!
But we shouldn’t forget that behind Jason there is a dedicated team, working tirelessly. Thank you guys and gals! One member of this team was working at the Masters only days after her partner passed away, she found the courage to be 100% professional and even to smile. That’s how decdicated they are. So big, big respect and thank you to all of them.
Now onto the awards…
Player of the season: Jonathan Bagley
Jonathan finished n°1 in the rankings this season, having qualified for all four main events. He reached the semi-finals in the Seniors UK, the final in the Seniors Irish Masters, the semi finals in the Seniors World Championship, and the Final in the Seniors Masters.
Achievement of the season: Aaron Canavan, World Champion
Aaron had never competed at professional level before playing at the World Championship qualifiers last months. Family circumstances came in the way of his snooker ambitions when he was a teenager, and he had rarely played outside the Channel Islands … but he dared to dream and is our reigning World Champion, a hero at home, and a fantastic advert for Seniors snooker!
Sub(stitute) of the season: Steve Davis, Irish Masters Champion
Steve Davis isn’t a snooker player anymore … he’s DJ Thundermuscle nowadays. When he accepted to replace Stephen Hendry at the Irish Masters, he made it clear this was a one-off. Who would have guessed that he was going to lift the Alex Higgins Trophy in Goffs? Not many surely. But that’s exactly what he did! And he was presented the trophy by Lauren Higgins, the daughter of his once harsh rival…
Amazing story of the season: Cao Kaisheng
Cao had never left China… before he qualified for the Seniors World Championship, came out the best out of a 80+ qualifier field in Beijing and traveled to Scunthorpe! He made himself very proud by reaching the semi finals, despite the tiredness of the travel and the stress of playing in front of thousands glued on the streaming at home: they were half a million watching at prime time. That’s serious pressure.
Magic moment of the season: Cliff Thorburn celebrates after winning the Masters
It had been more than 30 years since Cliff Thorburn, 70 years old, had last lifted a trophy. Last months he won the Seniors Masters at the Crucible and celebrated in style before declaring “This feels so good, it’s been so long”. This is what sport is all about: the passion and desire never go. It may have slipped under the media radar but those who were at the Crucible that night surely lived it with Cliff. It was marvellous, it was magic!
You can re-live the season in images by browsing through the Events Pictures Gallery