The King returns to the Crucible

Following the announcements made yesterday regarding Stephen Hendry’s commitment to play in the Seniors tour, here is what the Yorkshire Evening Post wrote about it:

Crucible legend Hendry will make playing return in Sheffield as he joins Seniors

Henfry, King of the Crucible

Tour Stephen Hendry who dominated snooker in the Nineties.

RICHARD HERCOCK  Published: 22:27 Thursday 12 July 2018

Stephen Hendry is set for an emotional playing return at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre. The 49-year-old retired from snooker in 2012 after a glittering career, which included a record seven World Championship titles and 27 consecutive appearances in Sheffield. But the Scot has signed up to play on this season’s World Seniors Tour.

Hendry will compete at the UK Championship, at Hull’s Bonus Arena, on October 24-25 before travelling to Belfast for the World Seniors Six Reds event in March. But it is his return to the Crucible – for the Sheffield Masters next April – that will evoke memories of his golden years at the home of snooker.

Hendry dominated the snooker circuit in the Nineties, and admitted: “There’s no venue where I love playing snooker more than the Crucible. “We have done exhibitions there over the years, and to still walk down those stairs into that arena to play snooker is still something special. That’s something that will never leave me.”

Hendry, who will also compete at the World Seniors Championships and European Seniors Open, is excited at the new Seniors Tour. “I want to improve on my general standards of play, from the events that I played last year,” he said. “It’s more official this year, with the backing of World Snooker and a calendar of events to look forward to. “I will treat it a bit more seriously, put a bit more practice in. As for my own expectations, I just want to play some good snooker.”

The Tour has £200k in prize money this season, six ranking events and 15 qualifying events where anyone over 40 can win a spot to take on the legends in the final stages. qualifying events will be held in Hong Kong, Toronto, Houston, Brugge and China.

First up for Hendry is a trip to Hull, which will also include a launch dinner and golf day, alongside fellow stars Ken Doherty, Dennis Taylor, John Parrott and Yorkshire’s Joe Johnson. Up for grabs is a £10,000 winner’s prize plus a place in the World Professional Championship Qualifiers. “The new Bonus Arena in Hull looks amazing,” said Hendry. “This year the Seniors Tour feels more serious and I’m looking forward to competing again against the other legends.”

And you can also listen to the interview I did with Stephen yesterday. Thanks to him for taking the time to answer my questions, and thanks to Jason Francis who relayed them to him and recorder the interview.

An exclusive interview with Stephen Hendry

Stephen Hendry is fully embracing the World Seniors Tour – he was today confirmed to play in the World Seniors UK Championship next October – and he very kindly agreed to answer a few questions for me. Many thanks to Jason Francis who relayed those questions to him and recorded the interview. Here it is:

And here is Stephen doing some filming today for the World Seniors Tour promotion.

Brilliant David Lilley

David Lilley is a World Seniors Tour player, he’s never been a professional. Last season he qualified for the Seniors World Championship. Then he went on to play in the Q-School and finished on top of the Order of Merit. This makes him eligible to compete on the Challenge Tour as well as on Seniors Tour. It also earns him invitations to Main Tour events, should some pros not enter.

David just got, and accepted, two such invitations. This last week he’s played in the Riga Masters Qualifiers and in the World Open Qualifiers and he won both matches. He beat Hammad Miah by 4-2 in the Riga Masters Qualifiers, scoring 118, 112 and 95 on his way, and he beat Li Hang by 5-4 in the World Open Qualifiers, this time with a 93. Li Hang is currently ranked n° 36 in the World, certainly no “numpty” …

David is currently joint first on the Main Tour one year list, has earned himself £5500 in a single week and is Latvia and China bound.

DavidLilleyWinning

#DareToDream

Darren Morgan wins in Romania and earns invitation in the World Seniors European Open

MastersEuroRomania2018-4

Darren Morgan from Wales won the EBSA Masters Championship 2018 in Romania and it earned him a spot in the coming World Seniors European Masters come October. He beat John Farrell by 4-2 in the Final. Darren also won the Men’s shootout competition earlier this week (picture above).

Congratulations Darren!

You can read more about Darren in his wikipedia profile

As you can see Darren is still competing at a very high level, reaching the SF at the Riga Masters 2016 and the Final of the Seniors World Championship 2016.

And some images shared on social media showing the venue and its surroundings. Nice!

An interview with Jimmy White

Earlier this month, Jimmy, the reigning Seniors UK Champion was in Ireland to play Ronnie O’Sullivan in three exhibitions. He was interviewed by Conor Sharkey.

There are a couple of inaccuracies in this article, notably the fact the Stephen Hendry retired well before Steve Davis did, but Jimmy’s quotes are very interesting all the same.

Here it is from the Donegal News

Two things attracted my attention.

Jimmy states this is his last year as a pro. Now, what does that mean? I would be very surprised if he was willing to retire, he’s the type you have to scrape off the table! So what then? Is he possibly determined to concentrate on the Seniors Tour exclusively? Is he expecting the invitational tour cards to disappear now that the Seniors Tour is growing and seniors players are offered their own set of tournaments to play in?

Jimmy’s assessment of the current players isn’t exactly all positive. In fact it’s pretty damning in some aspects. He’s questioning their motivation and desire, including when talking about Ding and Trump. He states that most current players’ game is incomplete, some aspects are poor or missing and they don’t cope with longer formats well. The last bit of course isn’t helped by the fact that the “standard” format nowadays is the best of 7. He’s clearly not impressed with what he perceives as being most players mentality. I think he’s a bit too harsh actually. Many do struggle badly financially and that’s hard to put that off your mind when bills await to be paid. Rookies face a top 64 player in first round more often than not and get nothing for their efforts if they lose, even if they played well, gave their more experienced opponent a good game and entertained the audience. I’m not sure that this system is a great “motivator”.

Great interview with Stephen Hendry

A bit by chance, I stumbled upon this great interview by Stephen Hendry. It was recorded at the Crucible during the last World Championship

Amongst other things Stephen talks about the book he has coming. This book is available for pre-order on amazon: here is the link https://www.amazon.co.uk/Me-Table-Stephen-Hendry/dp/1786065681

He also touches on various subjects like the decline of snooker, at least when it comes to getting young people to play in the UK, why Barry Hearn’s plans to clamp on slow play aren’t quite right or realistic, and why we shouldn’t expect a return to competition on the main tour, although he definitely wants to play on the Seniors tour.

 

Longevity …

SeniorsUK2017-9111

Today, this man, the World Seniors UK Champion, reached 37 years, 7 months, 3 days & counting at the service of professional snooker, overcoming Steve Davis longevity record.

It’s quite remarkable! Congratulations Jimmy!

David Hendon stated that Fred Davis was a pro for 57 years, so Jimmy has some way to go. Fred Davis 57 years playing longevity is a fact, but nobody would be able to stay a pro nowadays not going past R1 in any ranking event for 12 seasons and being ranked n°259. Fred Davis, a great player, had an extraordinary career, and deserves every credit for still playing at 80, but the situations aren’t comparable.