Crushed at our cricketing walloping from the Wallabies? Numbed at our humbling on the international soccer stage? Tempted to down cratefuls of the sponsor’s product to submerge the memory of the autumn rugby fiascos? Then why not treat yourself to a few hours of a sport where the UK is still the dominant force?
The first big snooker tournament of the year, the SAGA Insurance Masters, breaks off at Wembley on Sunday with the final a week later. If you go along you can expect to see such household names as Jimmy White, Stephen Hendry and Steve Davis in action, but perhaps the biggest question hanging over the event is whether or not the favourite will hang around long enough to play all his matches.
The tempestuous Ronnie O’Sullivan (pictured here at the 2003 World Championships) infamously walked out of a televised tie with former world champion Hendry last month, forfeiting the match and leaving behind a lot of bemused spectators. Yesterday it was revealed that earlier this week “The Rocket” attended an informal meeting with Sir Rodney Walker, head of world snooker, who told BBC Radio Five Live:
There’s a disciplinary process underway which is entirely independent of me but I wanted a personal discussion with Ronnie to understand his present thinking about his participation in snooker. I’ve come away very encouraged.
If you’re reassured by that, Ronnie finally joins the tournament on Tuesday morning against one of the victors in this weekend’s opening games. Seats that would seem to be mere feet across the Arena floor from the table are available at £22 plus booking fees, the same price as for this Sunday’s early play. If you’re not so sure, take a cue along just in case. As this week’s recording of Never Mind the Buzzcocks showed, you can never tell when you might be asked to make up the numbers.
Picture of Ronnie determined to give it a go via the nixonator’s Flickr stream.