By AYYAZ MALIK
World number three Neil Robertson beat Liang Wengbo 10-5 in the final of the UK Championship. The tournament which started on 24 November and ended 6 December was more of a multi-cultural affair.
This year’s UK Championship tournament saw players from China such as Liang Wengbo, Thailand’s Tepchiyaa Un-Nooh, Hong Kong’s Marco Fu, India’s Aditya Mehta and British born Bengali player Hamad Miah compete which would have been an encouraging sign for the head of snooker, Barry Hearn.
What made this year’s championship as good as it was, was the shocks it produced and, needless to say, the big breaks. This year’s tournament had it all, a missed 147 opportunity, a 145 break and then a 147 in the final.
It always seems to be a common occurrence in tournament snooker, the fact that there is always one player who surprises more than most. In this tournament that accolade went to 30-year old Leeds player David Grace.
Grace who is also an artist had a memorable run in this year’s tournament by reaching the semi-finals. The Leeds player beat former world champion Peter Ebdon, who beat world number two Stuart Bingham in the earlier rounds.
The tournament was also full of great comebacks, none better than in the semi-final as Liang Wenbo who seemed down and out in his semi with David Grace at 4-2, recovered to take the next four frames and win 6-4, which booked him a place in the final.
On the plus side for Yorkshire-man Grace, this has been a very financially rewarding tournament for him as he has managed to earn more money in this tournament than he has in his whole career.
I know every sports player would say they play the sport for the enjoyment, but there is nothing wrong in the odd financial incentives, especially if it helps to provide for the one’s you love.
For those who may not be the biggest fan of snooker, might want to alter their stance, especially after watching Australian player Neil Robertson win the UK Championship.
To start with, Neil Robertson was shaky against Aditya Mehta in the first round but still managed to win. Thereafter, however, the 30-year old was in inspired form throughout the tournament.
The 6-0 win against world number one Mark Selby emphasised that point. Also in the final itself, Robertson’s break building was excellent.
Neil Robertson earlier was up against Thai opponent Thepchiya Un-Nooh. Un-Nooh who is seen as one of the up and coming players of the tour sadly missed out on a 147 after missing the final black.
Aussie Robertson hit a brilliant 145 in the very next frame. Maximum breaks don’t happen very often, but this tournament would see three breaks within that bracket.
Whereas two attempts of a maximum break came painfully close (Robertson’s 145 and Un-Nooh’s 140), Neil Robertson went on to score a breathtaking 147 in the final.
That maximum for Neil meant that he was the first player to do so in a major final such as the UK Championship. As for the final itself despite Liang’s best efforts, it was Neil Robertson who became the UK Champion again winning with ease in the end 10-5.
A bit of a disappointing end to a good tournament from Liang, who entertained the crowd with his light-hearted moments along the way.
The UK Championship was a great tournament and a great advert where many players from Asia were involved. Let’s hope this is one sport where Asian players can excel.
Here at Asian Sunday, the sports team will be having a look at some up and coming Asian wannabe professionals and look at their journey in the world of snooker as we look to highlight the hurdles that Asian athletes have to overcome to be a part of the sporting elite.