Issue 3-2023-200dpi

27 March 1997 Edition

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Sportsview: Where's the colours?

By Sean O'Donaile

You can say what you like, but snooker just ain't like it was in the good old days when Alex Higgins threw skateboards out the window, headbutted referees and threatened Denis Taylor if he didn't let him march all over the table; gone is the great beer-swilling Bill Werbenuik who used to down 25 pints in an afternoon to steady his shot; gone is the great Kirk Stevens who used to dress more like Elvis and play like him, depending on how much coke he had in his system; gone is the 30 second clearance of the table by `Whirlwind' Jimmy; and who could forget Coalisland's finest Dennis Taylor potting the final black, with his jam jars upside down, to pip Mr Personality Steve Davis in a thrilling World Final?

We were all snooker pros after that and there was no better place to spend an afternoon than the Conway Mill Snooker Hall on the Lower Falls, where for a fiver you could get about 45 cans of Steiger, twenty Regal, a pair of black slacks and a dickie bow to look the part and hours of fun on the green sward.

Oft was the time when one would meet young snooker enthusiasts waiting for the hall to open at nine in the morning with their 45 cans and dickie bows. I never really got the hang of snooker - my biggest break being 12, so I blamed it on the Steiger and went back to hurling.

These days Steve Davis is about the most charismatic snooker player on the circuit. The players are nearly all under 30, clean cut and slim and they even train. Stephen Hendry personifies this and on Sunday last he won his eleventh successive major tournament when pipping Darren Morgan, 9-8, in the Irish Masters at Goffs in Kildare, which incidentally doubles up as a cattle mart during the week.

There's not much to say about this tournament except that Hendry nearly always wins it and before that Steve Davis nearly always won it. Morgan commented that he would have preferred to have lost 9-1 after losing out the £72,000 winners cheque - ``I should have rolled the ball up behind the blue but I felt I was playing well so I went for it.'' And missed. And that was that.

TV viewership of snooker has plummeted and these days the only person I know who watches it is Liam O Coileáin, but then again he watches Oprah Winfrey and the Waltons as well.

As a means of putting the buzz back into snooker I advocate that the World Championships be held in the Conway Mill Snooker Hall with a 24-pack and two flagons for the winner.

Quote of the week must go to the veteran republican Pat ``Plank'' Kenny: ``I always go for the wearing of the green, I think Orange gives the wrong impression''.

He wasn't speaking about the marching season however, but the new Irish kit which has an Orange top instead of the traditional glas. Well someone didn't want the public getting their hands on them as £75,000 worth of the blinding tops were stolen in Dublin on Wednesday morning. I blame Pat Kenny!

An Phoblacht
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