2016/17 Snooker Season: Selby’s Stamp on Greatness – SnookerHQ

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The newest chapter in a collection of articles trying again at every marketing campaign from the Crucible period.

There have been widespread adjustments and updates made through the 2016/17 snooker season – a few of which had been nicely acquired, and a few that had been very a lot not.

For the earlier six seasons, there had been the Gamers Tour Championship collection of pro-am tournaments that boasted minor-ranking occasion standing.

The inflow of those weekend-long competitions offered extra alternatives to compete for these on the Essential Tour, and it resulted in unlikely champions equivalent to Barry Pinches, Rory McLeod, and Rod Lawler.

Even so, the vast majority of these occasions had been nonetheless dominated by the same old stars, with Marks Selby and Allen having fun with explicit success having recorded a dozen triumphs between them on the collection.

However forward of the 2016/17 snooker season, the PTC setup was scrapped and a choice was made by which the surviving tournaments – together with the Riga Masters, Paul Hunter Traditional, and Gibraltar Open – would all be upgraded to full rating occasion standing.

A brand new Dwelling Nations collection was additionally added to the schedule, with week-long tournaments in England, Northern Eire, and Scotland fashioned to coincide with the well-established Welsh Open in Cardiff.

There was a further incentive for any participant who might obtain the unlikely feat of capturing all 4 Dwelling Nations titles in the identical marketing campaign – with a headline-grabbing £1 million bonus on supply.

Whereas many sniggered at that considerably ridiculous jackpot, the Dwelling Nations collection was really thought of an enormous success because it took snooker again to the likes of Glasgow and Belfast.

The ultimate of the Northern Eire Open was notably memorable, as an emotional Mark King realised a career-long ambition of capturing a rating crown when he denied Barry Hawkins in a 9-8 epic that’s thought to be one of many finals of the last decade.

King wasn’t the one first-time rating occasion champion through the 2016/17 snooker season, and this was positively a interval by which the checklist of greatest gamers to have by no means received a rating title was thrown large open.

This streak of winners really started a few yr earlier when Joe Perry secured his maiden glory within the 2015 PTC Grand Finals, and it continued into 2016 when Liang Wenbo jumped with elation upon claiming the English Open crown in October.

Lower than 4 months later, one other heartwarming success story transpired when Anthony Hamilton defied his tender age of 45, to not point out a young again, to lastly break his personal rating occasion duck.

The Sheriff had lengthy been thought of as one of the best participant to have by no means received a rating title, however sensible victories over high 16 regulars Mark Williams, Selby, Hawkins, and Stuart Bingham helped him by to a primary closing in 15 years, the place he duly overcame World Open champion Ali Carter in entrance of the ever-tremendous Tempodrom crowd.

Anthony McGill had additionally joined the winners’ circle along with his early-season Indian Open triumph, however it was his success in one other event that had the keyboard warriors out in drive.

A change to the Snooker Shoot Out that allowed all 128 Essential Tour gamers to take part resulted in its upgrading to full rating occasion standing as nicely.

It’s honest to say that the choice divided opinion, with many traditionalists lambasting a peculiar transfer to open up a contest that didn’t even incorporate all the recreation’s acquainted guidelines.

The Shoot Out had been on the calendar since 2011 and followers had grown accustomed with the shot clocks, ball-in-hand, and boisterous crowds that got here to be related to the booze-filled weekend of single-frame motion.

However awarding it with a extra prestigious standing was a step too far for many, with eventual champion McGill even stating that “by no means ought to this be a rating event.”

Regardless that there was an increase within the variety of first-time champions, the 2016/17 snooker season nonetheless offered sufficient alternatives for members of the traditional solid of marquee names.

Neil Robertson conjured up his now normal victory within the season opener, on this event capturing June’s Riga Masters in Latvia, whereas Judd Trump denied Ronnie O’Sullivan in a gripping inaugural European Masters title decider in Romania earlier than including the Gamers Championship crown for good measure.

Ding Junhui, Stuart Bingham, Marco Fu, and Barry Hawkins every shared a rating victory between them, however with a report 19 rating occasions now on the calendar there was a definite alternative for a participant to exert a level of dominance.

So it proved, with reigning world champion Mark Selby continuing to equal Ding and Stephen Hendry’s report of touchdown 5 rating crowns in a single time period.

Selby received the Paul Hunter Traditional in August and was a constant winner for the remainder of the marketing campaign, including silverware in profitable editions of the Worldwide Championship, UK Championship, and the China Open forward of his Crucible defence.

Then on the 2017 World Snooker Championship the Jester misplaced solely 11 frames en path to the final 4, the place he held off the robust problem of Ding for a second successive yr in Sheffield courtesy of an absorbing 17-15 semi-final success.

The ultimate was towards John Higgins, who had been one of many few different gamers to win a number of instances through the 2016/17 snooker season – though funnily sufficient, not in rating tournaments.

Higgins captured the inaugural China Championship in Guangzhou that was initially staged as an invitational, and every week later in November overcame Ronnie O’Sullivan by the identical 10-7 scoreline to say the Champion of Champions crown.

The Scot prevailed within the Championship League too, so when he entered the 2017 World Championship a fifth world success was very a lot on the playing cards.

However Selby was nearly robotic at this level in his profession, and the Englishman was proving virtually unbeatable when he reached the latter levels of a significant competitors.

An 18-15 victory gave the runaway world primary his third world title in 4 years and underlined his credentials as one of many all-time greats of the sport.

O’Sullivan, in the meantime, peculiarly ended the 2016/17 snooker season having not captured a single rating title regardless of the rise within the variety of alternatives accessible.

The Rocket’s psychological struggles on the Crucible continued, however one event by which he hardly ever struggled was the Masters, and a 10-7 overcome Perry in January took his tally of titles in London to a report seven.

It marked the primary time {that a} participant had defended the Masters crown since Paul Hunter’s back-to-back successes in 2001 and 2002 – becoming, contemplating the 2017 version was the primary time that the Masters winner was handed the Paul Hunter Trophy in honour of the late star from Leeds.

Click on right here for extra from the Snooker Seasons collection.

Featured photograph credit score: WST



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