Sometimes less can be more in identifying the Best of British!

Nobody, but NOBODY, enjoys a good whinge as much as I do (so they tell me), and this week’s British Open has seen the usual wanton self-congratulatory claptrap brigade out in force once again. I fully understand that the majority of malcontent over best of 5 matches is little more than the faceless fun police having a pop at something for the hell of it. Again, just like the Shootout, the very one’s kicking and screaming at the indignity of it all will rightly be tuned in. And why not? You will, as usual, see much of the cream rise to the top as we near sunday’s best of 11 finale, but before we get there, let’s juggle a few plus and minus points and judge for yourselves whether there is a need for a fashionable pitchfork gathering in Leicester Square?…

Typically, the players themselves won’t outwardly sing the praises of any short course format, which is wholly understandable. All players worth their salt have this ingrained belief that their way of playing is suited to the more lengthy format, however, there are two undeniable truths that can’t be ignored. Firstly… Best of 5 snooker will always be what it says on the tin. It’s still just snooker, where the best performance will invariably win. And secondly… History tells you that most players prospects of producing a deep run will be heightened by the short course format. With this in mind, it’s reasonable to assume that behind closed practise room doors, opportunity knocks louder than ever before, and the majority rightly acquiesce to this notion.

As we have all been through the wringer this last 18 months, it’s high time for a collective embrace of the format diversity the World Snooker Tour is serving up during an increasingly (and thankfully) packed calendar. Actually, the more I think about it, a tour consisting of mainly best of 9’s would feel more than a little repetitive for me. Lots of other sports have tweaked their formats in recent times so why should we buck that trend? Being a cricket fan myself, I used to think of the ODI 50 over game as very short, but as 20/20 has grown in recent times, the 50 over game now feels like a proper test of a player’s skills. The point being that not everyone is a fan of the same format. Being able to pick and choose which events are more personally palatable to our individual preference is a privilege not to be scoffed at.

As an aside, anyone who wins four best of 5’s to reach the quarter finals in elite company more than deserves their chance to earn a tilt at the title, crundles of kudos, a nice few quid, and much needed early season ranking points which bolsters the all important pre-Xmas Grand Prix points tally as the business end unfolds this weekend.

With lots of doors firmly bolted in recent times, it’s the job of WST to leave ajar as many as possible, and just like cakes, it takes all sorts of ingredients to make one. Some we like, some we don’t. Be it Eton mess, or boring old blancmange, it’s a tasty treat so give it a try. You’ll probably enjoy it!

Yours in snooker…

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