MD's BLOG - COULD A MOSCONI / RYDER STYLE CUP WORK FOR SNOOKER?


It is an idea that has been mentioned in the past, but has resurfaced on Twitter this week.


Snooker is generally an individual sport, although we all probably started out as players competing in local snooker leagues for our club. There have been team events before on the professional circuit; the World Doubles event in the 80's seemed quite popular, as did the 3-player World Cup / Team Championships. Nowadays we have a combination of both with the modern day World Cup being held every (2 or 4?) years consisting of the highest ranked pairing from each country involved.


Slightly a different concept, but could we ever have a Mosconi / Ryder Cup style event in snooker? Perhaps inspired by seeing these events on TV, I remember last year's UK Championship Semi-Finalist David Grace suggested something involving a Chinese team a while back.


Earlier this week on Twitter, Neil Robertson responded to a fan's tweet regarding a GB v The Rest of the World event. The Australian named a potential five person team of himself, Ding Junhui, Liang Wenbo, Marco Fu and Thepchaiya Un-Nooh.


On the exhibition circuit, the popular Snooker Legends tour have previously had a similar show, and this January have the third of their England v Ireland Legends event from Goffs.


Obviously there would be many, many things to discuss and work out, but let's base a team event involving GB and Ireland players against players from the Rest of the World. 5 players in a team, the top five of each qualifying from the current World Ranking list.


On these terms, if we had an event next week, the teams would be -


GB & IRELAND                                                            REST OF THE WORLD

Mark Selby (England) - WN1                                     Ding Junhui (China) - WN6

Stuart Bingham (England) - WN2                             Neil Robertson (Australia) - WN7

Judd Trump (England) - WN3                                    Liang Wenbo (China) - WN12

Shaun Murphy (England) - WN4                               Marco Fu (Hong Kong) - WN13

John Higgins (Scotland) - WN5                                 Luca Brecel (Belgium) - WN31


As we can see, the ROW team is not far off what Robertson wanted, with World Number 31 Brecel piping World Number 32 Un-Nooh. But just like the Ryder and Mosconi Cups, could teams pick a wildcard? It would be a way someone like Ronnie O'Sullivan could be in the GB&Ire team.


What about the idea of a non-playing captain too? A Hendry, Davis, White or Thorburn, Wattana, Drago in their respective roles perhaps?


It also got me thinking what the teams in the past would have been. I looked at the rankings at the start of each season five years apart...


2011/2012

GB&Ire - Mark Williams (Wales) WN1 / John Higgins (Scotland) WN2 / Mark Selby (England) WN3 / Ali Carter (England) WN6 / Shaun Murphy (England) WN7


ROW - Ding Junhui (China) WN4 / Neil Robertson (Australia) WN5 / Marco Fu (Hong Kong) WN23 / Liang Wenbo (China) WN30 / Tony Drago (Malta) WN46



2006/2007

GB&Ire - Stephen Hendry (Scotland) WN1 / Ken Doherty (Rep of Ireland) WN2 / Ronnie O'Sullivan (England) WN3 / John Higgins (Scotland) WN4 / Shaun Murphy (England) WN5


ROW - Neil Robertson (Australia) WN13 / Marco Fu (Hong Kong) WN21 / James Wattana (Thailand) WN24 / Ding Junhui (China) WN26 / Robin Hull (Finland) WN50



2001/2002

GB&Ire - Mark Williams (Wales) WN1 / Ronnie O'Sullivan (England) WN2 / John Higgins (Scotland) WN3 / Ken Doherty (Rep of Ireland) WN4 / Stephen Hendry (Scotland) WN5


ROW - Marco Fu (Hong Kong) WN17 / Quinten Hann (Australia) WN25 / Tony Drago (Malta) WN29 / James Wattana (Thailand) WN32 / Shokat Ali (Pakistan) WN40



1996/1997

GB&Ire - Stephen Hendry (Scotland) WN1 / John Higgins (Scotland) WN2 / Peter Ebdon (England) WN3 / John Parrott (England) WN4 / Nigel Bond (England) WN5


ROW - James Wattana (Thailand) WN12 / Alain Robidoux (Canada) WN14 / Tony Drago (Malta) WN15 / Dene O'Kane (New Zealand) WN27 / Yasin Merchant (India) WN73



1991/1992

GB&Ire - Stephen Hendry (Scotland) WN1 / Steve Davis (England) WN2 / Jimmy White (England) WN3 / John Parrott (England) WN4 / Gary Wilkinson (England) WN5


ROW - Alain Robidoux (Canada) WN13 / Dene O'Kane (New Zealand) WN18 / Peter Francisco (South Africa) WN19 / James Wattana (Thailand) WN20 / Tony Drago (Malta) WN22



1986/1987

GB&Ire - Steve Davis (England) WN1 / Dennis Taylor (N.Ireland) WN3 / Tony Knowles (England) WN4 / Jimmy White (England) WN5 / Alex Higgins (N.Ireland) WN6


ROW - Cliff Thorburn (Canada) WN2 / Kirk Stevens (Canada) WN9 / Silvino Francisco (South Africa) WN12 / John Campbell (Australia) WN18 / Bill Werbeniuk (Canada) WN24



1981/1982

GB&Ire - Steve Davis (England) WN2 / Terry Griffiths (Wales) WN3 / Ray Reardon (Wales) WN4 / Dennis Taylor (N.Ireland) WN5 / Doug Mountjoy (Wales) WN6


ROW - Cliff Thorburn (Canada) WN1 / Eddie Charlton (Australia) WN8 / Bill Werbeniuk (Canada) WN9 / Kirk Stevens (Canada) WN10 / Perrie Mans (South Africa) WN15


Who would have won these previous match-ups? I think the 1986/87 GB and Ireland team may have been a clash of characters!


I remember when Barry Hearn came in to take over the sport, he said he wanted tournaments to have their own identity. Something like this would certainly be unique to the calendar, but would the players, fans and sponsors embrace it?



Written and published by Michael Day on the 20th October 2016


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