Snooker season 2016/17: Selby stamp on greatness العظم

The final chapter in a series of articles takes a look at each campaign from the Crucible Era.

There were extensive changes and updates made during the 2016/17 snooker season – some well received, others not so much.

In the previous six seasons, there was the Players Tour Championship series of professional tournaments that boasted small-ranked event status.

The influx of these weekend contests created more opportunities to compete for who’s on the main round, and it led to unexpected champions like Barry Benches, Rory MacLeod and Rod Lawler.

However, the majority of these events are still dominated by the usual stars, with Marks Selby and Allen achieving special success after scoring dozens of victories between them in the series.

But before the 2016/17 snooker season, the PTC setup was canceled and the decision was made to upgrade all remaining tournaments – including the Riga Masters, Paul Hunter Classic and Gibraltar Open – to full event status.

A new United Nations series has been added to the schedule, with week-long tournaments in England, Northern Ireland and Scotland formed to coincide with the Welsh Open in Cardiff.

There was an added incentive for any player who could achieve the unlikely feat of capturing all Four Nations titles in the same campaign – with a £1m reward being offered.

While this somewhat ridiculous jackpot was ridiculed by many, the Home Nations series was actually considered a huge success as it brought snooker back to the likes of Glasgow and Belfast.

The final of the Northern Ireland Open was particularly memorable as emotional Mark King realized a career-long ambition for the ranking crown when he blocked Barry Hawkins in an epic 9-8 that is considered one of the finals of the decade.

King wasn’t the only event champion for the first time during the 2016/17 snooker season, and this was definitely a wide open period for the list of top players who have never won a ranking title.

This winning streak actually began about a year ago when Joe Perry got his first glory in the 2015 PTC Grand Final, and it lasted until 2016 when Liang Wenbo jumped with glee upon winning the England Open title in October.

Less than four months later, another touching success story emerged when Anthony Hamilton defied his tender age of 45, not to mention a tender comeback, to finally smash his ranking event duck.

Sheriff has long been considered the best player to have never won a title in the standings, but impressive victories over top 16 regulars Mark Williams, Selby, Hawkins, and Stuart Bingham helped him reach his first final in 15 years, duly beating World Open champion Ali Carter in front of the massive Tempodrom crowd.

Anthony McGill had also joined the winners circle with his win at the start of the Indian Open season, but his success in another tournament has the keyboard warriors going strong.

A change to Snooker Shoot Out that allowed all 128 Main Tour players to participate upgraded it to full rank event status as well.

It’s fair to say that the decision split opinions, with many traditionalists criticizing a strange move to open up a competition that didn’t even include all the familiar rules of the game.

Shoot Out has been on the calendar since 2011 and fans are accustomed to the shooting hours, ball in hand, and raucous crowds associated with a wine-filled weekend of single-frame action.

But giving it a prestige was a step too far for most people, with eventual champion McGill even saying that “in no way should this be a ratings tournament”.

Although the number of champions rose for the first time, the 2016/17 season still provided enough opportunities for the regular cast members of the picks.

Neil Robertson recalled his now usual win in the season opener, on the occasion taking over the Riga Masters in Latvia in June, while Judd Trump rejected Ronnie O’Sullivan in his first European Masters playoff in Romania before adding the Players Championship title. .

Deng Junhui, Stewart Bingham, Marco Fu and Barry Hawkins shared a ranking win between them, but with 19 ranking events now on the calendar, there was a distinct opportunity for the player to exert a degree of dominance.

It’s proven, with world champion Mark Selby advancing Ding and Stephen Hendry’s record-equalizing landing five titles in the standings in one term.

Selby won the Paul Hunter Classic in August and was a consistent winner for the rest of the campaign, adding silver titles in lucrative editions of the International Championship, the UK Championship and the China Open before his crucible defense.

then in World snooker championship 2017 The Clown lost just 11 frames en route to the semi-finals, withstood the tough challenge of Ding for the second year in a row in Sheffield thanks to his semi-final success 17-15.

The final was against John Higgins, who was one of the few other players to win multiple times during the 2016/17 snooker season – while fun enough, not in the ranking tournaments.

Higgins captured the inaugural China Championship in Guangzhou that was initially organized as an invitation, and a week later in November beat Ronnie O’Sullivan by the same score 10-7 to claim the Champions League title.

The Scotsman triumphed in the Championship League as well, so when he entered the 2017 World Championships, a fifth world success was highly likely.

But Selby was a semi-automatic at this point in his career, and the Englishman was proving practically unbeatable as he reached the final stages of the major competition.

The 18-15 win gave the world number one his third world title in four years and confirmed his credentials as one of the game’s all-time greats.

Meanwhile, O’Sullivan oddly ended the 2016/17 snooker season after not taking a single classification title despite the high number of opportunities available.

Rocket’s mental struggles continued at Crucible, but one he rarely faced was the Masters, and his 10-7 victory over Berry in January lifted his London title tally to seven.

It was the first time a player had defended the Masters crown since Paul Hunter’s back-to-back successes in 2001 and 2002 – fitting, considering that the 2017 edition was the first time the Masters winner received the Paul Hunter Cup in honor of the late star from Leeds. .

Click here for more snooker seasons series.

Featured Image Credit: WST

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