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How important are conditions in snooker history?

Postby Tubberlad

The article is a simple one.

I've noticed certain posters, in particular Moondan, use conditions to degrade the achievements of present day snooker players. What I'd like to know is, why?

This is not an attack on Moondan, I respect his opinions and he's more than entitled to use the argument. And I'll also admit that conditions nowaday are far superior to what was on offer many years ago. It got to an almost farcical stage last year, in particular during the World Championships, when centuries were being compiled for fun. Thankfully, the new Star tables have sorted things out.

However, although some use these easier conditions to degrade te achievements of certain players, in particular Ronnie O'Sullivan, I don't see why. In my opinion, these conditions levelled the playing field. I think, that had the STar tables been in effect throughout the decade, we'd have seen O'Sullivan and Higgins dominate to an even greater extent. The fact that they managed to stand out as it was is testament to their greatness.

I'm of the opinion that conditions should never degrade a player or team's achievement. Changes and improvements will happen in EVERY sport. The old Mitre rugby ball was like a brick. Golf clubs have improved dramatically. Tennis rackets used to be wooden. Playing surfaces improve, soccer pitches used to be bogs. Formula One cars get faster and faster every year.

Conditions should not determing how great anyone was. Their achievements, and the way their games stood out, should.

Re: How important are conditions in snooker history?

Postby NedB-H

I don't think you can really argue that the *best* players wouldn't be the best of their era with different conditions. O'Sullivan and Higgins would still be at the top this decade, if the cloths were ultra-slow, the cushions dead and the pockets dead tight. Davis would have been the man to beat in the 80s, even if they'd played on club-style tables geared up for mega-breakbuilding. There might be some shuffling further down the rankings - Doherty may still be up there if the tables punished risky pots, and Thorne might have won a bit more on high-scoring cloths - but the best are the best because of their all-round game, and that means they can adapt to all conditions. What would change things is if you tried to compare across conditions and across eras. Would Davis have still been all-conquering if he'd been playing a top-16 full of not only Higginses and O'Sullivans, but Robertsons, Allens, Murphys and Maguires, in conditions perfect for their fast-paced styles? Could O'Sullivan, Higgins or Hendry have taken on Joe Davis or Walter Lindrum, in tactical battles where big breaks were near-enough impossible? Those are much harder questions to answer.