Koalas. Spiders. Being hot. Just three of the things that Australia is well known for. Our neighbours from down under often boast with their warm weather and sunny beaches, but in the UK, there are some things which see even the greatest Australia has to offer coming over to the wet and windy island.
One of these things is the World Grand Prix, one of the many terrific tournaments offered within the conventional snooker season. This year’s event, held at the notorious Centaur in Cheltenham, was the eleventh ranking event of the season, and attracted all the talent from the top 32 players in the world. These include the typical figureheads of the sport, Ronnie O’Sullivan and Judd Trump, alongside the lesser known players of Kurt Maflin and Scott Donaldson.
For those of you not so snooker inclined, or just confused at my references to Australia at the beginning of this article, I was referring to the world number 2 Neil Robertson. If you couldn’t tell from the large image of him on the page, spoiler alert: he won the tournament. The 38 year old from Melbourne took the tournament by storm, looking on from his previous disaster in the Masters losing 6-5 to Steven Maguire.
He managed to nab the highest break of the tournament, a 142 which he achieved in the final, alongside the £100,000 prize winnings. He truly brought the ‘Thunder from Down Under’, ironic given the poor weather which the UK saw after his win.
So we know who won, but why don’t we take a look at just how he managed too.
All in all, over the course of the tournament, Roberston went unscathed in terms of competition. In his opening match, against season 28th Michael Holt, he was off to a rocky start however, ending the game 4-3. This nervy start, for most players, would’ve been reflected in their follow up match. However, Robertson managed to nab a 4-0 win against stiff competitor Mark Williams. Williams had been suffering from gout, and despite medication did seem to be a bit off, but the motivation he received from the game ensured that Robertson looked strong going into the quarter finals.
The gentleman Joe Perry held his cool and maturity against Robertson, finding himself stuck to his seat as Robertson went on to win 5-1. Kyren Wilson, coming off the back of a relatively successful Masters run in January, fell to Robertson in the semi finals, losing by 6 frames to 4. After a long run, Robertson had managed to make his way to the final, which was held on Sunday 9th of February.
The game started off close, with Dott grabbing a frame after losing the opener. Robertson, in an act of tenacity, ended up 5-2 up, obtaining a 127 break on the way. As the two broke up after the first session, the score was 5-3 to Robertson, and as the second session began, and Dott won the opener, the pressure was back on for the Australian.
However, he gritted his teeth, focused and didn’t let his nerves get the better of him, eventually making it 9-5. This meant he was one frame away from winning the tournament. Most people would’ve shrugged, accepted their fate and let Robertson breeze past them for the win.
However, I guess Graeme Dott isn’t most people.
The pocket rocket set off in a scrappy encounter with Robertson, and the following few frames saw various snookers, a few flukes and, most importantly, quality entertainment for the crowd. When the match ended up 9-8, with Dott hoping to force Robertson into a decider, he lapsed in judgment, allowing Robertson to clinch the frame and, overall, the title of 2020 World Snooker Grand Prix Champion.
It’s another trophy for his cabinet, another string to his bow, and he’s now one step closer from cementing himself in the annals of snooker history.
Last modified: 18th February 2020