Perhaps the biggest surprise of the Haikou World Open so far is that there haven’t been any surprises.

On recent form it was hardly a shock that Robert Milkins beat Mark Davis or Marco Fu defeated Mark Williams.

All the other seeded players won their last 32 matches, although Nigel Bond is in the last 16 because Ali Carter withdrew.

Of the 16 players remaining, only Milkins has thus far failed to win a ranking title. This is a high quality line-up.

Like an Agatha Christie story, you could make a good case for most of them. The likes of Shaun Murphy and Neil Robertson are surely due a big title soon while John Higgins is looking to return to form, Stephen Maguire is trying to maintain the momentum of his Welsh Open victory and Judd Trump and Mark Selby continue their battle to be world no.1.

It’s fair to say the match that will capture most interest in Haikou itself will be Ding Junhui v Fu, a repeat of the 2011 Masters final.

Time was British snooker fans couldn’t watch tournaments from the Far East live. This event is on three channels – Eurosport1, Eurosport2 and ITV4.

Television snooker has come a long way from its humble black and white beginnings and is now broadcast on a multitude of cameras in high definition.

Tonight we learned we had lost one of the best cameramen the game has ever seen with the passing of Chas Lewis.

Chas was a big man with a big heart who worked for the BBC, Sky and many others and was much liked and respected. He had been ill for some time.

He worked across several sports and in other walks of television too. It was a mark of the esteem in which he was held that when he retired Steve Davis and Stephen Hendry went out into the Crucible arena to pose for pictures with Chas and one of his beloved cameras.


Janie Watkins said...

Chas was a great guy. Brilliant at his job, time for everyone, wonderful sense of humour. RIP.

Even if you didn't know him, read his gesture below, and maybe add your own donation.



Hi David. Another great day's play, in my view.

Maguire played well, to beat Campbell, 5-3.

Fu played well, to beat a below-parr, Williams, 5-2.

Higgins did well, to beat McManus, 5-3.

Bingham played well, too beat Xintong, 5-2.

Hawkins played well, to beat Burns, 5-1.

Selby played superbly, to beat Haotian, 5-0.

Ding did well, to beat Holt, 5-4.

Bond ad a walk-over, aginst Carter, who had to withdraw, through illness. My best wishes for good health, go to Carter.

Today, is the 41st anniversary, to the day, since Alex Higgins, beat John Spencer, 37-32, in the World final, to win his first World professional title. He did so, on, 27-2-1972. Today, is 27-2-2013

Anonymous said...

We read everywhere about the popularity of snooker in the east, specifically China. About how many millions play, about there being more snooker halls there than the rest of the world combined. Even with the presence of Judd Trump, why SO many empty seats ?

Anonymous said...

John Higgins will win the worlds this year.

Hendry will return next season or the season after to play in the odd event here and there!

Anonymous said...

Even when local hero Ding played yesterday the hall was no more than half full.

Why are the Chinese so keen to sponsor these events.

It cant be for the betting because you can do that anywhere for any venue.

It cant be in the hope of winning as the local players are not consistently competing at semi final level, though one day they might.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about Chas

Didnt know him personally but recognise him as a long serving cameraman at Crucible and elsewhere.

Not that long ago, cameramen only did a 45 minutes shift before "resting". They lugged huge old colour cameras with heavy cables, around on their stands.

Today cameramen work the whole (half) session, and have much lighter cameras and cables to push around.

Anonymous said...

Have been watching ITV4 on one TV and Eurosport on the other.

I think both have their merits.

But the ITV4 crew look exhausted by 3pm - they need one more face.

Anonymous said...

Rows and rows of empty seats - looks awful. On the plus side is the dream team of Clive Everton and Neal Foulds on ITV4. And a nice simple shot of the table - no white lines, hawkeye or other nonsense.

Anonymous said...

Very sorry to learn of Chas' passing. A great servant of the game for many years.
I really don't think cameramen add anything to the coverage. No need to have multiple views of the table. Just one simple static view is all that's required.

Anonymous said...

Foulds looks knackered doubling up as pundit and commentator, so they could do with a separate co-presenter. Jill Douglas comes across as very professional, and does a good line in asking deflective questions that don't make the gaps in her knowledge too obvious: her style is picking up on points made in the commentary rather than asking her own banal questions a'la Hazel. However, I think if this becomes a regular ITV feature they will have to bring in someone more specialised. And yeah, the gimmick free presentation is refreshing: non-intrusive camerawork and good analytical commentary. It just shows how much of a joke the BBC coverage has become. Welcome back to snooker, ITV.

Anonymous said...

Re comment at 3.30.

It's hardly that professional to make multiple references to "sets" instead of "frames".

Or to make a joke of the fact that you have no interest in the game.

Both of which happened during the brief bit of ITV4's coverage I've seen, having preferred to follow it on Eurosport.

I know presenting is a tough thing to do, but in all fairness, is it too much to ask that we have someone who at least shows some regard for the game?

As for the commentators though, they couldn't do any better than Clive and Neal. Shame the BBC can't see that.

Anonymous said...

ITV Day 4

Good to see Neal Foulds fielding viewers questions today.

Team doesnt look quite so exhausted.

According to Clive Everton the best seats cost more than £100 hence the empty tiers. So watching live snooker in China is only for the elite?...

kimball said...

Hopefully, with next contract there will be a mainland venue for this tournament.
Hainan (coconut island) is a tourist resort with people schmoozing around in bermudas and
no time to waste watching snooker.

Anonymous said...

@339 You ought to count your blessings they didn't hire Rishi Persad to anchor it...

In a perfect world they would have hired Dougie Donnelly and given us a real dream team—and maybe that is a possibility if snooker becomes a permanent fixture—but she's done an ok job for what is obviously being done on a shoe-string budget. You want the real expertise in the commentary box, and ITV have hired the correct bods for that.

Anonymous said...

Re 2:04 cameramen just do what the director tells them.

Point, zoom & focus.

That's all.

Anonymous said...

Re 4.03 pm

Couldn't agree less. How does a "shoe-string budget" make it harder for Jill Douglas to get things right?

And yes you want expertise in the commentary box, but why does that mean you can't have it in the studio as well?

Or at least someone who knows a game of snooker is called a frame and not a set.

Anonymous said...

Agreed, though what doesn't help is that the director doesn't play snooker. Removing the floor cameras means less decisions for him to make.


Hi David. A great day's play, in today's last 16, in my view.

Trump played superbly, with three century breaks and an 83 break, to beat Bond, 5-1.

Higgins played well, to beat Bingham, 5-0.

Ding played well, to beat Fu, 5-2. A 127 break, and a 71 break, from 56-0 down, in frame five, key points, in this victory.

Allen played well, to come back from 2-0 down, and beat Stevens, 5-2.

Walden did superb, to come back from 4-2 down, to beat Maguire, 5-4.

Robertson played great, to beat Dott, 5-0.

Selby played well, in beating Hawkins, 5-1.

Stevens did well, having been 2-0 down, to beat Murphy, 5-2.

I can't wait for more, thistime, in the Quarter-Finals, tomorrow.


I David, To follow on, from my previous post, I refered to today's play. meaning, play on Thursday, 28-2-2013.

I would also like to say that it was lovely, I thought, that, Neal foulds, in the ITV 4 commentary box, with Clive Everton, today, said he got a tweet from Stephen Upnorth, A snooker fan. The tweet read, "Great to have Clive Back." Clive Everton, replied, live, in commentary, Well, that's very nice. Stephen Upnorth."

I, personally thought it was too.

Anonymous said...

Really sad to hear of the passing of Chas Lewis.

A lovely man, great natured, who did me more than a few favours over the years.

The kind of person you wouldn't see for months, but picked up your chat where you left off last time.

I recall in the early days of TSN when Chas wore polo shirts we'd given him. World Snooker didn't like it and issued their own. But Chas stuck with TSN.

"Thanks for your support Chas," I said.

"And I'll always support TSN as long as you keep giving me shirts that fit me," laughed Chas, who held up a World Snooker shirt that wouldn't have fitted his arm.

Cheers Chas. Another of snooker's good guys gone ...

Stewart Weir

Anonymous said...

How does a "shoe-string budget" make it harder for Jill Douglas to get things right?

Erm, on the odd occasion she got something wrong (which isn't nearly as often as you are implying), it is because it is not her game. Why is this so difficult for you to comprehend? Perhaps ITV couldn't get an experienced snooker presenter, have you even thought of that? After all, how many experienced presenters are there out there with a knowledge of the game? Moan moan moan.

Anonymous said...

my word, Stewart Weir. hope youre well

Anonymous said...

Re 8.06. It isn't difficult for me to comprehend at all that it's "not her game". That's the very point I'm making.

And if she is going to present a sport she has no interest in, she should at least try to learn the basics about it and, as I say, not make a joke about her lack of interest in it.

Anonymous said...

The arenas are dead.... China has Billion+ population, where are they all?...Why do world snooker hold the world open in some place in china in the middle of nowhere.... why dont they hold it in some densly populated cities such as Peking, Shanghai etc

Anonymous said...

Jill ain't that bad.
Let's be thankful for small mercies, we could have Jamie O'reilly on TV.
Now, that, would, be, quite, something !

Anonymous said...

This thing about the crowds not being great seems to be the same old story with Chinese events.

For some reason, most of them seem to be played in arenas where most of the seats are out of view of the camera.

There seems to be a reasonable level of applause, but because the only seats you can see are the madly expensive ones, it looks like there's nobody there.

It just looks so bad on TV and creates the impression there's no interest in China which, of course, is not the case.

I really hope somebody does something about it because it wouldn't be that hard. I assume this business of charging mad prices for seats around the table is down to local promoters, but surely they must know by now that it doesn't work.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree. Regardless how many times that potential sponsors are told that snooker is popular, they really have to see it for themselves. Footage of empty seats is a very, very bad advert. Any tournaments I've been to in the UK that have had empty seats in ful view of the cameras, the MC invites spectators to move forward to fill them up.
It's all about perception so chasing spectators to seats that are out of view is a disastrous idea and one that World Snooker really needs to address.