28 Aug 2006 17:02:00
Michael Holt is starting a one-man crusade to take a ranking tournament back to Germany.
There’s something about the local air that’s appealing to the Nottingham professional after winning the Bwin German Open title.
Holt, 28, was also a runner-up to Mark King in 2005.
And the world number 31 certainly had to earn his ultimate 4-2 victory over 2005 Grand Prix semi-finalist Barry Hawkins.
In his three previous matches Holt knocked out Matthew Stevens, Ken Doherty and Joe Swail.
Indeed, the business end of the three-day event in Furth looked like the closing stages of a ranking tournament.
The only two ’unfamiliar’ names in the last 16 line up were Germany’s own professional, Patrick Einsle and English born Norwegian convert, Kurt Maflin.
The latter player enjoyed one of the results of the competition with a 3-0 last 32 success over Masters champion John Higgins.
Higgins twice won the German Open when it was afforded ranking tournament status in the 1990’s.
Welshman Ryan Day compiled the highest break of the tournament-143. Defending champion King went down 3-2 in the last 32 against Mark Davis.
Mark Davis bt Dave Harold 3-0, Joe Perry bt Ryan Day 3-1, Barry Hawkins bt Mark Selby 3-2, Patrick Einsle bt Stephen Lee 3-1, Joe Swail bt Kirk Maflin 3-2, Mark Allen bt Neil Robertson 3-1, Michael Holt bt Matthew Stevens 3-1, Ken Doherty bt Ricky Walden 3-1.
Perry bt Davis 3-0, Hawkins bt Einsle 3-2, Swail bt Allen 3-1, Holt bt Doherty 3-2.
Hawkins bt Perry 3-1, Holt bt Swail 3-1.
Holt bt Hawkins 4-2.
We set out for the journey on 25 August at 9 in the morning and after short questing we went to the Furth, where we have found our pension and spotted sport hall too. Finally we lodged (small pleasant pension with Italian owners, we will stay there certainly next year too, because it was just 2 minutes walk to the arena) and then we went to the arena. Our tickets weren’t on the reception, but I have took it into account, so we looked around and waited for Thomas Cesal, who played with Stephen Lee and knew about our tickets. Meantime I have let to sign us Michael Holt, Barry Hawkins and Joe Perry, who left arena for cigarette. The rest of my family didn’t want to believe me, that they are some well known people, because they know them just with cue in hand and with bow ties. Then they understood, that they have to look around known faces in T-shirts and jeans and my daughter found Stephen Lee (well, it wasn’t so difficult ). I went for signature from Nigel Bond too and then Thomas went and we gained belts on our hands, which justified us to watch any of four non TV tables. There was any problem to stand to the wall or to sit on the stairs at the TV tables too during first two days.
We started to watch matches about 14,00 and first we have seen matches of Selby, Robertson, Stevens, Day, Hawkins, Perry, King, Lee, Allen and McCulloch. We took some pics and arranged another signatures. Matches were very quick. They have been played for the best of 3, so most of matches finished with result 2-0 for British. In most of groups was some of the top players and they practically practised with their German colleagues for the next rounds. Ken Doherty joked with one player and placed him balls just in front of the pockets to let him gain some points (he placed them by hand or during the game). Audience laughed and poor German player was so nervous, that he is playing with Doherty, that he wasn’t able to pot it. But he smiled too. They knew that most of them hasn’t chance against seated players. The end of matches was on Friday relatively soon, about 18,00, because there was the players party. Tickets for this party were available, but they cost 50 EUR, so we got it over.
There were last matches in groups on Saturday and there began play of classic matches in draw. And it was beginning of fall out of players, who were awaited to move up – Nigel Bond, Stuart Bingham, John Higgins… Matches were played for the best of 5 and there have started matches between seated players, so many of them were played for all 5 frames. We took pic with Matthew Stevens after one of these matches. He shook like a leaf during this action. I felt sorry for him. Matches ran quick, so sometimes there were just about 10 minutes for the winner to sign himself, to take pics, quick run to the toilet and back to the table. Ken Doherty joked with referee during one match. Referee replaced balls after foul and asked Ken for confirmation of place of cue ball. He, straight-faced, showed him place in front of the brown one, instead of behind of it. Referee lightly hesitated and then he with „Nice try“ replaced cue ball on the right place – to the snooker. We really laughed most of all at the matches with Ken Doherty, it was surprise for me. Michael Holt joked too and he communicate with audience very much. He complained mostly, how is it possible, that it didn’t fall to the pocket, that it was nearly good and so on. Saturday’s matches finished about midnight.
The heat was on on Sunday, there were last matches of last 32 and followed quarter finals, semifinals and final. We ran from one table to the another to arrange to fill winners to our programme. One young German player got very well – up to quarter final – we must remember his name – Patrick Einsle. He failed with Barry Hawkins, who finally played with Michael Holt in the final match. Match between Hawkins and Einsle was very even, in last frame they fought for pink one and finally Hawkins potted it by beautiful shot against the cushion and he earned semifinal, where he played with Joe Perry. The second semi was between Swail and Holt. For the final match, which was played for the best of 7, was disappeared wall of the TV room and we all were able to watch it. Final match finished about midnight and with result 4-2 won it Michael Holt.
Most of players remained up to the end of the event, so we watched matches next to plainly dressed Mark King, Ian McCulloch, Mark Selby, Nigel Bond, Stephen Lee and many others. The only one, who I didn’t see after his defeat was John Higgins.
If I should choose the most pleasant player it would be Stephen Lee (it’s a great surprise for me, because I didn’t like him much before) and player who played for amusement of audience was definitely Ken Doherty, which is the second surprise for me, because I didn’t take him like a joker before. But the others were willing and pleasant too. They all behaved nice and helpfully and hopefully they enjoyed this event same like spectators.
Counted up and underlined – great event with perfect atmosphere, full of quick matches and exciting snooker. I definitely won’t miss it next year.
If you want to ask me something about this event, feel free to write me, I shall be pleased to answer you.