Super Saturday Sheffield Snooker

What a weekend that was, for the seventh year in a row we spent it in Sheffield, staying at The Cutlers Hotel right in the heart of the city. We only just stayed in the hotel by shear luck this year. Every year on check out, I get my phone out and get the calendar up, find the dates for the following years stay and book two twins and one single. Well last year was no different. However when Roger called them on the Sunday before our arrival to check the booking, they had no reference of us having booked rooms. Roger called me and made me aware of the problem and I really thought the weekend was going to be a disaster. I called the hotel just to double check and the fear was confirmed. Having travelled around a lot in my working career, I thought that we would really struggle to find alternative accommodation at such short notice, but yet again I was to be wrong (the other time I was wrong, was March 1986) Roger and myself both found other accommodation available, but I suggested that I would call the manager of The Cutler Hotel in the morning and see what could be sorted out.

Well after a few conversations with Adele on the desk and the manager James, they managed to sort us out the accommodation we required, hats off to a company that understands customer service. They have now secured our custom for all future visits to Sheffield.

We (Roger, Barry and myself) arrived just before midday at the hotel, we drive up every year and Tiz and Phil come up by train and arrived about 30 minutes after us. They always know just where to fine us……..can you guess where? …….. “just one more please barman”. I gave out the tickets for the five sessions we had, then off to the crucible is was.

Our first match was Steve Davis v John Higgins (the current holder of the World Title) and after the first session the day before, Steve was leading 6-2. At the end the session we watched the score line was 9-7 to Davis. It was a fantastic match with Steve just using all he experience to play the correct percentage shot every time and ground John down. However John was now only two frames away from catching Steve and with Steve not experiencing pressure and tension like this for 10 years, tomorrow’s closing session was going to be very interesting.

The next match with only a 45 minutes break for us, was Martin Gould v Neil Robertson, another great match. Martin the outsider was amazing, playing some shots as if he was on the practice table at home. Robinson could only sit in his chair, with the session finishing 11-5 to Martin, who now needs just 2 frames out of a possible ten to go in to the next round. They were to complete the match tomorrow afternoon.

After the snooker finished  just after 10pm it was off to Vijas, the indian that we found year one and has now become part of the weekend ritual. Its a fair walk from the crucible , but well worth it. The second year we ate in there Willy Thorne and Dennis Taylor (more name dropping coming up later!)  were sat at the next table, so it must be good. Coming around the corner we could see no lights on. To our horror Vijays had closed down. This is the first time I have ever known an Indian to close. Now hungry and more importantly thirsty, it was Frank to the rescue, iPhone out, Google voice search “Indian restaurant sheffield” with the other four not being the geeky type, they proceeded to take the piss out of me. However Google did not disappoint and with the help of “Maps” found a new indian restaurant Aagrah which will become “our new local” while in Sheffield. Curry consumed, all very nice, then back to the hotel for a drink or two. Two women came in for a drink and got talking to them. They were snooker mad and had been coming to Sheffield for 14 years following the snooker. A long chat and laugh, finishing at 3:30am, which compared to last year was very respectable.

Super Saturday Sheffield Snooker

Saturday morning 8am alarm goes off, its time to get up after four and a half hours sleep to get some breakfast, quick walk around the town then in to the crucible for 10am. The players are introduced and we settle down for the final session between Steve Davis v John Higgins. The match was so tense, in all the years watching the game, we were experiencing an amazing situation. The game on the other table came to an end, so the dividing curtain came up, and everyone was now focused on the one match. Before we knew it, the score was 12-11 to Davis, could he really beat the current world champion at the age of 52 to go into the next round, each scored a few then made mistakes and the tension mounted like you would not believe. For the first time in my life I was witnessing a great sporting event LIVE. Davis at the table, all the reds gone, just the colours to go, he took the green and left himself with a double into the middle for the brown (gets knife out to cut a hole in the tension so I could see the table) The double is there, nudging the blue over the corner pocket, he sinks it and leaves himself on a pink into the middle, which on any other day he could pot with an eye patch on and a matchstick for a cue, but this was to take him to the next round and dismiss John Higgins. I cannot explain the tension, feeling and quietness of 900 plus people within the crucilbe and I imagine all the people watching on the TV. Chalk, look, chalk, strike …….. its there ………. the whole of the crucible are on there feet, hands in the air applauding a man and match that will go down in history and we were there. Never have felt so happy for someone I don’t know. FANTASTIC.

Now that was over my hangover kicked in and I went for lie down in the hotel, anywhere else would have just been wrong. Just before four, my phone goes, it was Roger saying he had bumped into one of the women from last night who was now with three other friends and did I want to join them. Well the headache had gone so why now. In the pub it was strange (not in a sexiest way) that here we were talking to four women who knew and followed snooker, between them they has seen everyone, including four Jimmy White finals, a number of 147’s and a streaker !

The afternoon match which we didn’t have tickets for was Martin Gould v Neil Robertson, with Martin needing two frames, he did not make it to the next round! Neil came back to win from 11-6 down to 13-12, what a match that must have been. What great day for the sport of snooker.

Our last session Saturday evening was Ali Carter v Joe Perry, but after all the excitement of the games before, it fell a bit flat for me, but the night was young and the pubs were open. Again we bumped into the women and had a good laugh. They suggested we go the a bar called St Pauls which is attached to the hotel Mercure. Walking into the bar, who was there, yes Steve Davis (see here comes more name dropping) with Ali Carter sitting in the corner with some friends. Then John Virgo and Willy Thorne walk in, well after seeing Steve’s match in the morning, I just had to tell him how great it was. Well I am sure its not the first time he had heard that today, but what a very very nice guy. He was being interrupted quite often by other people, and just took time out to have his picture taken and signing autographs. I had a nice long chat with his girlfriend, who was also a very nice women. She told me that she had never known Steve to be so pumped up and focused. We stayed in the bar for a couple of hours, talking to other people who were in the “snooker circle” a fantastic end to a fantastic day. It was then back to the Cutlers for a nightcap and bed.

Steve Davis & me

Sunday morning routine is get up, breakfast then a walk around the town to get some fresh air, clear the head, check out, then home. This Sunday was no different, except at check out, this time we made sure the rooms had been booked for the following year. I asked for email confirmation to be sent, said thanks and off to the car park it was.  Within about 10 minutes of leaving, an email came in confirming our booking. Well done Cutlers, well done snooker and well done Sheffield, what a great weekend.

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3 Responses to “Super Saturday Sheffield Snooker”

  1. Paula Finn Says:

    Hello Frank!
    Remember me from Sheffield? I found you on Twitter and replied to a couple of your comments, but the tweets come up on MY page! I don’t get it! Do you have to be ‘following’ me to see them?

    Anyway, after reading your blog above, it seems like through leaving early on Saturday night, I missed out on a good time at St Paul’s! Oh well, never mind, there’s always next year!

    Hope all is well with you, keep in touch.
    Paula

    • Hi Paula,
      Of course I remember you. You did miss out on a good Saturday night mixing with the “Stars” as you do ! Twitter can be difficult to understand and yes I need to follow you to be able to tweet to each other. What is your twitter name ? then may be we could tweet each other :) The final is not here yet but already looking forward to next year in Sheffield and shame Ronnie is out. Be good if we could all meet up again next year.

      Frank

  2. karenmay147 Says:

    Hi Frank, just getting to grips with this twitter. where is the pic of us all doing the mexican wave?

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