Friday, April 29, 2005

Embassy World Snooker Championship 2005 Part 3, Me on TV?

The quarter final stage of the competition did not go to the form book with all four higher ranked players losing to their lower ranked opponents.

In the first match Peter Ebdon controversially beat Ronnie O'Sullivan after coming from 8-2 and 10-6 behind to win 13-11. He played so slowly, O'Sullivan pretended to fall asleep and asked a member of the audience for the time. After the game he was frustrated with life (as usual) and said he would probably quit the game for a year. Shaun Murphy thrashed Steve Davis after playing well and will face Ebdon for a place in the final.

Matthew Stevens came from 11-9 down to beat Stephen Hendry 13-11 and will play qualifier Ian McCulloch who beat Alan McManus 13-8. I look forward to seeing the final session of this match, sat on the 2nd row 19 seats from the left of your screen (which i think is about level with the yellow pocket just to the right of where Stevens sits (from the TV perspective) if you want to look for me).

Only one more of these. Promise. :-)

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

High Bids, Adverts & A Bit Of Football

Huddersfield are still mathematically in with a chance of reaching the play-offs with two games to go but the important this is now they are two points ahead of Bradford. Chelsea beat, Portsmouth beat Southampton and Arsenal beat Spurs - no surprises there, especially with Arsenal as they have now not lost in any of their last 25 London derbies but Spurs have only won 2 in their last 35. Cambridge United got relegated this weekend meaning they will play Halifax next season - A match I'm sure anonymous won't want to miss!

I've been on eBay this weekend as I was quite bored. I bought a snooker cue which arrived today and a ticket to the final session of the second semi-final of snooker. This will be between hendry or Stevens versus McManus or McCulloch and I am likely to be on TV as I'm on the 2nd row near the middle, probably on the left a bit. I only paid £8.25 (including postage) above the actual price of the ticket which I think is good as they are like golddust, especially those near the front but I am a little concerned the match might finish before the last session which would be a bugger.

The San Marino Grand Prix was good on Sunday only ruined by 1) lack of rain for the 25th consecutive year, 2) the track being rubbish for the 25th consecutive year (not usually a fan of this grand prix) and 3) ITV putting adverts on 3 laps before the end of the race just as it was at it's most exciting. This must've annoyed everyone watching but I was so annoyed ITV got an e-mail from me expressing my anger. They say in a comment that the positions stayed the same so it didn't really matter. Er yes it does. Put them on after the race or when it's boring not when it's exciting. Not bloody rocket science is it?

Embassy World Snooker Championship 2005 Part 2

The second round produced a couple of brilliant comebacks. Steve Davis and Peter Ebdon were both 8-3 down but came back to win 13-10 and 13-9 respectively. It is difficult to see them progressing much further in the tournament though.

After Mark Williams made his 147 and looked in superb form in the 1st round I swiftly put a bet on him for the title. He lost in the 2nd round 13-12 to Ian McCulloch in a very entertaining quality match. Another upset was caused by rising star Shaun Murphy beating John Higgins 13-8. Also through are O'Sulivan, McManus, Hendry, and Stevens.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Embassy World Snooker Championship 2005 Part 1

Slightly delayed this post may be as I went to Sheffield on Sunday morning and it's now Friday night but I'll try and remember anyway. If you get bored at least read the 3rd paragraph from the end starting with quotation marks as that is stightly more entertaining than the rest of it.

The first day of the tournament saw what many people saw as the championship decider with current champion Ronnie O'Sullivan beating in form qualifier Stephen Maguire 10-9 after coming from 9-7 behind.

The following day I went to se David Gray (the mighty atom) play Anthony (the robin hood of snooker) Hamilton (he's from Nottingham). Hamilton was 4-2 down after a dismally slow first session and I hoped the second would not be as slow. It turned out to be quite entertaining even though there were no century breaks, we did see 11 frames however with the match finely poisedat 9-8 they were called off as it was time for the afternoon session to start. Hamilton went on to win 10-8.

There has been a sharp rise in prices for the snooker in recent years with the morning session costing £6 this year. I'm quite sure this has doubled over the last five years. Programmes have also risen in price from £3 on my first visit in 1990 to £5 this year but it is a quality production and is the 16th one in my collection. It also comes with the option to send off for a free DVD. Wonder if this has something to do with the raise? It does make sense to have ticket prices higher than the programme price though and four hours of world class snooker the price seems tiny compared to the £16 paid for third tier league football for only half the time.

I had Wednesday off work which just happened to coincide with the maximum 147 break from Mark Williams. It was his first maximum in tournament play has he normally plays less carefully when a frame is won as he has no more incentive. £161,000 was enough incentive it seems. Not bad for les than ten minutes at the table.

I also watched Quinten Hann lose 10-2 to ex champion Peter Ebdon yesterday. He went 8-0 down and was playing like a club player (a mediocre club player, still better than me). This was because half of his cue had gone missing between it flying back from China to London. He said afterwards, "The night before the match I'd planned to knock a few balls around and have a few drinks. Instead I had a lot of drinks." This meant he had a hangover and then a migraine for the 10:00 session and presumably didn't feel much better in the evening already being 8-1 down. He was less entertaining than normal too. I remember a couple of years ago when I was there he broke off by smashing all the reds up and potting one which was quite funny to witness.

Yesterday saw last year's runner-up Graeme Dott lose 10-9 to Ian McCulloch in a very tense match. McCulloch performed a very humourous crazy dance after claiming victory but stands little chance against Williams in round two. There is a funny story about Graeme Dott in the programme which I feel necessary to share.

"Dott snapped his cue in frustration midway through last season at a motorway service station. "Icouldn't break it at first," he said. "There was a guy watching me and he must have been wondering what I was doing."

Today saw Anthony Hamilton lose 13-3 to Stephen Hendry. So much for his good form on Sunday. Sheffield was also announced as the venue of the World Championships for the next five years. This decision pleased me immensely as I've been going for 16 years now (since I was 7) so it's become an nnual occasion for me. The Crucible will undergo a £1m refurishment, which to be fair, is necessary as the seats are the same ones you see when it was first held there in 1977. The possibility of a new venue will also be looked into and Sheffield is the home of a new snooker academy.

That's it for now. Hopefully part 2 will be shorter yet just as interesting :-)

Monday, April 18, 2005

A Tale Of Three Towns

(Well 2 towns and a city to be precise - still better than two cities).

Friday night saw me go out in Huddersfield with work for someone's leaving do. The person who was leaving couldn't go but it seemed like a good excuse for a night out anyway. I was back on my Smirnoff Ice after last week's poor showing but was soon tempted by a free shot of something and a whisky. They were nice but had the effect of making me drunk more quickly than anticipated. I wasn't that bad though and no hangover (well not much of one) on Saturday was a good sign.

On Saturday I went to Sarah's house (in Halifax) with Kate and JJ. We had a nice chat and catch up which also helped with my thoughts in a way. I'm not quite sure what way but i feel a dead end sentence coming on. Then we played Balderdash. Not racing boulders round a board as I had originally thought but a Call My Bluff style word game. This too was fun and J continued his wining streak.

Then yesterday morning I got up bright and early and drove to Sheffield (via Sowerby Bridge). I've only been to Wood's house once and despite almost totaling ignoring my directions, still got there without having to turn round. I've never driven to Sheffield before in my 16 years of going to see the snooker at The Crucible Theatre. It didn't seem too bad. Only went on one wrong road because it looked like the road I wanted but it took me in the right direction so it didn't really matter! I found my way to the Cathedral because there are usually spaces there and it is free on Sunday mornings. More on the snooker in later posts.

Then I had to drop Wood off at the train station. This provided more difficult when signs disappeared and I was on the sliproad to what I now believe to be The Parkway when he shouted "There's a sign, it says straight on." About six miles later and I was back at the roundabout as Wood said, "Shit, there's one in 12 minutes or an hour and a half." I consoled him telling him he could watch the football in a pub. But not necessary thanks to some decent signage we made it to outside the station. Due to station improvements however there was nowhere to drop him which was near the outside of the station. We stopped at some traffic lights and I said "Get out and run!" He did, just finding his way through a barrier and I got a text 10 minutes later saying he had caught it. Then I got caught in Sheffield's infamous one way system but fortuneately it took me where I wanted to go and I got home just in time to miss the end of football.

Manchester United will play Arsenal in the FA Cup final. Two non-exciting one-sided semi-finals. Oh ad Huddersfield's season ended on Saturday with a draw which means we can't get promoted. Two goals ahead of City with three games to go. Come on! Palace drew with Norwich at the bottom of the Premiership in a game they both needed to win so are now sadly both likely to go down.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Winning Streak

It was The Grand National last Saturday and I had a £4 each way bet on the favourite and eventual winner, Hedgehunter. I had also picked the winner in the sweepstake at work and including my small losses on another 7 horses(!) I made a £44 profit.

I won an online quiz about a week ago earning me $5.

I finished 22nd in League 2 on Football Manager 2005 with Northampton after lloking certain to get relegated all season in 23rd.

Then my run ended when I bought some raffle tickets at Oliver. JJ bought some straight after me and won a bottle of wine which he can't even drink. Pfffrt.

Then we went to the quiz at The Stafford Arms on Tuesday. Most of our answers were right so we lost. Okay a slight exagerration, there were only about 3 answers given by the quizmaster that were wrong but it's a quiz and so he should ensure his answers are correct.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

The Return Of The Missing

I haven't posted for a while. I did try on Wednesday but it disappeared when I told it to publish and couldn't be bothered to re-write it. I just mentioned Stephen Taylor's handball for Newcastle where he went down like he'd been shot which was funny but I couldn't find any pictures of it due to the Bowyer Dyer fight.

After my night out of a couple of weeks ago where people were missing, (see comments) we were out again last night to see Kate in The Halifax Amateur Operatic Society production of Oliver. It was enjoyable to watch and then we caught up with Rosie (returning from Cambridge for the weekend) and Lucy and Dave (returning from Dublin for the weekend). No Ed though :-( It was nice to catch up with them all.

I drank more than 3 pints in a night since I was 17 last night. I reached 5 which was more than enough so no records were broken but at least my face remained intact. This was enough to confirm my suspicions that I can't handle pints very well. Always good if I want to get drunk quickly though!

Friday, April 01, 2005

Search Mystery

My tracker tells me what people who have arrived at posts on my blog have searched for. Today has been a very strange day for search engine visitors. First I find I am 9th on google when Mr Motivator is typed in which is quite high and so not that unusual. Then someone found my blog by searching for Skelmanthorpe (a small village outside Huddersfield) where I was 351st on Google which I thought was quite a long way down the list. That was until someone searched for bollards on Yahoo which didn't give me the number I was at. So I searched for it. To keep myself amused while trying to find what number I was at, I have linked sites to places where my regular readers live.

At 170 I found this showing a "highly regarded Cambridge bollard"! At 311 I found this which reminded me a bit of Ed's sleeping website ClaudeStreet. At 314 i found this which is the least interesting yet. At 332 i found this which is quite amusing and also the only Nottingham bollard related site. At 490 i found this which is a huge article about the effects of bollards on a Cambridge street. It means nothing to me but to those Cambridge people it could prove very useful. At 653 i found this. Ok so it's not a place but I thought it was quite apt :-) This story was at 712 for which the site has sadly died "along the pavement and ended up wedged between a row of bollards and a college wall in Cambridge. Bizarre: Volvo wedged between bollards and college wall after smash ..." Wow sounds amazing! At 898 I found this. By this point things are getting desperate as you can tell by finding the letter "b" on the Cambridgeshire Government website. At 1,000 I decided to let the search beat me but alas on 997 I got the message that there were no more unique websites relating to bollards. How could someone find my site on the Yahoo search when it's not even there?! Somehow they ended up here bollards. Why are there so many Cambridge bollard related sites?!

I'm quite bored tonight. Anyway that killed an hour...