Review of the Year: 2022
This is my 4th review of the year since I re-launched Nottingham Snooker back in 2019.
The majority of the leagues and tournaments that I now run, not to mention the popular Challenge Ladder, are seasonal and so I will be publishing Season Reviews in future.
My first Season Review will cover the current 2022/23 season which runs from 1 September 2022 to 31 August 2023.
Here is a review of what happened from January to August 2022…
First One-Day Tournament of the Season
The 10th Hucknall Open saw sixteen competitors fight it out for the winner’s trophy and the £50 first prize. Nav Hussain won the tournament after he defeated Dave Jobling 3-1 in the final.
Second One-Day Tournament
Dave Jobling got his revenge on Nav in February. He was victorious in the 11th Bulwell Open beating Nav 3-2 in a terrific final. Nav made a 100 break in this tournament, so it was a superb win for Dave against an in-form player.
The long-awaited return of the Seniors Championship
At the end of February I held the first Seniors Championship for 13 years. The last one was won by Tony Hart back in 2009.
There were only four entrants for this tournament, which was played at my house, so we ran it on a round robin basis with each player playing each other once in the groups and then the top two players going through to a best of 5 frame final.
I managed to make it to the final, but I was no match for Wayne Martin who beat me 3-1. He gets his name engraved on the brand new Arthur Butler Memorial Trophy which will be purchased soon. This trophy means a lot to me as it honours my Father who sadly died from Covid last year. If it wasn’t for him, I would never had got into snooker as a young boy.
From season 2022/23 onwards, this tournament will be run as a VAR tournament in order to attract a larger number of entries.
Challenge Ladder concludes
Early March saw the Challenge Ladder reach its conclusion. The Ladder ran for 6 months from 1st September 2021 to 1st March 2022.
Fifty-three players completed the Ladder and a total of 329 matches were played during the season. A number of new friendships were formed and our local clubs benefited from an increase in activity, which is what the Ladder – and indeed Nottingham Snooker – is all about.
A total of £1,000 in prize money was paid out to 21 different players and 5 players were also presented with trophies to recognise their special achievements:
1st position on Ladder – Nav Hussain
Most days at the top of the Ladder – Wayne Martin (97 days)
Highest break – Chris Winter (99 break)
Best win percentage (at least 12 matches played) – Keith Holgate (85%)
Highest climber – Ben Green (+40)
Third One-Day Tournament
Also in March I held the 11th Hucknall Open and I was delighted for Richard Amalou who went all the way to the final, having played some lovely snooker throughout the day. He came up against an in-form Wayne Martin in the final and Wayne beat him 3-0 to secure his first ever win in the Hucknall Open.
Home League concludes
The end of a busy month saw Wayne Martin get his name engraved on the inaugural Home League trophy as he finished the season 4 points clear of Keith Holgate. The season lasted for longer than expected, having been put on hold part way through due to Covid restrictions. But we got there in the end and Wayne – who also received a trophy for the highest break – was a deserved winner.
The second season is in progress and I will be publishing a mid-season report very soon.
Our two county sides met at the quarter-final stage of the English National County Snooker Championship (Gold). Notts A beat Notts & Amber Valley 38-18 at Alfreton Snooker Club to progress to the semi-finals. Ashley Walker was playing very well and he made a superb 115 break during his match with Jack Morton.
I had some sponsorship money left over and I wanted to give out a few more trophies so I decided to run seven Challenge Tournaments. The winner of each tournament received £50 and a trophy. The runners-up also received trophies.
In total I paid out £320 in prize money and handed out 14 trophies and it was really pleasing to hand out some trophies to players who finished lower down the Challenge Ladder.
Notts A were surprisingly beaten in the semi-finals of the English National County Snooker Championship (Gold) by Merseyside A. But they went out fighting and Ashley Walker made the highest break of the season, an awesome 141 total clearance.
The 2022/23 season is underway and Notts A have got off to a strong start.
We all enjoyed a couple of months off prior to the start of the new season.
September – December
A review of what happened from September to December will be included in my review of the 2022/23 season which will be published in August 2023.
- Nav Hussain – Hucknall Open 10
- Dave Jobling – Bulwell Open 11
- Wayne Martin – Seniors Championship
- Wayne Martin – Hucknall Open 11
- Nav Hussain – Challenge Ladder – 1st Position
- Wayne Martin – Challenge Ladder – Most days at the top (97)
- Chris Winter – Challenge Ladder – Highest Break (99)
- Keith Holgate – Challenge Ladder – Best Win Percentage (85%)
- Ben Green – Challenge Ladder – Highest Climber (+40)
- Keith Holgate – Challenge Cup Gold Winner
- John Fountain – Challenge Cup Gold Runner-up
- Chris Winter – Challenge Cup Silver Winner
- Antony Moore – Challenge Cup Silver Runner-up
- Andrew Brooke – Challenge Cup Bronze Winner
- Audie Miller – Challenge Cup Bronze Runner-up
- Darryl Clarke – Challenge Shield Gold Winner
- Gary Spencer – Challenge Shield Gold Runner-up
- Nick Lester – Challenge Shield Silver Winner
- Mick Garratt – Challenge Shield Silver Runner-up
- Lee Thorn – Challenge Shield Bronze Winner
- Ben Cox – Challenge Shield Bronze Runner-up
- Istvan Sereg – Challenge Plate Winner
- Simone Prazeres – Challenge Plate Runner-up
- Wayne Martin – Home League Champion
- Keith Holgate – Home League Runner-up
- Wayne Martin – Home League High Break (98)
2021 Annual Survey
Last December I asked everyone to complete the annual survey. 42 players completed the survey and here is a summary of how I used the responses to help guide developments throughout 2022.
32 competitors responded to the question “Would you pay a £10 entry fee if it was used to increase the prize fund?”
27 competitors (84%) said YES and 5 (16%) said NO.
I discussed this with my main sponsors and they felt that unless 100% of players were prepared to pay an entry fee, then it should remain free entry for everyone as they see the Challenge Ladder as key to increasing overall participation and an entry fee may put some people off entering. However, charging an entry fee has not been ruled out and I’ll review this again in the future, particularly if I were to see a drop in sponsorship income.
In general, the Ladder has been a huge success and this is evidenced by the positive survey feedback I received:
- “Overall one of the best things I’ve entered”
- “Love it, great innovation.”
- “Loving the ladder, can’t think of much to make it better”
- “I think it’s a great way to get match practice and meet fellow snooker enthusiasts.”
- “Great format and very well run.”
- “Ran very professionally.”
- “Only recently joined, but seems really well run. Great work”
- “Steve, you do a fantastic job and your dedication to Nottm Snooker is outstanding. Long may it continue.”
- “I just want to say Steve you’re doing a brilliant job with all the admin side you have to do thank you this challenge ladder wouldn’t be running if it wasn’t for you so on my part thank you”
I asked players if they would like me to run a team league. The majority of respondents (54%) said they liked the idea of a 2 player team league. I was considering running a league in the future, however Wayne Martin has recently taken over the running of the Monday and Tuesday Team Leagues and he has changed the format of the Monday Team League to 2 player teams. It would therefore be fruitless of me to run such a league. Instead I have chosen to support Wayne in his endeavours to promote the current leagues. We will work together prior to the start of next season on a suitable advertising campaign.
One Day Tournaments
I received a lot of feedback from players who said they would love to play in the One Day Tournaments, but work commitments and lack of free time prevents them from attending on Sundays. There was a suggestion that I could run a midweek evening tournament with a £20 entry fee and this is something that I am considering, but time would be a huge factor and it may need to be a 6 red or one frame shootout style tournament for it to work.
75% of respondents said that the main reason they enter the tournaments is to play against different players. Only 5% of respondents said that winning prize money was the main reason they entered.
Players said that best of 3 matches are too short. I took this into account and during the current season the vast majority of matches have been best of 5 frames.
I received far too many comments and suggestions to list them all here, however rest assured that I refer to them regularly to see what else I can do to increase playing opportunities and overall participation.
I will be asking players to complete a survey at the end of the current season and use the answers to guide future devleopments and make improvements.
Following recent discussions with my major sponsors we have together set a number of priorities for the 2023/24 season:
- Increase participation, particularly from under represented groups (under 18’s, over 60’s, women)
- Encourage more Nottinghamshire clubs to support the Challenge Ladder and Team Leagues as they are likely to benefit financially from an increase in their member’s activity
- The Challenge Ladder and One-Day Tournaments should continue to be free to enter as this will encourage greater participation
- All leagues and VAR tournaments should charge an appropriate entry fee to help cover the cost of trophies, engraving and prize money
- Reward players who enter lots of VAR tournaments by offering them a discount package
- Spread out prize money more evenly amongst the many tournaments that we now run but maintain larger prize money for the most prestigious tournaments (eg. Notts Amateur SC)
- Distribute more trophies (to keep) to players of all abilities and purchase new perpetual challenge trophies where old ones have been lost or damaged
- Celebrate Nottinghamshire’s rich snooker history by naming new trophies in honour of great players of yesteryear and adding a comprehensive historical archive to the website
I will be working hard on the above priorities in the lead up to next season and my goal is to work with my sponsors to ensure that each new season is bigger and more successful than the previous one.
Accounts for the period 1 January 2022 to 31 August 2022
In future, accounts will cover a full season, so the next set of accounts will cover the 2022/23 season which runs from 1 September 2022 to 31 August 2023.