Snooker Masters in the “Ally Pally” in London

The calendar of snooker has three major tournaments. The Crucible Theatre in Sheffield is home to the world championships and the Barbican Centre in York is the place to be each December if the UK Open is what you’re looking for. Mid January the remainder of the three, the Masters, is being played. I had never been to the Masters before and Ronnie was doing well, so why not try to get some tickets for a quick weekend break…

In the beginning of January 2015 I waited for the tournament to progress with a possible semifinal of Ronnie O’Sollivan on Saturday in the back of my mind. Ronnie had beaten Ricky Walden in the opening round and faced Marco Fu in the quarters. During this match I checked the availability of tickets for the semis constantly and as soon as Ronnie made the final break, I bought two tickets. To non-snooker fans this may sound ridiculous but you have to know here that tickets for any match of the living legend of snooker sell out amazingly quick. I called one of my good friends who is also a big fan of both snooker and Ronnie in particular and we hopped on a plane to London. The venue where everything took place was the Alexandra Palace, or “Ally Pally”as is it called by the crowds. This venue had been on television regularly since the world championships of Darts had been played there the first weeks before. It was game on!

the Alexandra Palace or "Ally Pally" is a great venue to watch some snooker...

the Alexandra Palace or “Ally Pally” is a great venue to watch some snooker…

We flew into Stansted because this airport was located the closest to the Alexandra Palace. Instead of sharing an expensive cab we figured public transportation would get us there easily. Wrong! Both of us had not been to London recently and therefore were unfamiliar with the oyster card. Cash was not accepted in buses, so we quickly ran into problems since we didn’t have much time before the semi final clash between “the Rocket” and “the Thunder from Down Under”, Neil Robertson, was about to begin. In the end we ended up taking a cab from the center of London to the Ally Pally which turned out to cost more than the direct cab from the airport would have cost us. Nicely done boys!

So, we finally arrived at our destination and had some nice seats. The crowds were looking forward to one of the classics of snooker. Rob Walker, the legendary master caller of snooker, warmed up the fans to get an even better atmosphere. It was electric, as they say in snooker… When Rob called the players to “get them on the baize”, it became immediately clear who was the favorite amongst the crowd. After all there can only be one most gifted player ever to grace the game of snooker!

How gifted the man may be, he seemed to had left his A-game at home as Neil Robertson was the better player and quickly took a comfortable lead. Unfortunately he never gave the lead away and captured victory with 6 frames to only one for Ronnie. After seeing Ronnie play in Antwerp at a small tournament (read more about that here), this was the first time I had seen him play on a big stage. Regardless his significant defeat, it was a great little trip to an even better sporting event. Hopefully Ronnie will play his A-game the next time I’ll see him play. Needless to say he will win then…

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