WORLD Snooker’s fourth annual awards night will be held at the Lancaster London Hotel this year – a change from the usual Dorchester Hotel on Park Lane.
The glitzy bash has proved a big success especially in the past couple of years with virtually all the big-name players and tournament winners turning up to accept their prizes in person the week after the World Championship final in May.
That contrasted with the inaugural staging, when hardly any of the stars showed up for snooker’s chance to celebrate the season, something that certainly detracted from the occasion.
This year a mix-up with the Dorchester saw the need to find an alternative venue, but the long-established Lancaster – close to Paddington station – looks a more than acceptable replacement.
After the first year World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn has used both carrot and stick trying to get the players to get behind the evening.
Letters asking for support are sent out, and attendance for tournament winners is now obligatory under the terms of the players’ contract with the governing body.
From a personal and media perspective, all major sports tend to celebrate the year or season gone with such an occasion, and it is to be hoped snooker continues putting on the annual show.
It also offers a great opportunity for all those involved with the sport – including tournament staff, media and sponsors – to let their hair down and wallow in the highlights of the previous 12 months.
And there is absolutely no doubt that it is a more fitting spectacle if all the real stars of the show – the players – are all there, or at least as many as humanly possible.
Increasingly promoters and officials from overseas events are starting to make an appearance, another very welcome development.
Last year’s award winners included Mark Selby, Ronnie O’Sullivan, Ian Burns for ‘Rookie of the Year’ and Jimmy Robertson for ‘Magic Moment’.