Stephen Maguire occasionally gets some stick for his ‘heart on the sleeve’ reactions to and irritation with poor shots and misfortune in the arena while playing – much of it a little hard to understand, especially when Barry Hearn has called for players to show more true emotion during matches.
We hear that those reactions have even seen him hauled up before the authorities in the past, when there are any number of other things that would seem to merit more serious action in that respect. It is easy to sympathise sometimes with players who are left unsure of exactly what they can and can’t say or do without getting fined.
On a personal level, if drawing up a snooker ‘crime’ sheet there are some obvious ones from the match-fixing downwards, and very much towards the bottom would be expressing emotion at the table (with the possible exception of audibly swearing live on TV at family viewing times), and criticism of official table, cloth and ball manufacturers.
But Maguire was as generous as it is possible to get after such a draining match and defeat towards debutant Anthony McGill. After clawing his way back from 9-5 down to level at 9-9 Maguire went the way of Mark King in final qualifying, watching McGill knock in a century in the decider.
He had the good grace to tell McGill in the arena not to freeze against Mark Selby because he could give him a good game, and rather than excuse his defeat by claiming his opponent was brilliant was honest enough to say McGill can play a lot better.