Sport on the Internet

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The Independent Online
TELEVISION AUDIENCES for snooker have diminished since the 1980s, but small-screen aficionados can get a green-baize fix on demand on their PC monitors courtesy of the World Wide Web.

WWW Snooker is a good starting point if access to facts and figures appeals. It does not take much ferreting there to find that in the Regal Scottish Open at Aberdeen this week the Scot John Higgins will try to go one better than last year where he lost in the final 5-9 to Ronnie O'Sullivan.

There is a vast amount of information on the site about players and rankings, as well as past and present tournaments with coverage of the qualifying stages. Reading about those who fell before the first round proper in Aberdeen is like consulting a who-was-who of a previous generation: Kirk Stevens, Tony Knowles, and Dennis Taylor all failed to make the cut. Stevens even failed to make the venue.

A chat room for talking online is a feature that is becoming a standard on Web sites. WWW Snooker provides one that is fast and easy to use with message updates every 15 seconds. If you want to know where to find snooker video footage on the Web, sign in. Someone posted that particular request on Saturday, there ought to be some answers there by now.

Eric Whitehead is a photographer who specialises in snooker. His site, Snooker Images, is a portfolio and an information resource. He boasts an online gallery going back 20 years, and has a blank page set up ready to display pictures from this year's Scottish Open. As well as graphics, there are plenty of words - features, news, player biographies and a calendar of dates and venues for the season's major competitions.

Tom Phillips maintains the Jimmy White Snooker Site, an online shrine to Jimmy White MBE who won the Scottish Masters in 1981. There are the usual links, guestbook, results and news pages. "Sightings of the Whirlwind off the table" sounds like it could be tabloid territory, but it turns out to be an archive of White-friendly media coverage where interviews and profiles of the man are collected.

Being an unofficial site, there is some bite in these pages. If you follow the links to the irony page you're left in no doubts as to the site owner's feelings about certain other players on the circuit.

Those more interested in their own prowess on the table can put themselves in the frame by brushing up on their techniques with a visit to the Embassy World Snooker Online Guide where John Virgo outlines a couple of neat trick shots. Fortunately, the page omits the script for his banter with the audience at exhibitions.

If you don't have chalk and a cue, Virtual Snooker could be worth a try. At the Web site, you can download a demo of this fiendishly good PC snooker simulation. With the full version you can enter virtual contests and take on other players over the Internet.

Site Addresses

WWW Snooker

Snooker Images

Jimmy White Snooker Site

Snooker Guide

Virtual Snooker