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  Wednesday, 22 November, 2000, 23:20 GMT
High, wide and Hann-some
Clive Everton
Everton: Great players never give up
BBC Sport's Clive Everton ponders whether Australian Quentin Hann will benefit from the cult of personality.

Are bad boys good for their sport?

Was John McEnroe's divine talent an acceptable trade-off for his vulgar abuse of officials?

Have some of Quentin Hann's antics advanced the cause of snooker?

At 342nd in the world's rankings, Hann is not in the class of the former Wimbledon champion but the basic argument remains.

The volatile Australian number one appears to be accident-prone. He missed most of last season through sustaining wrist and collarbone fractures in a motorcycle crash and recently broke a foot in a parachute jump.

Quentin Hann
Blonde bombshell: Australia's Quentin Hann

On Wednesday he played shoeless in achieving a 4-4 overnight position against Adrian Gunnell in the Liverpool Victoria UK Championship at Bournemouth.

Hann's injury merits sympathy even if motorcycling and parachuting carry obvious risks for a professional sportsman.

But he attracted little sympathy at last month's Grand Prix at Telford by smashing the pack aimlessly in each of the last three frames as he went down to a 5-0 defeat by Ronnie O'Sullivan.

At the conclusion of my BBC commentary of that match, I described his display as "a disgrace to professional snooker", not simply because he did not pot a ball in the last three frames but because of his utterly uncaring shot selections in that period.

Hann had failed to capitalise on two good chances in the second frame.


It is part of snooker's etiquette that frames are not usually conceded with an opponent in the middle of a break
The BBC's Clive Everton on Quentin Hann

"I thought that if I couldn't win the second framed from all the chances I had, I shouldn't be out there," he said afterwards.

"If a professional can't win with those chances, then you are not a professional. Either way I played today, it was going to go the same way."

Ticket buyers had paid to see both players trying their hardest; punters, whether in result or score forecasting, would have made the same assumption.

This was not the first time Hann had stopped trying prematurely. He has been known to concede frames after only three of four frames have been potted.

At Bournemouth last year, he conceded frames he was mathematically still able to win.

It is part of snooker's etiquette that frames are not usually conceded with an opponent in the middle of a break. To a degree, a player is expected to sit at his chair and take his punishment while his opponent remains in the limelight.

Huge potential

Hann cited homesickness as a reason for his performance at Telford although it did not prevent him trying hard enough to win his previous match that week or from returning to Britain, with an eye-catching blonde rinse, this week.

By making a century break on television when he was 13 and winning the Australian amateur title Hann revealed himself as a player of outstanding talent and huge potential.

Although he has reached a world ranking event quarter-final he has been too inconsistent to justify those hopes. He has all the qualities to be a top ten player except, it seems, the self-discipline.


Bad boys attract column inches because their antics are often easier to write about and more fun to read than bland match reports
Clive Everton

John McEnroe said some terrible things about officials, but on court, never gave up. Neither did Alex Higgins, a bad boy on many off-table occasions.

Bad boys attract column inches because their antics are often easier to write about and more fun to read than bland match reports. They produce striking stories for which no specialist knowledge is required either from writer or reader. All publicity is good publicity, some would argue.

Nevertheless, the basis of any sport would soon be undermined either if match officials could be accused with impunity or if players do not put forth their best endeavours at all times.

If a player misbehaves in his private life, he brings no-one but himself into disrepute.

If he does so in the arena, it reflects on the sport.

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