Ronnie, Fu, Liang and Higgins in Huizhou

China???

This has been posted today on weibo.

Here is what “google translate” allowed me to understand

it’s a six days tournament “hosted” by Liang Wenbo. “Huizhou Rural Commercial Bank Cup” #Snooker Championship Challenge# will be held at the Jinshanhu Gymnasium in Huizhou City from August 25th to 30th. 

There is a schedule of sorts but it doesn’t translate. 

The tournament runs from 25 to 30 August.

The following was kindly explained to me by Alex Pimenov on twitter:

From August 25 to 29, the second stage of the Chinese snooker tour of the season will be held in Huizhou. Among the declared players, several familiar names were recognized: Xiao Guodong,, Yuan Sijun, Lu Ning, Mei Xiwen, Luo Honghao, Zhang Anda and Fan Zheni.

After the end of the tournament on August 30 at the same site will be an exhibition match meeting UK – China. The team of Higgins-O’sullivan (not Sean) and Fu Wenbo.

Then this other poster was also shared on social media

Huizou Challenge2019

So this is a different event, and for now the format is unclear (to me at least).

Ronnie and Liang are close friends and maybe this is a good warm-up for the Shanghai Masters.

 

 

Get well soon Shaun Murphy, thank you Steve Davis!

The following has been shared on social media by the VSF Snooker – the Flemish Snooker Federeation:

Helaas heeft Shaun Murphy zich gisterenavond wegens een ernstige kwetsuur moeten afmelden voor de geplande Snooker Exhibitie van volgende dinsdag 27/08/2019 te Overijse.
De organisatie heeft op zeer korte tijd gelukkig een vervanger kunnen vinden met name MBE Steve Davis, 6-voudig wereldkampioen, meervoudig wereldkampioen trick shots, top analist en commentator bij BBC en last but not least een super entertainer.
Het beoogde doel van de organisatie blijft hetzelfde namelijk promotie voeren voor de snookersport in combinatie met een huldiging voor de winnaars van de individuele Vlaamse kampioenschappen waarbij de jongeren extra in de schijnwerper worden geplaatst.
Wij hopen ook u te mogen verwelkomen.

Bosuil 27.08.2019Tickets zijn nog te bestellen via https://snooker-exhibition.eventsquare.co/nl/xlxldaioysr3

here is the translation (by me… )

Unfortunately, yesterday evening Shaun Murphy was forced to withdraw from the exhibition planned on next Tuesday, 27 of August 2019 in Overijse, citing a serious injury.

Fortunately the organsers were able to find a replacement at very short notice. His name is Steve Davis MBE, 6 times World Champion, multiple trick-shot World Champion, top pundit and commentator for BBC, and last but not least a super entertainer.

The organisers goal remains the same: to promote snooker as a sport and to reward the winners of the Flemish Championships, with the young players being given extra exposure.

We hope to welcome you all there.

First of all, I want to wish Shaun a speedy and complete recovery.

Next, a big thank you to Steve Davis for stepping up at such short notice. I’m certain everyone will be happy to see him there.

Finally, I can only suppose that this means that Shaun won’t be able to compete in the Paul Hunter Classic 2019. Another blow for the tournament… 😥

Update: Ricky Walden is replacing Shaun in the Paul Hunter Classic.

Catching up with the news

There were two main pieces of news worth noticing over the last days

The venues for the upcoming Challenge Tour have been confirmed (Worldsnooker)

The calendar of events for the 2019-20 Challenge Tour season is now available.

As previously announced the 2019-20 Challenge Tour will comprise ten events, followed by a play-off. The dates are:

  • Event 1: August 31-September 1. Germany – Nuremberg (Ballroom Nürnberg)
  • Event 2: September 21-22. England – Newbury (The Crucible Sports & Social Club)
  • Event 3: October 5-6. England – Leeds (Northern Snooker Centre)
  • Event 4: Oct 19-20 Belgium – Bruges (The Trickshot)
  • Event 5: Nov 2-3 England – Brighton (Castle Snooker and Sports Bar)
  • Event 6: Nov 16-17 Hungary – Budapest (Hungary Snooker Academy)
  • Event 7: Dec 14-15 Belgium – Neerpelt (De Maxx Snooker, Pool en Café)
  • Event 8: Jan 18-19 England – Tamworth (Tamworth Sports Bar)
  • Event 9: Feb 15-16 Wales – Llanelli (Terry Griffiths Matchroom)
  • Event 10: Feb 29-Mar 1 England – Leicester (The Winchester)
  • Playoff: Mar 28-29 TBC

World Snooker director Jason Ferguson said: “We are delighted to announce a range of high quality venues for this season’s Challenge Tour. This tour is an important breeding ground for talent, giving players below professional level the chance to improve their skills and gain competitive experience.

“The final play off in March will be awarded to a suitably prestigious venue and host nation. We have ongoing discussions and the venue will be announced in due course.”

The player who finishes top of the Challenge Tour rankings after ten events will be awarded a Tour Card. The next eight players in the rankings with go into a play-off event, with the winner of that event to receive the second Tour Card. The draw for the play-off will be seeded with the player highest in the Challenge Tour rankings drawn against the eighth highest, and so on. The prize money for each event will be £10,000.

The field for events will be made up as follows:

UK Events

  • The top 56 players from the 2019 Q School ranking list
  • Eight Wildcards, to be selected with the intention to promote the development of grassroots talent
  • If necessary, the last-64 round will then be topped up with players on the Q School ranking list

European Events

  • The top 56 players from the 2019 Q School ranking list. All 56 will be directly entered into the last 64.
  • Eight Wildcards, to be selected with the intention to promote the development of grassroots talent.
  • An unlimited number of further entrants will compete in pre-qualifying stages, playing down to the available places in the last 64.

The two available World Snooker Tour Cards will be for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons.

The part in blue (coloring by me) is interesting. Last season a lot of those events outside UK were poorly attended and this is an attempt to secure a full field. The venue in Germany and both venues in Belgium are excellent, this from my own experience. The Ballroom in Nuremberg has hosted amateur rounds of the PHC, before the PHC was ruined, the Trickshot has hosted Seniors qualifying events, and “the Maxx” is run by no other than Wendy Jans , and has hosted Women Snooker events.

Jimmy White could be invited at the Champion of Champions (Worldsnooker)

The World Seniors Championship has been added to the qualification list for snooker’s ManBetX Champion of Champions, which will take place at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry from November 4-10.

Jimmy White won the Seniors title at The Crucible on Sunday, beating Darren Morgan in the final. The World Seniors Championship will be added to the bottom of the ManBetX Champion of Champions Qualification List, meaning White is not yet assured a place at the Ricoh Arena.

Ricoh Arena

The Qualifying List comprises 28 spots, which are split into seven sections. Tournaments within each of the seven sections are listed chronologically. The first 16 different players on the list will form the line-up for the 2019 ManBetX Champion of Champions. The World Women’s Snooker Championship is listed 27th on the list, with the World Seniors to be listed 28th.

With twelve players having already been assured of their place at the ManBetX Champion of Champions, if the five remaining events yield three repeat winners then White will receive his invite to play at the Ricoh Arena in November, live on ITV4.

Tickets for the 2019 ManBetX Champion of Champions are on sale now. Prices start from just £11 per session with Premium and VIP packages also available. The draw and schedule for the event will be announced during the week prior to the tournament.

Featuring tournament winners from the previous 12 months, the ManBetX Champion of Champions is broadcast live on ITV4 and has become one of snooker’s biggest tournaments since launching at Ricoh Arena in 2013. The likes of Ronnie O’Sullivan, John Higgins and Shaun Murphy have all lifted the trophy.

The tournament starts with a quartet of four-man groups played over four days from Monday, November 4 until Thursday, November 7. The winner of each group progresses to the semi-finals, with one played on Friday, November 8 and the other on Saturday, November 9. The final on Sunday, November 10 will be over 19 frames.

Now, there is no doubt that this is a commercially driven move. Like it or not, Jimmy White is still hugely popular, still driving fans to events. That’s a hard fact and we saw it again last week in Sheffield.

The decision isn’t popular with eveyone. Clearly some people close to former seniors Champions feel this is favouritism and, indeed, I’m not sure the same decision would have been made had Darren Morgan won last Sunday.

There are however a few things to consider:

  • Every season it seems, we have serial winners (ROS, Trump notably this time) and the field isn’t filling. Jimmy White only will get there if there are three more “repeating” winners from five remaining events. Should that happen, would it be better to shoe in players who have won nothing at all? I’m not sure and I remember people moaning when this happened in past years.
  • The same decision was made a few weeks back regarding Reanne Evans. It didn’t cause an upheaval. Yet it’s the same situation. Only now, do we see people complaining and citing favoritism because it wasn’t done in previous years for On Yee.
  • The decision to include the World Championship runner-up was made a few years back and it was blatantly done because of Ding. That was IMO a much worse decision because a runner-up is NOT a winner. That was right up there with the decision that was made about held-over matches to guarantee that Ding would be in the field in Chinese tournaments. Commercially it was the right decision, ethically it was plain wrong because Ding clearly wasn’t trying his best in qualifiers and, ultimately, he was rewarded for it.

Catching up with Events.

While I was snapping around in Sheffield, a few things happened on the Main tour.

China Championship 2019 Qualifiers

Those qualifiers were played from August 15 to August 18, 2019. The format being best of nine, there weren’t that many surprises, but Ali Carter, Stuart Bingham, and Gary Wilson failing to qualify was certainly unexpected. There were also uncomfortably close results for Joe Perry, John Higgins and Ryan Day. Most of the experienced Chines players won their match – the notable exception being Liang Wenbo – but the younger ones had a tough time. Luo Honghao though registered a good 5-2 win over Mark Davis. Michael White downwards spiral continues. “Giant killer” James Cahil and highly rated Jackson Page failed to qualify.

Jimmy White, who was competing in the WSS ROKiT Phones.com World Championship during the same period, narrowly lost to Hossein Vafaei.

This is the decider…

2019 China Championship: Jimmy White – Hossein Vafaei (final frame)

Jimmy was unlucky … and bizarrely, when he played his next match at the Crucible, it’s his opponent, Stuart Watson who was unlucky in a very similar way.

Also Barry Hawkins missed the last red when on course for a 147

2019 China Championship: Jimmy White – Hossein Vafaei (final frame)

All results can be found on snooker.org

Mark Selby and Ding Junhui exhibition in Tibet

Last year it was Ding versus John Higgins

This time is was Ding versus Mark Selby. This was played last Saturday, 15 August 2019. That was only possible because both of them have their China Championship 2019 first round match held-over. Mark Selby won 13-9. Ding however did this at 12-8 down:

2019 Tibet Challenge Exhibition (15.08.2019.): Ding Junhui 147 – Mark Selby

Note that the China Championship is particularly important for Ding. He’s provisionally out of the top 16, and for the first time since I remember, (provisionally) China’s n°2. Yan Bingtao is provisionally China’s n°1, and ranked n°16. 

Jimmy White wins the WSS ROKiT Phones.com 2019 World Championship

White Wins at the Crucible

19th August 2019

Jimmy ‘Whirlwind’ White has defeated Darren Morgan 5-3 to win his second ROKiT Phones.com World Seniors Snooker Championship title at the iconic Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.

View all tournament results

Held at the undisputed home of snooker for the first time, the four-day event saw both White and Morgan come through a field of 20 players comprised of former greats champions and amateur qualifiers from across the globe to contest the title match.

The final would prove to be a tightly contested affair during which the players were never separated by more than a single frame until the final ball was potted.

Former world number eight Morgan drew first blood with a clearance to the pink from the last red to take the opening frame, before White countered a break of 55 with a dish of his own to level the scores.

The following two frames were also shared as the pair headed to the interval locked at 2-2, before 10-time ranking event winner White hit the front for the first time with a break of 53.

It was Morgan’s turn to respond positively as he claimed the sixth frame for 3-3, before White hit a match-high break of 86 to move one away from finally breaking his Crucible duck, having famously lost in the final on six occasions at the professional World Championship.

As the tension grew, it appeared as though the final was destined to head for a deciding-frame as Morgan established a useful advantage with the remaining reds awkwardly placed.

White, however, had other ideas as he fought back to within five points with two reds remaining, before eventually earning what would prove to be a match-clinching chance to seal an emotional victory at the Crucible Theatre.

The success comes an incredible 38 years after White made his Crucible debut back in 1981 and earns him the top prize of £25,000. The success caps a fantastic season which has already seen the 57-year-old claim victories at the Irish Seniors Masters and the 6-Red World Seniors Championship tournaments.

“It sounds strange to be world champion at the Crucible,” said White. “I have been playing really well, I lost the form on Thursday coming here and today I managed to get my game together and I felt very strong. I am delighted to win because [Darren] Morgan plays all of the time, he is a top amateur, so he is very sharp. I knew I had a tough match, it looked like it was going to go 4-4 so it could have been anybody’s and sometimes you have got to take these opportunities.

“On Thursday I was playing fantastic stuff and I went to Barnsley [for the China Championship qualifiers] and lost 5-4 after I should have won and everything just went out of the window.

“Tony Knowles [former world number two] said to me that I wasn’t standing right and that my back leg needed to lock like years ago. I actually looked at a couple of videos last night and he was right, my back leg used to be straight. It gave me a lot of confidence today and I potted some real good long balls. A great example was the red to get in to win the match, you are even money to get them anyway but it was a great cueing shot.”

(source WPBSA)

Here are the final frame and the trophy ceremony

2019 World Seniors Championship: Jimmy White – Darren Morgan (final frame)

And the link to the Final’s day picture album

Congratulations Jimmy White! Long overdue!

 

WSS ROKiT Phones.com 2019 World Championship – Day 2

Here are the results from day 2 at the Crucible:

Session 1:
Aaron Canavan 3-1 Au Chi Wai
John Parrott 2-3 Darren Morgan

Session 2:
Leo Fernandez 3-0 Joris Maas
Stephen Hendry 3-1 Tony Drago

Session 3:
Dennis Taylor 0-3 Stuart Watson
Jimmy White 3-1 Rhydian Richards

The defending Champion, Aaron Canavan, is still in the mix and playing very well. Stephen Hendry played as well as I have seen him do for a very long time. His opponent, Tony Drago is back after very severe health issues, and we are all delighted to see him in good health again, and playing well too. Jimmy White was … Jimmy like, brilliant in patches, but inconsistent. He won all the same.

All pictures taken yesterday are on Facebook and available for all to browse through

WSS ROKiT Phones.com 2019 World Championship – Day 1

I’m at the Crucible this week to cover the WSS ROKiT Phones.com 2019 World Championship.

This is WPBSA report on yesterday’s action:

Wattana, Morgan Among Opening Day Winners in Sheffield

  • 15th August 2019

Snooker returned to Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre on Thursday with the start of the highly-anticipated ROKiT Phones.com World Seniors Snooker Championship.

Barely three months have past since Judd Trump’s memorable victory at the home of snooker back in May but this week sees a mix of former greats and top amateur qualifiers aged over-40 return to the baize for this season’s premier prize on the ROKiT Phones.com World Seniors Snooker Tour.

The day began with four preliminary round matches which saw the 20-player field whittled down to 16, before the first-round action began in earnest later in the day.

First to book his place in the quarter-finals was Thai legend James Wattana, who recorded whitewash victories against Egypt’s Mohamed Abdelkader and 1986 world champion Joe Johnson on day one. Still competing on the main tour having been awarded an invitational tour card, Wattana’s match sharpness showed as he hit breaks of 113, 58 and 57 during the day, allied to a key clearance from green to black to seal victory against Johnson in the evening.

The former world number three now awaits Chinese qualifier Chen Gang, who also came through two matches today with wins against Tony Knowles and former world champion Cliff Thorburn to reach the last eight.

Earlier in the day there were also victories in the preliminary round for Tony Drago and Darren Morgan, who came through against Dene O’Kane and Willie Thorne respectively to progress to the last 16 stage.

For Drago, who was competing at the Crucible for the first time since 2005, there was a hard-fought 3-2 win against New Zealander O’Kane in the opening session of the day with a top break of 71 to set up a mouthwatering clash with seven-time world professional champion Stephen Hendry on Friday afternoon.

Welshman Darren Morgan meanwhile, one of the most active amateur players competing in the tournament, enjoyed a comfortable 3-0 success against Willie Thorne with a high break of 74 in the final frame. Next up for the former world number eight will be a contest against 1991 world champion John Parrott, a repeat of their 1994 Crucible quarter-final, won 13-11 by Morgan.

The action continues on Friday as the quarter-final line-up will be decided in Sheffield.

All the pictures I took yesterday are available on Facebook here 

You don’t need to be on Facebook to see them!