International Championship 2017 – Most top players qualify, including Ronnie.

The International Championship 2017 qualifiers were played in Preston from September 26 to September 29, 2017 and most of the top players involved did qualify for the main event to be played early november in Daqing, China.

The notable exception is Marco Fu who fell to the young Thai, Akani “Sunny” Songsermsawad, a player with the most unconventional cue action!

Four of the top 16 players have their first match held over to the venue: Mark Selby, the World Champion, John Higgins, the n°2 seed (?), Ding Junhui and Liang Wenbo, China n° 1 and 2. More Chinese players have their matches held over as well; indeed the trio involved in the Asian Indoor Games (a competition played in Turkmenistan till September 27, 2017),  Zhou Yuelong, Yan Bingtao and Zhao Xintong were spared the qualifiers in Preston. However Hossein Vafaei and Soheil Vahedi, the two Iranian players involved in the same competition were required to rush to the UK to play their last 128 match… Probably another great example of the fair playing field.

Anyway, all detailed results are on Cuetracker.

Ronnie was amongst the last batch of players to qualify yesterday evening in Preston. He certainly didn’t snail trough it as he needed just over an hour to beat Gerald Greene by 6-0:

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Here is the match:

Ronnie next opponent, in the last 64 is likely to be the very dangerous Yan Bingtao. Next up could be Rick Walden or Peter Ebdon in the last 32, possibly Barry Hawkins in the last 16 and John Higgins in the QF… easy!

New Mental Health Support for Snooker Players

WPBSA has today announced its new initiative to support players suffering from mental health issues

New Mental Health Support for Snooker Players

28th September 2017

 

The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) is today pleased to announce two new partnerships which will see support offered to current main tour snooker players who are struggling with mental health issues.

A signatory to the Mental Health Charter for Sport and Recreation, launched by The Sport and Recreation Alliance, alongside the Professional Players Federation and Mind in 2015, the WPBSA has identified a need to provide a confidential and professional clinical service to its Members.

An agreement to provide this support has now been made with Talking Solutions Ltd, an organisation with over 30 years’ experience supporting individuals through a wide range of mental health issues, from anxiety and depression through to psychosis.

Under the new agreement, main tour players now have access to the support that they need in the following ways:

  • A dedicated number and email for players to contact directly without needing to contact the WPBSA should they feel they need to.
  • Initial assessment within 72 hours to determine whether further support is needed.
  • The cost of up to six sessions with Talking Solutions to be covered by the WPBSA for each Member.

Alongside this initiative, the WPBSA has also partnered with the SOS Silence of Suicide group, who provide a bespoke informal service that offers people opportunities to discuss the troubles in an open forum that will support them in speaking more freely to assist with avoiding the long-term potential threat of suicide.

Through its work the WPBSA will promote SOS Silence of Suicide to raise awareness of the potential for suicide and the need for people to talk. SOS Silence of Suicide will also offer two open sessions for players at a major event, providing the option to come and speak freely about issues and experiences they feel they wish to share in relation to mental health issues or problems that long-term could bring about suicidal thoughts.

WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson said: “The WPBSA is committed to supporting its members. With the World Snooker Tour growing in popularity and with an increasing number of successful events being added to the tour year on year there will be unseen pressures on players. It is important for WPBSA to be able to provide support mechanisms to assist any tour player that feels they need it. No one should suffer in silence.”

Both new agreements underline the WPBSA’s commitment to tackling mental health issues in snooker and the work that has taken place in particular since 2015. Earlier this year, recent Paul Hunter Classic semi-finalist Mitchell Mann spoke out in support of our ‘Your Cue to Talk’ campaign and represented the WPBSA at the second anniversary celebrations of the Mental Health Charter for Sport and Recreation in London.

Visit our Player Support section to learn more about the new initiatives and the support available to current main tour players from the WPBSA.

About Talking Solutions

Talking Solutions has a proven track record, built up over 30 years, in assisting people to overcome the mental health difficulties they are experiencing.

The main form of therapy offered by Talking Solutions is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), a structured talking therapy that enables individuals to understand and overcome their problems. CBT is regularly used throughout the United Kingdom, and is the main form of psychotherapy advocated by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), for a wide range of mental health problems.

Find out more by visiting www.talkingsolutions.org

About Silence of Suicide

SOS Silence of Suicide was established by Michael Mansfield QC and his partner Yvette Greenway, following the suicide in May 2015 of Michael’s daughter Anna and five months earlier of a lifelong friend of Yvette’s. SOS Silence of Suicide is a unique service with one simple aim: to encourage open, honest discourse by all those affected by suicide, from a safe platform provided by SOS where stigma, shame and silence do not exist.

Yvette Greenway from SOS Silence of Suicide said: “We are delighted to be working alongside the WPBSA as part of their continued and expanding mental wellbeing support system for snooker players. We have many shared concerns, values and aims and by working together for the benefit of others, we hope to reduce and eventually eradicate the shame, silence, stigma and isolation that suicide, alongside other mental health issues, provokes.”

Find out more by visiting www.sossilenceofsuicide.org

Certainly an excellent initiative, and needed too. But it won’t solve the problem if some thought isn’t given to the structure of the calendar, and, maybe even to the ranking system in order to avoid unecessary additional pressure. The sport is demanding enough mentally as it is.

 

World Open 2017 – Ding is your champion!

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Ding Junhui won his 13th ranking title beating Kyren Wilson by 10-3 in a surprisingly one-sided match.

Read  here the report by Worlsnooker

Ding Junhui stormed to a 10-3 victory over Kyren Wilson to win the Yushan World Open and claim his 13th ranking title.

The win comes 12 years on from Ding’s maiden tournament victory, which he secured by beating Stephen Hendry as a teenager at the 2005 China Open. He has now won 13 of 18 appearances in ranking finals.

Victory in Yushan carries great significance for China’s top star, seeing him move to number two in the world rankings after claiming the £150,000 top prize. Ding has also now progressed to sixth on the all-time list of ranking titles won. In the process he has overtaken Mark Selby and Neil Robertson, who both have 12 to their name.

Wilson’s third ranking final didn’t go the way he would have hoped. His first and only win to date came at the 2015 Shanghai Masters, where he defeated Judd Trump in a 10-9 thriller. Today’s encounter proved to be a more one sided affair.

It was the opening part of the first session where Ding seized the initiative and did much of the damage. The 30-year-old went on a five frame blitz to move into a 6-1 lead. However, Wilson did respond by compiling runs of 104 and 66 to make it 6-3 and give himself hope going into the evening.

The Warrior failed to carry his momentum into the final session. Ding snatched back control of the game, displaying his break building power with consecutive runs of 67, 69, 71 and 54 to move to the verge of victory. The 12th frame came down to the final pink, which Ding eventually deposited to get over the line and claim the title.

Following the victory Ding, who has now won six ranking events in China, admitted it is extra special to claim victory in front of his fans.

Ding said: “The home crowd always supports me in the same way as it does with Ronnie O’Sullivan in the UK. That makes a big difference. You can see that some players don’t like it, but you have to learn how to deal with it. I found it difficult in the first few years in the UK, but it is about learning.

“I’ve been playing well all week. I’ve really been focused in this event. I’m happy to have played the way I did. I felt good coming into the last session. I won the first three, it got a bit twitchy in the last frame but I came through. The score was a bit misleading, but I didn’t feel too much pressure. I just played my game.”

Wilson praised his opponent for capitalising from his slow start and stamping his authority on the tie.

“Throughout the match, anything I did seemed to backfire and go wrong. I was just playing catch up from the word go. Ding being the class act he is took advantage of that and was very hard to stop,” said the 25-year-old. “At 6-1 down you think it is a hell of a long way back, but to win those two good frames meant I was back in the game at 6-3. I just didn’t get off to a good enough start in the evening and he took full advantage.”

Congratulations to Ding!

As for Kyren, I’m certain he will bounce back and win more titles in the future. He’s too good not to.

 

World Open 2017 – Ahead of the Final

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It will be Kyren Wilson vs Ding Junhui in the Final tomorrow as these were today’s results.

Kyren Wilson has been extremely impressive in this tournament so far. His semi final against Mark Allen was a high quality affair and couldn’t be any closer. Yesterday he had beaten Mark Williams by 5-1, in a match that saw 4 centuries and a 78 and was remarkable by the fact that in every frame, one of the players remained potless. Indeed Kyren scored 503 points without reply.

Ding Junhui came back from 3-1 down to beat Li Hang by 5-3 yesterday and, today, was always in front in his match against Luca Brecel. Both players made some unexpected errors and, of course, Ding is always under huge pressure when playing in China. The expectations on his shoulders are immense.

So who will win? Well I have no clue. What do you think?

World Open 2017 Standings

As we reach the QF stage of the World Open 2017, Ding Junhui is the only top 10 player remaining in the draw. Today, Mark Allen came from behind to beat Neil Robertson in a decider and David Gilbert beat John Higgins fair and square by 5-2.

Regarding this last result, contrary to many, I wasn’t surprised. John Higgins had beaten Alexander Ursenbacher by 5-0 with some big breaks and many immediately saw him as the favourite for the title. I wonder how many of them had actually watched the match because, although John hit a few big breaks, the truth is that Alexander had been very poor on the day and had handed his opponent a zillion opportunities. Alexander should have won two frames at least. Yesterday, Matthew Selt could and probably should have beaten Higgins as well, but seemed to totally lose the plot in the deciding frame. David Gilbert is an excellent break builder and is not intimidated by big names; he did the job.

Mark Williams comes across as the man in form. He’s only lost one frame in this tournament so far. Willo has an excellent record in Asia, he’s won the 6-reds World Championship earlier this month and he could well win this one as well. Ding Junhui though might have other ideas. I haven’t watched him play, but dismantling the usually solid Joe Perry by 5-1 doesn’t happen that often.

Both Mark Allen and Luca Brecel came through extremely hard-fought matches, winning in a deciding frame, having trailed most of the match. To be fair, Luca was helped by the mother of all flukes in the decider, but, to get there he had shown a lot of patience and applied himself  in long safety battles.

To find Anthony McGill and Kyren Wilson still in the mix is not surprising, both have been solid and consistent in recent weeks. Li Hang is the surprise guest to the party, but in fact he’s currently n°7 on the one year list so he’s been very consistent and quite efficient this season … he’s just flying under the radars. We shouldn’t underestimate him!

 

International Championship 2017 Draw and Format

Worldsnooker has today published the daw and format for the International Championship 2017

The draw and format for the qualifying round of the 2017 International Championship is now available.

Click here for the draw

Click here for the format

The qualifiers run from Tuesday September 26 to Friday September 29 at the Guild Hall in Preston. Tickets are available and cost just £5 – for details click here

Ronniehas entered the event and will play his last 128 qualifying match on September 29 at 7pm local time. His opponent is Gerard Greene. Not the easiest draw at this stage and, should he win he could meet the dangerous Yan Bingtao as first opponent at the venue in China.

Ronnie news and snooker news

Ronnie was out on social media today to confirm that the sequel of “Framed” will be out in November and its title is “Double Kiss”

On twitter:

my new book, out Nov but pre-order it here and i’ll sign it too. thanks for your support Ro x

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And on Facebook

please to say my new book will be out in November. More stories of Frankie, you can order a signed copy here thanks for your support Ro x

As a reminder, here is the “trailer” …

The race is on. The stakes are high. Frankie James thought his troubles were behind him. He’s busy running his Soho Club, and his brother’s finally out of prison. But when a postcard arrives from Mallorca, he’s stopped in his tracks . . . Is it from his mother – the woman who’s been missing for eight years? When the goddaughter of London’s fiercest gangster, Tommy Riley, goes missing in Ibiza, Tommy knows there’s one man for the job – Frankie James. Just when Frankie was on the straight and narrow, he’s now faced with an impossible choice. If he agrees to help find Tanya, he’ll be thrown into a world of danger. If he doesn’t, Tommy could destroy him. For Frankie James, old habits die hard. One thing’s for sure, playing with this gang is no game. But with everything at stake, how can Frankie say no? Double-Kiss is the fast-paced, thrilling sequel to Framed, by snooker champion Ronnie O’Sullivan.

Note that, unfortunately, whsmith delivers only in the UK, so this offer is only valid for UK readers…

Now about the snooker

It transpired on social media earlier last week that the Shanghai Masters 2017 was still no certainty, that the deal wasn’t done yet and the entry pack not out. Worldsnooker has since removed the tournament from its “live scores” calendar, so I reckon it’s not going to happen. That the Shanghai Masters disappears is a shame, that the week between 13 and 19 November becomes free would be good news, in my opinion at least. I’m not sure how the top players, who are only human, were supposed to cope with playing in China for the International Championship, next in the Champion of Champions in Coventry, then in China again for the Shanghai Masters, then back to UK for the Northern Ireland Open considering that there isn’t a single “free” day in that schedule. It would not have been just about the hectic traveling, it would also be about how the human body adjusts to time difference and broken sleep patterns.  You can’t realistically expect them to play in every of those tournaments AND to perform at the top of their ability in each. That said there is still a “China Ranking Event” in Worldsnooker Calendar but unless it’s all 128 at the venue, I wonder when the qualifiers could possibly be played, Maybe right after the English Open? Anyway, personally, I hope it’s scratched.

Players are currently in Yushan for the World Open and there have been a few notorious casualties already: Mark Selby, Michael White, Liang Wenbo, Shaun Murphy, Barry Hawkins and Graeme Dott are all out already (*) as the last 32 is starting tomorrow. Apparently the venue and conditions are very good. But the trip to get there is quite long and tiring – it’s a rather remote place – and a number of players arrived without their cue or their luggage. This of course isn’t Worldsnooker fault, but the more connections and different transports are needed, the likelier these incidents become. And there are complaints about the hotel(s) too. Why not stick to big cities, with easy connections? Surely this would allow more fans to come and watch live as well?

(*) Ali Carter, the defending Champion and Ronnie didn’t enter, Judd Trump didn’t qualify.