Players Championship 2018 – Draw and Format

Now confirmed by Worldsnooker

The full line up of snooker’s top stars for next week’s Ladbrokes Players Championship has now been confirmed.

Click here for the draw

Click here for the format

The race to qualify for the tournament in Llandudno, North Wales, began at the start of the season and finished with the Gibraltar Open last weekend. Only the leading 16 players on the one-year ranking listnow go through to Venue Cymru for the £380,000 world ranking event which runs from March 19 to 25.

Green baize kings including Ronnie O’Sullivan, John Higgins, Mark Selby and defending champion Judd Trump are now set to battle for the £125,000 top prize.

The first round matches are:

Monday March 19

Shaun Murphy v Kyren Wilson
Ding Junhui v Mark Allen

Tuesday March 20

Mark Selby v Ryan Day
Mark Williams v Yan Bingtao

Ronnie O’Sullivan v Graeme Dott
Luca Brecel v Neil Robertson

Wednesday March 21
John Higgins v Anthony McGill
Judd Trump v Stephen Maguire

It’s a fantastic chance for fans to see the sport’s biggest names competing for a coveted title. Tickets, starting at just £15, are still available although certain sessions are expected to sell out fast now the format has been released. For details call 01492 872 000 or CLICK HERE

Players Championship 2018 – Latest

So, after the completion of the Gibraltar Open, the line-up for the Players Championship 2018 is known and here is how it pans out (source Worldsnooker)

The line up of 16 stars for the Ladbrokes Players Championship is now complete, following the conclusion of the Gibraltar Open.

These 16 go through to Venue Cymru in Llandudno for the world ranking event which runs from March 19 to 25. The top eight have already had their matches scheduled, for details click here. The full draw and format will be released shortly. Tickets for tournament are still on sale – for details click here.

Ronnie O’Sullivan
Mark Williams
John Higgins
Judd Trump
Luca Brecel
Shaun Murphy
Mark Selby
Ding Junhui
Mark Allen
Ryan Day
Kyren Wilson
Neil Robertson
Stephen Maguire
Anthony McGill
Yan Bingtao
Graeme Dott

Which means that currently the draw looks like this:

Ronnie O’Sullivan (1) v Graeme Dott (16)

Ding Junhui (8) v Mark Allen (9)

Luca Brecel (5) v Neil Robertson (12)

Judd Trump (4) v Stephen Maguire (13)


John Higgins (3) v Anthony McGill (14)

Shaun Murphy (6) v Kyren Wilson (11)

Mark Selby (7) v Ryan Day (10)

Mark Williams (2) v Yan Bingtao (15)

However there could be another twist as Shaun Murphy, suffering neck and back injuries, cast doubts over his participation (source Worldsnooker)

Shaun Murphy has admitted that he faces a race against the clock to overcome back and neck problems ahead of next week’s Ladbrokes Players Championship in Llandudno.

The world number seven was unable to compete and defend his title at the ManBetX Gibraltar Open at the weekend after the recurring problems flared up. He has also pulled out of the upcoming Romanian Masters, which starts on Wednesday. Murphy is scheduled to play his first round match in Llandudno next Monday evening.

Murphy said: “It is really bad. I have had some physiotherapy treatment and have a session tonight, as well as another later on in the week. It needs to improve quite substantially if I am to make it to Llandudno.

“I have had this for years and normally the way it would go is if I had a warning sign then I would call up the physio and go for an appointment. However, If I am being totally honest I probably haven’t been to the physio as much as I should have recently. I am still trying to find out what the root cause of the problem is. It has been allowed to get out of control and create a bit of trouble. I thought I had staved it off. I haven’t and I’ve paid the price.

“I really wanted to go and defend my title in Gibraltar and not being able to do it was extremely frustrating. I self-punished myself by watching every ball at the weekend out of a self-loathing and annoyed perspective. I just have to get to the bottom of it and free it up. I am hoping to make it to Llandudno. However, if things don’t improve then I will find that very difficult.”

This isn’t the first time the 2005 World Champion has been an injury doubt due to the problem. Murphy’s 18-15 Crucible defeat to Stuart Bingham in 2015 was one of the best World Championship finals in recent years. However, the 35-year-old has admitted that he was very close to being unable to take to the baize.

“On the Sunday morning before the final I was lying on the floor of the practice room so my coach Chris Henry could walk on my back to get it right. I was unable to hit any balls that morning and thankfully through intense physio work and Chris walking on my back, sticking his elbow in key places, I got myself in a position to be able to play. While having breakfast that morning, I was contemplating becoming the first person to pull out of a world final.”

The Triple Crown winner is hopeful that treatment can cause the problem to subside and allow him to compete in what is a huge climax to the season with the China Open, which has become snooker’s second most lucrative tournament, and the World Championship to follow next week’s Players Championship.

“The primary goal for me now is to get through the next few days, get my cue out and try to get back to hitting some balls. The Players Championship is a fantastic tournament to be in. You work all season to get into the top 16 of the one-year list to be there. The China Open is now a massive event for our tour and then there is obviously the World Championship. This is the end of the season. This is where you want to be in good health. I’ve a bit of work to do.”

If Shaun has to withdraw, then the player ranked n°17 in the one year list is Martin Gould. I’m not sure if Martin would just replace Shaun in the draw, or if the draw would be “reworked” in which case it would look like this …

Ronnie O’Sullivan (1) v Martin Gould (17)

Mark Allen (8) v Ryan Day (9)

Luca Brecel (5) v  Stephen Maguire (12)

Judd Trump (4) v Anthony McGill (13)


John Higgins (3) v Yan Bingtao (14)

Mark Selby (6) v  Neil Robertson (11)

Ding Junhui (7) v  Kyren Wilson (10)

Mark Williams (2) v Graeme Dott (15)

Players Championship 2018 – how things stand before Gibraltar …

Here is Matt Huart (WPBSA) explaining what is at stake in Gibraltar and how the draw pans out for now … 

Race to Llandudno: Live Gibraltar Blog

8th March 2018

The line-up is now taking shape for the Ladbrokes Players Championship with just this weekend’s ManBetX Gibraltar Open to be played before the all-important qualification cut-off.

View the current one-year ranking list

View the playing schedule for the top eight players at the Players Championship

As was the case in 2017, the top 16 players on the one-year ranking list following the Gibraltar Open will qualify to play at the Players Championship in Llandudno.

Updated position as of 04/03/2018:

14th – Anthony McGill – £114,000
15th – Yan Bingtao – £114,000*

16th – Graeme Dott – £113,500*
17th – Martin Gould – £109,500*
18th – Cao Yupeng – £96,000
19th – Jack Lisowski – £94,600
20th – Joe Perry – £93,000
21st – Li Hang – £89,000

*player has not entered Gibraltar Open

Following a record fifth Welsh Open victory for John Higgins in Cardiff, the position is now relatively straightforward with just four players who can still mathematically break into the top 16 on the one-year list in Gibraltar this weekend.

Each of those players, namely Cao Yupeng, Jack Lisowski, Joe Perry and Li Hang must win the tournament in Gibraltar, with nothing less than the £25,000 first prize enough to see them overhaul 16th placed Graeme Dott for the final qualifying position.

Provisional Players Championship draw

As well as the 16 qualifiers, the order on the one-year ranking list will also determine the draw for the Players Championship, with seeds 1 v 16, 2 v 15 and so on set to meet in the opening round…

Updated draw as results stand (following the Welsh Open):

Ronnie O’Sullivan (1) v Graeme Dott (16)

Ding Junhui (8) v Mark Allen (9)

Luca Brecel (5) v Stephen Maguire (12)

Judd Trump (4) v Ryan Day (13)


John Higgins (3) v Anthony McGill (14)

Shaun Murphy (6) v Neil Robertson (11)

Mark Selby (7) v Kyren Wilson (10)

Mark Williams (2) v Yan Bingtao (15)

This is provisional and subject to change throughout the weekend depending upon results in Gibraltar. Players with their names bolded cannot now move in the draw.

Although we already know the identities of 15 or the 16 players who will be competing in Llandudno, there is still much that can change in respect of the Players Championship draw with only three players guaranteed to remain in their current positions heading into Gibraltar.

With ninth placed Mark Allen and those below him unable to overtake eighth placed Ding Junhui however, World Snooker have been able to schedule the matches of the top eight seeds and you can view the details HERE.

A further point of interest is that Anthony McGill and Yan Bingtao are currently tied for 14th place on £114,000, with Yan ranked ahead on countback having progressed further at the previous ranking event, last week’s Welsh Open. However, with Yan not competing in Gibraltar and McGill in action, it will be the Scot who is set to move in front following the tournament on account of having played in the event.

So basically, Ronnie will face Graeme Dott first UNLESS one of  Cao Yupeng, Jack Lisowski, Joe Perry or Li Hang win the title. Anything less and Graeme stays in the draw at spot 16.

It would only take two wins for Ding to overtake Mark Selby, who hasn’t entered, which then would mean that, should Ronnie win his first match he would face the winner of Selby v Allen next. Doesn’t come much harder than that!

John Higgins and Judd Trump have not entered, which means that Luca Brecel could overtake them both: he needs two wins to overtake Trump, he needs the Final to overtake Higgins and climb to n°3. In that case, as n°3, Luca Brecel would move to the other half of the draw, with Higgins coming to Ronnie’s half.

Shaun Murphy has announced on twitter that he has withdrawn as well – he is the defending champion – so Ding is certain to climb to n°6 with three wins. He can’t overtake Luca Brecel though.

Update (09.03.2018) : Ding is marked as “No Show” in Gibraltar, so he can’t overtake Mark Selby, let alone Shaun Murphy. This means that, should Ronnie win his first match, his next opponent will be Allen or Ding. 

Ronnie O’Sullivan to release health and fitness book

This is something Ronnie has been about many times on his twitter account. It’s about to become reality.

Here is the annoucement:

Ronnie O’Sullivan to release health and fitness book

Ronnie O’Sullivan to release health and fitness book


Bonnier Publishing imprint Lagom has signed snooker ace Ronnie O’Sullivan’s first health and fitness book. Entitled Top of Your Game: Eating for the Mind and Body, it will contain over 80 “nourishing” recipes, created with Harley Street nutritionist and author Rhiannon Lambert.

The book, pitched as “a one stop shop for living better, eating healthier and feeding your brain to enhance your performance”, will focus on how food links to concentration and mental sharpness, as well as combatting insomnia, anxiety and learning how to digitally detox.

Natalie Jerome, acquisitions director and publisher at Bonnier Publishing, signed world language rights from Jonny Geller and Cathryn Summerhayes at Curtis Brown.

O’Sullivan OBE has won 32 ranking titles in snooker, including five World Championships, seven masters and a joint record six UK Championship titles. According to Bonnier Publishing, the new book will “show readers how to eat, think and work your way to being number one – and how to stay there”. It draws on O’Sullivan’s learnings from his nutritionist, Lambert, after two years ago he “hit a wall with his physical and mental wellbeing”.

O’Sullivan said his new attitude to diet, health and fitness had changed his life. “When it comes to snooker, I should be on the way down by now, but here I am in my 40’s still competing at the top of the game and fitter than ever,” he said. “I truly believe what you eat keeps you young and in prime position. There are kids half my age competing and they can’t concentrate because they eat rubbish and never put down their phones! It’s all about eating great food, pacing yourself, recuperating and knowing your mental health is just as important as your physical health. The biggest gains are made when you fuel yourself well, exercise regularly and you rest – thinking this way has changed my life.”

Lambert, his co-author, has worked with sports men and women including Chelsea footballer Cesc Fabregas, England international cricketer Nick Compton and British paralympic gold medallist rower David Smith MBE, as well as with TV personalities Lisa Snowdon and “Masterchef” presenter Gregg Wallace.

Top of Your Game publishes on 27th December 2018.


Players Championship 2018 – some schedule info

Worldsnooker has just published some info about who – from the top 8 – is playing when in Llandudno

Eight of snooker’s top stars have had their first round matches scheduled for the Ladbrokes Players Championship which takes place in Llandudno later this month.

The tournament runs from March 19 to 25 at Venue Cymru in North Wales and features the top 16 players on this season’s one-year ranking list. The cut off point falls after the Gibraltar Open which finishes on Sunday March 11.

The top eight on the list are already sure of qualifying and their opening matches will take place as follows:

Monday March 19

Former World Champion SHAUN MURPHY v opponent
13-time ranking event winner DING JUNHUI v opponent

Tuesday March 20

Current World Champion and world number one MARK SELBY v opponent
Two-time World Champion MARK WILLIAMS v opponent

Five-time World Champion RONNIE O’SULLIVAN v opponent
China Championship winner LUCA BRECEL v opponent

Wednesday March 21
Four-time World Champion JOHN HIGGINS v opponent
Eight-time ranking event winner and defending champion JUDD TRUMP v opponent

The full draw and format will be released once the complete line up of 16 players is known, after the Gibraltar Open.

The ITV4-televised world ranking tournament features a top prize of £125,000 and a total prize fund of £380,000. It’s a fantastic chance for fans to see the sport’s biggest names competing for a coveted title.


An article by Desmond Kane (Eurosport) about the “class of 92”


Rejuvenated class of ’92 inspire snooker’s greatest era: O’Sullivan, Higgins and Williams

37 minutes ago

Updated 15 minutes ago

Forget the 1980s, we are living in snooker’s golden age with three giants of the sport – Ronnie O’Sullivan, John Higgins and Mark Williams – performing at their very best, writes Desmond Kane.

From the golden generation, comes a golden era. The curious narrative of the green baize has become a sort of Benjamin Button with snooker balls courtesy of its glistening potting triumvirate.

Ronnie O’Sullivan, John Higgins and Mark Williams, the world’s top three this year, have a combined age of 126, but a collective snooker brain of about half that.

The older they get, the younger they get. Weird, but also wonderful for those of you out there who rage against the dying of the light. If the 1980s was snooker’s heyday in the UK, snooker is at its zenith in 2018.

O’Sullivan, Higgins and Williams, three blokes 21 years short of making up a combined age of 147, have never performed better encased by some sort of time-defying emollient and a genuine desire to improve.

Eight out of the season’s 16 ranking tournaments have been gobbled up by WHO at 42? It is not melodramatic to suggest the ongoing class of ’92 – the year when they started out as professionals – are holding up better at the table than Paul Newman as ‘Fast Eddie’ Felson. And he was fictional.

O’Sullivan is officially enjoying his best season collecting a career-best haul of four titles at the English Open, Shanghai Masters, UK Championship and World Grand Prix.

Snooker's top 10 this season.

No country for young men? O’Sullivan is targeting two more world titles in his 40s to equal Stephen Hendry’s record of seven.

“Perhaps 40 is the new 25,” he has commented.

After a seemingly terminal decline since his peak of world titles in 2000 and 2003, Williams is blooming like a Welsh daffodil. He ended a seven-year drought to win the Northern Ireland Open with a 9-8 win over Yan Bingtao in November before waltzing to his 20th career title with a 9-1 victory over Graeme Dott at the German Masters last month.

VIDEO – O’Sullivan: I’d like to win two more world titles before I’m 50

Higgins usurped Barry Hawkins 9-7 to earn a fifth Welsh Open and 30th ranking title on Sunday night, 23 years after he first reached the final of the event. He has also lifted the Indian Masters title less than a year after becoming the oldest World Championship finalist aged 41 since Ray Reardon in 1982.

Higgins attributes the expanded snooker tour for saving and extending his career because he is no longer having to isolate himself for practice sessions when he is playing so much. When you study six-times world champion Steve Davis aged 39 winning the Masters in 1997 for his final major victory or Hendry’s toil in his 30s before retiring at age of 43 in 2012, it is remarkable to witness snooker become a game for true greats.

VIDEO – Higgins seals victory over Hawkins in Welsh Open Final

Higgins told me back in 2009 a day after lifting the third of his four world crowns, that “when you get to your late 30, early 40s, it will naturally become more difficult with the amount of talent pushing through”. Yet he continues to compete at the highest levels due to a technique made in Scotland from girders.

A holy timeless trilogy with 11 world titles between them are rewriting the record books on what can be achieved beyond the previously slippery slope of 40 with a load of balls and a snooker cue as Chas & Dave sung back in its 1980s pomp.

VIDEO – The Rocket Files: John Higgins

The world might have been going snooker loopy back in those days of mullets, shoulder pads and shell suits, but the game of snooker has never been more credible.

Out of the top 30 heaviest century makers in the history of the sport, only Hendry, Davis and John Parrott have retired.

With a golden generation growing golder in their third decade, snooker boasts genuine forces of nature in world champion Mark Selby, Judd Trump, Ding Junhui, Shaun Murphy, Mark Allen and Neil Robertson. None of them are in the first flush of youth.

There is also a supporting cast that includes serious rising Chinese talent led by Bingtao as the sport suddenly houses serious prize money.

VIDEO – Stunning pot sets up Williams for German Masters glory

If O’Sullivan wins a sixth world title in May, he snares £425,000 and becomes the first man to earn £1m on the table in a season. But Higgins and Williams carrying off the old pot would not be a surprise given how this season is unravelling.

It is a glorious sight indeed in any sport to witness maturing talent make good on their late promise

Life begins at 40? In snooker, life begins beyond 40. And the final frame, the final black is some way off being sunk for the perpetual potters.

Desmond Kane

Follow this link to read the original article and watch the videos.