The field for the Coral Players Championship is now set, with the top 16 on the one-year ranking list going through to the Guild Hall in Preston next week (March 4 to 10). Click here for the draw and match schedule.
The final event of the 2019 Coral Series is the new Coral Tour Championship in Llandudno (March 19 to 24) with a line up of only eight players in North Wales. There are three counting events still to go before the cut off falls: this week’s Indian Open, next week’s Coral Players Championship and then the Gibraltar Open (March 15-17).
No one outside the top 16 of the one-year list can make it to Llandudno; even if 17th-placed Martin O’Donnell won the top prizes in India (£50,000) and Gibraltar (£25,000) that would still not be enough to put him into the top eight. However those currently ninth to 16th who have made it to Preston can still qualify for Llandudno, with a top prize of £125,000 up for grabs at the Guild Hall.
David Gilbert is clinging on to eighth place with £170,000 but Stuart Bingham continued to gain ground with a run to the quarter-finals of last week’s BetVictor Shoot Out and he’s now just £3,000 behind. Both players are in India this week looking for a deep run to improve their position. Then Bingham and Gilbert go head to head in Preston next Wednesday, and that match could be an important moment in the race to Llandudno.
There are three players – Ali Carter, Joe Perry and Jimmy Robertson – who are inside the top 16 of the one-year list and outside the top 16 of the official two-year list. Gilbert is the only player inside the top eight of the one-year list and outside the top eight of the two year list. John Higgins is officially fourth in the world but lies 13th on the one-year list, £59,000 behind Gilbert.
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh win his first ranking title at the BetVictor Shoot Out, and his £32,000 pay day sees him jump 12 places on the two-year list to 41st. Michael Holt was runner-up and climbs from 46th to 40th. Tour rookie Jamie Clarke reached the semi-finals of a ranking event for the first time and he’s up nine spots to 116th.
There are five counting events to go in the Race to the Crucible and 16th-placed Gilbert now has a buffer of £23,000 over 17th-placed Ryan Day.
With £50000 for the winner in India, and only £25000 in Gibraltar, it’s obvious that the results in the Players Championship will be key to the qualification for the Tour Championship. Except for Jack Lisowski and Stuart Bingham, all the others need to win the title unless they can have a deep run in India and/or Gilbraltar.
Ali Carter, Barry Hawkins and Stephen Maguire are not in India. Mathematically Ali and Barry could still qualify for Llandudno by being runner-up in both Gilbraltar and Preston, but only if David Gilbert, Jack Lisowski and Stuart Bingham have a relatively poor run in all India and Preston and Gibraltar. Otherwise they will need the title in Preston. Maguire didn’t enter Gibraltar so he needs the title in Preston to stand any chance.
Mark Williams, Mark Selby, Ronnie, John Higgins, Judd Trump, Neil Robertson, Ding Junhui, Mark Allen and Stephen Maguire all giving it a miss.