News from the green baize

Last monday, Worldsnooker has published the criteria for invitations to the World Championship qualifiers. Here they are:

The qualification criteria for the 2019 Betfred World Championship has today been announced by snooker’s world governing body the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) and World Snooker.

As in previous seasons the top 16 players on the world ranking list following the conclusion of next month’s China Open will be seeded straight through to the final stages of the tournament at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre which will be played from 20 April – 6 May 2019.

They will be joined at snooker’s most famous venue by 16 qualifiers who will emerge from a field of 128 players during the previous week. The qualifying line-up will comprise all remaining professional players who are eligible to enter, to be topped up to a maximum of 112 with players from the 2018 Q School Order of Merit.

The field will be completed by 16 amateur players who have achieved success through the WPBSA qualifying criteria set out below:

  • 4 – Challenge Tour 2018/19 – top four ranked players (Brandon Sargeant, David Grace, Mitchell Mann and David Lilley)
  • 5 – EBSA European U-21 / U-18 Championship 2018 semi-finalists (Jackson Page, Aaron Hill, Ross Bulman, Dylan Emery, Florian Nüßle)
  • 2 – World Women’s Snooker Tour – top two ranked players (Ng On Yee, Reanne Evans)
  • 1 – World Seniors Snooker Tour – top ranked player Jonathan Bagley
  • 1 – African champion (TBC)
  • 1 –Americas champion (Igor Figueiredo)
  • 1 – Oceania champion (TBC)
  • 1 – CBSA nomination (TBC)

Should any of the above-named players decline their invitation then consideration will be given to alternative qualifying routes, to include continental championships and the 2018 Q School Order of Merit.

The draw for the qualifiers, which will be held at the English Institute for Sport in Sheffield will be made following the conclusion of the China Open next month. Each of the players competing must win three matches to earn a coveted place at the final stages of snooker’s most prestigious tournament.

I’m pleased to see that five spots have been allocated specifically to young players through EBSA U21 and U18 Championships, and of course, Brandon Sargeant, who will get a tour card next season via the Challenge Tour, is only 21. I first saw Brandon play at SWSA, when he was only a child. He impressed me right away.

It’s also good to see four players getting there via the Challenge Tour. The Challenge Tour is a great idea, but IMO needs some “re-thinking”. As it stands now, with only two players qualifying via a money list, many players feel like they are out of it early in the season. A system where the top 16 of the list compete in a “play-off” event at the end of the season would keep more players interested for the whole duration. Also the events need more exposure. I can’t understand why they are not open to the general public for viewing. And surely having one table streamed would not be that expensive?

There is not much to object to the selection of On Yee and Reanne Evans to represent women snooker. Reanne did run Ken Doherty very, very close in this event a couple of years back. But there is another women player who I wish would be invited: 19 years old Nutcharut Wongharuthai. She’s a great prospect and a lovely person.

Not convinced? Read this

Thailand’s Nutcharut Wongharuthai yesterday compiled a 147 maximum break for the first time in her career at the Hi-End Snooker Club in Thailand.

The world women’s number eight ranked player completed the magical break during a practice match and it is believed that the break is the first ever 147 to be made by a woman in a match, either in practice or tournament play.

The feat follows a successful breakthrough year in 2018 for 19-year-old Wongharuthai, who reached two ranking finals during the calendar year on her way to breaking into the world’s top ten for the first time. She also won the World Women’s Under-21 Championship for the first time last April and will return to the UK to defend her title next month.

and watch this !

There will be three  “Seniors” players in the draw: David Lilley, Jonathan Bagley and Igor Figueiredo. All are very good players and not to be underestimated.

The World Championships qualifiers is a great event to attend. There is a lot of quality snooker to watch, a lot of drama and it’s really affordable too. If you can, get yourself there!

And if you are in Sheffield, on April 11, and want something a bit different, there is also the WSS ROKiT Seniors Masters at the Crucible itself.  You can read all about this one here. It’s a great opportunity to sample the Crucible atmosphere and to see Legends of our sport in action.

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2 thoughts on “News from the green baize

  1. Yes, we are down to 124 eligible professionals, and there are doubts about 3 of them, so once again they will dip into the Q School Order of Merit, which is a bit of a lottery. The players at the top have played so much that they really were de-factor professionals. I’ve said before that I think the Q School process should be revamped to provide a proper ranking list, from 1-200, which would be fairer than these knockout draws.

    I’ll be travelling to Sheffield on 12th April, after work. Unfortunately I’ll miss the early matches, so won’t get to see some of the less well-known players. But it does get incredibly dramatic, as the Crucible is the ultimate prize for players outside the top echelons – it’s what they’ve worked for, and there are several players battling to save their careers.

  2. Oh, that 147 by Nutcharut Wongharuthai has been on fb and it is really good luck it has been recorded, such a a beautiful clearance, great shots, very impressive.

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