Q-school 2019

So the prelude to the 2019/20 season starts today in Wigan

Sixteen players will come out of this eighteen days long process and get a our card for the next two seasons.

I’m not convinced that it’s the best process either.

  • being held in the UK only, and quite costly, it introduces a bias in favour of  UK players from the start, a bias that will only be reinforced throughout the season by a qualifying system also hosted in the UK only. Non UK players face additional costs – travel and accommodations – and possible visa issues.
  • it’s a very short format. Not much time to settle for those unaccustomed to the conditions, therefore favouring the ex-pros over the newbies. It also means that just one slice of luck might have a decisive impact on the outcome of a match.
  • there are a lot of byes to the second round, effectively giving a free four points to those who benefit it. This might become critical when it comes to the order of merit. It’s even more critical now that four spots will be allocated via that order or merit. Plus the fact that it’s used to feed the “top-up” system all season long.

What’s the alternative? Lewis will tell us: a “Swiss system”. I agree with him but I doubt that the powers in charge will ever consider that. They – well most of them – probably don’t understand how that works, and, if I’m honest, I believe that most fans wouldn’t either.

Anyway, it’s what it is, and it starts now…

Good luck to all involved.

And … there are players in this draw that were pros this season and have won only two matches over the full last eleven months. They still have a massive advantage over the amateurs because they have been playing in the same conditions for two years. I’m not sure that’s right. I know that this will probably raise outrage, but I would be in favour to put a condition to a minimum of four or five wins during the last season to have a right to be allowed to the Q-school right away. I would rather give them a pass to the challenge tour and a year delay to reflect about whether or not they are really good enough to be professionals.


4 thoughts on “Q-school 2019

  1. Other than the things I mentioned before, a huge problem with the current Q School format is its length. Players have to come along, play a couple of matches, and when they lose, go away for several days before the next ‘mini-tournament’. This is crazy for amateur players to fit around their schedule, travel, book hotels, prepare properly, and gain a bit of continuity. Only 8 tables for 218 players is ridiculous, almost mockery.

    It just seems to me that Q School as an afterthought, just to come up with some players (usually recycling existing or recent professionals) to fill up the mandatory 128 Tour Cards. There’s absolutely no thought behind it, and the recent announcement to allocate 4 extra places just confirms its chaotic organisation. These ‘Order of Merit’ top-ups aren’t fair, considering the lottery of the random draw.

    Apart from the easy fix I discussed, the long-term solution should be a different approach than the mandatory 128, to a more tiered system. But I’ve also discussed this before – it won’t happen because of the ignorance at the top…

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