Q-School 2019 – Event 2 – onto the last day

As we enter the last day of the Q-School Event 2, these are the remaining last 16

Q-School 2019 event 2 - Last 16

The first quarter features two young players who have never been pros – Long Zehuang is 22, Dean Young is 17 – a potential “returning” pro, Chen Zifan who is only 23, and a “veteran”, Au Chi Wai, who has never been pro but has been playing on the WSS tour last season and in CBSA events over the years. I would be happy with whoever qualifies from this quarter. I would normally favour younger players, but after this by a BBC journalist

Replying to

Should there be an age limit to entering Q School? The guy is 43, beating a 15 year old. Rather see young talent coming through.

I would be more than happy to see Au Chi Wai through. I never bought the concept of “positive discrimination” (no, not even when it’s about pushing women … ). Except the odd one-off occasion, where commercial or promotional aspects can be considered,  things have to happen on merit. Full stop. As I wrote on twitter, “If you’re good enough, you’re young enough”.

The second quarter is a bit similar: three young players, none of them ever a pro before – Callum Lloyd (24), Riley Parsons (19) and Peifan Lei (15) – and a veteran, potential “returning pro”, Peter Lines. Ideally I would like to see one of the teenagers come through. Peifan Lei however is only 15 and, if he qualifies as a pro, I hope he will get the right people around him. It’s hard for anyone to be alone, very far away from home and family, in an alien culture, and probably needing to learn a foreign language as well. It’s even harder when you’re so very young.

In the third quarter we have again two young players – Louis Heathcote (20) and Si Jiahui (16) – facing two slightly more mature players – Jamie McArdle (33) and Simon Blackwell (26). None of those four have been professional before, so we are guaranteed a new face on the main tour. Again, I’d marginally prefer to see the one of the youngest two go through, provided that Ji Jiahui gets the proper support net, should he be the one emerging from this group.

Finally, the fourth and last quarter features only former professionals. None of them were on the tour in 2018/19. I don’t really care who comes through this one, although have “Paggy” back on tour holds the promise of some “made in Wales” fun and banter on social media 😉 … Willo, I’m sure, is already getting ready.

Both Peifan Lei and Si Jiahui are currently in the top 4 of the Order of Merit.

Other than that, Iulian Boiko, at 13 the youngest player in the draw, was beaten, in round 3, in a deciding frame by Billy Joe Castle in a high quality match; in the process he made a century – in only 5 minutes – to definitely become the youngest “centurion” in professional competition. Iulian is currently 37th in the Q-school order of merit, not high enough to qualify through it, but certainly high enough to get top-up invites during the coming season.

Ng On Yee, the only women remaining at that stage, lost to Peter Lines by 4-1 in round 3. This was somehow a “rematch” of their World Championship 2016 qualifiers round 1 encounter, where Peter beat her 10-1.

 

One thought on “Q-School 2019 – Event 2 – onto the last day

  1. It’s been a Q School event full of surprises. At one stage it was looking like the usual suspects: Rory McLeod, Peter Lines or Billy Joe Castle, Adam Duffy, Allan Taylor were going to progress through again, as usually happens in Q Schools. But then they started losing. It’s been a very nervy few days for the favoured players – possibly the nerves have been catching, or maybe they are just fatigued after another gruelling season.

    I’m not sure I agree about Au Chi Wai. He’s actually 49 (not 43), and although it might be a nice story to qualify as a pro, perhaps fulfilling a lifelong ambition, it’s hard to imagine he can adapt. It could be a two-year nightmare. Today he plays Dean Young, a 17-year old who hasn’t had a 50+ break in any of his matches. The two Chinese players in the other half are not highly rated, but Chen Zifan would be a returning pro at least.

    Peter Lines ought to overcome his young opponents, which will be a nice family story, as he approaches 50. Conversely Lei Peifan will be 16 on Friday, and along with Chen Zifan is missing the Chinese professional tournament which starts today in their hometown of Xi’an. Lei is very promising, and shown great maturity so far, but I’m sure turning professional this year wasn’t part of his development plan.

    Then the remarkable Si Jiahui, who has outscored everyone, scoring 4 centuries in the two events so far, winning all his matches 4-0 or 4-1 apart from the loss to David Lilley. He’s only ranked 7 on the Chinese junior list. Is he normally this good, or is he just having a good week?

    Finally, the four ex-pros, who all have similar records at the top level. We know what to expect, whoever wins.

    So, there is a danger that the winners today will just be cannon-fodder for the main tour players. I had criticised the flimsy format of Q School for potentially providing a weak section (or a couple of lucky wins) and hence an underpowered professional, but here it seems like all the sections could provide players who aren’t up to the rigours of the tour.

    The real problem, of course, is that there’s such a gap between amateur and professional that has been widening. We’ve seen that in the low scoring, the length of the matches, and so many frames that have been decided on the colours.

    Good luck to the players today!

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