Q-School 2019 – the results

Yesterday saw the conclusion of the Q-school 2019.

Congratulations to the four Event 3 graduates:

Andy Hickx, Barry Pinches, Alex Borg and Alexander Ursenbacher.

All of them have been professional before and three out of four are over forty. They earned their place, so it’s big well done to them, but it’s not the kind of outcome I like to see with the future of the game in mind.

Congratulations to the four who graduated through the Order of Merit:

Si Jiahui, Lei Peifan, Peter Lines and Billy Joe Castle

Two new names – Si Jiahui and Lei Peifan, both teenagers – and two returning pros, Peter LInes and Billy Joe Castle.

Lei Peifan 16, is the youngest player of on the tour, Jimmy White, 57, is the oldest.

Here is the final Q-School 2019 Order of Merit

Players on the Main Tour 2019:2020 – snooker.org

There are (only) 10 teenagers on the tour, 8 of them from China. Jackson Page (Wales) and Riley Parsons (England) are the only “exceptions”.

There are 35 players over 40 on the tour, 3 of them over 50. One of those players, David Lilley is a pro for the first time. Marco Fu (Hong Kong) and James Wattana (Thailand) are the only Asian players in this bracket.

There are 23 players from China on the Main Tour. There are only 18 players on the tour who are 22 or less, 13 of them are from China. The oldest chinese players are 36 – Mei Xiwen and Chen Feilong – and only four others are in their 30th – Liang Wenbo (32), Ding Junhui (32), Tian Pengfei (31) and Xiao Guodong (30).

There is no woman on the tour, despite it to be open to both genders. On Yee Ng is the one who got the best results in the Q-School and she isn’t even in the top 56 that would guarantee her the right to play on the Challenge tour.

The youngest player in the Q-School 2019 was Iulian Boiko (13!) from Ukraine. He did well enough to secure his spot on the Challenge Tour. Wether he will be able to play in it, remains to be seen … obviously he’s still a schoolboy. He also became the youngest player to score a competitive century in a professional event.

6 thoughts on “Q-School 2019 – the results

  1. Yes you are right, but once they have left the academy, in their mid-20’s, they never get the same amount of tournament exposure that they need to keep their level.

    Fang Xiongman’s Q School summed it up. He was very rusty for QS1 and QS2, but was much better in QS3, losing narrowly to Ursenbacher in the penultimate round. That’s after 1 year away. Will he fare any better next year? There are younger talents coming past him all the time.

    The reason for names like Li Yan, Ju Reti and Rouzi Maimaiti playing in Xi’an is partly because they are still competitive in their regional events, which qualify them for the nationals.

    Ju Reti is now doing coaching (having given up the donkey ride, motorcycle-taxi and sheep slaughtering which used to keep him afloat). There was a 12-year old boy Gong Chenzhi from Shandong who actually reached the second round in Xi’an, before losing to Zhou Yuelong (causing Zhou to comment ‘he makes me feel old!’), who is currently coached by Ju Reti, and formerly coached by… Yan Bingtao’s father! He qualified via an U18 6-red tournament in Jiaxing, where he beat Xiao Jiayu, a 13-year old girl. The U21 event had included Bai Langning, Wu Yize and He Guoqiang.

    Zhang Anda’s victory earned him about £9000, which is the second biggest prize on the Chinese tour, after the £13000 for the Haining Open (won in 2017 and 2018 by Mark Selby). They can make a living by playing in these events, plus other snooker-related work, but it doesn’t get them back on the international scene unless they get CBSA backing.

    Sorry to bore you with all this gossip! But my point is that there are limited opportunuties for a large and expanding group of incredible talent.

  2. In fact Lei Peifan and Chang Bingyu are younger than Si Jiahui, who turns 17 next month. Lei Peifan is the youngest professional since 2013. Victoria will look after Lei and Si.

    I agree about some of the players being a little past their best, and that it’s a disappointment that they still feel the need to put themselves through what will be a very tough season, in their 50’s. Alex Borg is 50 today. Coincidentally, Alex Borg, Barry Pinches and Peter Lines all have sons who have professional ambitions. Or perhaps it isn’t a coincidence?

    However, I am fully supportive of David Lilley, who although 43 may be able to improve and achieve something – perhaps a couple of scalps, a run in a tournament, maybe a Crucible appearance.

    The last few months should serve as a big wake-up call to Arnie Ursenbacher, who only just scraped through Q School. Peter Lines, who didn’t need to win, showed utter commitment to come back from 3-1 and take the match to the final few colours. That should be a lesson to Ursenbacher.

    Ross Bulman missed out by 1 frame, after losing 4-0 in the penultimate round to Yang Qingtian. Yang, an average player, was probably as surprised as anyone by his run. It’s most likely he was here partly to help the kids. In a way, he did: his win against Bulman, and then loss to Hicks, meant that Lei Peifan squeaked through.

    In my view, out of the 16 qualifiers, the only two who will surely get into the top-64 at the end of 2 years are Ursenbacher and Xu Si, who are both top-32 potential. The really young players (Lei, Chang, Si, Bai, Page, Parsons, Heathcote, Sargeant) have huge potential, but it will probably take them a little more than 2 years to establish themself. Maybe one or two of them will adapt quickly, but it’s too early to tell.

    The final day could have been extremely uncomfortable with the possibility of matches including a player who did not need to win. In fact it did happen in 3 of the 4 ‘finals’. It baffles me why WS use such a format, given the sensitive nature of integrity. Imagine if a player won his penultimate match, guaranteeing qualification, did a fist-pump, opened a bottle of champagne, then returned later to lose the final match 4-0 in 45 minutes? The markets would indeed show very suspicious betting patterns. I’m really concerned that the people who devise such formats are just unable to think things through. There is enough unfairness anyway with the draws and the byes, etc.

    Elsewhere, newly married Zhang Anda beat the 15-year old Zhao Jianbo in the Chinese Nationals in Xi’an. Zhao’s run lifts him to the top of the Chinese rankings, so is almost certain to gain a professional tour card when we go through all this again next year…

    • Thanks Lewis, made the required corrections regarding players age. I should have double checked. My bad. Regarding Ursenbacher, unless I”m mistaken, he only needed one win at the Worlds qualifiers to make sure of his tour card and he faced Jordan Brown who was certainly not a favourite in this match and he got beaten soundly (10-4). Yesterday again he almost squandered his chance. Temperament? Pressure?

      • Yes of course. He was under enormous pressure to retain his Tour Card. Then, he was under enormous pressure at Q School. As Andy Hicks said yesterday, the pressure is greater than in professional matches. Their whole career is on the line.

        Some of the players who only just lost out will never get a chance like this again. Participating as top-up amateurs or on the Challenge Tour might not be feasible, depending on their working schedule – top-ups have to pay entry fees as well. The Chinese players, such as Long Zehuang, Wang Zepeng and Fang Xiongman, came close but may be finished. There’s no way they can return until mid-2020, and at this stage of their career (in their 20’s), that’s probably fatal. Long Zehuang in particular was just one ball away from beating Barry Pinches, but at least he does have another career (in 9-ball pool) to support him.

        But Ursenbacher can now put this behind him, and start afresh, like Zhao Xintong did last season. From the outset he’ll be absolutely determined not to go through this nightmare again.

      • Pardon my ignorance, but isn’t there a possibility for them to have a career on the Chinese “professional” circuit, and maybe another chance from there? Didn’t I see the name of Li Yan in the Xi’an tournament? If I remember correctly Li Yan suffered very serious health issues. He never did anything of note on the main tour, maybe because of poor health. He looked promising when he played at the 2009 Shanghai Masters. But he’s still playing? He’s still only 26 too

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