International Championship 2019 Qualifiers – Conclusion

Here are the full results of the International Championship 2019 Qualifiers (snooker.org)

The trend set on the previous days continued, with the highest seeds going through in the vast majority of matches. There were no real surprises yesterday.

Kyren Wilson trailed rookie Brandon Sargeant by 2-0, but eventually won by 6-4. The key in this match, as in so many other matches we have seen this week was the safety game. Most players, freshly emerging from the amateur scene, are way behind the top pros in that department. Kyren’s highest break in the match was 63, Brandon’s was 107. On many occasions Brandon was ahead in the frames but Kyren got him in knots and eventually snatched them. That same pattern probably applies to some of the other matches involving debutants, played this week.

Stephen Maguire made light work of Jamie O’Neill’s challenge: he scored 51, 60, 129, 50, 61, 86 and 108 in a true demolition of his opponent. That probably was the performance of the day.

The highlight however was Tom Ford’s 147, his fourth, and the first of the new season:

2019 International Championship: Tom Ford 147 – Fraser Patrick

The surprise of the day for me was the 6-2 demolition of Fergal O’Brien by Nigel Bond in a battle of veterans. Somehow I expected Fergal to win this one. The match was quick too, it lasted only about 2 1/2 hours with both players seemingly playing at a good pace.

 

 

 

 

5 thoughts on “International Championship 2019 Qualifiers – Conclusion

  1. Yes what really made the point to me was the young player Xu Si clearing up the colours against Martin Gould to qualify for Guangzhou last season, close to his birth town. It could have been the only ever time to play in front of his family as a professional. It was one of the most emotional things I have seen. Fortunately, he has renewed his tour card via Q School.

    Of course they are caught between the need for 128 draw, travelling costs, logistics of the venues, and the limits of the ranking system. I know which I would change.

    • We know that too 😉 Currently traveling costs impact non UK players the most, mainly because of the way qualifiers are organised. The “excuse” being that UK/Ireland players represent the majority of the tour. However that system is just preventing that to change: there is a clear bias in favour of the UK/IR players, also made worse by having the Q-school played in UK, top-ups coming exclusively from Q-school and Challenge tour also mainly UK based. A swiss system with early rounds being played in various “delocalised” venues would somehow ease the constraints a bit, however there is risk to see “clusters of players” regularly meeting in early rounds without guarantee that those “clusters” are at the same level regarding abilities and that surely is an issue. And it would only make sense if the frontier between “amateurs” and “pros” disappears or at least becomes permeable.

      • Exactly. The frontier needs to be broken down explicitly. We currently have all these top-ups, order of merits, and wildcards, so we don’t actually have a ‘128-rule’ in reality. The tipping point will arrive when the majority of tournaments decide to become invitational.

        The non-UK players do have to pay significant costs, mainly eased by the CBSA, or by academy deals (such as Keith Warren’s STAR Academy). But we can see that this doesn’t help everyone, for example no new Thai players.

  2. The results of the Chinese players will be a disappointment to the organisers. Apart from Liang Wenbo, all of the northern Chinese players lost (Fan Zhengyi, Li Hang, Tian Pengfei, Lu Ning, Bai Langning, Lyu Haotian). Of course, it’s difficult to say much about the form of players in this early prequel to the season, but it might indicate the pressure on them to qualify to play in front of their local fans, families etc. If the qualification procedure for overseas events is brought under question, it does raise issues with the entire structure of the tour.

    • Django Fung, who is the Grove manager and from Hong Kong himself, had a strong team of Chines players some years ago: Zhang Anda, Li Hang, Chen Zhe, Li Yan, Liu Chuang, Yu Delu, Cao Xinlong, Cao Yupeng, Mei Xiwen, Liu Song, Lyu Chenwei and Jin Long all belonged to his team at some point of their career. Django really thought that some at least would break through. It did not happen. Django told me that they felt tremendous pressure each time they had to qualify for one of their home events. To me, there should be no qualifiers if the choice is to have a flat draw: everyone should play at the venue from the start. It’s not fair to the Asian players that they have to come to the UK to qualify for their home events. It would also allow to get rid of the “held-over” and “wildcard” matches that make an already busy schedule even busier. The local young players could be “top-ups” instead of the Q-school losers, who, because of the current structure are – again – almost always UK players.

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