The random draw for the first round of next week’s BetVictor Shoot Out has been made, with top stars including Ronnie O’Sullivan, Mark Selby, Mark Williams and Shaun Murphy in the field.
The tournament has a unique format with all matches lasting a maximum of ten minutes within a single frame, with a shot clock of 15 seconds for the first five minutes and ten seconds for the last five. The world ranking event runs from February 20 to 23 at the Watford Colosseum, with every match televised live on Eurosport.
World women’s champion Reanne Evans will take on Ian Burns in the afternoon session on the same day. The other female player in the field, Thailand’s Nutcharut Wongharuthai, will take on Malaysia’s Thor Chuan Leong during the evening session on Thursday February 20.
Other intriguing first round ties include Jimmy White against Matthew Stevens, Mark Williams against Luca Brecel and defending champion Thepchaiya Un-Nooh against Alex Borg.
The tournament is the third of four events in the BetVictor European Series, with the leading money winner across the series to earn a bonus of £150,000.
And, as I pointed out before, Ronnie isn’t safe yet for the 2020 Players Championship.
This week’s BetVictor Shoot Out is the final counting event in the race to qualify for the for the Coral Players Championship in Southport, with only the top 16 on the one-year ranking list to make the cut.
The Watford Colosseum hosts the fast and furious BetVictor Shoot Out from Thursday to Sunday this week, with 128 players in the field.
Ronnie O’Sullivan’s run to the semi-finals of last week’s ManBetX Welsh Open earned him £20,000 and boosted him from 20th to 16th with £97,000. He won both the Coral Players Championship and the Coral Tour Championship last year, and is now on track to have the chance to defend the first of those titles at the Southport Waterfront next week (February 24 to March 1).
However, O’Sullivan is not safe yet, as a top prize of £50,000 is up for grabs in Watford, which means that if he loses in the opening round, there are 20 players below him who could jump into the top 16.
O’Sullivan’s closest challenger is Gary Wilson in 17th place and £6,000 behind; he would need to reach at least the semi-finals in Watford, worth £8,000, to have a chance. Everyone down to Ricky Walden in 36th place, £49,250 behind O’Sullivan, is still in contention.
BetVictor Shoot Out prize money:
Last 16: £2,000
Last 32: £1,000
Last 64: £500
As it stands there are four players inside the top 16 of the one-year list who are outside the top 16 of the official two-year list: Graeme Dott, Thepchaiya Un-Nooh, Yan Bingtao and Joe Perry.
And three players inside the top eight of the one-year list who are outside the top eight of the official two-year list : Shaun Murphy, Ding Junhui and Yan Bingtao. Only the top eight after the BetVictor Gibraltar Open will qualify for the Coral Tour Championship in Llandudno (March 17-22).
Shaun Murphy won the ManBetX Welsh Open, his second ranking title of the season, and his £70,000 top prize lifts him one place to ninth on the two year list. He remains second on the one-year list but closes the gap on leader Judd Trump.
Kyren Wilson reached the final, earning £30,000 which lifts him from 15th to 11th, improving his hopes of qualifying for all three Coral Series events. Yan Bingtao was a semi-finalist and he’s up from tenth to seventh.
There are four events to go in the Race to the Crucible – with Ali Carter currently in 16th spot, £14,000 ahead of 17th-placed Joe Perry.
There are four events to go before the Crucible, yes, but two of them will feature only 16 and 8 players respectively. So, in effect, for the vast majority of the players, there are only two, and this “circus” is one of them. With £50000 for the winner, and only £8000 for reaching the SF, the Shoot Out is even more top heavy than most other events. Actually, given the nature of the event, they might as well sell lottery tickets “earning” players ranking points. I’m sure that the bookies are over the moon though. I’m not.
If Ronnie, after his efforts last week, misses out the Players Championship, where he is defending Champion, or if anyone has to qualify for the Crucible because someone else was propelled into the top 16, all because of this random tripe, I will be sick!
Shame on you WST, this is making a mockery of the rankings.