So, the 2020 Gibraltar Open starts tomorrow … with a rather depleted field. There were no late nights during the qualifying rounds. Indeed 45 of the 87 round 1 and round 2 matches were not played, because one of the players withdrew, or just didn’t show up. And there were three more in the third round.
Eventually though 10 amateurs emerged and will play in the pro stage: Dylan Craig, Alan Taylor, Andrew Pagett, Ameur Riad, Kristjan Helgason, Adam Ashley, Rory McLeod, Peter Devlin, Ashley Hugill and Sybren Sokolowski. It’s a pretty diverse line-up and most names are familiar.
I must confess that I had never heard about Ameur Riad before. He’s 37, from Morroco, a pool and snooker player, and was African Champion in 2016.
Most of you will likely wonder who Sybren Sokolowski might be. He’s Belgian, 18 years old, and a very capable player.
The pro stages start tomorrow, and there too, there are plenty of withdrawals: Fraser Patrick, David Gilbert, Jimmy White, Noppon Saengkham, Stephen Maguire, Neil Robertson, Mike Dunn, John Higgins, Mark Allen, Ali Carter and Graeme Dott … for now.
John Higgins withdrawal means that, despite withdrawing himself, Mark Allen is now certain to qualify for the 2020 Tour Championship, whilst John Higgins isn’t safe yet. There are four players currently not in the one year list top 8, who could still get there, but they all need to win the tournament to do so. They are Thepchaiya Un-nooh, Kyren Wilson, Joe Perry and Mark Williams.
It has been confirmed by Matt Huart on twitter that players will not be fined over withdrawals linked to the corona virus crisis.
Not everyone though withdrew because of the virus… Mike Dunn decided to stay with his family as his baby grandson, who was born with a diaphragmatic hernia, isn’t well. This is a life threatening condition and I really hope that the little one will get well soon. This is far more important than any match of snooker.
The venue in Gibraltar looks great. Shame that only a maximum of 100 viewers will be allowed. It will feel empty.
That said it could be worse, it could be no spectators at all, and what will happen in Llandudno next week, or in Sheffield, be it in the qualifiers or at the Crucible is still unclear.
Finally, the qualifying event for the Seniors 2020 6-reds World Championship is also taking place over the week-end in Sheffield. You can follow this event here.
The main event is scheduled in Corelaine, Northern Ireland, early June. Hopefully it won’t be postponed.
The Seniors 2020 Irish Masters though, that was postponed already from early January to 27 and 28 March 2020, had to be postponed again and is now scheduled to be played on July 31 and August 1, 2020. The 2020 Pan American Championship in Toronto was postponed as well.
The 2020 European Snooker Championships in Portugal are going ahead and currently being played. Aaron Hill won the under-18 competition. The under-21 competition is underway. You can follow the various competitions here.