Snooker News – March, 21, 2020 – Taking stock of last week

On this first day of the spring in 2020, very few of us will be thinking about budding flowers, ducklings in the ponds and lambs in the fields. We are going through difficult times, most of us are in lockdown and worrying about relatives and friends, hoping to find them all well and healthy on the other side of this outbreak. Those who are still at work, are either risking their own  health and possibly life to save others, or making sure that the essentials are still available to us all: food, medications, and emergency services. We should be grateful to all of them, and make sure not to make things even worse . Please respect the strict social distancing advices and be considerate to others, especially the most vulnerable.

It was still an eventful week on the baize, maybe the last in many months…

The Main Tour

At the start of the week, we were still promised that the 2020 Tour Championship would go ahead “as planned” in Landudno. It was first announced that it would be played behind closed doors and only hours  later we were told that is postponed with new provisional dates of July 21st to 26th this year at the same venue.

It didn’t stop Barry Hearn to say that the World Championship would still go ahead as planned, not did it stop the Crucible Theatre to send tickets and messages to fans along the same line before, as was to be expected,  WST had to announce that the 2020 World Championship is postponed and that the intention is to play it end July or early August.

This schedule is unrealistic in my opinion as currently UK scientists expect the current situation to last for most of this year.

Barry Hearn is now talking about holding some tournaments behind closed doors in order to help lower ranked players; they are self-employed and badly need some opportunities to earn a living. Most have a family to support, and many, are now already looking for another job, offering their services on social media. How that’s gonna work, and when, and how players will be selected/invited has not been disclosed. I’m not sure that this is anything but a project for now.

I’m not impressed by how WST has been handling the situation.

In contrast, WPBSA has to be commanded for taking concrete measures to support their players. All credits to them!

The Challenge Tour

As was to be expected, the Challenge Tour Play-offs have been postponed

WST and the WPBSA have today taken the decision to postpone this season’s Challenge Tour Play-offs until further notice following recent government advice regarding the coronavirus outbreak.

Scheduled to take place on 29 March at Pot Black in Clacton-on-Sea with eight players bidding to claim a coveted two-year professional tour card, the event will now be rescheduled in due course as the situation develops.

The Seniors Tour

Most of the Seniors Tour events were scheduled to be played over le late spring and the summer, the time of the year when the Main Tour slows down. They are badly hit by this crisis, with nearly all events either postponed or cancelled.

You will find the details here

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The Amateur Game

One set of events that DID go ahead are the 2020 European Championships played over the last couple of weeks in Portugal. There were a lot of withdrawals reducing the field of the last, and main, event, the Mixed Championship, but there were still about 60 players in it.

Aaron Hill from Ireland won both the Under-18 and the Under-21 Championsips. The Under-21 title earned him a Tour card. Worth noting that Aaron beat Ben Mertens from Belgium, and only 15 years old, in the semi finals in both competitions.

Iulian Boiko, from Ukraine, won the 6-reds World Championship. Iulian is only 14.

Finally, former professional Andrew Pagett, from Wales won the main event. That earned him a tour card. He beat Heikki Niva from Finland in the final. Andrew Pagett was supposed to play in the Challenge Tour Play-offs. Hopefully, when that event is finally played, Jake Nicholson will  now be offered the spot.

You will find all results and some footages here

It’s good news for snooker that some really good young players are emerging from Ireland and mainland Europe.

2 thoughts on “Snooker News – March, 21, 2020 – Taking stock of last week

  1. Well I’m not sure Andy Pagett would consider himself a young player! Aaron Hill’s success is welcome, but of course in age limited events. The 6-red matches were very unpredictable: a ‘filler’ tournament between the ones that gained a tour card. I still find it remarkable that this these events in Portugal were completed.

    The various expert groups have very different opinions, with the SAGE Group by far the most extreme. It might not be as bad as that. I know it looks ridiculous to postpone events several times, there are business reasons, as well as at least keeping snooker on the calendar and in the mind’s eye. It’s not easy for anyone at the moment, and organisers (in any sector) will have a range of views around the table urging to continue ‘if at all possible’.

    • Of course Pagett is not a young player. And yes, the others won age limited competitions. But it’s still encouraging in my opinion. Aaron Hill is still only 18. En route he had to beat Sean Maddockx who is another good pospect. Ben Mertens didn’t win, he lost to Aaron Hill both times in the SF. But he’s only 15 and had beaten Aaron a year ago in St Petersbourg. Iulian Boiko is even younger. There is also Bulcsu Révéz who is only 13 and reached the QF of the under-18 competition.

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