WST ans WPBSA made every effort to get everyone playing at the World Qualifiers

Phil Haigh has spoken to Jason Ferguson about the withdrawals from the World Championship:

The World Snooker Championship is losing entrants but not through lack of effort to solve problems

Zhao Xintong
Zhao Xintong has reportedly chosen not to play in the World Championship this year (Picture: VCG via Getty Images)

The 2020 World Snooker Championship is going to be a unique event and one that some players are opting out of competing in, but that is not through a lack of effort from tournament organisers.

The rescheduled main event of the snooker season will run from 31 July – 16 August at the Crucible in Sheffield, with the qualifiers taking place from 21-28 July at the English Institute of Sport in the same city.

While there are a plethora of concerns about a World Championship with no fans in attendance and keeping players, staff and officials safe amid the coronavirus pandemic, there has been a serious worry that international players will not be able to compete.

It appears that a number of Chinese players will not be playing, with the South China Morning Post reporting that Zhou Yuelong, Xiao Guodong, and Zhao Xintong are three of ‘at least 10’ players from China who will not be travelling to South Yorkshire.

World number 10 Ding Junhui is expected to return from China for the event, while the likes of Yan Bingtao and Liang Wenbo are already in the UK so will compete.

Safety concerns regarding COVID-19 have put off some players returning to the UK, while the 14-day travel quarantine for arrivals from abroad is also a problem. Flights are much less regular than in normal times, and more expensive, but they are running.

WPBSA chairman Jason Ferguson insists that no player is unable to play in the event, some are opting to out of their own personal choice, and every effort has been made to allow them to play in Sheffield.

‘We’ve been in contact with every single player,’ Ferguson told ‘We’ve put in place travel and financial support for all players to help them get back to the UK, support for visas and everything.

‘Some of them are thinking, “shall we or shan’t we” but our job is to present the opportunity for every single player to get here. On that we’ve not failed.

‘We’re doing more than ever before on a very individual basis, chasing them to see if they’ve got paperwork sorted etc. We are on top of it.

‘It’s down to personal choice, and we respect that choice, if it’s down to family reasons or safety reasons, that’s down to the players.

‘We don’t want to lose any, we want a full contingent, but if we get a few gaps we will fill up through the normal channels.

’ While it is more than understandable that some players do not want to risk travel to the UK at this time, the safest environment possible is being created for those that do.

Any players arriving in the country before 7 July can quarantine in a residential address, while those arriving after that will quarantine in a designated hotel. They will be tested for COVID-19 before entering and then stay there up to and including qualifying.

There will be practice tables available and secure transfers to and from the venue when they play.

Ding Junhui
UK champion Ding Junhui is expected to be in Sheffield, where he owns a house (Picture: Getty Images)

Ferguson also made it clear that the entry deadline for the World Championship is not until 6 July, so any players that are considering not playing, or have already decided not to, can still change their minds and help would be in place to get them to the UK to play.

Little is ideal about this year’s World Championship, and undoubtedly playing in it is much trickier for international players than those based in the UK.

Everything possible is being done to accommodate the overseas players, though, with WST and the WPBSA attempting to make the very best of a bad situation.

Tournament organisers in China are confident that events will be back up and running there in the near future, with the possibility of a string of Chinese events being held early next season.

While little could make up for a player missing out on the World Championship, China and its players, along with players from Thailand, mainland Europe and elsewhere, are in no means being forgotten about by snooker’s decision-makers.

The “bold italic” has been added by me.

That’s a very impressive effort by the governing body. They are clearly doing everything in their power to get everyone involved. Being from mainland Europe myself, I was afraid that non UK players would be left on their own devices in this unprecedented situation and would be unable to attend for any number of reasons. I want the World Tour to really be a “World” tour and not a somehow “extended” UK tour and I’m very happy to read the above.

About the bits I highlighted …

Like many, I assumed that if players were withdrawing, the first round would simply be made shorter. Apparently, this is not the case: “if we get a few gaps we will fill up through the normal channels”. If I understand this correctly, quite a number of Q-school top-ups might get an invitation…

Jason Ferguson is clearly trying his best to get all players on board. His “public” offer to concretely help those who would wish to change their mind is as unprecedented as the situation we are in: “so any players that are considering not playing, or have already decided not to, can still change their minds and help would be in place to get them to the UK to play”

And it’s reassuring to read that tournament organisers in China aren’t throwing the towel at snooker, but on the contrary are working to have it up and running there asap. I sincerely hope that, this time, those events will be run with all 128 players at the venues. It would be the sensible thing to do, avoiding difficult rounds trips from and back to China and it would definitely be fairer on Chinese players, who, for years now, have been forced to travel to UK to qualify for their home events.

This is the article by the China Morning Post

Snooker World Championship: Ding Junhui heads 10-man Chinese force planning Sheffield raid

Again I have put some interesting parts in “bold italic

The article mentions the problems Ding had to go back home. He wasn’t the worst affected though. Some players had to go through a 14 days quarantine when arriving in China, before being allowed to get on a domestic flight towards their final destination – their home – only to be quarantined again for another 14 days upon arrival in their home region. It’s easy to forget that China is vast as a continent and the virus didn’t affect all areas at the same time, nor the same way. It’s understandable that those who went through that aren’t too keen to repeat the experience.

Some people are NOW calling for the World Championship to be cancelled. That would be ridiculous after so much effort, and considerable resources, have been devoted to get it up and running. I was in favour of not playing the event, and extending the season up to May 2021, resuming it gradually with more modest events. No relegations, no Q-School. I still think it would have been the best option. But that was only an option at the start of the lockdown, before all those efforts had been made, it’s no more an option now.

After the CLS and Tour Championship, I’m reasonably confident about the World Championship, qualifiers included. I’m still very concerned about the Q-School …


Another update on players withdrawing from the World Qualifiers

Here are some more infos, provided by the reliable Nikolay on twitter.

Screenshot 2020-06-28 at 18.01.47Screenshot 2020-06-28 at 18.08.11Screenshot 2020-06-28 at 18.08.24

Also, according to Lewis – see comments section – Ding and Luo Honghao are due to travel on the 9th of July, entering the UK on the 10th. For what we know, Luo’s visa is not sorted yet, but he’s optimistic.  If they are quarantined for 14 days, this might be an issue for Luo, but one that WPBSA could sort out probably. Luo is due to start in round 2.

As it stands, there are five players who were due to play in round 3, who have withdrawn: Zhou Yuelong, Zhao Xintong, Xiao Guodong, Yuan Sijun and Li Hang. This means that Chris Wakelin, Daniel Wells, Lu Ning, Alan McManus and Tian Pengfei will now start in round 3 instead of round 2. Should Hossein Vafaei fail to get his visa, Sunny Akani, provided he gets his, would also need to play only two matches.

The first round could be considerably shortened, with currently only 31 pros set to play in that round, including some who may find it difficult to get a visa and travel if they aren’t already in the UK, or who might just decide that it’s not worth the hassle. I’m thinking mainly about Rory Thor, whose season has been plagued by health issues, stands currently ranked 100th and in his second year, or Alex Borg who hasn’t won a match all season.

Update on Chinese players withdrawing from the World Qualifiers

Yesterday, one Chinese friend posted on twitter about Zhou Yuelong, Xiao Guodong, and Zhang Jiankang not having applied for their visa, hence effectively withdrawing from the WC qualifiers.


Today, the same person added that more than 10 Chinese players had withdrawn, adding the following names to the list:

Chang Bingyu, Li Hang, Mei Xiwen, Zhang Anda, Chen Zifan, Xu Si, Bai Langning, Zhao Xintong and Lei Peifan.

And, of course, Marco Fu also withdrew a couple of weeks ago.

Luo Honghao who is currently in his second year and ranked 62, will surely do everything in his power to be there. He’s not guaranteed to succeed though. Zhang Anda, ranked 72, had a decent chance to stay on tour, but, if the above is confirmed will now be relegated.

Ding doesn’t need to qualify. So that’s 13 out of 22 who opted out, and I’m certain that, for most of them, it was not a light-hearted decision .

This is alas, exactly what I feared. The “World” Snooker Tour becoming actually a UK Snooker Tour more than ever next season. And if China loses interest in snooker, the sport will suffer financially. Big time.

How things stand regarding the World Championship 2020

Following Stephen Maguire’s victory yesterday, here is how the top 16 seeding stands ahead of the Crucible.

Judd Trump (1) / Qualifier
Yan Bingtao (16) / Qualifier
Stephen Maguire (9) / Qualifier
Kyren Wilson (8) / Qualifier


John Higgins (5) / Qualifier
David Gilbert (12) / Qualifier
Jack Lisowski (13) / Qualifier
Mark Allen (4) / Qualifier


Mark Williams (3) / Qualifier
Stuart Bingham (14) / Qualifier
Ding Junhui (11) / Qualifier
Ronnie O’Sullivan (6) / Qualifier


Mark Selby (7) / Qualifier
Shaun Murphy (10) / Qualifier
Barry Hawkins (15) / Qualifier
Neil Robertson (2) / Qualifier

That is if Ding enters the competition and manages to get to the UK. Ding opted out of the Tour Championship, allegedly over health and safety concerns, but, as we know, there is more, with players struggling to get visas and the number of flights being severely limited. Therefore his presence is Sheffield at the end of next month is anything but certain.

Two days ago a Chinese friend on twitter posted this:


If Zhou, Xiao, and Zhang really haven’t applied, it extremely likely that they don’t intend to travel at all. Xiao and Zhou are safe for next season ranking wise, and Zhang has next to zero chance to avoid relegation as it stands. So they might feel that it’s not worth the risk and the hassle.

Ding might be under pressure to try to his best to compete at the Crucible, because of his status in China’s sporting scene, but his presence at the Crucible is far from certain as it stands. Should he miss out here is how the seeds draw would look:

Judd Trump (1) / Qualifier
Joe Perry (16) / Qualifier
Stephen Maguire (9) / Qualifier
Kyren Wilson (8) / Qualifier


John Higgins (5) / Qualifier
Jack Lisowski (12) / Qualifier
Stuart Bingham (13) / Qualifier
Mark Allen (4) / Qualifier


Mark Williams (3) / Qualifier
Barry Hawkins (14) / Qualifier
David Gilbert (11) / Qualifier
Ronnie O’Sullivan (6) / Qualifier


Mark Selby (7) / Qualifier
Shaun Murphy (10) / Qualifier
Yan Bingtao (15) / Qualifier
Neil Robertson (2) / Qualifier

What further complicates the situation regarding the World Championship, its qualifiers, and the Q-school, is the situation regarding snooker clubs’ openings. Surely WST thought that by mid-July clubs would be open. As it stands, the UK govt recommendations are unclear and confusing (as they have been since the start of this pandemics). Snooker clubs, it seems, are allowed to open from the 4th of July but no snooker can be played in them, as no indoor sports are authorised. Well, that makes little sense to me.

It probably doesn’t make sense to WPBSA either, judging by those two statements recently published:

This one came three days ago:

WPBSA Statement

24th June 2020

We have noted the announcements by Prime Minister Boris Johnson detailing the planned relaxation of current ‘lockdown’ restrictions within the United Kingdom over the coming weeks.

Together with the independent All-Party Parliamentary Group for Snooker we have been engaged in regular dialogue with the government, including the submission of proposals to the Sports Minister for the re-opening of clubs in the UK.

We are now seeking clarity as to the application of the announcements to snooker clubs and in the first instance will continue to liaise directly with affiliated clubs through ‘The 147 Club’ scheme.

We of course understand the desire from fans and players of our sport to return to the baize as soon as possible. However, we will only be able to issue guidelines for the re-opening of clubs once it is safe to do so and with clear advice directly from the government.

And this one was issued just yesterday:

WPBSA / EPSB Statement: Re-Opening of UK Snooker Clubs

  • 26th June 2020


Further to our previous statement of 23 June, together with the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Snooker, we have since continued to seek further clarification from both the Department for Media Culture and Sport and the Sports Minister’s office in respect of the proposed re-opening of snooker clubs in the UK.

Having carefully studied the wording of the announcements made by the UK government earlier this week, it is clear that social clubs, including licensed premises are able to re-open from 4th July 2020.

However, what is not clear is whether the snooker facilities in these clubs can be used or not from this date. We are therefore continuing to seek urgent clarity on this point as we understand that clubs are reliant upon activity on the snooker tables in order to be sustainable.

We strongly advise all clubs concerned to seek further guidance and advice from their local Health and Safety Executive who will be able to assess the level of risk. It is ultimately the decision of each club as to whether they are able to re-open based upon all guidance provided.

Jason Ferguson, WPBSA Chairman said: “We are aware that snooker clubs all over the world are currently working hard to ensure that they will be able to re-open safely as soon as it is possible to do so. This includes clubs within England, in particular members of The 147 Club scheme which played a key role in the preparation of proposals submitted to the Sports Minister on 13 May, which contained detailed procedures that we believe will allow clubs to re-open safely.

“It is therefore extremely disappointing that we have not received clarity from government to be able to advise clubs in England and the UK to be able to open safely at this stage.

“Every snooker club provides a vital community social hub and a place to engage in non-contact activity. We therefore would urge each individual club to seek local authority guidance prior to re-opening and in the meantime, we will continue to push for further information from the government to provide certainty during this time.”

If clubs and academies are not able to offer tables to play snooker by the time the Qualifiers begin in Sheffield in about three weeks’ time, it’s a major issue. The qualifiers are meant to involve 128 players, 32 players will start at the Crucible, and during the Championship, the Q-school will be held, potentially involving well over 100 players. They ALL will need to find somewhere to practice, safely. Unless workable guidelines are available, and clubs can open for professional practice, how is that going to work? I can’t see WST or WPBSA taking care of that on top of everything else they will have to cope with already.


Stephen Maguire wins the Tour Championship 2020 and the Coral Cup

Stephen Maguire, the man who should not have been in the tournament, has won the Tour Championship 2020, beating Mark Allen in the Final by 10-6. In the process, he snatched the Coral Cup from Judd Trump’s hands, and the £100000 going with it. He also took the highest break prize, £10000 by scoring a 139 in the last session of the tournament. Until that point, he was sharing the highest beak with Judd Trump as they both had a 135 previously. And, finally, he gets also an invitation at the Champion of Champions 2020.

Congratulations Stephen Maguire!

No doubt, Mags must be Trump’s favourite fellow professional this morning!

Anyway, I’m happy. I’ve always liked Stephen Maguire because he’s a genuine guy; he wears his heart on his sleeve and always speaks his mind. He knows how good he can be, but has no big ego.

Here are the reports by WST:

Afternoon session:

Mark Allen and Stephen Maguire set up a blockbuster final session of the Coral Tour Championship, ending the afternoon locked together at 4-4.

There are high stakes heading into tonight’s play. A top prize of £150,000 is up for grabs, with Maguire also able to depose World Champion Judd Trump from the top of the Coral Cup standings with victory. That would see the Scot bag an additional £100,000 bonus.

Surprisingly the pair have only met six times in their career so far. Allen holds the edge in the head-to-head, leading 4-2. However, Maguire won their most recent clash 6-0 in the semi-finals of this season’s UK Championship.

Allen started strongest this afternoon, composing breaks of 50 and 76 to establish an early 2-0 lead. Maguire refused to wilt and contributions of 89 and 69 saw him draw level at 2-2 at the mid-session.

When play resumed, Maguire took the lead for the first time in the match. Allen quickly restored parity with a sublime break of 125 to level at 3-3. They then traded a scrappy final two frames of the session to end 4-4.

The pair will return at 7pm to play the best of 19 encounter to a conclusion.

Evening session:

Stephen Maguire claimed his first ranking title in seven years, beating Mark Allen 10-6 in the final of the Coral Tour Championship in Milton Keynes.

It’s the sixth ranking title of Maguire’s career, with his previous triumph coming at the 2013 Welsh Open where he beat Stuart Bingham 9-8 in the final.

The victory will taste even more sweet for Maguire, given he was a late entry to the event after Ding Junhui elected not to travel to the UK. It sees Maguire leave Milton Keynes with a mouth watering £260,000, the biggest payday of his career.

In addition to the £150,000 top prize, he’ll take home £10,000 for the highest break, a run of 139 which he compiled in the first frame this evening. Maguire also tops the Coral Cup standings, which sees the player who accumulates the most prize money in the series earning a £100,000 bonus.

Allen leaves Milton Keynes with the £60,000 runner-up prize. It will move the 2018 Masters champion to number four in the world, his highest ever ranking.

The players couldn’t be split after the first eight frames this afternoon, emerging locked together at 4-4.

Maguire’s 139 in the first frame tonight set the tone for what was to come. He increased his advantage by claiming the tenth frame to lead by two for the first time in the match at 6-4.

They traded frames to head into the mid-session with Maguire leading 7-5. When they returned it was the Scot who made a decisive burst. Breaks of 78 and 53 moved him to the verge of glory at 9-5. Allen kept the heat up by firing in a century run of 107 to pull within three.

The 16th frame provided huge drama on the colours. Both players laid treacherous snookers, before it all came down to the pink and black. It was Maguire who eventually deposited a long pink and a tricky black to the middle to secure the title with a 10-6 win.

“To win this tournament, with the best players in the world, over a longer format is unreal. It is amazing that I am the last man standing,” said 39-year-old Maguire. “I was all over the place at the end. I thought I’d win it half an hour before that. I had a couple of chances and things would just go wrong. I was just glad I got a shot at that pink. If it was anywhere near a bag, I was going to go for it. I felt good about potting it. I landed alright on the black and the rest was history.

“It’s scary, it has definitely not sunk in yet. The amount of money this tournament has paid is incredible. It is a hell of a lot of money for five days of work.

“If I’m not confident going into any tournament after that then there is something wrong with me. I’ll go back, take a few days off and look forward to practising for Sheffield.”

Allen said: “I made too many mistakes today. You can’t afford to do that in any final, never mind against Stephen when he is playing so well. He stepped it up tonight. I felt I missed the boat, I should probably have been ahead after the first session. All credit to Stephen, he has been knocking on the door for a while now. I am gutted to lose, but if I am going to lose to anyone, it is one of my best mates on tour. I am glad to see him win.”

It was a very good final to watch, it was played in great spirit. Mark Allen’s level dropped a bit in the evening session, and Stephen Maguire upped his a notch. Stephen never allowed frustration to get the better of him, something he’s been guilty of at times in the past.



Tour Championship 2020 – Day 6 – SF

Not many would have predicted the scoreline we got in the second semi-final yesterday: a 9-2 thrashing of Mark Selby by Mark Allen. Yet, with hindsight, it isn’t that surprising. Mark Selby hadn’t played that well in his first match against Yan Bingtao. It was experience that got him through against a still very young opponent who didn’t look too confident and, as a result, played too conservatively. Mark Allen on the other hand, had beaten Shaun Murphy in a high-quality match, despite the latter scoring six centuries. Obviously, his game is in good shape and his mindset is right as well.

Here is the report by WST:

Mark Allen produced a stunning performance to beat Mark Selby 9-2 and reach the final of the Coral Tour Championship in Milton Keynes.

The Northern Irishman now faces close friend Stephen Maguire over the best of 19-frames for the £150,000 top prize. There is an added incentive for Scotland’s Maguire, who can oust Judd Trump from the top of the Coral Cup standings and bag the associated £100,000 bonus if he wins the title.

Despite this being Allen’s seventh ranking semi-final of the season, tomorrow’s match will be his first final of the campaign. Regardless of the result he will now move to world number four, which will be the highest ranking of his career.

Today’s win boosts Allen’s head-to-head record with three-time World Champion Selby, who he now leads 7-5.

Much of the damage was done in a scintillating afternoon session, where 2018 Masters champion prevented his opponent from potting a single ball in the first four frames to lead 4-0. He went on to establish a seemingly unassailable 7-1 advantage coming into this evening.

Selby offered some resistance tonight, with a break of 71 to take the first frame. However, Allen quickly extinguished any hope of a fightback. He moved a frame from the win, before blitzing over the line with a break of 82.

“The first four frames were what did the damage,” said 34-year-old Allen. “I played as good as I can in the first four frames, he didn’t pot a ball. It meant that going into frames five and six he was still very cold and I had a lot of table time.

“I had to be on guard. You expect him to come out and play freely. He was so far behind, the pressure was off and he could free roll. I was mentally prepared for him to come out and play very well, but I managed to close it out well.

“It is just brilliant to get some really long matches against the best players before Sheffield. However, there is a trophy to be won and a lot of money to be won. It’s not just about getting sharp for Sheffield, you want to come here and win. I’ve won my first two matches, but there are still ten frames to win before I can get carried away.

“We will both be switched on come match time tomorrow. We are both ultimate competitors and fierce on the table, so I don’t expect that to be any different even though we are mates. May the best man win.”

At one point during the match, one of my friends was wondering why Mark Selby didn’t go back to his old grinding ways, messing up the table, trying to break his opponent’s fluency in the process. Only Selby knows the answer, but one reason for that could be that this type of game takes a lot out of the one who plays it. It breaks both players’ rhythm, not just the opponent’s of the player who elects to play it. It’s mentally exhausting and, of course, makes the frames and the match longer because it limits the opportunity for big breaks. Selby is now 37, not old of course, but maybe starting to feel it more difficult to maintain top concentration for very long spells.

I doubt that there will be much grinding today. It’s hard to predict which Maguire will turn up. If it’s the one we saw in the QF, he has every chance to win, if it’s the one we saw in the SF, Allen will probably beat him easily.



Tour Championship 2020 – Day 5 – SF

Stephen Maguire wasn’t anywhere near his best yesterday, he couldn’t reproduce the form he had shown against Neil Robertson, but still did beat Judd Trump by 9-6. They were locked at 6-6 when they resumed for the last mini-session, but from there, Stephen pulled away.

Both made a lot of mistakes. The difference was that Stephen, of all people, didn’t allow frustration to get the better of him. Judd was very much back to his old ways at times.

Here are the reports by WST:

Afternoon session:

There is nothing to choose between Judd Trump and Stephen Maguire after the first session of their Coral Tour Championship semi-final, which saw them share the frames and emerge with the score at 4-4.

Out of five matches so far this week, it is the fourth time that the players have been level following the afternoon session.

That means there are high stakes this evening, with the Coral Cup and the £100,000 series bonus on the line. It is awarded to the player who accumulates the most prize money over the three-event series. World number one Trump just needs to win tonight to secure the payout, while Maguire must win the tournament.

After a scrappy first three frames this afternoon, Scotland’s Maguire led 2-1. From there Trump made his move to take control of proceedings.

World Champion Trump levelled at the mid-session with a run of 97. A further break of 57 helped the Ace in the Pack to move ahead, before he added another frame to make it 4-2.

Maguire dug deep and halved his arrears, before both players asked for the balls to be changed. It had a positive effect for Maguire, who fired a sublime 132 break to make it 4-4.

They will return at 7pm to play the best of 17 match to a conclusion.

Evening session:

Stephen Maguire battled past World Champion Judd Trump 9-6 to reach the final of the Coral Tour Championship.

It’s been a tremendous run for Maguire, who fired in a remarkable six centuries in his first round win over Neil Robertson. The five-time ranking event winner was a late call-up to this week’s tournament. He replaced China’s Ding Junhui, who was unable to make it to Milton Keynes due to travel restrictions.

Tonight’s victory keeps Maguire in the frame for the bumper £100,000 payout attached to winning the Coral Cup, which is awarded to the player who amasses the most prize money over the three-event series.

Scotland’s Maguire needs to win the final and secure the £150,000 top prize, to dislodge today’s opponent Trump from the top of the standings. Despite losing, Trump will still secure the bonus if Maguire fails to take home the title.

Maguire, who was runner-up to Ding at this season’s UK Championship, will face Mark Selby or Mark Allen in the final on Friday. He will be aiming to end a ranking title drought which extends back to the 2013 Welsh Open.

Despite today’s out of sorts performance, Crucible king Trump will head to Sheffield in July confident of defending his world title. The Ace in the Pack has enjoyed an unprecedented season, having won a record six ranking titles across the campaign.

This afternoon’s action set up a tense evening of snooker, with the players sharing the opening eight frames and ending at 4-4.

They traded the first two frames tonight, before a break of 79 saw Trump edge ahead at 6-5. There was then a crucial 42-minute 12th frame, which turned the tide of the contest. It came down to the colours, with Maguire eventually potting a terrific long blue and setting up a clearance to the black that made it 6-6.

Breaks of 47 and 55 helped Maguire to move to the verge of victory at 8-6. He then clinched his fourth frame in a row, courtesy of a run of 56, to secure the 9-6 win.

“The close frames were the key to victory. I seemed to nick a lot of them, if not all of them, they are just as big as centuries,” said Maguire. “He was showing a little bit out there, he hasn’t been doing that. If he desperately wants to win, there is nothing wrong with that. Everybody desperately wants to win. I don’t mind players showing a bit of emotion. It’s a hard game out there.

“It would mean everything to win the title. It would get me back in that winner’s enclosure, against the top boys. Especially this tournament, this is a proper event. Leading up to the World Championship, it would give me mega confidence.”

The reports by WST are factually correct but don’t reflect the atmosphere oozing from the match. If you didn’t watch and in order to understand what I mean, here the report by Eurosport:

Stephen Maguire continued his dream run at the Tour Championship with a 9-6 win over world champion Judd Trump in the semi-finals.

The 2004 UK champion Maguire made a record six centuries in a best-of-17 frame match in Saturday’s 9-5 win over world number two Neil Robertson – an astonishing feat matched by Shaun Murphy in his 9-8 defeat to Mark Allen on Tuesday night.

But unlike his opening match behind closed doors at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes, world number 14 Maguire never had to be at his best to overcome Trump, who surprisingly toiled for any level of consistency as his feared long game largely went AWOL.

“In good conditions, I play well, it’s just a shame the conditions were so bad,” said world number one Trump, who has lifted a record six ranking events this season.

I think I struggled the whole tournament really with the conditions. The conditions were pretty poor and that is why the standard was so bad.

“I think if the conditions are good, I seem to play well but when it’s (like that) out there you are fighting a losing battle really.

“It’s too hot to play snooker today I think.”

Maguire – who is only in the event involving the top eight on the world one-year list as first reserve after Ding Junhui opted not to fly from China – trailed 4-2 as Trump produced breaks of 97 and 57, but his scoring prowess was missing with Maguire enjoying 51 and a wonderful 132 to ensure the first session ended level at 4-4.

Apart from a knock of 79 to lead 6-5, Trump could not escape from his state of torpor and was duly punished with Maguire popping up to win the next four frames including a fine run of 55 in establishing a merited 8-6 advantage with a closing 56 providing the platform for his victory.

The Scotsman will face three-times world champion Mark Selby or former Masters holder Allen in the final over the best of 19 frames on Friday.

Maguire is bidding to win his first ranking event since the 2013 Welsh Open and could land £250,000 if he claims the title on Sunday – a £150,000 first prize and a £100,000 bonus for topping the money list over the three events sponsored by Coral, the World Grand Prix, the Players Championship and the Tour Championship.

“I’m over the moon,” said Maguire. “I think tonight I nicked the close frames. They are the same as making centuries. I’m just delighted.”

Trump must regroup as he bids to become the first maiden winner of the World Championship to successfully defend the trophy next month. He will be in action on the opening day of the event at the Crucible Theatre on 31 July.

And here is Judd Trump mini-interview:

That sounds very much like sour grapes. The truth is that he hasn’t played well since snooker “resumed”. His match sharpness is gone. He was poor in the Championship League Snooker last month, he was poor in this one as well and he surrendered to frustration. That’s the main reason why he was beaten. The conditions were the same for both. Maguire missed a good few as well, but he applied himself.

And it must be particularly sweet to Maguire after Trumps pre-match comments, stating that Maguire was missing two of the three ingredients making a great player; he has talent, but neither the temperament nor the dedication said Trump. ( source: Hector Nunns on twitter)