Allan Taylor wins the 2020 Challenge Tour Playoff

Congratulations Allan Taylor!

Here is the report by WST:

Allan Taylor beat Adam Duffy 4-0 in the final of the Challenge Tour Playoff to seal a return to the World Snooker Tour, earning a two-year tour card.

Liverpool’s Taylor had dropped off the circuit at the end of the 2018/19 campaign, he subsequently missed out on immediately bouncing back at Q School.

However, Taylor remained involved in the circuit, taking up the opportunity to become WST’s Home Nations Master of Ceremonies for this season. Today’s victory at the English Institute of Sport ensured him a return to a more familiar profession.

The event involved the top eight players on the Challenge Tour Order of merit, who have yet to secure professional status for next season.

Taylor came from 3-1 down to beat Oliver Brown 4-3 in his first round tie, making a break of 130 in the process. He then beat Jake Nicholson 4-1, before whitewashing Adam Duffy to once again become a professional snooker player.

Taylor said: “I’m over the moon. I’ve come here after lockdown, everyone has struggled. Something has clicked the last couple of days, which was perfect timing for me. It has been a fantastic job that everyone has done in the hotel and here to get us to this stage. I can’t thank them enough.

“There is no crowd, just pure focus. It was just me, Adam and Brendan Moore the referee. You’d think it would be a bit of a relaxed environment, but it was certainly still intense.

“It was bittersweet being the MC at the Home Nations. I snapped up the opportunity, you can’t miss out on something like that. I made a tough decision to miss some of the Challenge Tour events for that. Thankfully I still made the Playoffs. I possibly wouldn’t have managed this without the experience on the carpet as the MC. In my mind there were three players at the end of the week and I was one of them, albeit with a tuxedo and a microphone. I haven’t been deep in the Home Nations as a player, so for me to be MC and work the crowd and get that response, it was a massive boost in confidence.”

I’m absolutely delighted for Allan who is a great lad, very funny and positive. He won’t have much time to savour his victory, being back playing this evening in the first round of the 2020 World Championship Qualifiers. His win yesterday will give him confidence and three competitive matches at the EIS will certainly put him at an advantage.

Regarding the 2020 World Championship, we were told that there would be a “small number” of spectators at the Crucible. No actual number was given by the guverning body. Which is weird because in this article about boxing I found this:

Matchroom will stage a test event for the government with the World Snooker Championships staged in front of 350 fans at the Crucible in Sheffield from July 31.

Now seeing the World Championship as a “test event” is quite shocking, and 350 persons in a venue with a total capacity below 1000, is hardly a “small number”, it’s over one seat in three.

I don’t care about those who brand me negative. This is indenfendible. It’s a gamble, and one that could have deadly consequences. And I’m not the only one seeing it this way: Snookerbacker, well known for his snooker blog and his life-long passion for our sport, thinks exactly the same. Both of us have been and worked there.

Screenshot 2020-07-21 at 10.06.19Screenshot 2020-07-21 at 10.03.41

Under the current circumstances, the Crucible is one on the least suitable venues to stage an event with a crowd.  It’s small, cramped and poorly ventilated. The Barbican in York for instance, would have been much better. There could be plenty of room between the two tables, the crowd is a bit further away too.

I honestly hope that all will be well, but I’m certainly not confident that it will, and even if it eventually does, I still find taking such a risk is unacceptable.

3 thoughts on “Allan Taylor wins the 2020 Challenge Tour Playoff

  1. Ok, first time I leave a post here.
    I’ve been following the fan site for quite some time now and I would like to say that You’re doing a great job Monique with providing so many information, not only covering info about Ronnie but snooker in general. Keep it up!

    I also have mixed feelings about this. One way it would be great to see the world championships being played and to see Ronnie, and others, back in action again.
    But the allowance of a crowd at the crucible is what puts me of as well, especially if it would be 350 people. What is the full capacity of the crucible? (I heard about 1000 seats?, in that case it is way too many I would say).
    Over the last few years I went to the Masters at Ally pally and from that experience I can say that spectators are really packed onto each other! I already bought tickets for the upcoming Masters but I highly doubt that it can go through in its original state since it is played in the period when the flu is reaching its peak and it is highly likely that Covid will similarly peak around that period…

    So to have so many people in the crucible is definitely a risk. As far as I know the epidemic in the UK is still declining. But in quite some European countries, once a low plateau was reached, infections started to go up again as we see now. So I assume that this will probably happen in the UK as well over the coming weeks…
    I can only hope that spectators MUST wear facial masks at ALL TIME while inside and disinfect their hands when entering and that this is strictly checked by stewards at ALL TIME during a session. And that if one does not obey the rules, that they are thrown out.
    I would also like to see to have it forbidden to bring drinks inside. At least that way people can not become drunk during the sessions…
    I would also like to see spectators having their temperatures measured before entering. It is not that you detect all positive Covid cases by doing this, but at least it sends out a strong signals that spectators are thoroughly checked before that they are allowed to enter the sessions. This might also encourage people to not come and watch if they are ‘mildly sick’ from whatever bacteria/virus.

    I wish they communicated the rules together with the ‘good news’, now it seems like it’s all good news that people have ‘a golden opportunity’ to watch the world championships live but it would’ve been better if they hammered more on rules that spectators have to obey just to inform them already that this is not ‘business as usual’, which seems to be a bit the case now.

    Anyway, let’s hope that it works out well and let’s hope that Ronnie will do well. 🙂

  2. Yes I agree that 350 is far too many. It’s a very big risk for minimal gain, and the damage to the reputation of snooker would be severe if anything went wrong (not even considering the health consequences). With 350 it is impossible to create any kind of ‘bubble’ (e.g. overnight hotel). I’d expected a maximum of 100.

    The event has to be played in Sheffield for contractual reasons, but larger venues were potentially available if they were desperate to have a crowd. As you know, I have a problem with snooker being dependent on what is an inadequate venue, but the Crucible was important for the credibility of an even at this time.

    It’s possible that the spectators policy might need to be reviewed closer to the time, so there may still be an enforced reduction. I don’t think we’ve heard the last of this yet.

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