Congratulations Allan Taylor!
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.
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.