Draw and (some) Format for the coming CLS

This was shared by Matchroom today:


The draw for Championship League Snooker has been made with Judd Trump set to get the new season underway at Stadium MK when the tournament breaks off on Sunday, September 13.

Trump is the seeded player in Group One, where he will be joined by Alan McManus, David Lilley and Fan Zhengyi. On the same day, Group Two will take place with Matthew Stevens, Ryan Day, Rod Lawler and Paul Davison featuring.

World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan will enter the fray in Group 32 on Monday, October 5, concluding the second and final week of Stage One action. ‘The Rocket’ has been drawn to face Hang Li, Alex Borg and Iulian Boiko in his group.

Luca Brecel, who won the summer’s Championship League as snooker marked the return of live sport after the Covid-19 shutdown, has been drawn into Group 27 where he will face Tom Ford, Mitchell Mann and Ashley Hugill.

Players were seeded according to their World Ranking after the World Snooker Championship. Seeds 1-32 were automatically placed into the group number corresponding with their seeding, while the remaining 96 players were split into three groups based on seeding, with one player from each pot (33-64, 65-96 and 97-128) drawn at random into each group. Groups for Stages Two and Three are seeded so that Stage Two Group A will consist of the winner of Stage One groups containing seeds 1, 16, 17 & 32. Group B will consist of the winner of groups containing seeds 8, 9, 24 & 25 and so on.

Following the unprecedented success of this summer’s Championship League, the event has been expanded to a full WST ranking event feature 128 players over 21 days, split into three weeks across September and October.

  • STAGE ONE will be played across two blocks of eight days: September 13-20 and September 28–October 5. This stage features 32 groups of four players, with two tables per day hosting one group each. The player who tops each group will progress to Stage Two.
  • STAGE TWO (October 26-29) sees the 32 group winners split into eight further groups of four, with two groups per day also played over two tables.
  • STAGE THREE (October 30) will see the eight Stage Two Group Winners battle it out over two final groups, with the two group winners contesting the best-of-5 final.

The popular group format employed during the summer’s Championship League will return to the event, which is promoted by Matchroom Multi Sport and will use Rasson tables, which have proved popular at the Champion of Champions and previous Championship League Snooker events.

Each group of four is a round robin, with matches played as best-of-four frames. Players are awarded three points for a win and one point for a draw. Players who conclude the group on an equal number of points will be separated, in this order, by net frame difference, head-to-head result and, if the players are still tied, by the highest break achieved in the group.

Championship League Snooker will be played across two Rasson tables, with one group per table. Table numbers for each group will be confirmed along with timings, fixtures and broadcast details in due course.



Sunday, September 13 Monday, September 14
Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4
Judd Trump Matthew Stevens Gary Wilson Barry Hawkins
Alan McManus Ryan Day Robert Milkins Sam Craigie
David Lilley Rod Lawler Chen Zifan Jackson Page
Fan Zhengyi Paul Davison Jamie Jones Ben Hancorn
Tuesday, September 15 Wednesday, September 16
Group 5 Group 6 Group 7 Group 8
Stephen Maguire Zhou Yuelong Matthew Selt Shaun Murphy
Louis Heathcote Ricky Walden Ben Woollaston Martin O’Donnell
Dominic Dale Gerard Greene Si Jiahui Jimmy White
Leo Fernandez Jianbo Zhao Yang Gao Peter Devlin
Thursday, September 17 Friday, September 18
Group 21 Group 10 Group 18 Group 12
David Gilbert Zhao Xingtong Xiao Guodong Stuart Bingham
Lu Ning Liam Highfield Hossein Vafaei Yuan Sijun
Xu Si Nigel Bond Jak Jones James Cahill
Aaron Hill Oliver Brown Farakh Ajaib Junxu Pang
Saturday, September 19 Sunday, September 20
Group 13 Group 14 Group 15 Group 16
Jack Lisowski Graeme Dott Michael Holt Mark Selby
Ian Burns Liang Wenbo Anthony Hamilton Lyu Haotian
Fraser Patrick Soheil Vahedi Jamie O’Neill Brandon Sargeant
Rory McLeod Zak Surety Sean Maddocks Fergal O’Brien



Monday, September 28 Tuesday, September 29
Group 17 Group 11 Group 19 Group 20
Neil Robertson Anthony McGill Thepchaiya Un-Nooh Yan Bingtao
Andrew Higginson Alexander Ursenbacher Sunny Akani Stuart Carrington
Eden Sharav Riley Parsons Peter Lines Jordan Brown
Ken Doherty Lukas Kleckers Lee Walker Michael White
Wednesday, September 30 Thursday, October 1
Group 9 Group 22 Group 23 Group 24
Mark Allen Scott Donaldson Jimmy Robertson Kyren Wilson
Luo Honghao Chris Wakelin Mark King Daniel Wells
Billy Castle Barry Pinches David Grace Duane Jones
Jamie Wilson Ashley Carty Allan Taylor Kuldesh Johal
Friday, October 2 Saturday, October 3
Group 25 Group 26 Group 27 Group 28
John Higgins Kurt Maflin Tom Ford Mark Williams
Joe O’Connor Martin Gould Luca Brecel Mark Joyce
Amine Amiri Igor Figueiredo Mitchell Mann Lei Peifan
Brian Ochoiski Simon Lichtenberg Ashley Hugill Jamie Clarke
Sunday, October 4 Monday, October 5
Group 29 Group 30 Group 31 Group 32
Joe Perry Ali Carter Noppon Saengkham Ronnie O’Sullivan
Elliot Slessor Mark Davis Tian Pengfei Hang Li
Kacper Filipiak Chang Bingyu Robbie Williams Alex Borg
Steven Hallworth Jamie Curtis-Barrett Oliver Lines Iulian Boiko




Monday, October 26 Tuesday, October 27
Group A Group B Group C Group D
Winner Group 1 Winner Group 5 Winner Group 9 Winner Group 13
Winner Group 2 Winner Group 6 Winner Group 10 Winner Group 14
Winner Group 3 Winner Group 7 Winner Group 11 Winner Group 15
Winner Group 4 Winner Group 8 Winner Group 12 Winner Group 16
Wednesday, October 28 Thursday, October 29
Group E Group F Group G Group H
Winner Group 17 Winner Group 21 Winner Group 25 Winner Group 29
Winner Group 18 Winner Group 22 Winner Group 26 Winner Group 30
Winner Group 19 Winner Group 23 Winner Group 27 Winner Group 31
Winner Group 20 Winner Group 24 Winner Group 28 Winner Group 32




Friday, October 30
Group 1 Group 2
Winner Group A Winner Group E
Winner Group B Winner Group F
Winner Group C Winner Group G
Winner Group D Winner Group H


THE FINAL – Friday, October 30

Winner Group 1 vs Winner Group 2
(best of 5)

Why Ronnie who is currently world number two and reigning world Champion is seeded nr 32 is a mystery to me… the wording probably isn’t correct.

Important information regarding the 8 first events of the 2020/21 season

WST has now shared more information regarding the first part of the 2020/21 season

WST can now announce that all of the first eight fixtures on the 2020/21 calendar will be held at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes.

We are delighted to continue working with the staff at the Marshall Arena, who were a tremendous help staging last season’s Championship League and Tour Championship under trying circumstances, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Every endeavour has been taken to minimise the risk of tournaments being postponed over the coming months. Having already successfully held tournaments at the Marshall Arena, we have demonstrated the ability to proceed in a safe manner under lockdown conditions.

We clearly hope that there will be no need to return to lockdown, at local or national level, but holding these events in Milton Keynes gives us the best possible chance to ensure they are delivered to our broadcasters and partners, as well players and fans.

The third leg of this season’s Championship League will now take place from October 26th to 30th. It was originally scheduled to be played from October 23rd to 27th. The BetVictor Shoot Out will now be held in February, with precise dates to be confirmed in due course.


Updated Calendar


13-20 – Championship League – Milton Keynes

21-27 – European Masters – Milton Keynes

28-Oct 5 – Championship League – Milton Keynes 


12-18 – English Open – Milton Keynes

26-30 – Championship League – Milton Keynes                                          


2-8 – Champion of Champions – Milton Keynes

10-14 – Qualifiers – BetVictor German Masters  – Milton Keynes

16-22 – Northern Ireland Open – Milton Keynes

24-6 Dec – Betway UK Championship – York  


7-13 – Scottish Open – Venue TBC

14-20 – Coral World Grand Prix – Venue TBC

It will not please everyone one, but it’s probably the most sensible approach in order to make sure that the schedule events can be held safely.

2020/21 European Series Announcement

WST has posted this this morning on their site:

The BetVictor European Series will return in the upcoming World Snooker Tour campaign.

The series operates with a unique ranking list over four events, with the player earning the most prize money pocketing a bumper bonus of £150,000. Last season, world number one Judd Trump secured the lucrative payout, after wins at the BetVictor German Masters and the BetVictor Gibraltar Open.

The four events this season are:

  • 2021 BetVictor German Masters (Dates TBC)
  • 2021 BetVictor Gibraltar Open (Dates TBC)
  • 2021 BetVictor Shoot Out (Dates TBC)
  • 2021 BetVictor Welsh Open (Dates TBC)

One change from last season’s series sees the BetVictor Welsh Open, which will also remain a Home Nations event, replace the European Masters.

The BetVictor Shoot Out was originally set to run from 29th October to November 1st. However, it has now been rescheduled to 2021. We will announce dates for all of the events in due course.

WST Chairman Barry Hearn said: “We are absolutely thrilled to announce the continuation of this brilliant series. BetVictor are a fantastic sponsor and we love working alongside them. The support they continue to show snooker in these uncertain times is superb.

“I was gripped by last season’s BetVictor European Series and the cream rose to the top, with world number one Judd Trump claiming the £150,000 bonus. We will continue to incentivise players to enter events and reward them with opportunities to boost their prize money. I eagerly anticipate watching this intriguing series play out again this season.”

That the European Masters is not part of the European Series is a bit strange really. It could be because it’s not going to be sponsored by BetVictor. It could also be that the tournament itself – or its scheduling is in doubt. It was announced for the 21-27 of September 2020. That’s in just over three weeks time. You would expect the European Masters to be held somewhere in mainland Europe, but there are still so many travel restrictions in place everywhere that it might actually be difficult to stage there in the near future.

We can only wait and see …

Ronnie has entered the first event of the season, the Championship League

This has just been posted on even’s website


CLS2020:21PosyerChampionship League Snooker will return this autumn at Stadium MK with an expanded 128-player field and, for the first time, will be a WST Ranking Event with a prize fund of £328,000.

Player entries include recently crowned six-time World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan and World No.1 Judd Trump. Of the top 16 players, only Ding Junhui has not entered.

Following the unprecedented success of this summer’s Championship League, which marked the return of live televised sport in the UK after the Covid-19 shutdown, the event has been expanded to feature 128 players over 21 days, split into three weeks across September and October.

  • STAGE ONE will be played across two blocks of eight days: September 13-20 and September 28–October 5. This stage features 32 groups of four players, with two tables per day hosting one group each. The player who tops each group will progress to Stage Two.
  • STAGE TWO (October 26-29) sees the 32 group winners split into eight further groups of four, with two groups per day also played over two tables.
  • STAGE THREE (October 30) will see the eight Stage Two Group Winners battle it out over two final groups, with the two group winners contesting the best-of-5 final.

The popular group format employed during the summer’s Championship League will return to the event, which is promoted by Matchroom Multi Sport and will use Rasson tables, which have proved popular at the Champion of Champions and previous Championship League Snooker events.

Each group of four is a round robin, with matches played as best-of-four frames. Players are awarded three points for a win and one point for a draw. Players who conclude the group on an equal number of points will be separated, in this order, by net frame difference, head-to-head result and, if the players are still tied, by the highest break achieved in the group.

Players will earn prize money based on their final standing in each group played, meaning the overall winner will have accumulated £33,000 by the time they lift the trophy on October 30, as well as a place in the Champion of Champions.

Emily Frazer, Managing Director of Matchroom Multi Sport said: “Championship League Snooker is an established and great event with the ability and potential to build on and develop further. Following a thriving success in June as the first sporting event back on TV since lockdown, Championship League peaked at 600,000 viewers on ITV Sport, over 1,000,000 in China and reached 2,700,000 on Eurosport – with staggering viewing figures like this the format proved to be a great hit with not just the players but fans and broadcasters alike.

“A progression for Championship League Snooker is to open the field to all 128 WST card holders as a full ranking event; 121 tour card holders have entered the event, with seven players from Q school topping up the field. This is a positive and exciting start to the evolution of the event as well as giving all players on Tour the opportunity at a full calendar of snooker for the rest of the year despite what are still difficult times we are all currently facing.

“With a poised top list of players for Championship League Snooker, our biggest ever prize fund at over £325,000 for the event, 168 live hours, 253 matches, an exciting, easy-viewing format plus the winner earning a seat in the Champion of Champions we are enthusiastic to kick this off September 13!”

Broadcast details for Championship League Snooker will be confirmed in the coming weeks along with the full entry list and Stage One draw for the event.

Ding not entering this is a bit puzzling.

Six other tour card holders did not enter. I wonder who they are and if  traveling/visa issues were the reason for some to miss out.

I know that this format is not everyone’s cup of tea, but I did enjoy the 64 men event earlier this summer and I’m looking forward to a return of snooker on our screens.


Some Tour News – 25 August 2020

Some “news” about Tour and the coming season

Ken Doherty has been given a new invitational  two years card (WST)

Former World Champion Ken Doherty has been awarded an invitational tour card to keep his place on the professional circuit for at least the next two years.

One of snooker’s great ambassadors, Irishman Doherty has played on the pro tour since 1990, winning six ranking titles including the 1997 World Championship.

Last weekend he reached the final of the World Seniors Championship, losing 5-4 to Jimmy White.

Doherty, age 50, finished the 2019/20 season ranked 68th in the world, narrowly missing out on a top 64 place which would have seen him keep his card automatically.

But WST has now decided to award the Dubliner an invitational card for the second time, having first given him that status in 2017.

WST Chairman Barry Hearn said: “Ken has been a fabulous servant to snooker over the past three decades, as a player, ambassador and television commentator. He is a fantastic asset to the tour and his love of our sport is undiminished. He is also extremely competitive on the pro tour. We are delighted to give him this chance to remain as a World Snooker Tour player for another two years.”

Here is a what we know about the 2020/21 calendar so far


The CLS is the first event on the calendar, due to start in less than three weeks.

Emily Frazer, Managing Director of Matchroom Multi Sport Ltd, tweeted this yesterday

Emily Frazer CLS entries tweet

Asked if it would be on TV, she answered that this is the plan and that they are still working on it.

Meanwhile WST put a poll on twitter asking if Ronnie will win a 7th World Title.

Ray Reardon believes he can (BBC)

Ronnie O’Sullivan: Ray Reardon says Stephen Hendry’s World Championship record is under threat

Ray and Ron
Ray Reardon left coached O’Sullivan for two years from 2004

Snooker legend Ray Reardon says fellow six-time world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan can move beyond Stephen Hendry’s record total of seven titles.

Reardon became the first man to win six world crowns in 1978, a feat not bettered until Hendry in 1999.

O’Sullivan beat Kyren Wilson 18-8 in the final last week to clinch his sixth title and draw level with his former coach Reardon and Steve Davis.

Reardon told BBC Radio Devon O’Sullivan is “incredible”.

“He’s the best player I’ve ever seen in my life, including Hendry, Davis and many others of the past,” added Welshman Reardon, 87.

O’Sullivan is never far from controversy and during this year’s tournament, which was re-scheduled due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 45-year-old criticised the standard of young players coming through to challenge him.

He has also been open with his struggles with mental health during his career, which has seen him win a record 37 ranking titles since he won the first of his seven UK Championship titles as a 17-year-old in 1993.

“When he loses the plot anybody could beat him. It depends what frame of mind he’s in. He’s an unusual character really. He’s amazing,” added Reardon.

“He’s passionate about it. I know he doesn’t say it. He says some silly things sometimes, but he loves snooker.

“He’s the most natural thing you’ll ever see. He must have been born with a block of chalk in his mouth.”


Simon Hattenstone interviews Ronnie …

Simon Hattenstone and Ronnie have known each other for years… and they are friends. Simon was with him at the 2007 Masters, in the middle of controversy after he had walked out of his match against Stephen Hendry at the UK championship. Simon helped him through the writing of his biographies. He knows Ronnie inside-out and accepts him as he is. Ronnie in return trusts him.

After winning his sixth World title, Ronnie was interviewed by Simon for The Guardian

‘I was the king of sabotage’: Ronnie O’Sullivan on controversy, comebacks and becoming a carer

Ronnie at Home wit 6th trophy
Ronnie O’Sullivan at home, with his trophy for winning this year’s World Snooker Championship. Photograph: David Levene/The Guardian


The greatest, most charismatic snooker player of all time prefers long-distance running. He discusses drugs, breakdowns, victory – and his unexpected new career path

Simon Hattenstone
Sun 23 Aug 2020 14.00 BST

Ronnie O’Sullivan is driving over from Essex and says he’s bringing a friend. “Gloria’s with me. She’s brilliant. She picks me up when I’m properly on the floor.” It’s only two days since he won the World Snooker Championship – his sixth triumph in the sport’s biggest contest. Why would he be on the floor?

“You must be happy,” I say, when he arrives at my house – he pocketed £500,000 along with the trophy. He laughs. “You know what? I got up this morning and I felt a bit low. And I remembered every time I win a big tournament it puts me on a low. But I’ve accepted it. It’s just part of any high.” Typical Ronnie.


O’Sullivan and I go back 19 years. We met just after he had won his first world title, hit it off, and I helped him write two books. No sportsman has ever worn his angst on his sleeve quite like him. To be fair, there has been plenty to have angst about – in 1992, the year he turned professional, aged 16, his father, Ronnie Senior, was jailed for murder. Four years later, his mother, Maria, was jailed for tax evasion, leaving O’Sullivan to look after his younger sister, Danielle. Then came drugs, breakdown and despair. If this sounds bleak, O’Sullivan is also one of the warmest, funniest, most generous people I know.

Today, he is wearing shorts and an old T-shirt full of holes, sprigs of chest hair poking through. Gloria is tiny, smartly dressed and 72 to his 44. They have been close friends for 30 years. She is recovering from a triple heart bypass and oesophageal cancer.

O’Sullivan has changed very little over the years. He could still pass for a Gallagher brother, but occasionally, when he’s knackered, he looks like Aloysius Parker from Thunderbirds. In winning the World Snooker Championship in Sheffield, he secured a record-breaking 37th major snooker title. He was always regarded as the sport’s most naturally gifted player; now the consensus is that he’s the greatest.

Ronnie is called the Rocket for his speed and power. But there is also a sublime grace to his playing – the way he makes the cue ball dance, the delicacy with which he picks off balls and opens up the pack, his balance, the ability to swap from right to left hand depending on his shot or mood. In a sport not overly blessed with charismatic players, he has been the personality of snooker for a quarter of a century.

Then there are the verbals. Every time he opened his mouth in Sheffield he made headlines. Asked why older players like him were still winning, he said it was because of the poor standard of the youngsters. “Most of them would do well as half-decent amateurs, not even amateurs. They are so bad … I would have to lose an arm and a leg to fall out of the top 50.” Sponsors winced and the pundits apologised, saying Ronnie will always be Ronnie.

He was only stating the bleeding obvious, he says today – it’s bonkers that he should win the world title at 44. “I’m getting worse and I’m still winning as a part-timer. It’s an old man’s game now.” He grins. “As I get to 60 I’m going to be in my prime! When I was 28 I thought: ‘I’m going to retire at 30.’ The shelf life used to be about 15 years, now it’s about 50. I’m not sure it’s a good thing though. It’s more depression and anxiety for me.” He has always had a love-hate relationship with snooker. He only plays when he fancies these days, and his critics say he disrespects the sport. But they have always said that.

O’Sullivan is gasping for a cuppa and insists on making it himself. “I said to my mate: ‘How do you get your tea so good?’ He says it’s all about pouring the milk slowly.” He pours it painfully slowly, ever the perfectionist. He is still thinking about the game’s slipping standards. “A lot of the players came up to me and said, ‘You’re 100% right’.”


Ronnie O’Sullivan with his partner, Laila Rouass, after receiving an OBE in 2016. Photograph: WPA/Getty Images

That wasn’t his only controversial statement. He said he preferred playing at Sheffield’s Crucible theatre with no audience. Again, he says, this makes perfect sense. “My biggest fear is embarrassing myself, and with no crowd there’s no one to embarrass myself in front of. But when somebody’s paid for a ticket and I’m stinking the gaffe out, that’s my worst nightmare.” There was a socially distanced audience for the final. “When they put a crowd in for the final I struggled with it. I thought that if I play bad, how much of a letdown that would be.” He doesn’t mention that he reeled off eight frames on the trot to secure victory.

At his age, he says, he knows he can only win by guile. O’Sullivan studies other sporting greats for inspiration, and explores the mental side of the sport with the psychiatrist Steve Peters. “I said to Steve: ‘I’m not going to win this through talent.’ I watched Tiger Woods win Augusta and he ain’t gonna blast them away winning by 15 shots any more. It’s not about ability, but about who’s got the balls to get it over the line. I said we’ve got to find a way where my mental skills are good enough to sweat it out, be patient and not sabotage. Because I was the king of sabotage.”

Often, he simply didn’t want to be there. In his 30s he became obsessed with middle-distance running. “A lot of the time I would think: ‘I don’t actually want to win this match because I’ve got a five-mile cross-country race I want to win back in Essex.’ Running became more important than snooker. I’d much rather be running in Woodford in October in mud than be in the final of the Northern Irish open in Belfast.” He grins. “Although I love Belfast and playing there.”

Gloria listens as he talks. O’Sullivan says that as well as being one of his most loyal friends, she is also one of his fiercest critics. I ask her where he most often goes wrong. “The friends he chooses,” she says.

When I first met him he was verging on the socially phobic, often terrified of talking to people. In his mid-20s, he ended up in the Priory, suicidal, and was treated for drug addiction. Since then he has, by and large, remained clean. How has he changed? “I’m less scared of people now. And I’ve learned not to be so trusting. I’m no longer interested in fair-weather friends.” Were there many? “Yeah. I was always a bit of a people-pleaser, so I’d go out of my way to overcompensate, and it was draining.”

He says his partner, the actor Laila Rouass, has helped toughen him up – as well as Gloria, of course. “Laila’s just a bit more streetwise than me, a bit more savvy.” A few years ago, he got conned out of £125,000 in a business deal and it floored him. “I was gutted … devastated. It took about three years to get over it – not the money, the trust. I became distrusting of everything and everybody.”

That’s always been his problem, Gloria says, surrounding himself with bad ’uns. “I’m the first one to slag him off if he’s wrong, ’cos that’s what friends are about.” What does she slag him off for most often? “For being stupid, for being too soft-hearted. I tell him to pull himself together and grow a pair of balls.”

O’Sullivan says that is true. “When I surround myself with shit people, she’ll be like, ‘Get the fuck out of here’, to them. I never know it’s going on. She won’t let anyone take a liberty with me. I’m a bit soft and she’s not.”

A year after he was conned he had another breakdown – again at Sheffield, in 2016. “I was in hospital in London in between my first and second round at the World Championship. I was doing too much work, living out of a suitcase, booked too much in. I couldn’t move.”

Now, he is in a good place. He came off medication when he realised it was making him moody and he was taking it out on his son Ronnie. (O’Sullivan has three children.) “I had a go at little Ronnie once ’cos I was on these pills, and it wasn’t his fault. I thought: ‘I’m not letting medication turn me into an irritable old man.’”


‘I’d much rather be running in Woodford in October in mud than be in the final of the Northern Irish open in Belfast’ … Ronnie O’Sullivan out running in Birmingham. Photograph: Rex/Shutterstock

He is sticking with natural serotonin – running. In lockdown he got himself a coach and has not looked back. “I can run for an hour, 7.45- to 8-minute miling. Running is my drug.” He is convinced running makes people happy. “I’ve never seen [Joshua] Cheptegei look unhappy. How can you look unhappy after a 26-mile run? Running just gives you a natural high.”

I ask him for his highlight at this year’s World Championship. His nose twitches with delight. “Running. When I was up there I’d wake up and think: ‘Fuck, I’ve got to do this today’, then at 7.45am I’m running through the peaks and I’ve forgotten about my snooker. I’ve had breakfast, had a shower, had a great run, and I think: ‘Oh, I’ve got to go and play a few games of snooker’, so if the snooker goes shit I’ve already had a good day.

“Running for me is the perfect thing ’cos they are just nice people. It’s not like cycling, where you’ve got to spend £10,000 on a bike. You get a lot of arseholes in that sport because they’ve got money and they think money is the all-important thing. I can’t stand people like that. You don’t get them type of people in the running world.”

I ask him about the future, expecting him to talk about books, endorsements, punditry and a bit of snooker. “The one thing I thought I’d excel in was being in the care industry,” he says. Is he serious? He nods. “I can empathise with people in addiction. It could be addiction, mental health, autism, anything. You’re in the CQC game, so it’s about providing a safe environment and getting people on their feet.

“I was in rehab in 2000 and it was the biggest life-changer for me. It was tough, but what I needed. Without the 12 steps, without taking myself out of society, without going to a treatment centre, maybe I wouldn’t have got to where I am today.” Maybe you wouldn’t be here full stop, I say. He nods. “Yeah, totally.”

He empathises with people who are vulnerable, he says. Would he be an active carer? “Yeah. I’m not going to say I’m going to change people’s nappies, but I want to provide a safe environment for them and make their life as happy as you can … We’re starting off small. One place, six or seven beds. It will probably be a place for people with mild disabilities who don’t need 24-hour care.” He expects to settle on the premises in the next few months. “When I finish playing snooker I want to train as a counsellor. I want to understand the business and the mental health side.”


Ronnie O’Sullivan as a 16-year-old snooker player. Photograph: Jim Hutchison/ANL/Rex/Shutterstock

What’s behind all this? “I’ve had enough of arseholes. And when I look at these people who need a care home, they just want a roof over their head, three meals a day, you give them a job to do, you take care of them. I’ve had enough of the dog-eat-dog thing. I just want to be in a business where you’re taking care of people.”

“I think he’ll be good at it ’cos that’s where his heart is,” says Gloria. “You were so good to me when I was ill. I think it frightened you a bit.” Lest I think she’s soft, she loses the sentimentality. “He’d earn money from the homes. We all want money, we’ve all got to live.”

O’Sullivan bursts out laughing. “Nobody loves a pound note as much as Gloria!” Anyway, he says, he can run care homes and still play snooker. And maybe there will even be time for a bit of reality TV. He’s considering I’m a Celebrity now that the Australian outback has been replaced by a castle in Wales. “It’s not like Big Brother where you’re destroyed. The worst that happens is they eat a few bugs and come out saying: ‘I had a great time in there.’”

If O’Sullivan ran care homes what a contrast it would be with his mad/bad boy image. So much of that is a media construct, he says. “If I’d been a bit savvy I’d have had a good agent. With people like [David] Beckham, you see what they want you to see of them … I think people now see me and think: ‘He’s not actually a bad fella, you know, he’s not as crazy as everybody thinks.’”

He turns this over in his head. Some people do still think he’s a bit off the wall, he adds – and he’s happy with that. “We all fit into some sort of box. And I appeal to the crazy gang, the nutcases.” He shouts out suddenly, like an excitable fan. “Yeaaaaaaaah! Go on Ronnie!”


2019/2020 – The Awards

WST has today shared its “Awards”

Judd Trump has been named snooker’s Player of the Year after a record breaking performance across the 2019/20 season.

Trump became the first player to win six ranking titles in a single season, lifting the trophy at the World Open, International Championship, Northern Ireland Open, German Masters, Players Championship and Gibraltar Open.

The 31-year-old also built a huge lead at the top of the world rankings and became the second player to make 100 century breaks in a season.

He receives the main Player of the Year award, voted by a panel of experts, for a second consecutive year.

Trump was also voted Snooker Journalists’ Player of the Year by media around the world who cover snooker. And he won the Fans’ Player of the Year, voted by fans on the WST App and on social media platforms in China.

Ronnie O’Sullivan took the Performance of the Year award for winning the World Championship for the sixth time. The Rocket beat Kyren Wilson 18-8 in last weekend’s final at the Crucible.

Magic Moment of the Year went to John Higgins for his 147 during the second round of the World Championship, becoming the first player to make a maximum at the Crucible since 2012.

Leicester’s Louis Heathcote won Rookie of the Year following an excellent debut season which was highlighted by a run to the final qualifying round of the World Championship and a jump to 82nd in the rankings.

WST Awards: 2019/20 winners
Player of the Year – Judd Trump
Fans’ Player of the Year – Judd Trump
Snooker Journalists’ Player of the Year – Judd Trump
Performance of the Year – Ronnie O’Sullivan
Rookie of the Year – Louis Heathcote
Magic Moment of the Year – John Higgins

Player of the Year – former winners
2011: John Higgins
2012: Ronnie O’Sullivan
2013: Mark Selby
2014: Ronnie O’Sullivan
2015: Stuart Bingham
2016: John Higgins
2017: Mark Selby
2018: Ronnie O’Sullivan
2019: Judd Trump
2020: Judd Trump

and the video going with it:

Judd Trump, having won a record six ranking titles this season, whilst being the reigning World Champion, was always going to be “Player of the Year” . It should be “Player of the Season” really, as the year isn’t over yet. Those awards are a recognition of players perfornmance over a the season.
The only “bemol” one can put on Judd’s season is that he hasn’t performed in any of the “Majors”. He lost by 6-3 to 54 years old Nigel Bond in the UK Championship, he lost by the same score to Shaun Murphy in the Masters first round, and never really impressed at the Crucible where he lost at the QF stage. But then, both the UK Championship 2019 (Ding Junhui) and the Masters 2020 (Stuart Bingham) have been won by players who did pretty nothing before or after this season. It was all a bit bizarre.

There can be no arguing with Ronnie’s “Performance of the Year” (aka Season). Winning a 6th World Title, a record 37th ranking title, at 44,  definitely deserved the recognition. He beat a ranking event winner is every round, including two former multiple World Champions, and a former World runner-up. He beat his nemesis, Mark Selby, over best of 33 in the semi finals, and with this, hopefully the 2014 demons will be gone too.
In this category though, I think one player, who wasn’t a “winner” should have been nominated: Jamie Clarke. After two seasons of struggling badly, winning three matches at the World qualifiers and then beating Mark Allen at the Crucible before narrowly losing to Anthony McGill, should, in my oponion, get him some recognition. Another one who deserved a nomination was Yan Bingtao: in Riga, he became the first teenager since Ding in 2006 to win a ranking event, and went on to become a member of the top 16 elite.

No argument with Louis Heathcote being awarded “Rookie of the year”.

Magic moment of the year? John Higgins 147 ? … maybe. I can’t really think of one particular “Wow!” moment this season other than Ronnie lifting that World Trophy again after 7 years of Crucible struggles.

But I would like to add some more “awards” …

The “Best day of the Season” goes, without a doubt, to Friday 14th of August. The two semi finals at the Crucible, going to a decider and producing incredible drama. The last frame of the Kyren Wilson v Anthony McGill was the craziest frame I’ve ever seen and very few will disagree with that assesment. Ronnie beating his demons, and Mark Selby, in a decider only hours after made the day very, very special!

Also, both WPBSA and WST deserve huge credit for bringing snooker back, and getting players to play in the context of this pandemic. I still disagree with having a crowd at the Crucible. The nature of the place made that a huge risk and I sincerely hope that nobody got infected. But, the efforts put into getting the CLS up, then running both the World qualifiers and the World Championship were exceptional Thank you WST and WPBSA.

Those who read this blog for some time know that I also have “Golden Turkey” awards

Golden Turkey

A permanent feature in this category is the “ranking” status of the Shoot-out. It gets a Golden Turkey once again.

What else this season?

The Paul Hunter Classic once the best, biggest and most vibrant Pro-Am in the snooker calendar, has been slowly but effectively destroyed, by being made a ranking event, and this season being just reduced to a 16  players “sanctioned” event. It leaves a very bitter taste in my mouth and, I’m sure, I’m not the only one. Anyone who went to Fürth in the glory days of the Pro-Am will feel the same.

Also the “yellow” incident during the John Higgins v Ali Carter QF at the Masters 2020. You can read about it, and watch the video again, in this piece by David Caulfield.
The white never touched the yellow, That’s plain for all to see. Desi had made the right call. Yet Carter’s aggressive reaction – I’m even tempted to use the word “bully” here – prompted her to change her call. So many things went wrong here. Surely, Desi and the marker should have reviewed the replay and she should have stood her ground. Carter claimed to be flabbergasted. Did he not look at the white whist it traveled and missed its aim? How could he honestly think he had hit the yellow if he did? Why not calmly ask for a video review if he honestly thought he had hit it instead of being plainly aggressive? Answers/opinions on a postcard…