Jason Francis sets up junior/youth events

This year’s Q-School results triggered a lot of discussions about the state of the amateur game, and the shortage of opportunities for young players to hone their skills by playing competitive snooker.

Today Jason Francis made this announcement on his Facebook page

This event is the first of the SNOOKER LEGENDS CUES OF TOMORROW- SUMMER CUP,

SUMMER CUP U21’S £1500 WINNER! £4150 PRIZE POT!

Held at The Crucible in Reading 26-30th July 2021
Open to all players of any gender or nationality providing they hold amateur status and are at the correct age on or before the first days play of 26th July 2021.
Capacity of the event is 32.

Players will earn ranking points based on the frames they win.
At the conclusion of the groups the top 4 in each group list will be invited into the Final Day where the Champion will be crowned.
In the event more than one player is tied on the same ranking points the following criteria will be used to define group position

Both groups are randomly drawn at the start of the event.

Tournament notes
• The 32 entries will be randomly drawn into two groups of 16
• Every player will be guaranteed 15 matches, 3 on Monday, 4 on Tuesday to Thursday
• All matches are best of 3 with all three frames played in every match
• Matches are played at 10am, 12 noon and 2pm and 4pm each day
• Every frame won is a ranking point.
• At the end of match ‘15’ on Thursday 29th the top 4 in each group qualify for Friday Final Stages.
• The event then becomes a knockout with the Winner of Group A playing the player who finished in position 4 in Group B. So 1v4, 2 v 3
• Finals day (Friday) is best of 5 at Quarters, Semis and Final but of course not all 5 frames are played.
• Players understand matches are not officiated although if their match is selected for streaming it will have a referee
• A ‘roving’ referee will be in place to assist with any decisions that arise.
• The full miss rule is played
• Dress code will be suit style trousers, polo shirt with collar and proper shoes (not trainers)
• The club has air conditioning and Costa Coffee on site, it will serve hot and cold food.

Prize Money
Winner £1500 and Cup & Medal
Runner up £750 & Medal
Semi Finals £400
Quarter Finals £250
Highest Break £100
• All prize money will be paid within 14 days into the players designated bank account.
Entry Fee £250
Please contact Jason@snookerlegends.co.uk if interested. Limited Spaces

 And these are the full terms and conditions 

All events in the SNOOKER LEGENDS CUES OF TOMORROW- SUMMER CUP, staged by ROKiT Events Ltd, are subject to the following Standard Conditions of Entry which are subject to change at the discretion of Snooker Legends without notice.

Please be reminded that all players are responsible for keeping Snooker Legends up to date with their current email address.

Entry Criteria: The Snooker Legends Cues of Tomorrow is open to all players of any gender or nationality providing they hold amateur status and are at the correct age on or before the first days play of 26th July 2021.
This means to enter you must still be 20 years of age on the 26th July 2021
All entries are subject to SNOOKER LEGENDS approval and we can refuse and refund the entry from any event to any player without giving a reason. Anyone found to not be eligible on the day of play will be disqualified from the event and lose their entrance fee.
Although we are independent from all National Governing Bodies anyone who is currently serving any ban or WPBSA suspension is not eligible to enter.
Players can purchase one place in the event as long as the event is not full or past its closing date. Capacity of the event is 32. Snooker Legends reserve the right to compile a reserve list.

Players will earn ranking points based on the frames they win. At the conclusion of the groups the top 4 in each group list will be invited into the Final Day where the Champion will be crowned.

In the event more than one player is tied on the same ranking points the following criteria will be sued to define group position
1, One frame shootout if two players
2, If three players are tied a round robin one frame of 6 reds
3, If tied after that a round robin black ball respot will decide who progresses
4, If 4 players are tied then a random draw 6 reds semi final and then final will decide.
5, IF the only decision to be made is finishing position of the qualifiers then head to head will be used to define place 1-4 as all players will have qualified for finals day anyway.

Both groups are randomly drawn at the start of the event.
Tournament notes
• The 32 entries will be randomly drawn into two groups of 16
• Every player will be guaranteed 15 matches, 3 day from Monday to Thursday
• All matches are best of 3 with all three frames played in every match
• Matches are played at 10am, 12 noon and 2pm and 4pm each day to allow the club to have its tables back in the evenings for normal operations.
• Players will be able to play in the evenings by hiring tables at the clubs rates if they require practice or more games with other players.
• Every frame won is a ranking point.
• At the end of match ‘15’ on Thursday 29th the top 4 in each group qualify for Friday Final Stages.
• The event then becomes a knockout with the Winner of Group A playing the player who finished in position 4 in Group B. So 1v4, 2 v 3
• Finals day (Friday) is best of 5 at Quarters, Semis and Final but of course not all 5 frames are played.
• Players understand matches are not officiated although if their match is selected for streaming it will have a referee
• A ‘roving’ referee will be in place to assist with any decisions that arise.
• The full miss rule is played
• Dress code will be suit style trousers, polo shirt with collar and proper shoes (not trainers)
• The club has air conditioning.
• Snooker legends reserve the right to place two logos on the players, players can also wear two logos of their own for the event.
• Players will agree to promote the event on any social media they have
• Players will agree to give interviews if asked

Prize Money
Winner £1500 and Cup
Runner up £750
Semi Finals £400
Quarter Finals £250
Highest Break £100

• All prize money will be paid within 14 days into the players designated bank account.
• The Cup remains the property of the tour and must be returned after one year.

Entry Fee £250 with £30 payable to secure your place. Rest is due June 1
• If a player is under 16 all communications must be with their parent or guardian.
• The deposit is non refundable and you understand if you do not pay the balance on request you lose the deposit and your place in the event.

All players understand, and accept, that qualifiers are played in a snooker club and whereas every effort will be made to provide the best standard of tables, we cannot replicate professional tournament table conditions. We will work with all clubs to provide the best conditions we can. No match is guaranteed a referee, a roving designated event referee will help with any disputed decisions and all black ball re spots.

The Event is staged in a WPBSA 147 Clubs and all clubs hold a Safeguarding Children’s Policy. Any coaches present will hold a WPBSA Qualification and have a valid DBS Check.
Please note if a player has a coach who does not hold a WPBSA License they are welcome to attend but will not be allowed to coach their player in the venue.
Failure to pay the balance on June 1 may see you excluded from the event and your place allocated to another player.
Entries cannot be transferred to another player or another event. Late entries may be accepted after the closing date subject to the absolute discretion of the SNOOKER LEGENDS. A Top up system may be used with SNOOKER LEGENDS discretion. SNOOKER LEGENDS may extend or close entry dates without notice, and at its discretion based on current entries at any time.
Sanctions and penalties may be put in place for players who enter but then do not show up for their event but only after close monitoring and a review of player circumstances for non-attendance.

Dress Code: Players will be required to a smart polo shirt with a collar, suit trousers and shoes. Should a player have a medical condition that prevents them from wearing this attire then a signed letter must be forwarded to this office in advance of your first days play from your doctor.
The decision of the Tournament Director will be final in respect of Non-adherence to the Dress Code. Noncompliance with the Dress Code will result in a breach of the terms and conditions of entry for this tournament. The sanction in this case to be at the discretion of the tournament director but MAY be withdrawal from the tournament without refund of entry fee. The Tournament Director also reserves the right to report a player to the SNOOKER LEGENDS for a breach of the dress code.
Mobile Phones/Electronic Communication Devices: Players are NOT permitted to use any mobile phones or other electronic communication devices during the course of a match. Any player seen in breach of this by any SNOOKER LEGENDS tournament official or referee will be reported to the Tournament Director and will be dealt with by the Tournament Director on conclusion of the match. The Tournament Director will then determine whether any sanction is required taking account of any mitigating circumstances. The only available sanction in this case to be at the discretion of the tournament director MAY be withdrawal from the tournament without refund of entry fee. The Tournament Directors decision will be final in respect of exceptional mitigating circumstances.

Smoking/E-cigarettes: Players are NOT permitted to smoke or use e-cigarettes during the course of a match. Any player seen in breach of this by any WSS tournament official or referee will be reported to the Tournament Director and will be dealt with by the Tournament Director on conclusion of the match. The Tournament Director will then determine whether any sanction is required taking account of any mitigating circumstances. The only available sanction in this case to be at the discretion of the tournament director MAY be withdrawal from the tournament without refund of entry fee. The Tournament Directors decision will be final in respect of exceptional mitigating circumstances.

Alcohol: Players are NOT permitted to drink alcohol during the course of a match. Any player seen in breach of this by any WSS tournament official or referee will be reported to the Tournament Director and will be dealt with by the Tournament Director on conclusion of the match. The Tournament Director will then determine whether any sanction is required taking account of any mitigating circumstances. The only available sanction in this case to be at the discretion of the tournament director MAY be withdrawal from the tournament without refund of entry fee. The Tournament Directors decision will be final in respect of exceptional mitigating circumstances.
Coaching: Coaching is not permitted during play. For the avoidance of doubt this includes between frames or any mid-session intervals. Any player seen in breach of this by any WSS tournament official or referee will be reported to the Tournament Director and will be dealt with by the Tournament Director on conclusion of the match. The Tournament Director will then determine whether any sanction is required taking account of any mitigating circumstances. The only available sanction in this case to be at the discretion of the tournament director MAY be withdrawal from the tournament without refund of entry fee. The Tournament Directors decision will be final in respect of exceptional mitigating circumstances.
Grievances:
a. Should the Player wish to make any criticism or complaint or raise any grievance in respect of any matter relating to SNOOKER LEGENDS or its employees or directors, a Referee, Tournament, Director, Equipment, any of the Partners or any of the Venues at any time then the Player shall do so by:
i. Contacting the Tournament Director for those complaints arising during a SNOOKER LEGENDS Event.
ii. Contacting Jason Francis at jason@snookerlegends.co.uk
Any player found to have made public any grievance outside of the above options shall be reported to the Tournament Director. The Tournament Director will then determine whether any sanction is required taking account of any mitigating circumstances. At the discretion of the tournament director sanction MAY be withdrawal from the tournament without refund of entry fee and/or referral to Snooker Legends.
Visa and Travel
Players are responsible for their own visa requirements should the location of the event mean they require one. Players must understand they are not tourists they are amateur snooker players visiting a territory to compete in an event which carries prize money.
Social media guidelines: Any unfair criticism of the event, opponent, referee or tournament director on social media will be reported to the Tournament Director and will be dealt with by the EVENT DIRECTOR at the conclusion of the event. We will then determine whether any sanction is required taking account of any mitigating circumstances. The only available sanction in this case to be at the discretion of the tournament director MAY be withdrawal from the Junior Series without refund of entry fees. The Event director’s decision will be final in respect of exceptional mitigating circumstances.
Right to call a roaming referee: If a dispute arises in a match where there is no match referee, either player has the right to call upon a roaming referee. In the event of there not being a roaming referee either player has the right to call upon the senior referee. If neither available, either player may call the Tournament Director.
Logos: Players are permitted to wear two of their own logos, to cover an area no greater than World Snooker Guidelines. SNOOKER LEGENDS reserves the right to apply brand exclusion on an event by event basis. Any exclusion and change to number of logos permitted will be specified clearly within the entry pack for each relevant tournament where applicable. SNOOKER LEGENDS reserves the right to hold two logo places back for event title sponsor and / or partner.
Accommodation: For all events each player is responsible for the payment of any hotel or expenses required to attend.
Cancellation/Relocation/Postponement: If a tournament is cancelled, relocated or postponed, entry fees will be refunded if the player cannot attend the new date. We cannot be responsible for the travel you have booked and whether or not you have got free cancellation and or flexible flights. It is the players responsibility to get themselves to the event, if you cannot get there you forfeit your entry fee.
Lateness: Where a player arrives late for their scheduled match time, a frame will be docked at the scheduled start time. A second frame will be docked fifteen minutes later and then after every fifteen minutes until the match is over. Regardless of the scheduled length of the match, once a player has been docked three frames the match is over. The match starting time is defined as the published time.

End of Terms

 

Tour News – the 2021/22 season tour players.

WPBSA has published the list of snooker professionals for this season:

Tour Players 2021/22

The final list of players who will compete on the World Snooker Tour during the 2021/22 season is now confirmed

Due to the non-staging of several international amateur competitions holding tour qualification status over the past 12 months, there will be 122 professional players on tour. Remaining places at events will be topped up via the Q School Order of Merit, or with local wild cards for certain events such as the Home Nations Series, as in previous years.

These amateur tournaments will be rescheduled over the coming months, with places available on the tour for the successful players in time for the 2022/23 season.

WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson said: “It is unfortunate that we have not been able to stage major international amateur events such as the World Snooker Federation Open and Junior Open over the past year due to the global pandemic. In the past, these events have seen young players such as Iulian Boiko, Luo Honghao, Ashley Hugill, Jackson Page, Aaron Hill, Gao Yang and many others show their promise and earn places on the professional tour.

“We are fully committed to bringing these events back as soon as it is feasible, bringing talented young players from many countries around the globe together to compete, and giving them a gateway to professional status. Internationally, in a vast number of territories across the planet, our sport is in a strong position in terms of participation and emerging talent, despite the challenges we have faced.

“The World Snooker Tour now has 122 exceptional players with a standard we have never seen before. And the leading Q School players who did not earn a card fully deserve the opportunity to compete in ranking events to top up the draws.”

The Top 64 (64)

These players finished inside the top 64 of the official world ranking list at the end of last season and so will retain their places on the circuit, with a one-yearcard.

End of season rankings:

  1. Judd Trump
  2. Mark Selby
  3. Ronnie O’Sullivan
  4. Neil Robertson
  5. Shaun Murphy
  6. Kyren Wilson
  7. John Higgins
  8. Ding Junhui
  9. Stephen Maguire
  10. Yan Bingtao
  11. Mark Williams
  12. Mark Allen
  13. Barry Hawkins
  14. Jack Lisowski
  15. Stuart Bingham
  16. Anthony McGill
  17. Zhou Yuelong
  18. Graeme Dott
  19. Thepchaiya Un-Nooh
  20. Joe Perry
  21. Kurt Maflin
  22. Tom Ford
  23. David Gilbert
  24. Ali Carter
  25. Martin Gould
  26. Zhao Xintong
  27. Liang Wenbo
  28. Ryan Day
  29. Xiao Guodong
  30. Matt Selt
  31. Michael Holt
  32. Ricky Walden
  33. Gary Wilson
  34. Scott Donaldson
  35. Lu Ning
  36. Matthew Stevens
  37. Robert Milkins
  38. Li Hang
  39. Luca Brecel
  40. Jordan Brown
  41. Hossein Vafaei
  42. Mark Joyce
  43. Liam Highfield
  44. Noppon Saengkham
  45. Alexander Ursenbacher
  46. Ben Woollaston
  47. Stuart Carrington
  48. Martin O’Donnell
  49. Mark Davis
  50. Elliot Slessor
  51. Sam Craigie
  52. Mark King
  53. Lyu Haotian
  54. Anthony Hamilton
  55. Jamie Jones
  56. Andrew Higginson
  57. Sunny Akani
  58. Tian Pengfei
  59. David Grace
  60. Chris Wakelin
  61. Dominic Dale
  62. Joe O’Connor
  63. Jimmy Robertson
  64. Nigel Bond

The Two-Year Cards (27)

These players competed on the main tour in 2020/21 and will start the 2021/22 season on the second year of their two-year tour cards.

  • Jak Jones
  • Pang Junxu
  • Jamie Clarke
  • Robbie Williams
  • Steven Hallworth
  • Ashley Carty
  • Simon Lichtenberg
  • Oliver Lines
  • Zhao Jianbo
  • Ken Doherty
  • Gao Yang
  • Fergal O’Brien
  • Rory McLeod
  • Allan Taylor
  • Aaron Hill
  • Lukas Kleckers
  • Ashley Hugill
  • Peter Devlin
  • Jamie Wilson
  • Ben Hancorn
  • Lee Walker
  • Fan Zhengyi
  • Zak Surety
  • Stephen Hendry
  • Farakh Ajaib
  • Iulian Boiko
  • Sean Maddocks

The Top Eight (One-Year Ranking list) (8)

The top eight players on the 2020/21 one-year ranking list, not already inside of the top 64 of the two-year ranking list or on the first year of a two-year card. They receive a fresh two-year tour card, starting on zero ranking points.

  1. Chang Bingyu
  2. Igor Figueiredo
  3. Xu Si
  4. Louis Heathcote
  5. Chen Zifan
  6. Jamie O’Neill
  7. Andy Hicks
  8. Gerard Greene

Q School (14)

A further 14 will be promoted from the Q School and again they will receive atwo-year tour card.

  • Jackson Page (Q School Event One semi-finalist)
  • Yuan Sijun (Q School Event One semi-finalist)
  • Peter Lines (Q School Event One semi-finalist)
  • Fraser Patrick (Q School Event One semi-finalist)
  • Michael Judge (Q School Event Two semi-finalist)
  • Alfie Burden (Q School Event Two semi-finalist)
  • Barry Pinches (Q School Event Two semi-finalist)
  • Craig Steadman (Q School Event Two semi-finalist)
  • Duane Jones (Q School Event Three semi-finalist)
  • Dean Young (Q School Event Three semi-finalist)
  • Ian Burns (Q School Event Three semi-finalist)
  • Lei Peifan (Q School Event Three semi-finalist)
  • Hammad Miah (Q School OOM)
  • Mitchell Mann (Q School OOM)

China Tour Qualifiers (4)

Four players have qualified via the CBSA China Tour. They earn a fresh two-year tour cards.

  1. Wu Yize
  2. Zhang Jiankang
  3. Cao Yupeng
  4. Zhang Anda

World Women’s Snooker Tour (2)

The top two players from the World Women’s Snooker Tour rankings will be awarded a two-year card.

  • Reanne Evans (No.1 Ranked)
  • Ng On Yee (No.2 Ranked)

Deferred Tour Card (1)

Andrew Pagett was due to join the tour for the 2020/21 season but this was deferred on medical grounds. He will begin a two-year card.

  • Andrew Pagett

Invitational Tour Cards (2)

Two players have been awarded a new two-year Invitational Tour Card for the upcoming season.

  • Marco Fu
  • Jimmy White

This is the link to the current Q-School Order of Merit

The part I put in bold in bold in the above quotes means that Sanderson Lam, Michael Georgiou, Si Jiahui, Soheil Vahedi, Michael White and David Lilley will have the opportunity to play in most events, maybe even all of them. They are handed what is effectively the equivalent of a one year tour card, without the pressure to defend their ranking. For some of them – and I’m thinking Si Jiahui, Soheil Vahedi and Michael White – this might be even better than a return to full pro status. They will have opportunities to play, and earn, with less pressure and should come into the next Q-School with the best possible preparation. They may even not need the Q-School if they do really well during the season.

WST have been speaking to Sandy Lam and to Michael Georgiou. They have also interviewed three Chinese pros ahead of the season: Zhou Yuelong, Zhao Xintong and Tian Pengfei.

All interviews are interesting and well worth the read. Michael, Zhou, Zhao and Tian all speak about some of the additional problems and difficulties oversea’s players have to face. The UK centric structure of the snooker pro tour puts them at a diadvantage at the best of times; the covid-19 crisis, the lockdown and the travel restrictions have magnified the issues big time.

 

 

Tour News – Cazoo to sponsor the UK Championship, the Champion of Champions and the Masters

WST has published this today:

Cazoo And Matchroom Expand Partnership Deal

Cazoo, the UK’s leading online car retailer, which makes ordering a car as simple and seamless as buying any other product online today, announces that it has expanded its partnership with Matchroom to become the principal sponsor of snooker’s Masters, UK Championship and Champion of Champions.

Cazoo has extended its deal with the World Snooker Tour (WST) and added the Masters, the UK Championship and the Champion of Champions to its current portfolio of snooker properties where it is currently the main sponsor of the Players Championship, Tour Championship and World Grand Prix.

The Champion of Champions, promoted by Matchroom Multi Sport, brings together 16 tournament Champions from the past year. The UK Championship is snooker’s longest running ranking event other than the World Championship, and is part of the sport’s Triple Crown series, as is the Masters in London which boasts an elite field of the world’s top 16 players.

Each of these prestigious snooker tournaments, broadcast to a global television audience of up to 500 million fans, will see Cazoo branding on the main set, players’ waistcoats and interview and media conference backdrops.

Cazoo has also become the principal sponsor of the Grand Slam of Darts, World Cup of Darts and European Championship. Under a new multi-year deal with the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC), the trio of high-profile darts events will see prominent Cazoo branding on the stage, players’ shirts, in the playing arena and on interview backdrops with extensive live TV coverage through Sky Sports and global broadcasters.

The Cazoo World Cup of Darts will take place from September 9-12 in Jena, Germany, where 32 nations will compete in two-player teams. The Cazoo European Championship, live on ITV4, and Sky Sports-televised Cazoo Grand Slam of Darts will follow as two of the highlights of the Autumn’s darting calendar.

Cazoo will also become the headline sponsor at this year’s FishOMania event, to be staged on Saturday July 24.

These latest tournaments add to Cazoo’s growing portfolio of sports sponsorships which now includes football (Everton, Aston Villa & the EFL), cricket (The Hundred), rugby (Welsh Rugby Union & 2021 Rugby League World Cup), golf (European Tour) and horseracing (Epsom Derby & St Leger).

Cazoo Tour Championship (2021 Final)Cazoo is pioneering the shift to online car buying and, since launching in 2019, has sold over 25,000 cars to consumers across the UK who have embraced the selection, transparency and convenience of buying quality used cars entirely online. Cazoo is planning to launch in France & Germany by the end of 2021.

Alex Chesterman OBE, Founder & CEO of Cazoo said, “We are excited to be expanding our partnership with Matchroom to launch the Cazoo World Cup of Darts, Cazoo Grand Slam of Darts and Cazoo European Championship with the Professional Darts Corporation later this year and to be extending our deal with the World Snooker Tour to launch three additional Cazoo snooker tournaments. This wider partnership with Matchroom will help to further grow our audience as we build Cazoo into a household brand and continue to deliver the best car buying experience to darts and snooker fans across the UK and Europe.”

Barry Hearn OBE, President of Matchroom said: “It’s fantastic to have a brand like Cazoo involved with us in both snooker and darts and we have thoroughly enjoyed working with Alex and his team, who have proven to be creative and innovative partners. We are now partnering with Cazoo on nine of the most prestigious tournaments and eagerly-awaited events on the snooker and darts calendars as well as for FishOMania. We look forward to introducing the Cazoo brand to our loyal fanbase and to a long and productive relationship.”

I believe that this is a really important announcement. This is Matchroom clearly taking action to reduce its dependence on the gambling and gaming industry for their events’ sponsoring. I have been saying it for a long time: relying on just one particular type of sponsors is never healthy, no matter how much they are ready to pay. The “tobacco ban” hit snooker very hard because the gouverning did nothing to find alternatives despite knowing that it was coming. A “gambling ban” is coming too, even if many don’t want to believe it the signs are there, and Matchroom is being proactive.

2021 Q-School Event 3 – The End

Yesterday six players got a  professional tour card for 2021/22/23: Duane Jones, Lei Peifan, Dean Young and Ian Burns were Q-School Event 3 laureates, whilst Hammad Miah and Mitchell Mabb topped the order of merit.

Here is the report by WST:

Jones Ensures Immediate Return

Duane Jones booked an immediate return to the World Snooker Tour after defeating China’s Si Jiahui 4-3 in the final round of Q School event three.

All results

Jones, Dean Young, Lei Peifan and Ian Burns all secured tour cards for the 2021/22 and 2022/23 seasons. While Hammad Miah and Mitchell Mann earned spots by virtue of finishing third and fifth respectively in the Order of Merit, which was taken from all three Q School events.

Welshman Jones came into the concluding round assured of an immediate return to the World Snooker Tour, after sealing a place in the top two on the Order of Merit. However, he capped off qualification in style with an good win over talented 18-year-old Si. Jones led 3-2 before being pegged back to a decider, where he got himself over the line.

Jones suffered relegation from the circuit at the end of last season, after recording just nine match wins throughout the campaign. However, the 28-year-old did showcase his ability in 2019, when he went on a run to the semi-finals of the German Masters in Berlin.

Jones said: “It’s been a tough six weeks to be honest with you. Losing my place on the tour, I only fell off by one position in the one-year list. To come back and get straight through doesn’t get any better, I’m over the moon with it.

“I think on paper this is the toughest Q School I’ve ever played in. The draw was just a minefield. With it being seeded the way it has, people said it would be easier but it isn’t. There are seeds all over the draw and before you could be in a little spot without them.

“I’m just going to try and keep going and practising, rather than take a break and start again. The iron is hot now so I’ll keep the ball rolling for as long as I can.

“In round three I went for a bit of breakfast before the match and I couldn’t get into my hotel room. The card wouldn’t work. We tried for an hour and a half and I thought I wouldn’t make it. I came over to tell the tournament director I might not make it. Eventually we managed to bust the door open with spanners, crowbars and tools, it was all coming out. The hotel allowed me to do it to make my match. I am very lucky to even be here!”

Scotland’s 19-year-old Young became the only player of this year’s Q School to secure a debut berth on the World Snooker Tour, beating Haydon Pinhey 4-1 in the final round.

The 2018 Scottish Under-21 champion impressed on his televised debut at the 2020 Shoot Out, where he scored wins over David Grace and Liam Highfield, before bowing out at the hands of current Masters champion Yan Bingtao in the last 32.

Young came through a tricky section of the draw to seal his professional status for the first time. He defeated Matthew Roberts, Florian Nuessle, Dylan Emery and Mitchell Mann on his way to the final round. Young top scored with a break of 91 in his defeat of England’s Pinhey.

“I’m speechless at the moment, but it was an unbelievable feeling at the end,” said the Edinburgh cueman. “Practising with Scott Donaldson has brought my game on a lot. He plays at the same club as me so we’ve been practising with each other day in and day out.”

Former Welsh Open quarter-finalist Burns regained his professional status with a 4-1 win over Mark Lloyd.

Despite being highly placed in the order of merit, Burns had to win to have any chance of returning to the circuit he was relegated from earlier this year.

Burns defeated Liam Davies, Yu Kiu Chang, Soheil Vahedi, Simon Blackwell and Lloyd on his way to successfully negotiating event three.

Burns said: “I’m relieved more than anything. After coming so close in the first event, losing out to Peter Lines in the final round. I’m over the moon to get through.

“That last match is horrible. I never expected to get through easily. It is just a case of getting over the line. Duane Jones and Lei Peifan were playing with no pressure, but I am just so relieved to get through.

“My little boy was born back in January, so there is that going on in life as well. I think it spurs you on a little bit to not do it for myself but do it for the family as well. It has been tough coming back and a long three weeks in Sheffield. Especially in your hotel room trying to kill time. You just have to fill your time as best you can and keep yourself focussed.”

Chinese 18-year-old Lei topped the order of merit and was already guaranteed a tour place coming into the final round and ended an impressive three weeks by beating Billy Castle 4-2.

Lei came through Q School at the age of just 15 in 2019, to earn a maiden spell on the tour. However, he lost his professional status at the end of last season. Wins over Jed Mann, Patrick Wallace, Ben Mertens, Sanderson Lam and Castle in event three ensured his immediate return.

Dean Young is the only new player amongst the 14 who came through the 2021 Q-School, the only one who has never been a professional before.

The final “set” of laureates is a reasonable one: Lei Peifan, Yuan Sijun, Dean Young, Jackson Page, Duane Jones, Hammad Miah and Mitchell Mann are all under-30, with Lei, Yuan, Dean and Jackson aged between 18 and 21. I’m glad that there are no under-18 kids graduating this time: most of them are lambs for the slaughter and the long terms effects of a disastrous first two years on tour can be very damaging.

The other seven – Peter Lines, Fraser Patrick, Craig Steadman,  Barry Pinches, Mick Judge, Alfie Burden and Ian Burns – are all over 35. Experience matters and, of course, several of them had the opportunity to play in WSS events and stressed how important the Seniors Tour had been for them this season.

The above results triggered a number of rather negative discussions on social media yesterday, ranging from the “death” of the amateur game to calls to exclude older players from  Q-School or to exclude older professionals from WSS competitions, as well as the adequacy of the Q-School system itself.

There is no doubt that the amateur game isn’t in the best of shapes and I have already shared my thoughts about the reasons why young players struggle to get and stay on the tour, but this season there is the additional “corona virus” factor. Whilst the pro tour essentially went on as normal behind closed doors, the amateur game came to a complete halt and amateurs had very little opportunities to play competitively, practice and prepare. It was even worse for the overseae’s players who had to face additional hurdles related to travel restrictions, tests, administrative paper work and quarantine. It’s a shame but no surprise under those circumstances that none of them managed to get through this year.

Anyway … Well done and good luck to all of this year’s laureates!

 

 

2021 Q-School Event 3 – into the last day

Today is the last day of the 2020/21 season and by tonight six more guys will have earned a fresh two years tour card.

This is WST report on what happened yesterday:

Pinches Junior Into Last 16

Luke Pinches is just two wins away from following in the footsteps of father Barry and earning a tour card through Q School.

All results

Luke Pinches

Norwich potter Pinches, age 19, is through to the last 16 of Q School for the first time and will face Mark Lloyd next. The four quarter-final winners on Sunday in Sheffield earn a two-year tour card, as do the next two highest players on the Order of Merit.

Luke’s father Barry, age 50, came through event two earlier this week. If Luke successfully follows him, they will join Peter and Oliver Lines as father-and-son duos on the pro circuit. In the last 32, Pinches beat Callum Beresford 4-1.

Lloyd ended the hopes of Tony Knowles with a 4-2 success. From 2-0 down, Lloyd took four in a row with a top run of 56.

Ian Burns came from 3-1 down to beat Soheil Vahedi 4-3, taking the last three frames with breaks of 56, 63 and 106.

Veteran David Finbow, who reached number 28 in the world during his 1990s peak, could return to the tour for the first time since 2004. The 53-year-old came from 3-1 down to beat Dylan Mitchell 4-3.

Joshua Cooper – nephew of Shaun Murphy – beat Robbie McGuigan 4-1, setting up a match with China’s Si Jiahui. Duane Jones saw off Michael Georgiou 4-1 and will now face a Welsh derby against Michael White. Two-time ranking event winner White let slip a 3-0 lead against Hammad Miah 4-3, but made a 74 in the decider to win 4-3.

Also through to the last 16 are Simon Blackwell, Lei Peifan, Sanderson Lam, Billy Castle, Ross Bulman, Haydon Pinhey, Mitchel Mann and Dean Young.

There are only two non British/Irish players amongst the remaining 16, two young Chinese, both relegated pros, Lei Peifan and Si Jiahui. Other than those two, we a have some young talents still in this draw: Mark Loyd, Luke Pinches, Haydon Pinhey, Dean Young, Ross Bulman and Josuah Cooper are all under-25. The way the draw pans out at least three of them will be in the quarter-finals.

Hammad Miah is currently on top of the order of merit. He’s not mathematically “safe” but would need a lot of results to go against him today to miss out on a fresh two years tour card. Lei Peifan, who is still in the tournament, is second and the same is true for him should he lose to day.

Michael White is still in the draw and I hope that he makes it through because his chances to get a fresh tour card via the order of merit are extremely thin: he would need Sanderson Lam to lose by 4-0 in the last 16, Ian Burns to lose in the last 16, and Lei Peifan, Duane Jones and Mitchell Mann to be amongst today’s laureates.

Amongst those who bowed out yesterday are Michael Giorgiou, Soheil Vahedi, Ross Muir, Bai Langning and Luo Honghao.

Michael, Ross, Bai and Soheil are high in the order of merit and will probably  get opportunities to play via the top-up system if they so wish and if it’s actually possible.

Of course, for Soheil who is Iranian, there are additional questions about his status in the UK and how he can support himself and his family. He must be able to stay and work in the country for this to be a realistic option. I hope that it will possible if that’s what he wants.

As for Michael Giorgiou, if his FB page is anything yo go by, he hates the game … for now at least.

For Luo, who is only 21, was rookie of the year in 2018, qualified fot the Crucible on his maiden season, I fear that this could be the end of the road and it’s a real shame. Lewis and myself were there, at the EIS, when Luo qualified for the Crucible. He had so much battling spirit and passion in him back then. What happened that turned him into the anxious bag of nerves we have seen over the last couple of years? It’s very sad.

This was shared by James and relayed by Michael Day on twitter (*):

EnglishJuniors2009:10

It’s an order of merit of the English juniors in 2009/10. Mot many have made it and been able to stay on the main tour. Only two have been really succesful: Jack Lisowski and Kyren Wilson: they were both 18 years old at the time, and both turned professional in 2010. Stephen Craigie, who topped that list by some distance, completely disappeared from the snooker map.

(*) Michael observed that “the rivalry between Judd Trump and Kyren Wilson going back to their juniors days” is not credible, unless by “juniors” people mean “children”. Judd, who is nearly two and a half years older than Kyren, turned pro in 2005. Kyren was only 13 at the time and never competed against Judd on the amateur circuit after that.

 

 

When Ronnie gets scary … it turns nasty.

I stumbled upon this one… 

Anger as Ronnie O’Sullivan snooker scarecrow display trashed by vandals in Somerset village

The targeted attack has been branded “a disgusting act”

Ronnie O'Sullivan scarecrow display at Milborne Port
Ronnie O’Sullivan scarecrow display at Milborne Port

Residents of a Somerset village have been left horrified and disgusted after a life-size scarecrow of snooker sporting legend Ronnie O’Sullivan was vandalised in a front garden.

The rocket flames attached to the end of Ronnie’s cue were ripped off and vandals attempted to remove the scarecrow from the seat which he had been tied to.

The culprits then upturned a snooker table which had been placed beside the record-breaking snooker champ leaving the scene in disarray.

The annual scarecrow competition, run by the local community chose a sporting theme this year and were inundated with entries which now form an entertaining display in front gardens around the village.

However, mindless vandals went to several gardens overnight and trashed some of the displays leaving the owners angry.

Ronnie had been lovingly made by Milborne Port resident Mandy Chaffey along with the help of her husband Colin and 22-year-old son William who idolises the sporting hero (named The Rocket due to his style of playing).

Made in true Worzel Gummidge style, they spent hours stuffing pairs of tights with straw, making his outfit and laying out a snooker table display complete with coloured balls.

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The scarecrow display was trashed by vandals

She said that as soon as the competition organisers told villagers the scarecrows had to follow a sporting theme there was no question who they were going to make.

“My son is snooker mad and loves “Rocket Ronnie” and it was a joint effort between the three of us,” she said.

“When we opened our door that morning the display had been attacked and they ripped off the rocket flames we had put on the end of his cue and threw it on the ground.

“They then tried to removed Ronnie from his chair, but he was tied too tightly and ended up just lying there in a dishevelled heap.

“They then pushed the table right over which had a set of snooker balls glued onto it, and it narrowly missed hitting my son’s car that was parked in the driveway.

“Whoever did this just didn’t think, and it was a disgusting act.

“This is a community competition which we all put a lot of effort into doing and they obviously just ‘don’t get it.

“They also targeted a tennis player scarecrow in somebody else’s front garden, ripping off its arm and stealing the ball.”

Ronnie O'Sullivan scarecrow display at Milborne Port
Ronnie O’Sullivan scarecrow display at Milborne Port

Mrs Chaffey said that the actions of the vandals would not destroy their spirit and said they had managed to patch Ronnie up and return him to his former glory, however his rocket flames remain missing.

“It is a wonderful thing to do for our village, just to see the joy on everyone’s faces when they see the scarecrows is fantastic, even the recycling men have a laugh at them,” she added.

🙃 😎  …

2021 Q-School Event 3 – Round 2

Round 2 of the third and last 2021 Q-School concluded yesterday.

Here is what WST reported about it:

Wells Sunk By In-Form Muir

Former Scottish Open semi-finalist Daniel Wells faces a year away from professional snooker as he lost 4-2 to Ross Muir in the last 128 of the third and final Q School event.

All results

Welshman Wells has been on the pro tour since 2015 but was relegated at the end of last season and has won just one match in the three Q School events.

Scotland’s Muir has made five centuries over the three events and impressed again today as a top break of 103 helped him set up a last-64 tie with Saqib Nasir. He needs four more wins to guarantee a tour card by reaching the semi-finals, and Muir is also in contention for the two cards available for the next two highest ranked players on the Order of Merit.

Women’s world number four Rebecca Kenna came from 2-0 down to 2-2 against Ross Bulman but eventually lost 4-2. Bulman now meets Lewis Gillen.

James Cahill made a 112 in a 4-0 win over Labeed Ahmed while Sanderson Lam, who lost narrowly to Barry Pinches in the final round of event two, got back on track with a 4-1 defeat of Jack Bradford.

France’s top player Brian Ochoiski top scored with 74 in a 4-1 victory over Carl Mottershaw, while Belgium’s Ben Mertens made breaks of 55, 58, 56 and 118 as he beat Evan Munro 4-0.

Mitchell Mann top scored with 111 in a 4-1 defeat of Umut Dikme, while Kishan Hirani came from 3-1 down to beat Michael Collumb 4-3.

There were also victories for non UK/Irish players Niel Vincent (France), Rodion Judin (Latvia), Mateusz Baranowski (Poland), Yu Kiu Chang (Hong Kong), Soheil Vahedi (Iran), Lei Peifan, Luo Honghao, Bai Langning, Si Jiahui (China), Florian Nüßle (Austria) and Brian Cini (Malta).

Unfortunately a number of them are set to face each other in round three. At the time of writing, Ben Mertens has beaten Niel Vincent and Soheil Vahedi has beaten Rodion Judin, whilst today, Luo Honghao is set to face Bai Langning and Si Jiahui will play Daan Leyssen (Belgium) who had a bye through round two.

Lei Peifan won his third round match and is currently on top of the Orfer of Merit list. In round four he will face Ben Mertens…

If you wonder what happened to Tony Knowles … as for once WST failed to report on him … fear not. He’s through to round four and the main feature of WST report on round three. Seriously, it’s quite remarkable what Tony achieves, and all credits to him, but he’s hardly the future of the game.