As we enter the last day of this season Q-School event 1, let’s take stock of what happened over the last two days.
Unsurprisingly Tony Knowles “adventure” came to an end in the third round. He was 3-1 up and lost by 4-3. He did much better than I expected, all credits to him, but because of the way he lost, I wonder even more than before if, at 65, he still has the stamina to compete professionally. Actually I doubt it. It is understandable that older players, especially those who once reached the “top tier”, miss the thrill of the competition, but the answer is not to get them back on the main tour, not at 65 anyway. The WSS Tour should be better supported and promoted. Jason Francis works wonders with limited means but it isn’t enough. Exposure is paramount and currently he isn’t allowed to stream events if they are held at the same time as main tour events. It’s probably a contractual issue, but can’t it be resolved? Because frankly, I don’t think that streaming WSS events would impact the Main Tour viewing figures!
Six non-British/Irish youngsters, Lei Peifan,Si Jiajui, Yan Sijun, Bai Langning (China), Florian Nüßle (Austria) and Niel Vincent (France) all reached the fourth round. Unfortunately Bai and Florian faced each other, as did Niel and Lei. The relegated pros prevailed, unsurprisingly.
Soheil Vahedi and Michael White both lost at that stage as well, and I’m sorry for both. Soheil has made so many sacrifices to try and live his dream. I hope he manages to stay on Tour. As for Michael White, I fear what could happen if he doesn’t regain his tour card.
All that leaves us with only four “youth” players in round 5, three Chinese and one Welsh, and only five amateurs, one of them being Michael Georgiou who has been on and around the tour for many years. Only three of the remaining competitors have never been professionals, none really a “young prospect”: Oliver Brown (26), Lee Shanker (33) and Sean Harvey (36). I’m not sure this “outcome” is great for the future of snooker.
I’m wishing all four younger ones the best for today.
Here are the reports by WST:
Fry Up: Knowles Run Ended
Tony Knowles let slip a 3-1 lead as he lost 4-3 to Raymond Fry in round three of Q School event one.
After fine wins over Bradley Cowdroy and Craig Steadman, 65-year-old veteran Knowles missed the chance to go further in the first of three events in Sheffield. He will return for event two which starts on Wednesday.
Breaks of 69 and 54 helped Knowles build a 3-1 lead. However Northern Ireland’s Fry (pictured) hit back with 110 and 67 for 3-3 then dominated the decider.
Alfie Burden eased to a 4-1 win over Ryan Thomerson with top breaks of 55, 56 and 66, while former German Masters semi-finalist Duane Jones was also a 4-1 winner, beating Tyler Rees.
Harvey Chandler edged out Robbie McGuigan 4-3, taking the deciding frame on a respotted black. Ian Burns top scored with 69 in a 4-1 win over Brandon Sargeant.
Peter Lines saw off Riley Parsons 4-2 while David Lilley whitewashed Paul Davison 4-0. Two-time ranking event winner Michael White top scored with 93 in a 4-1 win over Ben Fortey.
Page On Course For New Chapter
Jackson Page is just two wins away from earning a fresh two-year tour card thanks to a 4-2 win over Soheil Vahedi in the last 32 of Q School event one.
The last 16 will be played on Tuesday from 10am, with the eight winners going through to the quarter-finals which start at 1pm. Those four winners will each receive a coveted two-year World Snooker Tour card.
Welsh 19-year-old Page turned pro in 2019 but was relegated at the end of last season. He has the chance to bounce straight back and boosted his hopes by seeing off Iran’s Vahedi with a top break of 59. His next opponent is Sean Harvey.
Peter Lines, who first turned pro back in 1991 and is looking to keep his career on track at the age of 51, scored a 4-0 victory over two-time ranking event winner Michael White. Lines now faces Lee Shanker.
Ian Burns top scored with 82 in a 4-1 defeat of Leo Fernandez and will now face World Seniors champion David Lilley, who scored a 4-2 win over Paul Davies.
James Cahill made a break of 73 in the deciding frame to beat Hammad Miah 4-3, earning a tie with China’s Bai Langning.
Once again, unfortunately, those reports only focus on British/Irish players, and, mainly on the older ones. If WST is serious about going really global, it’s time they understand that there are fans out there who are interested in the fate of their fellow citzens and want the governing body to report on them too.