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.
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.
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 (*):
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.