OK, here is why Ronnie has withdrawn:
Actually, Jason had told me this morning, asking me to keep quiet about it. Now, seeing the fans reactions he has himself decided to make it public. Yes, Ronnie did play his exhibitions despite not feeling great, but playing an exhibition is one thing, playing competitive snooker is something else entirely. Also those exhibitions had been scheduled to be played last year, covid had forced Jason, Ronnie and the clubs to postpone them. Knowing Ronnie he certainly wouldn’t have wanted to disappoint those fans again after such long wait unless he was really unable to hold his cue.
Regarding exhibitions, Jason has made another announcement
Great news that!
Finally, back to Ronnie’s withdrawal and the re-inclusion of Mark Joyce. This triggered a lot of negative reactions. But really? Yes, he was already knocked out, he came second in group 32, the group Ronnie won.
Last season, when similar situations happened, the three remaining players in the impacted groups had played each other twice. Honestly that didn’t work out very well.
Some argue that there were other players, in other groups who finished second with more points than Joyce. OK, but they were in different groups, with a different opposition, so how do you compare their performances? If Joyce manages to do well here, despite needing to dash to the venue on short notice, all credits to him. As it stands, he has lost his first match against Steadman and still needs to play Gilbert, so it doesn’t look very likely.