Snooker and Tour News – 03.09.2021

Here are some snooke/tour news that popped up over the last days

WST has published an updated “Format and Schedule” for the television stages of the Northern Irland Open:

BetVictor Northern Ireland Open Updated Draw

The updated draw and format for the 2021 BetVictor Northern Ireland Open following the conclusion of the qualifying round is now available.

Click here for the updated draw

Click here for the updated format

The world ranking event runs from October 9th to October 17th at the fantastic Waterfront Hall venue in central Belfast. It is the first of this season’s BetVictor Home Nations Series, with the winner to lift the Alex Higgins Trophy.

Tickets to see the best players on the planet are available now  For full details CLICK HERE

The tournament has 128 players all starting in round one. The top 16 seeds, as well as Jordan Brown, had their opening matches held over to Belfast, while all other players competed in the qualifying round.

Matches to look out for on Sunday October 10th include

1pm session
World Champion Mark Selby v Mark Davis
John Higgins v Joe O’Connor
Northern Ireland’s top player Mark Allen v Si Jiahui
Neil Robertson v Barry Pinches

7pm session
Defending champion Judd Trump v Andrew Pagett
Kyren Wilson v Jamie Clarke
Local favourite Jordan Brown v Gary Wilson
Ronnie O’Sullivan v Stuart Carrington
Mark Williams v Mark Joyce

Trump is aiming to win the tournament for a fourth year in a row – remarkably he has beaten O’Sullivan 9-7 in the final in each of the last three seasons.

The event begins with a 7pm evening session on Saturday October 9th, with tickets at just £5.

The event will be televised by Eurosport, Quest and a range of other broadcasters worldwide.

The have also announced that referee Peter Williamson is retiring:

Referee Peter Williamson Retires

Long-serving referee Peter Williamson has retired from the World Snooker Tour after 30 years on the circuit.

The Liverpudlian first refereed on Merseyside in the late 1970s and moved into the professional game in 1991.

Williamson officiated several ranking event semi-finals as well as the final of a Players Tour Championship event in 2012 in which Rod Lawler beat Marco Fu 4-2 in Gloucester.

We spoke to him about his career highlights, favourite players and plans for retirement…

What lessons have you learned from your career that you will take into your retirement?

“Sometimes you cannot take people at face value, they can turn out totally different. It was a joy to meet people from all around the world, all different ages and different backgrounds.”

What were your favourite places to go on the tour?

“Well, obviously, the Crucible – and also Shanghai and York. Shanghai is a totally different environment and seeing the way the country was developing at the time, just when they were going to be getting the Olympics in China was brilliant. They were building a completely new rail system with 120 stations and building the whole thing at the same time simultaneously. The whole place was bright, multi-coloured and the electric bill for the city must have been tremendous!”

What was your favourite game to referee?

“I refereed Ronnie O’Sullivan against John Higgins in the 2009 Shanghai Masters semi-final, and O’Sullivan against Marco Fu in the same tournament. With Fu being from Hong Kong, they reckon the audience for that was in the tens of millions, if not 100 million. I don’t really feel pressure in games like those, you get used to it and I’d been refereeing professionally for about 15 years by then.”

What was your favourite moment of your career?

“Not long after I started, August 1991, I refereed at Trentham Gardens. In the qualifiers, I had the privilege of refereeing Fred Davis. It was a booth situation and most of the booths only had one or two people in, but mine was full and there wasn’t a seat to be had, because there was a party of pensioners in! They all wanted to see Fred play and when it got to the interval, he was 4-0 down and it was quite a distance to get to the refreshments area. He beckoned me over after his opponent, Jamie Woodman, had gone out and said: “You couldn’t do me a massive favour.” So I said: “Yes what’s that?” and he said: “My legs won’t get me to the refreshment area in time for the restart, is it at all possible you could organise a cup of tea for me?” So I got the balls set up and ran off to the tournament office and ordered the tray with a cup of tea for him that was delivered to the table. He lost the match 5-0 but that always stuck with me!”

Who was your favourite player to referee?

“I always had a lot of fun and banter with Ken Doherty, because of our football connections. I’m a Liverpool fan and he’s Manchester United, of course. Another player was John Higgins. I’ve refereed two 147s with Higgins, so I remember those well.”

What will you miss most about being on tour?

“Apart from watching the development of the game, seeing the way the game is spreading around the world, it’s probably the chance to meet up with colleagues from lots of different countries. It’s the only chance you get to meet up with workmates.”

What are your plans for retirement?

“I may still referee a bit of billiards. I’ve done five world billiards finals, and I got asked over the weekend if I was available to referee in Reading, but unfortunately I’m in Cyprus at the time. I’ll also be doing more gardening. I’ve just got a barbeque so I’ve been coming up with innovative menus for that, like chocolate bananas.”

Finally, what is your message to players on the tour right now?

“Keep at it, even if you are having a bad day. Practice makes perfect so stick with it.  Also – I’d just like to thank all my colleagues for making the second part of my working life my most memorable.”

I have met Peter at countless events over the years and it was a pleasure always. Enjoy your retirement Peter. All the best for the future!

Twitath Warinthrakom, who is a in many ways the Thai equivalent of Rolf Kalb, has shared some worrying news on his Facebook page. Last Tuesday, he annouced that he had tested positive to covid-19. Yesterday, he wrote that he was in hospital. His condition looks serious alas. Twitath was asking his friends to pray for him.

I sincerely hope that Twitath will make a full recovery soon. He’s always been very friendly with me and is loved by the whole snooker community in Thailand.