Tour News – 22.11.2021

Q-Tour News

The Q-tour event one was played over the extended week-end and it was David Lilley who came out the winner. Congratulations David Lilley!

Here is the report published by WPBSA:

Lilley King Of The Castle

England’s David Lilley has claimed the inaugural WPBSA Q Tour title following a 5-1 final defeat of China’s Si Jiahui at the Castle Snooker & Sports Bar in Brighton.

The WPBSA Q Tour is an official pathway to the World Snooker Tour with two professional places to be won across the season from four tournaments. The events are open to all players, with 48 players automatically qualified for the last 64 stage through their position on the 2021 Q School Order of Merit.

Reigning World Seniors Snooker champion Lilley was one of eight players competing on the final day having seen the field reduced from 107 since the start of the tournament and was impressed throughout, compiling 14 breaks of 50, including three centuries during his six matches played.

Having already dispatched English trio Hamim Hussain, Daniel Womersley and John Astley, his closest match came at the quarter-finals stage where he won the final two frames to edge out Welshman Daniel Wells 4-3, before dominating Alex Millington to reach the title match.

There he would face fellow former professional Si, who himself had seen off Lee Shanker, Soheil Vahedi and Alfie Lee to reach the final day, before toppling Keishin Kamihashi and Simon Bedford to earn the right to face Lilley.

The 19-year-old would have no answer in the decisive match, however, as he quickly fell 4-0 behind – potting just five balls prior to the mid-session interval – leaving Lilley just one frame from the title. Although Si would claim the first frame upon their resumption with a cool clearance of 84, Lilley would not be denied and took out the decider with a break of 76 to become the first Q Tour champion of the season.

The victory puts Lilley in pole position for the first World Snooker Tour card available from the new Q Tour series, with the top ranked player following this season’s four scheduled events set to qualify. A further 16 players will contest a play-off tournament for the second card.

The WPBSA would like to thank all of the players, officials and in particular the Castle Snooker Club and its staff, who helped to ensure the success of the first Q Tour event – which saw an impressive 28 century breaks compiled across three days.

Ahead of the last day – QFs, SFs and Final – Michael Day had written this “intermediate report” shared by WPBSA.

WPBSA Q Tour 1 – Quarter-Finals Preview

After two busy days of action at the Castle Snooker Club in Brighton, only eight players remain in contention for the first WPBSA Q Tour event title which will be decided on Sunday.

Over 100 players from 19 different countries set out for the £2,000 first prize, but more importantly, vital ranking points in their quest to secure one of two professional World Snooker Tour cards on offer at the end of the four-event campaign.

In the top half of the draw, 15-year-old Liam Davies has been one of the stars of the show so far on the south coast.

A prolific winner of junior titles in his homeland, the Welshman has already won five matches to get this far, including victories over former ranking event winners Michael White (3-0) and Michael Georgiou (3-1) in the last 64 and 16 respectively. Davies faces Alex Millington in the quarter-finals after the Englishman ousted Ben Fortey in the last 16 with the aid of a 136 break – the second highest of the competition so far.

From two players with no professional experience, to two who were on the top tier of the sport only last season in David Lilley and Daniel Wells.

Off the back of his Cazoo Champion of Champions appearance earlier in the week, world seniors champion Lilley has dropped only three frames in three matches so far. Wells – who came into this unseeded after a disappointing Q School campaign – has yet to be taken to a deciding frame in five outings. The former Scottish Open semi-finalist exhibited his class in his last match against fellow ex-professional Ross Muir by making breaks of 123 and 124 in consecutive frames to close the match out.

In the bottom half of the draw, two more former professionals will meet in the form of Simon Bedford and Harvey Chandler.

Bedford denied Leo Fernandez 3-1 – two players who have both qualified for the Crucible Theatre before – to book his Finals Day berth, whilst 2018 European Amateur Champion Chandler came back from two frames down to eliminate Michael Collumb 3-2.

The final match on the drawsheet is an all-Asian affair between two youngsters – China’s Si Jiahui and Japan’s Keishin Kamihashi.

19-year-old Si is trying to bounce back after his relegation from the pro ranks last term and has made a good start here, finishing off his work on Saturday with a 3-1 success over fellow teenager Alfie Lee.

Former Japanese national champion Kamihashi has been showing how dangerous he can be. In the last 64 the 20-year-old dispatched recent European under-21 champion Dylan Emery, and in the last 16 he needed to win the final three frames – which he did with runs of 133, 100 and 51 – to defeat Brandon Sargeant 3-2.

Report by Michael Day.

Americas’ Snooker news

Victor Sarkis from Brazil won the Pan American Championship and will be offered a two years tour card. starting next season.  Congratulations to Victor!

Here is the report by WPBSA:

Brazilian Sarkis Wins Pan American Snooker Championship

Victor Sarkis will have the opportunity to play on the World Snooker Tour’s professional circuit full-time after he defeated Renat Denkha 5-3 in the final to win the 2021 Pan American Snooker Championship.

Organised by the Pan American Billiards and Snooker Association, the most significant snooker championship across the North and South American continents returned having been cancelled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Held at the Corner Bank venue in Toronto, Canada, cueists from Brazil, the United States of America and the host nation took part.

Sarkis – a 30-year-old from Florianópolis in Santa Catarina, Brazil – qualified for the knockout phase of the tournament after winning three of his four round robin games and topping Group A.

During the knockouts, Sarkis eliminated Canadians Jonathan Wallace 4-1 and Vito Puopolo 4-0 in the last 16 and eight respectively, before ousting United States national snooker champion Ahmed Aly Elsayed 4-3 in the semi-finals. A few days earlier at this venue, Aly won the Pan American Seniors Snooker Championship which qualifies him for the World Seniors Snooker Championship at the Crucible Theatre next May.

Sarkis’ opponent in the title match was American Denkha, who was runner-up in this competition the last time it was held in 2019 in Houston, Texas. Undefeated Denkha had dropped only four frames in six matches in reaching the last four but needed to come back from 3-1 down in the semi-finals in order to overhaul Derrick Claus (Canada) 4-3.

In the final, Sarkis took the opening frame and then the third and fourth to go into the mid-session interval 3-1 ahead. He then extended his lead again in the best-of-nine tie on resumption with frame five and stood on the edge of glory as he made a break of 51 in the sixth.

Denkha, though, refused to give in. From the jaws of defeat, he crafted a match-saving effort of 70 to claim the frame, before later reducing his arrears to just one at 4-3.

However, Sarkis was not to be denied the title as he regrouped in frame eight to record a 5-3 victory and follow in the footsteps of fellow Brazilian Igor Figueiredo who he succeeds as champion.

Sarkis now has the chance to join Figueiredo on the professional circuit as he becomes PABSA’s nomination for a WST tour card for the 2022/23 and 2023/24 campaigns.

2021 UK Championship News

Lee Walker was forced to withdraw from the 2021 UK Championship because of covid. Here is WST announcement:

Lee Walker has been withdrawn from the Cazoo UK Championship after testing positive for Covid-19. The positive test occurred away from the venue and Walker will now undergo a period of isolation.

The Welshman was due to face Jimmy Robertson in the first round in York on Thursday November 25th. He has been replaced in the draw by the next available player from the Q School rankings, Bai Langning.

The tournament at the York Barbican starts on Tuesday.

This is a massive blow for Lee who is provisionally ranked 82 at the end of the season, facing relegation. The UK Championship is very lucrative: winning the first round match earns the players 6500 ranking points and Lee could certainly do with that …

The arenas are being prepared:

And last but not least, huge congratulations to Chris Wakelin for THIS

Baize To The Ballroom For Wakelin

Wakelin and dance partner Amanda Hammond.

World number 62 Chris Wakelin will be swapping his snooker cue for dancing shoes next month, when he takes part in a Strictly Christmas charity fundraiser in aid of Zoe’s Place Baby Hospice.

Wakelin has no prior experience in ballroom dancing, but will take the plunge on December 17th and 18th, when the event takes place in Coventry.

The participating couples, made up of one more experienced ‘professional’ and a new ‘contestant’, will perform both a cha-cha-cha and a quickstep in a bid to qualify for the final night. Their scores from judges will be combined with an allocated number of points based on how much money they have raised for Zoe’s Place away from the dance floor.

So far Wakelin has raised over £2,000 by taking part in a range of other fundraising activities. You can donate by clicking here.

The Nuneaton cueman admits that the prospect of him dancing in front of a crowd was, at one point, a very distant one. However, after seeing his brother compete in the same event, he was drawn in to doing something for a very worthwhile cause.

Wakelin explained: “My first knowledge of Zoe’s Place came when going to watch my brother in Strictly Christmas four years ago. I went along expecting to see a dancing show, but in fact what I saw was an enormous group of people all with an interest in raising money for babies, children and their families, who sadly aren’t going to see their fifth birthday. It was months of hard work and a team of 70 odd people trying to support this charity, which at the time I’d never heard of. I had a visit to the hospice not long after that and saw what amazing work they do.

“I got asked if I would like to take part in this year’s show. It was one of those things where I said I would consider it, but really in the back of my mind I was thinking that I’d never danced before or been a performer of that sort. One drunken night I got home and thought I’d fill in the form to see what happened. Of course I got accepted and asked along for the induction. I’ve never looked back to be honest.

“I thought that the quickstep would be more my cup of tea. It is all about good posture and having a good frame. You need to have an upright frame being a runner and you obviously try to keep your upper body nice and stiff in snooker as well. The cha-cha-cha is all about being nice and free, loose, having your body moving and your hips swinging. I’ve never danced in my life, that’s not really me. However, I’ve actually enjoyed the cha-cha-cha a lot more. It is more of a challenge for me and I’m not the kind of person to back away from something which I perceive as being difficult. I’ve really thrown myself into it. The whole process is an overwhelming experience. Learning a new skill and having an amazing time, as well as doing something really worthwhile for charity.”

Away from the ballroom Wakelin has been working tirelessly to raise further funds for Zoe’s Place. Having taken up running over the summer, he focussed part of those efforts on road races and has now done a 10k race and a half marathon. Wakelin also completed a 24 hour snookerthon, which itself raised over £1,000.

“That was the first time I’ve ever run a half marathon distance. I trained for the Nuneaton 10K and that was my main focus for fundraising. I had no intention of running a half marathon until spring next year. I saw five days before the event, that the Coventry Half Marathon was taking entries. I went for it having only ever run 11k in my life prior to that. It was double what I’d ever done before,” said 29-year-old Wakelin.

“The snooker was a great, but very tiring, experience. Like any sportsperson will tell you, there are purple and cold patches. I started off with a couple of centuries and all of a sudden it dried up for a few hours. I set myself a personal target of making one century every hour. I managed to make the 24th one with about an hour to go. I was really chuffed to beat that personal goal of mine.

“It ran from 12pm until 12pm the next day and by seven in the morning I was gassed out. Those last few hours were tough. I was really tired and couldn’t see properly. I’d been awake for nearly a whole day and had five or six hours to go. I played my best mate, Ian White who owns the club, in the last hour. I had a bottle of beer while we played as a little celebration for what I’d been through. I had a little tear in my eye at the end, it was an amazing thing to do and a brilliant day. To raise over £1,000 was brilliant. There wasn’t any time for rest though. As soon as we finished that I jumped in the shower and went to dance practice a couple of hours later. ”

On the table Wakelin is preparing for a Cazoo UK Championship clash with Jamie Clarke next week in York. The victor will face either David Lilley or 2019 World Champion Judd Trump in the second round.

Wakelin heads to York off the back of two very contrasting performances on the TV table so far this season, both against seven-time World Champion Stephen Hendry. He succumbed to a 3-2 defeat against 52-year-old Hendry in the British Open, after what turned out to be a below par performance from both players. However, he rectified that in the recent English Open, defeating Hendry 4-0 in style, courtesy of breaks of 141, 135 and 85.

“It was a complete disaster for both myself and Stephen at the British Open and there is no getting away from or hiding that. This time around I felt like I did myself justice. You want to showcase what you can do and I thought I made a far better account of myself the second time around. I felt good, prepared well and put in a good performance.

“Every player on tour knows they can do that on the practice table but to go out and do that on TV is a big confidence boost going forward. I had a lot of players, friends and family and snooker fans congratulating me and sending me messages about how well I played. Plenty of people cut you down and remind you of how badly you played when it doesn’t go well. It was nice to have people praising how I played.

“It is a tough first round tie against Jamie Clarke in York. We are both going up the rankings and in the right direction with our careers. Jamie is a lovely lad. I speak to him every tournament and have a little catch up. I’ve no doubt it will be a good game. I’d like to get through to the weekend. It is a lovely city to spend time in. There is normally a bit of snow around and the Christmas market is on. It is a beautiful city at the best of times but it really is fantastic at that time of year. I would more than likely play Judd Trump if I got through. I actually said that I couldn’t beat him in the Eurosport studio recently. Hopefully I can silence myself and do a bit of damage!”