Later today, four players will regain their professional status. Indeed, all eight players remaining in the draw have been professional at one point or another in their life.
Q School Event One: The Final Round
Sunny Akani came from 3-1 down to edge out Florian Nuessle 4-3 in a tense finish to reach the final round of Q School event one.
Austria’s Nuessle is aiming to earn a place on the pro tour for the first time but will have to wait for event two for another chance. Thailand’s Akani was relegated from the tour at the end of last season but now has the opportunity to bounce straight back.
The deciding frame came down to the final pink, and Akani potted it to book a meeting with China’s Bai Langning, a 4-1 winner over Leo Fernandez.
Rory McLeod top scored with 80 in a 4-1 win over Zhao Jianbo and will now face Fergal O’Brien, who beat Ross Muir 4-2 with a top run of 77. Veterans McLeod and O’Brien have a combined age of 101 and 58 seasons on the tour between them.
Brandon Sargeant saw off Harvey Chandler 4-2 with a top break of 88 and will now meet Rod Lawler, a 4-1 winner over Lukas Kleckers.
Hong Kong’s Andy Lee beat Daniel Womersley 4-1 to set up a match with Luke Simmonds, who recovered a 3-1 deficit to edge out Aaron Hill 4-3.
The winners of the four quarter-finals on Saturday in Sheffield will each receive a two year World Snooker Tour card, for the 2022/23 and 2023/24 seasons.
Saturday’s quarter-final line-up:
Rod Lawler v Brandon Sargeant
Rory McLeod v Fergal O’Brien
Luke Simmonds v Andy Lee
Sunny Akani v Bai Langning
Three of those players – Sunny Akani, Bai Langning and Brandon Sargeant – are in their 20th. The other ones are all over 40. That’s not great and you have to wonder why this happens. Experience plays a role of course, and maybe the level of expectations the player and their entourage put on them. Maybe older players just accept that they aren’t at their best anymore and try to enjoy it while it lasts without putting themselves under too much pressure.
Michael Georgiou, who lost to Sunny earlier yesterday, was very gracious in defeat, praising his opponent on social media, but also stating that this would be his last Q-School, meaning that if he doesn’t succeed in regaining his professional status, he would put an end to his professional snooker ambitions.