WPBSA and WST have got news for us.
WPBSA Q Tour
The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) has announced the return of the WPBSA Q Tour for the 2022/23 season.
Following its successful inaugural season which saw Sean O’Sullivan and Julien Leclercq earn professional status for the next two years, Q Tour will continue to provide a clear pathway to the World Snooker Tour for elite amateur talent within our sport.
The series will be expanded to a minimum of six Q Tour events held, with four to be staged within the UK and a further two in mainland Europe. The top ranked player at the end of the season will be guaranteed to earn a two-year tour card, with a 16-player playoff tournament to run with its winner also to be awarded a main tour place.
There will be a prize fund of £12,000 to be won at each tournament with the overall Q Tour ranked number one and the final play-off winner each earning a bonus of £2,000 upon joining the professional circuit.
The provisional dates for this season’s Q Tour are:
- 2-4 September 2022
- 16-18 September 2022
- 14-16 October 2022
- 25-27 November 2022
- 9-11 December 2022
- 6-8 January 2023
- 4-5 March 2023 (Playoff)
Venues will be announced in due course. All dates are subject to change.
All Q Tour events in England will be held at official 147 Clubs recognised by the English Partnership for Snooker and Billiards.
As was the case last season, each weekend tournament will be made up of 64 players comprising the following:
The top 32 eligible players from the 2022 UK Q School Order of Merit eligible to compete.
Zhao Jianbo, Steven Hallworth, Sunny Akani, Ross Muir, Daniel Wells, Florian Nuessle, Farakh Ajaib, Ian Martin, Ross Bulman, Kurt Maflin, Michael Holt, Haydon Pinhey, Andrew Higginson, Michael Georgiou, Soheil Vahedi, Brandon Sargeant, Rory McLeod, Cheung Ka Wai, Luke Simmonds, Ben Hancorn, Peter Devlin, Robbie McGuigan, Harvey Chandler, Leo Fernandez, Lee Walker, Lewis Ullah, Gao Yang, Daniel Womersley, Tyler Rees, Liu Hongyu, Rodney Goggins, George Pragnell
The top 8 from the 2022 Asia-Oceania Q School Order of Merit
Kritsanut Lertsattayathorn, Narongdat Takantong, Anekthana Sangnil, Lim Kok Leong, Thitiphong Choolasak, Pongsakron Chongjairak, Rachata Khantee, Khash-Ochir Tuvshinjargal
The eight highest ranked junior players on the 2022 UK Q School Order of Merit, not already qualified.
Sean Maddocks, Iulian Boiko, Liam Davies, Ryan Davies, Luke Pinches, Alfie Lee, Nattanapong Chaikul, Jamie Wilson
The 48 qualified players will be contacted directly by email with entry instructions. Each player will be required to pay a block entry fee of £300.00 by 12:00pm on 22 July and will be guaranteed a place in the last 64 of each tournament.
Following this date, subject to the number of players who have accepted and paid for their Q Tour place, we will contact top up players as required until we have 48 confirmed players for each event. These players will have until 12:00pm 26 July to claim their place.
Open entry for all Friday qualifying tournaments will be opened to all players from no later than 27 July. We aim to accommodate all players who wish to enter, however, we do reserve the right to limit entries for each qualifier subject to the number of tables available at the club and time available.
All entries are to be made via WPBSA SnookerScores.
Further information including venues and full entry details will be released in due course.
This is all good and well but do they really any of the Asia-Oceania Q-School order of merit top 8 to be able to compete in this series? Unless they get the certainty that there will be at least a couple of events in Asia, this is financially and logistically totally unrealistic, especially as they need to commit with a £300.00 entry fee by 22 July, which is less than two weeks away.
Sunny Akani is unlikely to enter. Only a couple of days ago, on his facebook page, he repeated that the plan was the stay and play in Thailand, heal and fully recover and try to get back on Tour via the 2023 Asia-Oceania Q-School.
2022/23 Tour Players
The full list of WST players for the 2022/23 season is now available.
In all there are 131 tour players this season. To read more about them, click here.
The Top 64 (64)
These players finished inside the top 64 of the official world ranking list at the end of last season and so will retain their places on the circuit, with a one-yearcard.
End of season rankings:
- Ronnie O’Sullivan
- Judd Trump
- Mark Selby
- Neil Robertson
- John Higgins
- Zhao Xintong
- Mark Williams
- Kyren Wilson
- Shaun Murphy
- Jack Lisowski
- Barry Hawkins
- Luca Brecel
- Stuart Bingham
- Mark Allen
- Yan Bingtao
- Anthony McGill
- Hossein Vafaei
- Ricky Walden
- David Gilbert
- Ali Carter
- Matthew Selt
- Jordan Brown
- Zhou Yuelong
- Stephen Maguire
- Jimmy Robertson
- Joe Perry
- Robert Milkins
- Ryan Day
- Martin Gould
- Tom Ford
- Jamie Jones
- Ding Junhui
- Gary Wilson
- Lu Ning
- Graeme Dott
- Fan Zhengyi
- Noppon Saengkham
- Xiao Guodong
- Liam Highfield
- Liang Wenbo
- Jak Jones
- Ben Woollaston
- Chris Wakelin
- Sam Craigie
- Lyu Haotian
- Scott Donaldson
- Joe O’Connor
- Li Hang
- Jamie Clarke
- Anthony Hamilton
- Mark King
- Thepchaiya Un-Nooh
- Pang Junxu
- Mark Davis
- David Grace
- Matthew Stevens
- Oliver Lines
- Mark Joyce
- Dominic Dale
- Elliot Slessor
- Robbie Williams
- Alexander Ursenbacher
- Tian Pengfei
- Stuart Carrington
The Two-Year Cards (31)
These players competed on the main tour in 2021/22 and will start the 2022/23 season on the second year of their two-year tour cards.
- Cao Yupeng
- Jackson Page
- Andy Hicks
- Yuan Sijun
- Wu Yize
- Zhang Anda
- Hammad Miah
- Mitchell Mann
- Peter Lines
- Zhang Jiankang
- Duane Jones
- Xu Si
- Lei Peifan
- Louis Heathcote
- Gerard Greene
- Craig Steadman
- Chang Bingyu
- Andrew Pagett
- Barry Pinches
- Fraser Patrick
- Ian Burns
- Jamie O’Neill
- Michael Judge
- Dean Young
- Alfie Burden
- Jimmy White
- Ng On Yee
- Chen Zifan
- Reanne Evans
- Marco Fu
- Igor Figueiredo
The Top Four (One-Year Ranking list) (4)
The top four players on the 2021/22 one-year ranking list, not already inside of the top 64 of the two-year ranking list or on the first year of a two-year card. They receive a fresh two-year tour card, starting on zero ranking points.
- Ashley Hugill
- Michael White
- Allan Taylor
- David Lilley
Q School UK (12)
A further 12 will be promoted from Q School UK and again they will receive a two-year tour card.
- Rod Lawler (Event One semi-finalist)
- Fergal O’Brien (Event One semi-finalist)
- Andy Lee (Event One semi-finalist)
- Bai Langning (Event One semi-finalist)
- Adam Duffy (Event Two semi-finalist)
- Zak Surety (Event Two semi-finalist)
- Aaron Hill (Event Two semi-finalist)
- Sanderson Lam (Event Two semi-finalist)
- Lukas Kleckers (Event Three semi-finalist)
- Jenson Kendrick (Event Three semi-finalist)
- John Astley (Event Three semi-finalist)
- James Cahill (Event Three semi-finalist)
Q School Asia-Oceania (4)
A further four players will be promoted from Q School Asia-Oceania and again they will receive a two-year tour card.
- Muhammad Asif (Event One finalist)
- Dechawat Poomjaeng (Event Two finalist)
- Himanshu Jain (Event Two finalist)
- Asjad Iqbal (Order of Merit)
World Snooker Federation (2)
Two players have qualified via the 2022 World Snooker Federation Championships. They will be awarded a two-year card.
- Si Jiahui (WSF Championship winner)
- Anton Kazakov (WSF Under-21 Championship winner)
WPBSA Q Tour (2)
Two players have qualified via the 2021/22 WPBSA Q Tour. They will be awarded a two-year card.
- Sean O’Sullivan (Highest ranked eligible player)
- Julien Leclercq (Playoff Winner)
World Women’s Snooker Tour (2)
The top two eligible players from the World Women’s Snooker Tour rankings will be awarded a two-year card.
- Mink Nutcharut (No.3 Ranked / 2022 World Champion)
- Rebecca Kenna (No.4 Ranked)
China Tour Qualifiers (1)
One player has qualified via the CBSA China Tour. He earns a fresh two-year tour card.
- Peng Yisong
Regional Champions (7)
Seven players have qualified as regional champions. They will be awarded a two-year card.
- Oliver Brown (2021 EBSA European Champion)
- Dylan Emery (2021 EBSA European Under-21 Champion)
- Andres Petrov (2022 EBSA European Champion)
- Ben Mertens (2022 EBSA European Under-21 Champion)
- Ryan Thomerson (2022 APSBF Champion)
- Victor Sarkis (2021 PABSA Champion)
- Mohamed Ibrahim (2022 ABSC Champion)
Invitational Tour Cards (2)
Two players have been awarded a new two-year Invitational Tour Card for the upcoming season.
- Stephen Hendry
- Ken Doherty
And finally, it seems that there is still some hope for an event in Hong Kong as reported by Phil Haigh
Plans remain for Hong Kong Masters in October but snooker bosses face obstacles
The Hong Kong Masters could still return this season, with organisers hoping to host the tournament in October after an August date become unworkable.
Snooker bosses are keen to get the professional tour back on the road, with the circuit still UK-focussed since the pandemic hit and wiped out the numerous events in China.
Competitions have returned in central Europe and the Turkish Masters sprung up last season, while there is an encouraging sign that the Six Red World Championship will be held in Thailand in September.
It was hoped that the Hong Kong Masters would be back on the calendar for the first time since 2017 in August, but travel restrictions are still too strict for that to happen.
However, it may only be a short delay, with World Snooker Tour still leaving the dates of 6-9 October clear on the calendar and organisers in Hong Kong hopeful that arrangements can be worked out.
The South China Morning Post quoted a source close to the Hong Kong Billiard Sports Control Council as saying: ‘We are still in discussion with government regarding the quarantine requirements but they can’t promise anything at this stage.
‘They have asked us to prepare everything in accordance with the current situation, which means a seven-day isolation is required for all inbound travellers.
‘This will be very difficult for the players to accept, with the rest of the world having opened to all travellers.
‘The world governing body of the sport could not believe it and has questioned us about it. The proposed date in August is therefore not feasible, because we can’t confirm anything at the moment.’
The quarantine period is a big problem, but so is the threat to airlines that carrying in passengers who are infected will result in a flying ban in Hong Kong.
However, the SCMP’s source is hopeful and optimistic that the October dates can be met, even if restrictions remain in place.
‘October should be more feasible because we can have more preparation time,’ he continued.
‘Even if the quarantine requirement is still there, we can apply a safety bubble for the players, but they can only travel point-to-point from hotel to venue, without any interaction with spectators – which we do not prefer, and nor do the players. The cost will also be much higher.’
Speaking in May, WPBSA chairman Jason Ferguson explained that talks were ongoing over the return of the Hong Kong Masters, with travel restrictions were the problem then, as they are still now.
He also explained that it would be a small field, invitational event, as it was last time in 2017 when just eight players were involved.
‘We are in discussions over it, it’s not finalised as yet, but we’re very optimistic about it,’ Ferguson told Metro.co.uk in May.
‘A lot of it is down to travel restrictions. Demand for us to put on events in Asia is huge, but it’s down to whether we can make it work from a travel perspective.
‘The idea is to try and put a marker down, push to get an event on in Asia, put those protocols in place and then push to expand on that.
‘We can’t be too ambitious at this stage, so I imagine it will be a fairly small field if we do it.’
The last Hong Kong Masters was held in July 2017 at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium, rated by the likes of Judd Trump and Neil Robertson as one of, if not the best arena they have ever played in.
Robertson won that event, beating Ronnie O’Sullivan in the final.
In 2017, the players and the fans enjoyed it immensely. It would be good if it could be organised, and hopefully available to watch for fans in Europe as well.