This one is really a mixed bag …
Let’s start with the “neutral” bit.
BetVictor German Masters Final Stages Draw
Defending champion Zhao Xintong faces Tom Ford in the opening session of the BetVictor German Masters at the magnificent Tempodrom venue in Berlin in February.
Zhao beat Yan Bingtao 9-0 in the final last year and he’ll be back at the Tempodrom to defend his crown, starting against Ford at 3pm local time on Wednesday February 1st. On the same day in the evening session, BetVictor European Masters champion Kyren Wilson is up against Sam Craigie, while legend Jimmy White takes on Peng Yisong.
Standout matches on Thursday February 2nd include Neil Robertson against Joe Perry, and Luca Brecel facing Matthew Stevens. The final takes place on Sunday February 5th.
The tournament will be screened by Eurosport, discovery+ and a range of other broadcasters worldwide.
This event could well be a big opportunity for one of the mid-ranked players as there is no “Class of 92” in the draw, no Mark Selby, no Judd Trump, no Mark Allen , no Shaun Murphy… But it could also be a real nightmare for the promoters that so many big names miss out. The Tempodrom is an extraordinary venue, but not a cheap one. We could lose this one if it becomes financially un-sustainable. Time for a “tiered” format? I would say yes.
WST attempted to move the cut-off point for the 2023 Players Championship and faced a social media riot
Players Championship Cut Off Point
Thursday 1 Dec 2022 08:50AM
The seeding cut off point for the 2023 Players Championship, which runs from February 20 to 26, will come after the 2023 BetVictor German Masters.
Our calendar previously stated that the cut off point would fall at the end of the BetVictor Welsh Open, which finishes on February 19. However we have now moved the cut off point back to end of the BetVictor German Masters which finishes on February 5. This means that the draw and format for the Players Championship can be announced well in advance.
Only the top 16 players on the one-year ranking list, as it stands at the end of the BetVictor German Masters, will qualify for the Players Championship, which returns to Aldersley Village in Wolverhampton, where Neil Robertson won the title last season.
Updated Players Championship Cut Off Point
Friday 2 Dec 2022 03:29PM
Following the announced change to the seeding cut off for the 2023 Players Championship, the decision has today been taken to revert to the original seeding cut off point of after the 2023 BetVictor Welsh Open.
The announced change was made for good reasons to assist scheduling and planning for players; however, it is recognised that it is mid-season, and this decision should be considered at the end of the season and in advance of a full calendar.
The top 16 players on the one-year ranking list at the end of the BetVictor Welsh Open, which finishes on February 19, will qualify for the Players Championship which runs from February 20 to 26.
It’s not often that you see all the players agreeing on a topic and actively opposing one of WST decisions, but it did happen this time. Indeed the initial decision to “move the goalpost” for the Players Championship qualification, by excluding the 2023 Welsh Open from the list of qualifying events proved to be extremely unpopular. As Mark Williams wrote on social media, players plan their season and enter events, or don’t, based on their goals, the season calendar and the prize money schedule. Changing the “rules” mid-season is not on.
The 2022 English Open will be played in Brentwood , Essex next week. This, for Ronnie, Ali Carter, Stuart Bingham and Mark King will really be a “home” event.
It’s the last qualifying event for the 2023 World Grand Prix and WST has been looking at the implications of this for various players.
Race To Cheltenham Concludes In Brentwood
Gary Wilson has leapt to fifth place on the one-year ranking list with just one counting event to go before the field is confirmed for the World Grand Prix.
Wilson won the first ranking title of his career by beating Joe O’Connor 9-2 in the final of the BetVictor Scottish Open in Edinburgh on Sunday. The £80,000 top prize boosted him up 47 places from 52nd.
At the end of next week’s BetVictor English Open, the top 32 players on the one-year list will qualify for the World Grand Prix, to be staged in Cheltenham from January 16 to 22.
O’Connor earned £35,000 for reaching his first ranking final, so he’s up from 69th to 13th and is now sure of a place in Cheltenham. Neil Robertson reached the semi-finals and leaps from 43rd to 24th, while Thepchaiya Un-Nooh also made the last four and he’s up from 59th to 31st with a total tally of £30,500. Robertson is £4,500 ahead of Un-Nooh, with Mark Selby a further £1,000 inside the safe zone. Ronnie O’Sullivan is in 17th spot with £37,500.
Jamie Clarke and Jordan Brown are tied in 32nd spot, but both failed to qualify for the BetVictor English Open in Brentwood so in fact they are out of the running.
Big names currently outside the top 32 and in need of a deep run in Brentwood are Yan Bingtao (42nd with £21,500), Zhao Xintong (44th with £21,500) and John Higgins (74th with £12,000). Four-time World Champion Higgins will have to reach the final in Brentwood to get into the top 32.
BetVictor English Open prize money:
Last 16: £7,500
Last 32: £4,500
Last 64: £3,000
High break: £5,000
The same one-year list will be used to determine the field for the other two events in the Players Series. The top 16 at the the end of the BetVictor Welsh Open in February will qualify for the Players Championship at Aldersley Village, Wolverhampton (February 20 to 26) and only the top eight will go on to the Tour Championship at the Bonus Arena in Hull (March 27 to April 2).
On the official two-year list, Wilson climbs from 32nd to 18th, while O’Connor jumps from 55th to 40th. Ronnie O’Sullivan remains the official world number one, with a lead of £211,000 over Judd Trump.
Wilson is up to second place in the BetVictor Series Rankings, just £7,000 behind leader Kyren Wilson. Mark Allen is third, just £1,000 behind Gary Wilson. There are four events to go in that race, with the money list leader after February’s BetVictor Welsh Open to bank the massive £150,000 bonus.
Ahead of the event, Ivan Hirschowitz, WST press officer, has been speaking on “Phoenix FM” , the local radio station.
World Snooker Comes to Brentwood – Ivan Hirschowitz
Monday 5 December 2022, 3.59pm
Snooker’s top stars will be heading to the Brentwood Centre for the first time next week and tickets are on sale now.
The Essex venue will host the BetVictor English Open, a world ranking event and part of the Home Nations Series, from December 12 to 18.
Over 70 players including the top 16 seeds will be on the green baize at the Brentwood Centre. Winners in recent years and include Ronnie O’Sullivan, Judd Trump, Mark Selby, and current champion Neil Robertson.
Today the Head of Media for the World Snooker Tour – Ivan Hirschowitz, joined me in the studio to tell us all about it.
Phoenix FM was created by Paul Golder who, with Django Fung, started “The Grove”, a snooker club and a management team. They currently manage Mark Selby, Neil Robertson, Judd Trump, Ding Junhui, Ali Carter and Michael Holt. Their first player though, about 15 years ago, was Ronnie, who remains on friendly terms with both of them.
And finally a personal concern that may or may not be justified
This season, a number of snooker players, top players, have embraced pool as an alternative: Mark Selby, Mark Williams, Mark Allen to name a few. Judd Trump played in a major Pool event last season too. Nothing wrong with that as the early season has been very start/stop with long gaps for them to fill.
However, at the same time, I also sense a change of priorities at Matchroom. Emily Frazer, Matchroom’s Managing Director is a very dynamic and proactive person. I’ve met Emily a few times at the Premier League Snooker years ago (2007-2011) and I can only admire her. She does a sterling job. Her priority however is pool, not snooker. This is very obvious to anyone following her twitter account. She clearly has Barry Hearn’s support. Eddie Hearn is only interested in boxing… If Matchroom priorities, and with it, their investments, shift mainly to pool, it could be very bad news for WST and snooker because, actually, Matchroom owns 51% of the WST shares. Barry Hearn “bought” snooker in 2010. At the time he literally saved it of course, but …