Format of Play The first round will be eight groups of four players. The round robin stage will be conducted in the first round with the best of nine frames format. The winner of each match will receive one point while the loser gets no points. The top two players after the completion of the round robin stage will advance to the knock out stage The format of play for the last 16 to the quarter-finals will be the best of 11 frames. The format of play for the semi-final will be the best of 13 frames and the final will be the best of 15 frames.
The line-up is packed with stars such as World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan, Judd Trump, Mark Williams, John Higgins, Ding Junhui, Stuart Bingham and defending champion Stephen Maguire. O’Sullivan’s group draw includes an intriguing meeting with WSF Junior Champion Stan Moody.
The event runs from March 6 to 11 with total prize money of 11 million Thai Baht. Details of how to watch the event will be available soon.
This invitation tournament uses six reds instead of the traditional 15. Maguire lifted the trophy for the second time in 2019, beating John Higgins 8-6 in the final.
And these are the rules in use for the event as explained above (third link)
Additional Event Rules
1) At the end of round robin matches, positions in any given group shall be decided on the basis of number of matches won. 2) To resolve any ties within the groups when two (2) players have equal number of wins, the best frame differentials shall decide the positions. If still being equal, the winning result between the two (2) players concerned shall determine their positions.
3) To resolve any ties within the groups when three (3) have equal number of wins, the best frame differentials shall decide the positions. If still being equal, a draw shall be conducted to determine the top position. For the remaining two players, the winning result between the two (2) players concerned shall determine their positions.
4) In case of a walkover or forfeiture during the round robin stage, the player not in default shall be credited with a win, but no frames shall be awarded thereto. However, should the non-award of frames for the forfeited match affects concerned player’s position within the group, then a sufficient number of winning frames (not exceeding five frames) shall be awarded thereto to enable him to tie with the player immediately above him and to establish the eventual positions, the result of the match between the two players shall be considered.
5) No re-seeding shall take place at the conclusion of the round robin stage. Pairings for the knockout stage matches shall be decided by a draw shall as per following format:
Next month’s WST Classic will be broadcast across the globe (outside China) on Matchroom.Live, giving fans the chance to watch snooker’s star players compete over seven days in the new world ranking event.
The tournament at the Morningside Arena in Leicester will run from March 16th to 22nd, with a field of 128 players and total prize money of £427,000. All-time greats in the line up include Ronnie O’Sullivan, Mark Selby, Mark Allen, Judd Trump, Neil Robertson, Shaun Murphy, John Higgins, Kyren Wilson, Mark Williams and many more, with the draw and format to be announced on Wednesday.
Fans in all territories (outside China) can watch live on Matchroom.Live, with commentary on the main table from David Hendon and Dominic Dale. Details of the cost and how to sign up will be announced shortly.
Matchroom.Live is a global multi-sport OTT service, launched in May 2020 to provide a single destination for Matchroom’s diverse portfolio of events across many sports. The platform hosts live events for territories outside of existing broadcast agreements, as well as free on-demand content spanning over 40 years of Matchroom’s archive.
WST Chairman Steve Dawson said: “We are thrilled to team up with Matchroom.Live to broadcast the WST Classic to every corner of the globe. With such a strong field, it will be seven days of outstanding snooker. For fans who have not come across Matchroom.Live before, this is a chance to get a taste of the fantastic service on offer, with live action from many different sport available throughout the year.”
A limited number of tickets are on sale for the final day WST Classic. The final day will include the quarter-finals at 10am, semi-finals at 2.30pm and final at 7pm. All matches will be best of seven frames, up until the semi-finals which are best of nine, and the final which is best of 11.
I’m sure many will be disappointed. In the past the Matchroom.live service has not always been great (to say the least) but recently I must say that it has been good.
This came out today in one of the snooker news feeds I follow. It gives an update about the timing of the hearing and it’s not great. It also features an interview with Tian Pengfei who is, obviously concerned with what the future holds.
Snooker World Championship to clash with match-fixing hearing after delays
A delay to court proceedings will mean the 2023 Snooker World Championship will be played with the fate of 10 Chinese players hanging in the balance after they were charged with match-fixing
This year’s World Championship is set to be overshadowed by the hearing for the 10 Chinese players suspended and charged with match-fixing offences.
The snooker authorities had hoped to stage the independent tribunal by March, to at least have a chance of the process being tied up before the blue-riband tournament. But delays have seen the provisional scheduled date pushed back until the end of April, with the Crucible extravaganza starting on April 15.
Ronnie O’Sullivan will be going for a record eighth crown in Sheffield, in an event that is the biggest and best showcase of what the game has to offer. After the hearing there will be time needed for the panel to arrive at their decision, publish the verdicts and agree on sanctions – with then possible appeals to follow.
Former Masters champion Yan Bingtao, Lu Ning, Zhang Jiankang, Chen Zifan, Chang Bingyu and Zhao Jianbo were charged with fixing a match. And former UK champion Zhao Xintong, Liang Wenbo, Li Hang and Bai Langning were charged with being concerned in fixing someone else’s match.
World Snooker Tour also need the situation resolved as soon as possible with one eye on getting the tour numbers right for next season after the World Championship. Five of the players charged are based at the Di.ng Junhui Snooker Academy in Sheffield, including Zhao Jianbo, 19, and 20-year-olds Bai Langning and Chang Bingyu.
Senior pro and world No41 Tian Pengfei, 35, also based at Ding’s but not in any way involved, said: “It has been a tough time for the Chinese players, of course the ones suspended and charged – but also the others as well.Tian Pengfei highlighted snooker’s match-fixing scandal as a difficult period for Chinese players—including those who aren’t implicated.
“We came here all feeling really good, over together from China living here and then had the pandemic for two years. Most of us stayed here without going home with the quarantine rules. And the news was of course not good at all. We will have to see in the hearing if some people have made big mistakes.
“It isn’t good for the sport, or any of the players. We know there are many good Chinese players. Some of those suspended have won very big tournaments. And in the recent Welsh Open even without any of the 10 suspended, there were still three Chinese players in the quarter-finals.
“I have been speaking to Ding Junhui, and we have been trying to look after the young players coming up through his academy. I am one of the more senior players now. Ding and I have a responsibility to set an example. We try to do that, but this situation is very tough for snooker across the world and especially in China.
“I do think there will be changes to try and make sure nothing like this will never happens again. Some of the players suspended are very young, and others like Zhao Xintong and Yan Bingtao have won Triple Crown tournaments. They are superstars in China.
“So it has been a big shock, and it is very sad. I just hope World Snooker do the right things and something good can come out of this.”
Shaun Murphy ended a three-year wait for a major tournament win, by defeating Ali Carter 10-4 in the final of the Duelbits Players Championship in Wolverhampton.
Murphy last lifted silverware at the 2020 Welsh Open, an event predating the start of the coronavirus pandemic. On that occasion he thrashed Kyren Wilson 9-1 to pick up the Ray Reardon Trophy. An incredible display of break building has helped him to storm to the title this week.
The Magician has conjured a record 11 century breaks throughout the tournament, beating John Higgins’ previous Players Championship best of eight back in 2021. Murphy is also responsible for all of the top five highest breaks this week. The best of those was a contribution of 145 composed this afternoon and earns him £10,000.
Murphy has captured the 10th ranking crown of his career. That moves him clear of close friend Mark Allen, Peter Ebdon and John Parrott in the overall standings. He is now level with the legendary Jimmy White on the all-time list. Only nine players in the history of the sport have won more.
Murphy moves up to sixth position in the world rankings with the £125,000 top prize. Carter ends the week in 12th spot after picking up £50,000.
Victory makes up for the disappointment of last Sunday for Murphy, where another dazzling run ended short of the winning post. The 40-year-old suffered a shock loss to Robert Milkins in the final of the Welsh Open. That result handed Milkins a BetVictor Series Bonus of £150,000, pushing Carter himself out into second position on the standings.
Recently crowned German Masters winner Carter will be disappointed to have lost out to an inspired Murphy today, but he has the consolation of securing qualification for the upcoming Duelbits Tour Championship. Both finalists have comfortably clinched their places in the top eight qualifying positions.
Murphy put on a blistering display this afternoon to surge to a 6-2 lead, crafting runs of 145, 141 and 112 along the way.
When the players emerged for the evening session, Murphy continued his spellbinding sequence of breaks. He embarked upon a 147 attempt, but broke down on 89 by missing the 12th black.
It was soon 8-2 when Murphy fired in a century run of 103, before Carter hit back with breaks of 71 and 82 to remain in the hunt at 8-4 down.
However, his reprieve was to be short lived, with the sensational Murphy composing breaks of 88 and 130 to get over the line 10-4. After the match had concluded he punched the air with joy and took in the adulation of the crowd.
“I’m absolutely delighted, I’m over the moon. It isn’t often you get me speechless, but I’m pretty close. I’d forgotten what to say when you win. I’ve spent the last few seasons giving runner-up speeches. I’d become far too good at that for my liking. It was so nice to come to a tournament, play well and win. I can’t wait to take the trophy home to show Harry and Molly,” said Englishman Murphy.
“A long time ago now I wrote down a little goal of my own and that was to get to ten ranking titles. I’ve been in lots of finals and could or perhaps should have won more, but ten is a very nice number and I’m pleased I’ve reached one of my career goals tonight. It is lovely to join someone like Jimmy White with that number. Who knows, if I can play like I did today there could be another few to follow.
“I wasn’t guaranteed to be at the Tour Championship when I arrived here this week. That was a goal. I am now in it. I’m sure I will get to Sheffield ready. My game will be in the same shape as it is today. Obviously, I can’t wait to have another crack at the Crucible.”
Carter said: “Shaun played great. I think he played the best all week. There wasn’t really much of my game there today. I was struggling to find anything. Normally my strongest part is my safety and I wasn’t finding the baulk cushion. Shaun was just potting every long ball he was looking at. When he is on we all know what happens. It is unbelievable he hasn’t won for three years.”
I didn’t watch any of the action, so can’t comment, neither on this match nor on the semi-finals.
Earlier in the week, Shaun was involved in a bit of controversy after he reacted strongly to Jill Douglas suggestion that some of his mistakes were the result of slips in concentration. Apparently the press feasted on the incident. Maybe Shaun’s reaction was disproportionate but emotions are running high just after matches and it really only was a storm in a cup of tea. Anyway, Shaun accepted that he over-reacted and apologised to Jill with a card and a bottle of wine. Like the man or not, Shaun’s “old-fashion” manners certainly can’t be faulted.
In other snooker news…
The 2023 Women’s Snooker World Cup is underway in Thailand, and currently at the semi-finals stage. This event will be followed by the 2023 Women’s World Championship. This year there is a strong representation from India, and Mongolia. We almost never hear from snooker in Mongolia, but from what transpires the sport is very well supported there.
The Championship League Snooker Group 7 starts today. Yesterday, Rolf Kalb announced that Ronnie had withdrawn and was replaced by Lyu Haotian. That surprised me a bit because I was expecting Ronnie to take the opportunity to get used to his repaired cue. Indeed John Parris had to modify the cue after the problems Ronnie experienced at the 2023 Welsh Open. This morning Rolf Kalb backtracked, saying that Matchroom had sent incorrect information. But now Lyu Haotian indeed replaces Ronnie in the draw.
Theoretically, Ronnie can still qualify for the 2023 Tour Championship. It is, however, very unlikely as he needs to win the event and hope that other results go his way…
A limited number of tickets are on sale for the final day of the new WST Classic, at the Morningside Arena in Leicester on Wednesday March 22nd.
The world ranking event will run from March 16th to 22nd, with a field of 128 players and total prize money of £427,000. Star names in the field will include:
World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan Leicester’s local favourite Mark Selby Player of the Season Mark Allen Judd Trump, Neil Robertson, Shaun Murphy, John Higgins, Kyren Wilson, Mark Williams – and many more.
The full draw and format will be announced soon.
The final day will include the quarter-finals at 10am, semi-finals at 2.30pm and final at 7pm. All matches will be best of seven frames, up until the semi-finals which are best of nine, and the final which is best of 11.
Details of how to watch the event online will be announced soon.
Frankly the schedule on the final day is bonkers. The finalists might possibly play 27 frames on that day, with a minimum of 15 frames. For that to happen the winner of the event needs to whitewash their opponent in every match from the QFs on… Losing just 2 frames all day would have them playing as many frames as in a Home Nations Final going to a decider. I know that in the PTCs, the possibility existed of them playing as much as 28 frames on the last day but I don’t think that the pressure of playing in this event – basically the “last chance saloon” for many before the World Championship – compares to the (often too) relaxed approach to playing in a PTC.
WST has also (finally) published the draw and format for the 2023 6-reds World Championship in Thailand.
World number 37 Joe O’Connor took full advantage of narrowly qualifying for this week’s Duelbits Players Championship by beating top seed Mark Allen 6-3 in Wolverhampton.
With the best performing 16 players of the season earning a place in this week’s elite event, O’Connor only just gained his spot by edging out three-time World Champion Mark Williams by £500.
The Leicester cueman clinched qualification with a fine run to the quarter-finals of last week’s Welsh Open. He has had the best campaign of his career so far this term, having also been runner-up to Gary Wilson at the Scottish Open before Christmas.
This evening’s win means O’Connor will now rise to a career high ranking at the end of the week. He’s guaranteed to move to at least 33rd position in the world rankings.
Meanwhile Allen will remain comfortably in first place on the one-year list and is assured of being top seed at the Duelbits Tour Championship in March. The Antrim potter has enjoyed a superb season, having racked up silverware at the Northern Ireland Open, UK Championship and Duelbits World Grand Prix.
Breaks of 63 and 64 helped O’Connor make a flying start this evening by moving 3-0 ahead. Allen showed his steel and fired in 85 to stay in touch at the mid-session, trailing 3-1.
When play resumed O’Connor re-asserted his authority and went 4-1 up. However, Allen immediately responded with a run of 91 to claw another frame back.
O’Connor moved to the verge of victory with a superb break of 132 to make it 5-2. Although Allen took the eighth, a clearance of 45 saw O’Connor steal the ninth on the colours and emerge a 6-3 victor. He now faces either Jack Lisowski or Luca Brecel in the quarter-finals.
“I’ve played a pretty solid match. I don’t think Mark was at his best, but fortunately he gave me a couple of chances I wouldn’t get when he is at his best and I managed to punish him,” said 27-year-old O’Connor.
“This is massive for me. It is my first time at the Players Championship, on the main table against the best player of the season by a mile. I’ve turned up, played some good stuff and nicked some frames.
“In practice I have been working on shots that have cost me frames and matches. That seems to have instilled a little bit of confidence knowing I have an all-round game now. My game has been at a good place for a while now and it has just been about waiting for the wins to come.”
On the other table, second seed Ryan Day scored an impressive 6-2 win over recently crowned Shoot Out champion Chris Wakelin.
Day has enjoyed a fine season thus far. It was highlighted by winning his fourth ranking title at the British Open, where he defeated Allen in the final.
The Welshman top scored with a break of 103 this evening. He progresses to the quarter-finals, where he takes on either Mark Selby or Shaun Murphy.
Shaun Murphy ended a four-game losing streak against Mark Selby, emerging a 6-3 victor in their first round clash at the Duelbits Players Championship in Wolverhampton.
It’s Murphy’s first ranking event win over Selby on UK soil in 18 years, a run dating all of the way back to the 2005 Grand Prix. Selby’s recent four-game win streak against Murphy in all tournaments included a famous 18-15 win at the Crucible in the 2021 World Championship final.
However, today’s loss is a big blow for the Leicester cueman’s chances of qualifying for the Duelbits Tour Championship. Only the best eight players on the one-year list earn a place in Hull. Selby remains in seventh position, but Murphy is now hot on his heels in eighth.
The win sees Murphy recover quickly from a disappointing loss on Sunday evening in the Welsh Open final, where he was on the wrong end of a 9-7 scoreline against Robert Milkins. The Magician now progresses to this week’s quarter-finals and will play Ryan Day next.
Breaks of 72 and 75 helped nine-time ranking event winner Murphy to take the first three frames of the afternoon, before four-time World Champion Selby stole the fourth on the black to head into the mid-session 3-1 behind.
When play restarted, Murphy fired in a break of 92 to move 4-1 ahead and the 40-year-old was soon one from victory when he made it 5-1.
Selby showed his usual grit and determination to take the seventh and the eighth frames, but Murphy wasn’t to be denied and came through a 6-3 victor.
“I’m very happy. The result on Sunday against Robert had a huge impact on the draw. I then had to face one of the hardest players in the tournament and one of the hardest players of my career,” said 2005 World Champion Murphy.
“I certainly know that he has had the better of me more times than the other way round. We’ve been playing each other since we were ten years of age and we know each other very well on and off the table. I would pay tribute to Mark by saying that, for all those young players watching and trying to improve, he has never played a single shot in his life he hasn’t given 100% attention to.
“Anyone who plays accuracy sports understands that one of the big pats on the back you give yourself is where shots go exactly where you want them. Not just in the pocket, but exactly where you aim. A lot of my shots are going exactly where I want them. There are a few that aren’t which are a bit rogue, but I am working on them. In general my form has been good all season. It feels as if I’m getting to a crescendo moment and a win is around the corner.”
On the other table, world number seven Kyren Wilson eased to a quarter-final berth with a 6-2 defeat of Zhou Yuelong.
Wilson is the third seed this week after securing the European Masters title earlier in the season, thrashing Barry Hawkins 9-3 in the final.
The Warrior showcased his break building best this afternoon, firing in breaks of 76, 50, 100, 63, 121 and 51 on his way to victory. Next up Wilson plays either Ding Junhui or Gary Wilson in the last eight.
Man of the moment Robert Milkins admitted that the thought of defeat was a distant one this evening, as he kept up his momentum with a 6-5 win over Tom Ford at the Duelbits Players Championship in Wolverhampton.
The Gloucester cueman enjoyed the biggest moment of his career on Sunday, when he claimed his second ranking title after defeating Shaun Murphy 9-7 in the final of the Welsh Open. Following this evening’s deciding frame win he said: “When you are winning, it is hard to lose.”
Milkins scooped a huge £230,000 payout following his triumph in Llandudno, which included a £150,000 BetVictor Series Bonus. He’s now certain to be present for the upcoming Duelbits Tour Championship in Hull and is looking good to secure his place in the world’s top 16 and automatically qualify for the World Championship.
Next up this week Milkins faces an intriguing quarter-final showdown with the man he pipped to that bonus, Ali Carter. The pair met in the semi-finals of the recent German Masters. On that occasion Carter won out 6-5 and went on to claim the title.
Ford was the losing finalist in Berlin and suffered more disappointment this evening, with Milkins edging through in a final frame.
Runs of 62 and 70 helped Milkins into an early 2-1 lead this evening, but Ford pegged him back just before the mid-session and restored parity at 2-2.
When play resumed the standard went up and notch and the pair engaged in a break building battle. Milkins took the fifth to regain the lead, before a break of 68 saw Ford draw level again at 3-3.
The recently crowned Welsh Open champion edged back in front with a break of 53. However, Leicester’s Ford replied with 71 in the eighth to make it 4-4. Milkins then moved one from the win, only for Ford to force a decider with a contribution of 60.
It had looked as if Ford was going to take the lead for the first time at the vital moment, but he missed an easy red to the middle when leading 36-0. Milkins clinically punished that mistake with a break of 74 to secure the 6-5 victory.
“I don’t know what has happened. Like I say, when you are winning it is hard to lose. Little things went my way tonight and in the end I scraped through,” said 46-year-old Milkins.
“I was sitting back when he was in the balls at 5-5. Normally I would be thinking about wanting him to miss. I’m not even that bothered. It has been such a long journey over the last few weeks. It has been amazing.
“I’d like to think that win will help me. Maybe not right this second, but if I get in a position at the World Championship to win against a top player, maybe I can push on rather than be negative.
“I’m coming off the back of the biggest win in my career. If I can’t believe in myself now, then I never will. I am looking forward to the next round.”
On the other table, Carter earned his quarter-final spot with a nerve shredding 6-5 defeat of 2019 World Champion Judd Trump.
The win is Carter’s first over Trump since 2016, in a match over the best of seven frames or longer. The Captain was beaten by Trump in the World Grand Prix final back in 2019.
A dramatic final frame in this evening’s encounter saw Carter leave Trump requiring two snookers on two occasions. Both times he got them on the colours to leave the match in the balance. However, Carter eventually deposited a tricky blue to the right middle to get over the line.
Carter said: “Judd had me in all sorts of trouble all night. His safety was unbelievable and he will be disappointed to have lost there, I would have been if I’d have lost. I got the job done in the end.”
Belgian number one Luca Brecel took a huge step towards progressing to the Duelbits Tour Championship, after an entertaining 6-4 win over Jack Lisowski at the Duelbits Players Championship in Wolverhampton.
Brecel captured his third ranking title earlier in the campaign with victory at the Championship League. He was also runner-up to Mark Selby at the English Open, but is yet to confirm his qualification for the elite Tour Championship.
Only the top eight players on this season’s one-year list can make it to the series finale in Hull next month. Shaun Murphy’s first round win over Selby yesterday had seen him leapfrog Brecel into 8th position. However, today’s win for Brecel sees him move back in front.
Defeat for Lisowski leaves his Tour Championship hopes hanging by a thread. The six-time ranking event finalist now slips to 10th position on the live one-year list and only a deep run in the WST Classic can give him a chance of clinching a top eight spot.
Brecel made a fine break of 99 to take the opener this afternoon, before Lisowski responded by taking the next two and lead 2-1. However, they went into the mid-session level after Brecel fired in a run of 83 in the fourth.
When play got back underway Lisowski regained the lead thanks to a contribution of 85. Brecel did level up, but a century run of 104 from 31-year-old Lisowski saw him move ahead again at 4-3.
From there it was Brecel who charged to the line. Breaks of 78 and 58 saw him move 5-4 ahead, before a dramatic 10th frame. Lisowski had a chance to force a decider, but missed a straightforward red to the middle on 49. He lost the initiative in the frame and Brecel got himself over the line a 6-4 victor. He now faces a quarter-final with Joe O’Connor.
“We both wanted to win to get into the Tour Championship, so it was quite an important game. I am happy with how the game went,” said 27-year-old Brecel.
“It helps fighting for the Tour Championship and having something to play for, if you can handle it. I am going to be quite motivated tomorrow. I will enjoy it as well. This is a big tournament and everyone wants to do well here.
“Some people say it is all about winning but I don’t think so. There is more to it than that. If you watch football and see Messi and Ronaldo play it is different. People want to see entertaining football. If you have nice pots and nice breaks, that is the game me and Jack play. That is good for the crowd. It is what people expected before the game and we delivered.”
On the other table, Scottish Open champion Gary Wilson secured an impressive 6-3 win over 14-time ranking event winner Ding Junhui.
Wilson is also battling for a Tour Championship berth and today’s result keeps his hopes alive. The Wallsend cueman now faces Kyren Wilson in the last eight.
Wilson composed breaks of 61, 88 and 115 on his way to this afternoon’s victory and play’s his namesake in the last eight on Friday at 1pm.
Ali Carter thrashed Robert Milkins 6-1 to make the semi-finals of the Duelbits Players Championship in Wolverhampton.
The win acts as revenge for five-time ranking event winner Carter, who was narrowly pipped to a £150,000 BetVictor Series Bonus last week by Milkins. That came after the Milkman scored a stunning second ranking event victory at the Welsh Open, to catapult himself to the top of the series standings.
Carter had looked set to scoop the bumper payout for himself after his recent win at the German Masters. It was the Captain’s first ranking silverware since 2017. Following a 6-5 win over Milkins in the semis, he thrashed Tom Ford 10-3 in the title match.
This evening’s defeat brings Milkins’ sparkling run of form to an abrupt halt. However, both players look almost certain to qualify for the elite Duelbits Tour Championship, having maintained their positions inside the season’s top eight money earners.
Carter now progresses to the semi-finals where he will face either Luca Brecel or Joe O’Connor. If he were to win the event it would see him pick up two ranking titles in a single season for the first time in his career.
A break of 66 was enough for Carter to take the opening frame. The second was a more attritional affair, but Carter eventually took it, after 36-minutes of play. The Chelmsford cueman then claimed the third with a break of 98 to make it 3-0.
The last frame before the mid-session saw Milkins launch his cue in disdain after an error, but he got another chance and ensured he headed into the interval just 3-1 behind.
When the players returned it was Carter who blitzed his way to the finish line. He crafted breaks of 65 and 75 on his way to three on the bounce and came through with the 6-1 win.
Carter said: “I played great stuff tonight. I was really solid and I couldn’t fault my safety play. He produced some great safety as well, but when I got my chances I took them and I could count on one hand the amount of mistakes I made.
“He didn’t pinch the bonus from me, he won the tournament. He thoroughly deserved the bonus, but that is in the past now and there is no point worrying about it.
“It wasn’t the easiest of weekends. I obviously wanted to win the money, of course I did and anyone would have in my position. However, I like Rob and he won so good on him.
“The confidence is really high. It is one match at a time and four matches to win the tournament. I’ve got two under my belt and it will be a tough game on Friday night. I’m going home for a couple of days now and looking forward to coming back.”
I didn’t watch much at all, so can’t comment on the matches. All the same here are some “random thoughts”
From what I see Joe O’Connor is coming off age. He’s 27, it took him longer that many expected, but I would say that the opposition in the mid rankings is now stronger than ever.
Nice words from Ali about Rob Milkins and “the bonus”. Ali appears to be in a better place and more relaxed than he has been for a long time. I hope it lasts and his health problems are behind him.
Mark Selby seems to struggle badly. Other than the 2022 English Open this season has been quite “a low one” for him. Of course his health is much more important than any game of snooker.
To be held from 28 February – 4 March 2023, the tournament will once again offer direct access to the professional World Snooker Tour to this year’s champion, with world class players from 12 different countries set to descend upon Bangkok for the prestigious event.
Among those set to compete are each of the players ranked within the world’s top 10, and an impressive 17 of the top 20 in the draw. These include defending champion and home favourite Mink Nutcharut, England’s record 12-time world champion Reanne Evans and three-time winner Ng On Yee from Hong Kong.
Last season’s runner-up Wendy Jans – 14 times a European champion – and five-time finalist Maria Catalano will also join the field from the top tier, while Rebecca Kenna, Jamie Hunter, Tessa Davidson and Siripaporn Nuanthakhamjan are all former semi-finalists at the elite event who will be hoping to go further in 2023.
In addition to the regular Tour competitors, the tournament will also welcome a number of highly regarded players who have either not competed regularly, or at all, in recent years. Among these are Thailand’s Waratthanun Sukritthanes, three times a quarter-finalist at the World Championship since 2017, but who has not been seen on the Tour since the 2019 edition at the same venue.
Likewise, the Tour is also delighted to welcome back India’s Vidya Pillai, who so memorably came within one ball of victory in the 2017 final against Ng On Yee following a marathon final in Singapore.
China’s Bai Yulu is also widely regarded as a player of impressive potential and the 19-year-old set to make her WWS debut next week.
There also strong fields set to contest the Under-21 and Seniors side-tournaments, which will be held alongside the main competition in Thailand for the first time. Both Ploychompoo Laokiatphong and Tessa Davidson will be aiming to defend their respective titles won last year in Sheffield, England.
The final field has also been confirmed for the second staging of the Women’s Snooker World Cup, with 12 teams set to contest the invitational tournament from 25-27 February.
Defending champions Siripaporn Nuanthakhamjan and Waratthanun Sukritthanes are back to attempt the defence of their title, with further teams from England, Thailand, Hong Kong, Australia, India and Mongolia also among the field:
Australia A – Lilly Meldrum / Anna Lynch
England A – Reanne Evans / Rebecca Kenna
England B – Jamie Hunter / Zoe Killington
Hong Kong A – Ng On Yee / Ip Wan In Jaique
Hong Kong B – Man Yan So / Ho Yee Ki
India A – Amee Kamani / Anupama Ramachandran
India B – Ishika Shah / Sanvi Shah
Mongolia A – Bayarsaikhan Narantuya / Sergelenbaatar Byambasuren
Mongolia B – Battogtokh Battuya / Bayarsaikhan Mungunchimeg
Thailand A – Nutcharut Wongharuthai / Ploychompoo Laokiatpong
Thailand B – Waratthanun Sukritthanes / Siripaporn Nuanthakhamjan
Thailand C – Panchaya Channoi / Phimchanok Phoemphul
The draw and match schedules for all four tournaments will be released via WPBSA SnookerScores in due course prior to the start of the event.
The presence of Bai Yulu is interesting indeed. She might prove a very strong candidate for the title if what transpired about her is true. This means that she could possibly get on the main tour via this route. Bai was starting to make some serious impact on 2019, before covid stopped about everything, particularly in China.
When the 2019 IBSF “junior” (boys Under-18 and boys and girls Under-21) Snooker Championship was held in the Olympic Center of Pingdu, Qingdao, Shandong Province, Bai Yulu who celebrated her 16th birthday during the event won the girls competition. She beat Mink by 6–1 in the final. She also reached the quarter-finals of the 2019 IBSF Women’s World Snooker Championship and made the three highest breaks of the tournament: 91, 81 and 78.
She was however prevented to compete in a number international events as she was deemed too young to travel alone. I may be wrong but I don’t thing such restrictions have applied to Chinese boys …
Other than that, the 2023 Players Championship in underway. I’ll cover that later after the first round concludes. I didn’t watch much at all of the action, not because Ronnie isn’t playing, but because my youngest daughter – who I hadn’t seen in the flesh for over 3 years – is visiting me on my island… Some of the biggest names are out already: Mark Allen, Mark Selby, Judd Trump all lost. The recent “form players” prevailed: Joe O’Connor, Robert Milkins, Ali Carter and Shaun Murphy all won.
Robert Milkins has beaten Shaun Murphy by 9-7 yesterday evening to win the 2023 Welsh Open, his second ranking title. Robert, who has been through a lot of difficulties through his long career celebrated with his family. He is a very popular winner. Everyone who once worked at the South West Snooker Academy, where he used to practice were emotional with joy … Paul Mount, Janie Watkins, Andrew Norman… all were absolutely delighted for Rob and there were tears of joy!
Robert Milkins, who started the BetVictor Welsh Open as a 125/1 outsider, beat Shaun Murphy 9-7 in the final, a victory which earns him well over a quarter of a million pounds.
The destination of the £150,000 BetVictor Series bonus was on the line for Milkins, as well as a second ranking title, but he stood up to intense pressure with an admirable performance in the final in Llandudno, coming from 3-1 down to win eight of the last 12 frames.
The popular 46-year-old from Gloucester doubles his tally of ranking titles, having won his first at the BetVictor Gibraltar Open last season, 27 years after turning professional. He becomes the 40th player in snooker history to win multiple ranking titles.
The BetVictor Series covered eight events across the season, starting last July, with the leader of the Ranking List earning the bonus. Ali Carter was in pole position going into today’s final, but Milkins’ triumph sees him jump to the top of the list. He wins £80,000 for the title in North Wales, plus the £150,000 bonus, a place in the 2023 Champion of Champions and potentially a spot in next month’s Tour Championship and a top 16 Crucible seeding in April. All in all, his achievement today could be worth close to £280,000.
Robert Milkins – 2022/23 BetVictor Series BetVictor Championship League – semi-final group stage: £5,000 BetVictor European Masters – last 16: £7,500 BetVictor Northern Ireland Open – last 16: £7,500 BetVictor Scottish Open – Last 32: £4,500 BetVictor English Open – Last 32: £4,500 BetVictor Shoot Out – Last 64: £500 BetVictor German Masters – Semi-finals: £17,500 BetVictor Welsh Open – champion: £80,000 Total: £127,000
It’s an astonishing turnaround for a player whose tour card was in doubt this time 12 months ago. His career sunk to a nadir at the Turkish Masters last March when his drunken behaviour at the opening ceremony landed him a heavy fine from WPBSA. With the help of counselling, he has turned his life and his form around, allowing his natural talent to flourish. Milkins celebrated in the arena tonight with children Charlie, Elisha and Mia, a moment he will remember forever.
He is up from 27th to 16th in the official rankings, and leaps to fourth on the one-year list, ahead of the Players Championship which starts in Wolverhampton on Monday.
Murphy misses out on a tenth ranking title, which would have brought him level with Jimmy White on the all time list and made him the 11th player ever to reach double figures. The 40-year-old has had a superb week, highlighted by a 147 during his match with Daniel Wells, but is still seeking a first title since the 2020 Welsh Open. The £35,000 runner-up prize moves world number 11 Murphy up to tenth on the one-year list.
After sharing the first session 4-4, Milkins took the first frame tonight with a break of 55, then Murphy levelled with a run of 70. Frame 11 came down to a respotted black and Murphy missed a tough pot to a baulk corner, handing his opponent the chance to roll the black into a centre pocket to regain the lead. And a run of 60 from Milkins in the next saw him go into the interval 7-5 ahead.
Murphy pulled one back with a break of 64, only for Milkins to make a 64 for 8-6. Back came Murphy with the highest break of the match, 114, and he had an early chance in frame 16 but made just 11 before a missed red. Milkins converted an excellent red to a centre and kept his composure in a tournament-winning 64.
“It won’t sink in for a couple of weeks. I can’t believe I have won the title and the bonus,” said Milkins, who turns 47 next month. “It was a struggle all day, I was fighting my emotions. I didn’t play the way I wanted to play, but in the end I played ok, I dug in and I’m really proud of myself. I made nice little 60 breaks in that evening session. I am chuffed to bits.
“My B game is pretty good when things aren’t going well. That’s the difference now compared to the player I was in the past. My safety helps me out a lot. Tactically I was a little bit better than Shaun and that was the only difference. He got in a few times and missed, he didn’t punish me as he usually does.
“This has opened a lot of doors for me, I have got a lot of snooker to play now. Just one week is life changing, it’s unreal. Gibraltar last year kicked it all off for me but this week is the biggest of my life on the table and I’ll probably never get another one like it.
“I have dedicated this to my friends Dean and Mandy. They are like family to me, they are God-parents to all my children. When I have had problems in the past, like being evicted, they have taken me in and always been there. They are very important people for me.”
Murphy said: “I didn’t have my best today, I made far too many unforced errors. Rob picked up the pieces. All credit to him, he was the best player and I wish him many congratulations. I couldn’t have tried any harder, but I could have played a bit better. I feel like I am going in the right direction. It has been a fabulous crowd all week, this is a very special place and I want to thank the fans for their support.”
The crowds in Llandudno were excellent all week. Yesterday, they were rewarded with a very entertaining match, played in great spirit. Both players went for their shots, there was no negativity whatsoever, despite what was at stake. Rob in particular appeared to play with a lot of freedom. like he was in the club, when, of course, he was giving it everything he had, Both were supported by the fans who clearly appreciated the brand of snooker on show. It was, certainly, one of the best matches of the season so far.
Eurosport experts Ronnie O’Sullivan and Jimmy White have expressed their admiration for the “unorthodox” Robert Milkins as he competed against Shaun Murphy in the Welsh Open final.
After 27 years as a professional, the 46-year-old won his first ranking title at the 2022 Gibraltar Open, becoming the oldest first-time winner of a ranking event since Doug Mountjoy at the 1988 UK Championship. He has otherwise been something of a journeyman on the World Snooker Tour.
But for all his struggles and hard work, O’Sullivan and White have been marvelling at how relaxed, free-flowing and instinctive Milkins is. Both snooker legends have been mightily impressed by his speed, unorthodox play and the fact that pressure does not seem to get to him at all.
“I love watching Rob play, you know,” O’Sullivan said in the Eurosport studio.
“He is just unorthodox. He is out of position a lot, but he pots these balls. He is confident and he is good to watch.
“Milkins is handling this final pretty well. Because he is so quick and instinctive, the pressure cannot really get to him.
“Yes, he is always going to throw in a few mistakes, but with his speed and quick thinking, he does not really feel pressure. He plays off instinct much more.
“It can be very off-putting for his opponents too. As a player, it can be very hard to play against.
“Drago was like that: he was up out of his chair, he’s missing balls and you think he has gone, then all of a sudden he is back. Milkins is a bit like that – he is a very similar player to Drago, very instinctive.“
White agreed: “Yes, he seems to get down, pull the cue back and hit! But he pots some really good balls, you know.
“He leaves himself in bad positions but just nonchalantly rolls the balls in. He has got good bottle and good self-belief, he just needs to bring it all in a bit and get a bit more control.
“He plays on instincts, like on a tightrope. He is never settled, but the way he plays, I don’t think you could settle because I think he would not go for the shots he goes for.
“For his opponents, you think you have got someone because they are starting to miss, but all of a sudden, they just roll one in and away they go again.“