Professional Snooker News – 12 February 2023

2023 6 Red World Championship

The draw has been made in Thailand for the Pathum Thani 2023 6 reds World Championship

The whole ceremony is available on YouTube:

The actual draw is made by the legendary Thai MC Twitath Warintrakom and is toward the end of the video.

Group A

Stephen Maguire (1) – Scotland

Ding Junhui (16) – China

Zhang Anda – China

Mink Nutcharut – Thailand

Group B

Barry Hawkins (8) – England

Luca Brecel (9) – Belgium

Jimmy White – England

Thepchaiya Un-Nooh – Thailand

Group C

John Higgins (5) – Scotland

Hossein Vafaei (12) – Iran

Ken Doherty – Ireland

Poramin Danjirakul – Thailand

Group D

Judd Trump (4) – England

Ricky Walden (13) – England

Ma Hailong – China

Kritsanut Lertsattayathorn – Thailand

Group E

Mark Selby (3) – England

Ali Carter (14) – England

Chris Wakelin – England

Dechawat Poomjaeng – Thailand

Group F

Mark Williams (6) – Wales

Mark Allen (11) – Northern Ireland

Andres Petrov – Estonia

Sunny Akani – Thailand

Group G

Shaun Murphy (7) – England

Stuart Bingham (10) – England

Mahmoud El Hareedy – Egypt

Noppon Saengkham Thailand

Group H

Ronnie O’Sullivan (2) – England

Jimmy Robertson (15) – England

Stan Moody – England

James Wattana – Thailand

This is a really diverse field and it’s great to see the two laureates of the recent WSF Championships, Stan Moody and Ma Hai Long, in this draw. Thailand is the host and, as such, has one player in each group. I’m happy to see Sunny Akani in the draw as well as Thai National Icon James Wattana.

It promises to be and enjoyable event.

2023 Welsh Open

The 2023 Welsh Open starts tomorrow in Llandudno. Fraser Patrich has withdrwan and is replaced by Andrew Higginson. Andrew will play Neil Robertson tomorrow afternoon. The two of them met in the Final of this event in 2007. Andrew was 8-6 in front in that match, but lost by 9-8 eventually. He had made a 147 earlier in the tournament. The maximum came in his quarter-final against Ali Carter.

A number of top players have work to do there if they wish to play in the 2023 Players Championship. As it stands, Neil Robertson and Barry Hawkins need to win at least two matches in Wales. Ronnie needs to reach the final, John Higgins needs the title. It’s 80000 (pounds and points) for the winner but only 17500 for the losing semi-finalists…

Ronnie has an exhibition scheduled during the Players Championship but it comes with a message from Jason Francis stating that the event could be rescheduled at short notice.

Ronnie’s first match is against Oliver Lines and that’s a bit of a banana skin, especially over best of 7.

John Higgins first opponent is Alex Ursenbacher, with Martin Gould to follow should he win. Ronnie and him could meet in the QFs, should they both get that far.

10 thoughts on “Professional Snooker News – 12 February 2023

  1. I aint gonna join the “is Ronnie trying hard enough” fight, I’d done it too many times and my opinion is clear. (he aint lol)
    however, wassup with the netflix documentary? the silence is deafening and rather suspicious

    • You are one of his “so called” fans who seem to believe that unless he wins, he’s not trying. Even Judd Trump said publicly that it’s unfair on him. Such attitude is unfair on any sportsperson. You don’t know what they are going through, and it’s none of our business. Be grateful for what he has offered us over the years. If you can’t, go support a “better” winner. As for the Netflix documentary, Ronnie said earlier this autumn that they had done some more filming and that it should be ready towards the end of the season.

  2. I’m glad to hear that there was a message about how Ronnie’s exhibition might have to be rescheduled. It would seem a bit sketchy for a player to schedule an exhibition during another event that the player was presumably making a good faith effort to qualify for, without making it clear that the player would opt to play in the other event (instead of the exhibition) if eligible.

    That being said, I’m not expecting Ronnie to qualify for the Players Championship, as I imagine he will continue his season-long pattern of not trying very hard in the ranking events, especially the Home Nations. Based on how his season has gone so far, he’ll probably lose to Matthew Stevens in the round of 32 at the Welsh…

    • Every exhibition goes with this disclaimer I believe: the one Ronnie scheduled in Arbroath for 2019 (if I’m correct about the date) was actually postponed because of a (late) entry into some tournament in China. Still it does not sound too well that there is an exhibition scheduled for the date of the Players’, but somehow it sums up the whole season and it will be sad to see the Players (and the Tour) without Ronnie (I don’t believe either that he will get to the final of the Welsh ): it, I guess, is a taste of the future after he does not play anymore. 😦

      Having said that, without this exhibition being scheduled and promoted, I would expect Ronnie to try at the Welsh, as he did in 2020 (to no avail): he likes these events, but true that even if he tries hard, the way this season went so far, there is no reason for optimism.

      • I think that he WILL try and that having this exhibition scheduled will not make him try less. Maybe even the opposite. I know that this might “sound” weird but but having something to fall back on, and look forward to, should he lose, may actually “relax” him a bit. No player performs at their best when anxious and tense.

    • I’m not expecting him to qualify because he’s not been playing well enough but I would be surprised if he lost to Matthew Stevens. But he might get Carter in the next round, and Carter IS playing well and is confident after his German Masters win. Also, it’s unfair on Ronnie that some fans apparently believe that if he tries he will win everything. That’s not true, neither for Ronnie, nor for any other player.

      • It would going too far to say that Ronnie will win any match he tries to win, although I think that’s more true for Ronnie than for any other player.

        The point is not that he will win if he tries, but rather that he has so many matches/tournaments where he doesn’t win and it was clear that he wasn’t trying his hardest, either in the sense that he hadn’t practiced much before the event, and/or he looked bored and disinterested, and/or he played with a 12-second AST. Because we know he does these kinds of things seemingly way more often than other players, it’s difficult to know whether any given loss was a result of not trying his hardest or was a “legitimate” loss.

        I’m not convinced that he has “tried” to win any of the ranking events so far this season. Even at the UK Championship, I have a difficult time believing that Ronnie would lose a match 6-0 if he was fully-invested in winning…

      • Ronnie is no different from other players. The elbow injury has disrupted his practice for weeks. Coming to events unprepared hasn’t helped his confidence, and he’s not the most confident person. I know that most fans don’t believe this, because they assume that having won so much he MUST be confident but he’s not, he’s an anxious guy. And when you don’t BELIEVE you can win, it’s hard to find the strength and motivation to try and fight from far behind which is what he needed to do against Ding who played very well that day. And, also, unfortunately, with age, inconsistency creeps in. In a multi-session match you may have a chance to recover from a “bad day”, not in a short match.

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