Snooker News – 13.02.2023 – World Championship Qualifiers

We have no professional snooker going on for a few days but we have news … indeed WPBSA have announced the qualifiers for the coming 2023 World Snooker Championship:

WPBSA Qualifiers Announced For Cazoo World Championship

The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) and World Snooker Tour have announced the qualification criteria for the 16 amateur qualifiers who have earned the right to compete at the Cazoo World Snooker Championship in Sheffield next month.

This year’s qualifying rounds will return to the English Institute for Sport, Sheffield from 3-12 April 2023. The field will include professionals ranked outside of the world’s top 16 following the Duelbits Tour Championship and amateur top ups from the 2022 Q School Order of Merit.

They will be joined by 16 leading amateur players, based upon their achievements at recognised international competitions during the current season. These include the World Snooker Federation Championships, the WPBSA Q Tour and the World Women’s Snooker Championship.

Jason Ferguson, WPBSA Chairman said: “It is always an honour to be able to announce our WPBSA qualifiers who will compete at this year’s World Snooker Championship in Sheffield.

This year’s field contains an exciting array of talent, from some of the most talented juniors in the world. These include our WSF champions Hai Long Ma and Stan Moody, as well as vastly experienced former ranking event semi-finalists Martin O’Donnell and Daniel Wells, who throughout a period off tour have demonstrated that they can still compete at the very highest level.

The strength of these qualifiers reflects the current strength of the amateur game globally and the prestige of each of the qualifying pathways. The WPBSA has a robust and well-developed global system, which provides direct access to the World Snooker Tour for elite performers.

There can be no prouder moment for these players, their families and their supporters, than to see that through their exceptional performances they will join snooker’s greatest stage, the Cazoo World Snooker Championship.”

Full WPBSA Qualifiers list:

  • Hai Long Ma – 2023 WSF Championship Winner
  • Stan Moody – 2023 WSF Junior Championship Winner / 2023 WSF Championship Runner-up
  • Liam Davies – 2023 WSF Championship Semi-Finalist
  • Yang Gao – 2023 WSF Championship Semi-Finalist
  • Liam Pullen – 2023 WSF Junior Championship Runner-up
  • Iulian Boiko – 2023 WSF Junior Championship Semi-Finalist
  • Filips Kalnins – 2023 WSF Junior Championship Semi-Finalist
  • Martin O’Donnell – 2023 WPBSA Q Tour Winner
  • Liam Graham – 2023 EBSA European Under-21 Championship Winner
  • Bulcsú Révész – 2023 EBSA European Under-18 Championship Winner
  • Siripaporn Nuanthakhamjan – 2023 World Women’s Snooker Champion
  • Ross Muir – 2023 WPBSA Q Tour No.2
  • Daniel Wells – 2023 WPBSA Q Tour No.3
  • Billy Castle – 2023 WPBSA Q Tour No.4
  • George Pragnell – 2023 WPBSA Q Tour No.5
  • Farakh Ajaib – 2023 WPBSA Q Tour No.6

All players selected will appear subject to acceptance of their place and any travel restrictions in place. Any replacement players will be selected from a reserve list to include performances at World Snooker Federation, Q Tour and recognised regional events.

Any current professional players who do not enter the tournament will be replaced from the 2022 Q School Order of Merit.

There is clearly a bigger focus on the young talents this year and that’s good. Indeed the 2023 EBSA European Championship is still underway in Maltayou can follow it here – but WPBSA din’t wait to know the winner of that competition to name their qualifiers. There is also a clear confirmation that snooker is on the rise in Easter Europe with three teenagers from the area in the field.

WST also shared a report on Liam Graham’s win over Iulian Boiko in the 2023 EBSA European Under-21 Championship yesterday evening.

Graham Wins Title And Tour Card

Scotland’s Liam Graham defeated Iulian Boiko 5-2 in the final to win the 2023 EBSA European Under-21 Snooker Championship and earn promotion to the World Snooker Tour for the first time in his career. 

Organised by the European Billiards and Snooker Association, this year’s staging was held at the Dolmen Hotel in Qawra, Malta and hosted by the Malta Billiards and Snooker Association.

A total of 96 players representing 30 different nations took part in the event, hoping to join a list of former champions stretching back to 1997 and including professional ranking event winners Mark Allen, Michael White and Luca Brecel. 

Graham, an 18-year-old from Glasgow, breezed through his round robin group earlier in the week, winning all three of matches and not dropping a single frame. However, he needed to show his mettle during the knockout phase as he won the final two frames to oust 12-year-old Matvei Lagodzinschii (Ukraine) 4-3 in the last 32, before coming back from 3-1 down to deny Riley Powell (Wales) 4-3 in the last 16.

In the quarter-finals Graham dispatched Artemijs Žižins (Latvia) 4-2, and then ended the challenge of Ryan Davies (England) 4-1 in the final four with the aid of a 78 break. 

Coming through the other side of the draw was former professional Boiko, who created history by becoming the first Ukrainian to reach the final of this prestigious championship. 

The 17-year-old – who also eased through his group without relinquishing a frame – recovered from being behind in his opening three knockout matches before a more comfortable 4-0 success against Robbie McGuigan (Northern Ireland) in the semi-finals where he crafted runs of 79 and 75. 

Having earlier deposited the opening frame of the title match, Graham also won frames three and four to go 3-1 up heading into the mid-session interval. On resumption, Boiko produced a break of 101 to reduce his arrears, but the Scottish teenager won frame six, and then potted a long pink followed by a tricky black in frame seven to secure the championship. 

Graham is the third Scot to win Europe’s premier junior snooker competition, and he is set to realise his ambition of competing on the sport’s top tier with a World Snooker Tour card for the 2023/24 and 2024/25 seasons.

3 thoughts on “Snooker News – 13.02.2023 – World Championship Qualifiers

  1. Where is Carty??? (No reason not being invited in the Qualifier. He gained the tour card just now)

  2. Great to see all the youngsters, but no spot for the World Seniors champion? I thought the current champion usually got one of the 16 spots. David Lilley got one last year as an amateur and World Seniors champion, although he might have also been high on the Q-School top-up list.

    • Bias of old players being slow and not good in long games? so no seniors?

      I simply think the tour wants some young stars to gain more influence, thus farming money. (Look at the 64, they are now in thirties! and how long can they last?)

      But I strongly in doubt some of them are raised to world championship qualifiers. (for relegated Q-tour ones they have experience, but not the real rookies). However it is still a experiment move filling the spots not only by q-school merit list, so I am neutral to it.)

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