Snooker News – 18 March 2023

The news yesterday once again brought a mixed bag…

The good … Ross Muir regained his professional status by winning the 2023 EBSA Championship in Malta.

Here is the report by WPBSA

Magnificent Muir is European Champion

Ross Muir is set to return to the World Snooker Tour after he defeated fellow Scot Michael Collumb 5-1 in the final to win the 2023 EBSA European Amateur Snooker Championship. 

Organised by the European Billiards and Snooker Association, over 170 players from 40 different nations took part in the 32nd edition of this prestigious continental event which was this year being held at the Dolmen Hotel in Qawra, Malta.  

Muir had no problem qualifying for the knockout rounds after topping his group with four wins from four. He went on to eliminate Umut Dikme (Germany) 4-2, George Pragnell (England) 4-0, former finalist Heikki Niva (Finland) 4-2, Shachar Ruberg (Israel) 4-3 and then two-time winner Robin Hull (Finland) 4-1 in the semi-finals. 

On the other side of the draw, current Scottish national champion Collumb – who also enjoyed a 100% record in the groups phase – denied recent Q Tour Playoff winner Ashley Carty (England) on his way to the last four where he ended the challenge of Irish youngster Ross Bulman, 4-1.

The first all-Scottish final in the tournament’s history, Muir started strong as breaks of 55 and 88 helped him establish a 2-0 lead. 

Collumb got on the board with frame three, but Muir clinched a tight fourth frame from behind to go into the mid-session interval two up before reaching the target of five on resumption. 

After agonisingly finishing second on this season’s Q Tour and just missing out on automatic promotion, this triumph in the Mediterranean for the 27-year-old means he will be back in the big time as he secures a two-year professional tour card for the 2023/24 and 2024/25 seasons. The Edinburgh cueist last appeared on the sport’s top tier in 2019.

Muir becomes the fourth player from Scotland to win the title, and the victory caps an incredible championships for his nation after under-16 and under-21 glories at the same venue for Jack Borwick and Liam Graham, respectively. 

Congratulations Ross Muir!

I’m very happy for Ross who has somehow been forced out of the professional game because of health issues. He’s obviously been working very hard to regain his tour card and has got a lot of good results in recent months. I’m wishing him the best as he return where he belongs to, the Main Tour.

The bad … Mark Kings suspended on suspicion of match fixing

Here is WPBSA statement

WPBSA Statement | Mark King

Saturday 18 Mar 2023 01:00PM

WPBSA Statement | Mark King

WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson has today taken the decision to suspend Mark King from attending or competing on the World Snooker Tour with immediate effect.

This follows an initial investigation of irregular betting patterns reported to the WPBSA on the match between Mark King and Joe Perry at the Welsh Open on 13th February 2023.

The suspension will remain in place until the conclusion of the investigation or any subsequent charges that may or may not be brought. Mark King has the right to appeal this decision.

This is another blow hitting the sport we love. This particular match had been discussed on social media indeed and there are call for Jason Ferguson to quit because, allegedly, he didn’t act swiftly enough in this case, and indeed the 10 Chinese players case. I’m not sure about that. It’s one thing to suspect or even know something, and another thing to have enough solid proof to take actions that are bound to be legally challenged if not supported by substantiated evidence.

Acquiring such evidence might take some time. In some cases it might even prove impossible. We have had cases in the past, in snooker, of situations where everyone was convinced that results had been manipulated but actual solid proof could never be sufficiently established. You can’t break someone career, and life, on suspicions no matter how strong they are.

Mark King is a former betting addict. My first thought reading the news was: “Did he have a relapse? Did he put himself is such dire financial situation that he saw no other way out of his problems?”. Hopefully answers will come soon. No matter how bad the answers they can’t more damaging than being in a limbo that only feeds speculations and conspiracy theories.

One thought on “Snooker News – 18 March 2023

  1. It cannot be considered slow with the number of player involved, as a civic organization…
    (Many evidence can only be obtained by prosecutors/police… Unless players confess it…)

    It seems that netizens forget how COVID affected us (I do not think it’s easy for detectives go freely back then)…

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