2023 Q-School Event 1 – Day 5

This is WST report on day 5 at the 2023 Q-School Event 1

Pullen Clinches Final Day Slot

English teenager Liam Pullen is just two wins away from earning a tour card, after a thrilling fightback saw him beat Craig Steadman 4-3 and make the final day of Q School Event One.

Pullen is just 17 years old and already came close to securing his place on tour earlier this year, but he was beaten 5-1 by Stan Moody in the final of the WSF Junior Championship in Sydney.

Steadman is well versed in the Q School gauntlet, having earned tour cards through the event on a record four separate occasions. He looked good in this evening’s tie, when he swept to a 3-0 lead.

However, Pullen fired in breaks of 70 and 69 on his way to forcing a decider. The talented youngster showed nerves of steel in the final frame, crafting a century run of 109 to make it four on the bounce and clinch victory. Next up Pullen faces Sydney Wilson.

Ukraine’s Iulian Boiko won a late night thriller against two-time ranking event semi-finalist Stuart Carrington 4-3 to clinch his place in the penultimate round.

Boiko had already beaten Liam Davies 4-2 earlier in the day and ended by defeating Carrington on the final black, with the clock just shy of midnight. He now faces Jamie O’Neill, who beat Joshua Thomond 4-3.

Hayden Pinhey beat former German Masters semi-finalist Duane Jones 4-3 to keep his hopes of a maiden tour card alive. He top scored with a run of 103 and will now play former professional Jamie Curtis-Barrett. Having lost in the final round of Q School in each of the last three years, Pinhey will is keen to go one step further tomorrow.

Pinhey said: “In the first two years that I lost in the final round, my opponents played really well. Last year I played against Jenson Kendrick and we both struggled. It was probably the lowest I’ve been after a snooker match. I was really struggling mentally. I had to get myself back up again and a month later I beat Matthew Selt 5-1 in a tour event. I know I have the game and it is just about doing it at the right time now.

Former professionals Andrew Higginson and Steven Hallworth earned final day berths. Higginson scored a 4-1 win over Hayden Staniland, while Hallworth beat Zachary Richardson 4-2.

Iulian Boiko is to be commanded for the fortitude and fighting spirit he shows under the current circumstances in his country. He’s showing a lot of character for someone so young. Yesterday evening he fought hard again, coming back from 3-1 down to beat the experienced and ever tough Stuart Carrington.

16 players remain, of which 4 will get a two years tour card at the end of today. This is the last 16 draw:

If I’m not mistaken, 6 of those players have never been professionals before: Whelan, Pinhey, Quinn, Taubman, Pullen, and Womersley. The ones who don’t have a (a) next their name have just been relegated and attempt to regain their professional status right away.

Two of the 16, Liam Pullen and Iulian Boiko are teenagers. Two, Alexander Ursenbacher and Iulian Boiko are from mainland Europe.

All the detailed results are on snooker.org

2023 Q-School Event 1 – Days 3 and 4

Over the last two days, the second round of the 2023 Q-School Event 1 was played to a finish and the third round started.

Here are the reports by WST:

Sunday 28 May 2023

Higginson And Castle Set Up Third Round Tie

Andrew Higginson and Billy Castle both secured safe passage into the third round on day three of Q School to set up a high-quality clash on Monday night.

Higginson made light work of Labeeb Ahmed, beating him 4-0 inside 47 minutes including breaks of 100 and 57 with an average shot time of just 14.9 seconds. Former Shoot Out quarter-finalist Castle defeated Mark Vincent 4-1 with runs of 128 and 58.

The pair are scheduled to play at 7pm on Monday but recently met as early as November in the final of the fourth Q Tour event in Stockholm. Castle took the match 5-4 via a re-spotted black in a deciding frame.

Ian Martin, who played several top-up matches on tour last campaign, is out of Event One after losing 4-1 to Poland’s Daniel Holoyda. The Warsaw-based potter last entered Q School four years ago but was triumphant on his return with two breaks over 50. He now faces Chris Totten in the third round.

I’m very happy to be back,” said the 24-year-old. “I was not satisfied when I saw the draw because Ian Martin is a very decent player but I think I accommodated to the venue very quickly and just played my snooker.

I love playing here at World Snooker Tour tournaments. For me, it’s a delight, a different world. Here everything is perfect. You can just barely touch the cue ball. Everything reacts, every spin matters. It’s like snooker heaven.

I started playing snooker nine years ago. I won the Polish Championship final with my handball team but I actually had a choice between football and snooker. Long story short I didn’t want to play football that much anymore so I transitioned to snooker, started playing, fell in love with the game and now I’m here!

Michael Holt and Alexander Ursenbacher had no such trouble in their games. The Hitman breezed past Jeff Cundy 4-1, while Ursenbacher hit four without reply against Belgium’s Tan Wang Chooi. The 27-year-old started the season in fine form with a shock victory over Ronnie O’Sullivan at the Cazoo British Open. But, after finishing the season 87th, he dropped off the tour.

Winning one match a tournament isn’t enough,” said the Swiss potter. “You really need to do something to keep your tour spot. I haven’t done that, that’s why I am here. It puts a lot of pressure on you but the key is to be calm and be yourself.

I didn’t really miss much after the first two frames today. I play even quicker in practice but I’m pleased with 18 seconds a shot. I’m just trying to play my game and I bet you’re going to see a lot more under 20 seconds a shot if I keep doing what I’m doing.”

Barry Pinches and Peter Lines will meet in the last 64 after securing victories earlier in the day. Pinches was made to work for his win, needing a decider to beat Nathan Jones 4-3. Whereas the 2017 World Seniors Champion, Lines, defeated Ben Robinson 4-2.

Looking at how the young did on that day there were wins for Bulcsú Révész (16), Oliver Sykes (17) and Paul Deaville (18) who beat Florian  Nüßle from Austria. Vladislav Gradinari on the other hand was beaten 4-0 by Ben Fortey. Vladislav is only 14 and any one having watched Ben in amateur events knows how good he is and wonders how he hasn’t done better.

Bulcsú Révész is from Hungary. Other non UK/Irish players who went on to reach round 3 that day are Daan Leyssen from Belgium and Aman Goel from India.

On the other hand the once much fancied Sean Maddock and Jamie Wilson both lost in the second round. I’m not sure that Jamie Wilson’s type of game is sustainable if he has ambitions to succeed as a pro.

Monday 29 May 2023

Boiko Wins Thriller Against Fellow Teenager Sykes

Iulian Boiko came through a thriller against 17-year-old Oliver Sykes needing pink and black in a decider to secure his place in the third round of Q School.

After losing the opening frame, Boiko, who is also 17, won three on the spin to move within one of victory. Sykes then hit back and drew level in frame six with a break of 56. The Hampshire-based potter was on the verge of victory in the decider with a 12-point lead and just pink and black left on the table. But Sykes missed match-ball, allowing Boiko to steal.

Boiko’s win sets up a fourth-round tie with Liam Davies, with the Welshman easing past Paul Burrel 4-0. Boiko defeated Davies 4-3 when the pair met in the quarter-finals of the World Snooker Federation Junior Championship in February, only for the latter to get his revenge a week later in the WSF Championship by the same scoreline.

Earlier in the day, Bai Yulu narrowly missed out on booking her place in the third round, losing 4-3 to Craig Steadman. The Women’s British Open champion led 2-0 and 3-2, but it was the Englishman who held his nerve in the decider to take the match.

Barry Pinches rolled back the years against Peter Lines claiming a 4-2 victory to earn a place in the fourth round. The Canary, who part-owns Pinches Snooker Club in Norwich, dropped off the tour this spring after his most recent four-year stay.

I’ve got plenty of motivation to still play,” said the 52-year-old. “Luke, my son plays, and George Pragnell plays in the club I’m now a partner of in Norwich. And the main thing is I still enjoy playing. If I don’t get through Q School, I’d play on the Q Tour with Luke and George.

Peter (Lines) and I played from junior level in the mid-80s so we’ve known each other for years. Those sorts of games are coin-flick games. Perhaps luck was the difference, but I’m quite happy with the way I’m playing.

I think the standard at Q School gets better every year. There are more people here. With the prize money guarantee that World Snooker Tour put in place, which is a brilliant initiative, people are willing to take a shot it. I see a lot of really good young kids from different countries but it’s just so difficult.”

On a day when Mitchell Mann and Farakh Ajaib both crashed out, Alexander Ursenbacher and Louis Heathcote continued their strong form to ensure safe passage into the Last 32.

Despite the defeat, it’s an excellent result for Bai and a match from which she will learn a lot. Craig Steadman is the most successful player in the history of the Q-School, having qualified through it four times previously. At 40, with 10 seasons as a pro, Craig has bags of experience and yet, this young women from China, who has never competed in WST event before, has pushed him all the way.

Bulcsú Révész (16), Oliver Sykes (17) and Paul Deaville (18) also all lost in round 3. Hopefully they will do well in the second event and gather enough points to be offered the opportunity to play in some events during the season and gain experience. The same goes for Daniel Holoyda. He’s 24 but the covid years, and the restrictions that came with that crisis, probably impacted his development. Opportunities to play against top opposition are not as abundant in Poland as they are in the UK and Ireland.

One big surprise – for me at least – is Michael Holt’s defeat to Hayden Staniland. I know next to nothing about Hayden but he played on the Q-Tour and didn’t pull any tree…

Two “Seven Times” chat over a practice session … and it’s wonderfully honest and seriously interesting

Stephen Hendry may not have put the efforts many of his fans expected into his “comeback” but he still loves his snooker, still wants to be involved and help grow it.

Six months ago , he set up a YouTube channel named Hendry’s Cue Tips. Really, it’s a “must subscribe” for any serious snooker fan. Hendry may no more be the player he was, but his knowledge and understanding of the game at its highest level is immense. His conversations with fellow top players are always interesting and, at times, challenging.

Yesterday he published his latest “cue tips” instalment and his guest was Ronnie…

One of the topics they touched is, of course, the “*the 8th World Title” and – by chance or by design – Phil Haigh also published a piece yesterday where he reports the interview Ronnie did on BBC Radio 4 and that same topic was on the menu as well.

Ronnie O’Sullivan warns rivals he’s ‘coming back a different player’ after World Championship disappointment

Phil Haigh Sunday 28 May 2023 4:50 pm

Ronnie O’Sullivan sounds highly motivated ahead of next season (Picture: Getty Images)

Ronnie O’Sullivan was left ‘really gutted’ by how he played at the Crucible this year and intends to ‘come back a different player’ next season.

The Rocket was looking good at the World Championship this year, beating Pang Junxu in the opening round before thrashing Hossein Vafaei in the last 16.

The seven-time world champion was still looking strong at 10-6 ahead against Luca Brecel in the quarter-finals, before the Belgian reeled off seven frames on the spin to win the match and continue his incredible run all the way to the title.

While it was brilliance from the Belgian Bullet in that final session, O’Sullivan certainly played poorly and he admits that his performance hurt him in the aftermath of the sport’s biggest event.

The 47-year-old believes he still has a significant amount of time at the top of snooker, if he is prepared to dedicate his life to the sport, something he intends to do next season as he warns his rivals that he intends to put his recent Crucible performance right.

I think, if I want it, I’ve got three really good years,’ O’Sullivan told the BBC’s Desert Island Discs. ‘But that depends on whether I’m fully devoted to it and say snooker’s all I’m going to do for three years, which I can do but it’s hard if you want to do some days with Jimmy White as a pundit, a few exhibitions, because they’re fun.

I can still perform, still be a top eight player doing that. But to really give yourself the best opportunity it’s about being totally on it and it’s whether I’m prepared to do that and I think I will this year.

The last World Championships wasn’t a good tournament for me. I was really gutted with how I played. I wasn’t disappointed I lost, you lose you know, but the way I played, I wasn’t happy with that.

I want to try and put that right and try and come back a different player next year.

Still world number one, O’Sullivan has no doubt he can still perform at the very highest level, saying he is probably a better player now than he has ever been due to constantly developing a more rounded game over the years.

For me, it’s always been about being open to learn and becoming a better player,’ he said. ‘I think now I’m a better player than I’ve ever been, because I don’t rely on one thing, I’ve got three or four different options of surviving within a game and at any point I can switch.

It’s taken time, because I was never really the best at anything, I wasn’t the best long-potter, I wasn’t the best safety player.

I was always good at making breaks and scoring quickly, which is an amazing asset to have, but without the other stuff it became a bit one-dimensional.

Over the years I’ve had to improve in a lot of them areas and now I can call upon them. But I always know at the back of my mind I need to be firing on all cylinders, which is scoring breaks at a rapid speed. When I’m doing that I’m a dangerous opponent.

It’s learning, leaning to be a better player. That’s what excites me. I spent a lot of time struggling, trying to work it out. I’m at the point now that I’ve improved, but how long can I keep it going for now? I’ve worked so hard to get there and now I want to make as much hay as I can and [get] enjoyment. Because I suffered a lot with it and I’ve learned to not suffer. It’s about more pleasure now.

Ronnie on BBC Desert Island Discs – 28.05.2023

Ronnie was today on BBC Radio 4 Desert Island Discs program

You can listen to the show here.

These are his choices …

There is also an interview

Seven things we learned from Ronnie O’Sullivan’s Desert Island Discs

Ronnie O’Sullivan is arguably the greatest player in the history of snooker. At 19, he became the youngest winner of the Masters while last year, at 46, he became the oldest winner of the World Championships, a title he’s won seven times. He’s currently ranked number one in the world. He’s also made headlines away from the snooker table, with accounts of his depression and struggles with alcohol and drugs. Less well known is that he loves running, which he says plays a huge part in maintaining his mental health. He’s also a keen amateur artist.

1. The right frame of mind is vital for success at the snooker table

If I’m playing in a room with a friend or just on my own, there’s no pressure,” says Ronnie. “It doesn’t matter if I’m having a bad day not hitting the ball quite so well. No one’s watching.”

The guy that had won the tournament, I wanted to be him

But when you’re pitted against another really good player, a top class player in a venue – let’s take the World Championships because that is the one and only tournament which really, really stands alone, for the atmosphere, for the intensity, for the nerves that it brings out in you.

The build-up can play tricks with your mind and it can make you go from good form to bad form. If you overthink or you freeze, it just gets the better of you. It’s not a normal situation to go and do your work [in]. So that becomes really difficult and something that I don’t enjoy really.”

2. Ronnie has held a world record for 26 years – but he doesn’t value it

Back in the 1997 World Championships, playing against Mick Price, Ronnie scored the maximum break of 147 [potting all the reds, each followed by the black and then clearing the remaining balls] in a record time of five minutes and eight seconds, spending on average less than nine seconds on each shot. The record still stands, more than a quarter of a century later.

So how does he feel about it now?

I don’t watch that one back,” says Ronnie, “because that reminds me of when my game wasn’t in a good shape. Although I made the 147, I wasn’t really playing good enough snooker or consistently enough to win the World Championship.”

He backs this up by adding: “It’s not an important record though… In the snooker world, what is more impressive than anything is just consistency. It’s about being able to churn it out, ball after ball, match after match, becoming this rock – and at that time I was anything but a rock. But I could do moments of magic, but I didn’t want to be known for moments of magic.”

The guy that had won the tournament, I wanted to be him. I didn’t want to be the guy collecting the nice big cheque that they give you for the 147 [£147,000 in prize money for the maximum]. I’d give all that up just to get my hands on that trophy… I need to be where he is.

3. When he was 12 he experienced a moment of revelation

Ronnie was given his first snooker cue by his dad, Ronnie senior, at the age of seven but it took five years before he felt that he could make something of the game.

I’m a better player than I ever have been because I don’t rely on just one thing

“The first time I thought ‘I’m good at this game’ was when I was 12,” says Ronnie, “and I won a tournament at Barking, which was my home club, and it was a pro-am tournament and all of a sudden my game just clicked.”

I was playing this guy and I just felt like I couldn’t miss. For the first time in my life I thought: ‘I’m going to clear this table.’”

And it was like ‘Bang!’ Long red, 80… ‘Bang!’ Long red, 100. And I’m in the quarters [quarter finals] now but I feel a different player and I thought if I can keep this going, you never know.”

I got a cheque for £600 and I got a trophy. It was half-ten, 11 o’clock at night and I’m thinking, ‘This is unbelievable.’ That’s the first time in my life where I thought, ‘You know what? I can play this game.’”

4. He impressed his school friends by turning £5 into £20 in 20 minutes

Ronnie didn’t enjoy school and despite his talent at snooker, he didn’t really attract a great deal of attention from the other pupils who were much more interested in who was good at football.

The only time people got a bit excited when I said to my mates: ‘Shall we have fish and chips then?’ They went, ‘Yeah, we’d love that.’ I said, ‘How much money you got?’ And they went, ‘Got a pound for lunch.’”

So we get a fiver – we all had a pound each. I went, ‘Right, I’m going down the snooker club.’ I said, ‘I’ll turn it into £20 no problem.’ I said, ‘You up for it?’ And they went, ‘Yeah, yeah.’”

So schoolboy Ronnie would enter the club and challenge someone to play him for a £20 prize: “‘You want a game of snooker?’ [They] went, ‘Yeah.’ I had 20 minutes to get this done and I went, ‘Bang, bang, bang!’ I got the £20 and I went, ‘Right, let’s go and have fish and chips!’

Ronnie also admits that fish wasn’t always his first choice back then: “I was partial to a saveloy!

5. Away from the snooker table, he faced many challenges as a young adult

When Ronnie was 16, his father received a life sentence for murder, and four years later his mother was imprisoned for tax fraud. With both parents jailed, Ronnie was responsible for his sister who was only eight.

That was the point where it just went from zero to 100 overnight,” says Ronnie about the time. “Once my mum had gone away, I had no one to be accountable to, because she was another one that I knew would be so disappointed in me if I’d come back drunk or I started smoking.

When my dad went away, she was the next person that I didn’t want to let down. I wanted to be there for her and make sure that we both got through it – together we were stronger. That was my mindset.”

[With] her going away, it left me on my own. And then by the time she came out, it was too late. The damage… I was already off and running. There was no stopping me.”

I tried, I tried [to look after sister Danielle] but I couldn’t deal with it. I was already then drinking and partying. Just hanging around with people that weren’t really good for me, really.”

6. One of his close friends is a leading British artist

Nowadays Ronnie takes his physical and mental health much more seriously. He finds a run in the morning sets him up for the day. He has also taken up painting and has a friendship with Damien Hirst, who burst onto the British art scene in the 1990s, with numerous eye-catching works, including a preserved dead shark, a diamond-encrusted skull and large spot paintings.

I can’t draw to save my life,” says Ronnie. “But what Damien gets me doing is he does a lot of dots… He has these massive canvases. And he [said], you can do this. And I was like, ‘I ain’t got a room big enough to put a canvas like that!’”

No, he said, ‘Just get a little piece of paper. You just get smaller pens and you just do it on a different scale.’”

Ronnie feels that the experience of creating art alongside Damien is therapeutic: “This is really good for me… This is getting me in a nice place. I’m with my friend. I’m here with him. I don’t want to be anywhere else. I feel safe.”

7. He’s learned how to stay at the very top of his game – and now wants to enjoy it

Ronnie is the currently ranked number one in the world, and says this is the result of the work he continues to put in: “[I’ve] always been open to learn and becoming a better player. I think I’m a better player than I ever have been because I don’t rely on just one thing. I’ve got three or four different options of surviving within a game and at any point I can switch, which just took time because I was never really the best at anything.”

I wasn’t the best long potter. I wasn’t the best safety player. I was always good at making breaks and scoring quickly, which is an amazing asset to have, but without the other stuff, it became a bit one dimensional.“

Over the years I’ve had to learn to improve in a lot of areas and now I can call upon them. But I will always know that in the back of my mind that to get the job done, I need to be firing on all cylinders, which is scoring breaks at a quick rapid speed.

Now I’ve got to the point where I’ve improved, but it’s… how long can I keep it going for? I’ve worked so hard to get there and it’s like now I just want to make as much hay as I can and enjoy it because I suffered a lot of it, you know, and I’ve learned to not suffer, so it’s about more pleasure now.

Not much new but a nice interview all the same…

2023 Q-School Event 1 – Day 2 + Snooker News

Here is WST report on what happened yesterday at the Q-School as the first round concluded.

Bai Reaches Round Two With Crucial Break

Bai Yulu made a vital break of 78 in the deciding frame to beat Muhammad Aurangzaib 4-3 and reach the second round of Q School event one in Leicester.

China’s 19-year-old Bai, playing in Q School for the first time, will now face Craig Steadman on Monday morning. She has shown her potential on the World Women’s Tour in recent weeks, reaching the final of the World Championship and winning the British Open, and admits that earning a place on the professional tour is now her biggest goal.

After losing the opening frame against England’s Aurangzaib, she levelled with a run of 62. Bai lost the third but then made a 33 clearance to snatch the fourth, and a break of 49 put her 3-2 ahead. Aurangzaib forced a decider, but Bai’s excellent 78 secured her progress.

Former Shoot Out champion Robin Hull was smoking hot in a 4-0 win over Richard Pipe, compiling breaks of 114, 58 and 66. Joshua Cooper made a 132, the highest break of the event so far, during a 4-0 success over Abdul Raheem.

Gerard Greene, a former Players Championship finalist, eased to a 4-0 win over James Burrett. Liam Pullen, runner-up to Stan Moody in the WSF Junior Championship, came from 2-1 down to beat Mark Lloyd 4-2.

All the results are on snooker.org

There was clearly a lot of interest about Bai’s match yesterday. She will have learned a lot from that match yesterday. She had no previous experience to play in professional conditions. Also, it’s unlikely that the young Chinese lads she plays regularly in China have the type of game Muhammad Aurangzaib plays. He’s 51 and probably plays a more conservative game than the younger players. Bai coped with that. She handled the pressure well. She must have known that her match would followed by many. Craig Steadman will probably have too much for her, but, as she stated, she’s here to learn.

The deciding frame is on YouTube

There weren’t any big surprises yesterday.

That said, I thought that the 4-0 win by 19 years old Antoni Kowalski from Poland deserved a mention. Here is Antoni’s 2022/23 page on Cuetracker. Antoni won 49 of the 60 matches he played this season so far (counting yesterday win) and at 19 is the reigning Polish National champion.

Also worth mentioning is France’s Nicolas Mortreux win. Nicolas, who is only 20, has played a lot of good matches this season as his 2022/23 Cuetracker page shows. including on the Q-Tour. He’s shown serious dedication, traveling a lot to play, gain experience and improve. Nicolas will play Lee Shanker next. They have never played each other (according to Cuetracker) but I think that it’s a winnable match for Nicolas despite the superior experience of his opponent.

Snooker News shared by WST

Ding Steps Down

It has today been announced that Ding Junhui is to step down from his position on the WPBSA Players Board of Directors as of 31 May 2023.

Ding was elected as a founding director of WPBSA Players in December 2020, following the formation of the organisation as part of a major constitutional review of the WPBSA.

Following a season which has seen the former world number one lift the 6-Red World Championship title for a second time and notably reach a fourth UK Championship final, the 36-year-old has taken the decision to step down from the board of WPBSA Players to focus on his playing career at this time.

Ken Doherty, Chairman of WPBSA Players said: “Ding has made a positive contribution to the WPBSA Players Board over the past two and a half years. On behalf of the board, I would like to thank him for his input and wish him well for the future.”

I’m glad to read that Ding wants to focus more on his career again. He’s too good, and, at 36, too young to partially retire and if he feels that his duties as a member of the board are taking too much of his time and energy, then, this is surely the right decision for him. I can’t help though to wonder if there might be additional motives as well. It’s obvious that the image of Chinese snooker has been tarnished by the latest match-fixing scandal and many of the players involved were training at Ding’s academy. Maybe Ding feels that he now has a responsibility to try and restore a positive image of the state snooker in China and there is no better way than doing it on the table.

Huge Offer From Matchroom Sport Charitable Foundation

The Matchroom Sport Charitable Foundation will pledge £25,000 to Jessie May Children’s Hospital at Home IF Rob Walker can reach the same target during his Absent Friends Tour in June.

Our Master of Ceremonies is cycling 1,000 miles from John O’Groats to Land’s End next month in order to raise money for WST’s official charity Jessie May, as well as the Brain Tumour Charity.

CLICK HERE for Rob’s Just Giving page where you can donate

And if the Jessie May tally reaches £25,000 then Matchroom Sport Charitable Foundation will double it to a massive £50,000.

WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson, a trustee of the foundation, said: “This is an incredible challenge for Rob and we know how much it means to him personally. We’re delighted that he has chosen Jessie May as one of the charities who will benefit as these kind on donations are what keep them going. If Rob can complete the challenge and reach the £25,000 target then we will be thrilled to match it.”

The Matchroom Sport Charitable Foundation was created to centralise the benevolent efforts of Matchroom Sport, the global sports promotion company headed by Barry Hearn. For over 30 years, Matchroom Sport has donated millions of pounds to a wide-range of charities throughout its many sporting activities, including sports and community charities, and a number of hospices for both children and adults.

Jessie May Nurses provide vital respite and palliative care for terminally ill children, and their families across the South West. For more information visit www.jessiemay.org.uk

2023 Q-School Event 1 – Day 1

The first Q-School started yesterday in Leicester and here is WST report about the day’s outcome:

Heathcote Off To Strong Start

Louis Heathcote got his bid for a return to the professional ranks off to the perfect start with a 4-0 win over Marc Shaw on day one of Q School Event One at the Morningside Arena in Leicester.

Heathcote is aiming to bounce straight back from the disappointment of relegation from the World Snooker Tour last month. His four year run as a professional came to an end with a 10-7 loss against Andrew Higginson at World Championship qualifying.

The Leicester cueman, who is playing on home turf this week, narrowly avoided relegation two years ago. He made it to Judgement Day at 2021 World Championship qualifying to retain his tour card, but this time it wasn’t to be.

Heathcote wasted little time securing the win this afternoon, taking just over an hour. He crafted breaks of 112 and 53 en route to victory. Next up Heathcote faces Alex Clenshaw.

“You have to go in the mindset that you belong on the tour. We all want to be top 16 and world number one. This is just part of the journey for me. I’m not saying I’m going to get on straight away, but that is the approach you have to come in with,” said 25-year-old Heathcote.

I was gutted. Falling off tour is one of the worst feelings you can ever imagine. I had two weeks off then straight back on the practice table. I have been practising really hard and also making time for a bit of golf as well!

Havant’s Jamie Wilson beat Latvia’s Rodion Judin 4-1, averaging just 16.8 seconds a shot, to earn a place in round two.

Wilson came through Q School in 2020 at the age of just 16 and topped the average shot time standings during his first season on the circuit. Having since dropped off, he is now 19 years old and is aiming for a return to the World Snooker Tour. His round two opponent is Alfie Davies.

Luke Pinches, son of recently relegated professional Barry Pinches, beat Stephen Kershaw 4-2. Talented 18-year-old Paul Deaville, who made the last 16 of the 2021 English Open, whitewashed Heather Clare 4-0.

English Amateur champion Deaville said: “I didn’t play in the last two Q Schools because I didn’t think I was ready. I wanted to give it a go this time but I’m trying to stay relaxed and I’ll just see how it goes. I am going to university, to study sports business and management, so snooker is still going to be part time for me, and that takes pressure off. I just try to enjoy it.

All the results are also available (and will remain available) on snooker.org

As you would expect WST report is only about UK players, and actually here English players.

Sixteen years old Bulcsú Révész from Hungary also won his first match beating Alfie Lee, Stephen Lee’s son and a young player rated highly by many. Alfie lead 2-0.

Another player who won yesterday is Vladislav Gradinari from Moldova. Vladislav is only 14 and made a name for himself earlier this year by winning two matches at the Shoot-out.

Also coming through yesterday is Darryl Hill from the Isle of Man. Darryl is now 27. He turned pro some eleven years ago and didn’t get much success. When he gave up professional snooker, he said that this was it, he wouldn’t try to come back as a professional again. He didn’t enjoy it. But here he is giving it a go …

One player who I expected to do well and was beaten yesterday in the first round is Robbie McGuigan, who only last week-end had won the the Northern Ireland Snooker Championship for a third time in a row. The result surprised me all the more because I had never heard about his opponent Tom Maxfield, a 29 years old amateur from England. From what I found on cuetracker.net, Maxfield was quite active as a junior and young amateur, took about 10 years off amateur competitions but came back playing in 2022/23.

And finally … Paul Deaville is a brilliant young amateur but frankly his win yesterday was the most predictable result ever. His opponent, Heather Clare, has been playing in the Q-Schools for a long time and has never won even one frame. Why she forks a rather high amount of money to play in those events is a complete mystery to me especially as she doesn’t even play on the women’s tour.

Some sort of news about the current match fixing affair

Martyn Ziegler, writing in Times Sport, published some news about the match fixing affair involving 10 Chinese players, including Zhao Xintong and Yan Bingtao. Here is the link

.Unfortunately, to read the full piece, a subscription is needed and I’m not interested to subscribe to a publication that will maybe publish a couple of pieces that interest me over a year.

This is the part that comes for “free”

Chinese snooker players set for long bans over match-fixing offences

Thursday May 25 2023, 4.00pm BST,

Zhao, the winner of the 2021 Uk Championship, was among the players chargedVCG VIA GETTY IMAGES

The biggest match-fixing scandal in snooker is set to lead to lengthy bans for some of the ten Chinese players who have appeared before a disciplinary commission.

Insiders say that an announcement of the sanctions is imminent and multiyear bans for some players — who have all been suspended since being charged in January — are expected. Snooker has imposed hefty bans for fixing before, including 12 years for Stephen Lee in 2012 and eight years for Quinten Hann in 2006.

Those charged in the latest scandal included the 2021 UK Championship winner Zhao Xintong, 26, who remained in Britain for last month’s disciplinary hearings while the other nine returned to China.

One of the younger players involved in the scandal told investigators that he …

Continue reading

It’s not much and nothing unexpected but at least it seems that the conclusion is not far away.

If any of the readers of this blog have access to Times Sport, more information shared in comments would be highly appreciated.