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

Women’s snooker news – 15 May 2023

It’s not often that I post about Women’s snooker but I feel compelled to do it today. The 2023 Women’s British Open was played over the week-end and its outcome was set to determine who, from Reanne Evans and On Yee Ng was going to regain a two years tour card starting next season. It was also only the second time that Bai Yulu from China was competing in a WWS event, and after coming runner-up to Baipat in the Women’s 2023 World Championship early March, Yu won the last event of this season yesterday, beating Reanne Evans in the final and On Yee Ng in the quarter-finals.

Here is the report shared by WWS

Brilliant Bai Wins British Open

Bai Yulu has defeated Reanne Evans 4-3 following a thrilling final to win her first world ranking event title at the Landywood British Open, held at the Landywood Snooker Club in England.

The 19-year-old was competing in only her second event on the World Women’s Snooker (WWS) Tour after she sensationally reached the final of the World Championship on her debut just two months ago, and duly added to her growing reputation as one of the most exciting talents in the women’s game with victory at the season finale.

From China, Bai becomes the sixth different player to win a main ranking tournament during the 2022/23 season, following glory for Evans, Mink Nutcharut, Jamie Hunter, Ploychompoo Laokiatphong and Baipat Siripaporn previously.

Having begun her campaign in the group stages, Bai defeated world number 10 Steph Daughtery and debutant Deb Major to reach the knockout rounds, before overcoming Daisy May Oliver, Keerath Bhandaal, Ng On Yee and Ploychompoo Laokiatphong to reach her second consecutive final.

Awaiting her in the title match would be record six-time British Open winner Reanne Evans, after the English star survived a hard-fought last 16 match against Bayarsaikhan Narantuya to win 3-1, before overcoming Maria Catalano and Rebecca Kenna to not only reach the final, but also secure her return to the World Snooker Tour next season. Combined with a surprise last 16 exit for Mink Nutcharut against Jamie Hunter, the result also means that Evans will reclaim the world number one ranking following the tournament.

A repeat of their semi-final at the World Championship in March, the final would prove to be a high-quality encounter as Bai claimed the opening frame before the pair traded breaks of 75 and 66 to see the teenager lead 2-1.

Back came Evans with a top run of 55 as she won two consecutive frames to lead for the first time at 3-2 and move to within a frame of the title, but it was to be Bai’s day as she drew level with a break of 40, before winning a nervy deciding-frame to secure her first major title on the WWS Tour.

Bai also compiled the highest break of the tournament with a run of 105 during her victory against Daisy Oliver on Saturday evening.

Now, I have to say that I feel pretty uneasy with the fact that Reanne will get her tour card back for finishing the year as number one, whilst Yu will have to go to Q-School. If by awarding tour cards to female players WPBSA wants to promote the women in the sport and encourage them to embrace the main tour, then it’s the best of them who should be given those tour cards and I don’t feel that, at this moment in time, Reanne is better than Bai. Bai only had the opportunity to play in two WWS events so far and that’s why she isn’t ranked at the top but… she was runner-up in the first event she played in, the 2023 World Championship, having beaten Reanne by 5-3 in the semi-finals, and she won the second, the 2023 British Open, beating Reanne again in the final.

Don’t get me wrong, this is nothing at all against Reanne who I respect and admire unreservedly. Reanne and Maria Catalano, as players, very much carried the women’s game throughout it worst period whilst Mandy Fisher kept it going against all odds as Chairwoman. They deserve massive credits for that. But, if it’s about giving a professional opportunity to the best female players at this moment in time then probably having Yu and Baipat on tour would be a better choice, especially as both are very young.

Ronnie O’Sullivan News – 5 May 2023

Ronnie hasn’t had the best season but he wasn’t downbeat about it. Speaking to Phil Haigh he insisted that he enjoyed it once he was over his “post Crucible dark places”

Ronnie O’Sullivan reflects on ‘marvellous’ season after World Championship exit

Phil Haigh Wednesday 26 Apr 2023 9:02 pm

Ronnie O’Sullivan was not too downbeat after his Crucible exit (Picture: Getty Images)

Ronnie O’Sullivan looked back on a ‘marvellous’ season despite his shock World Championship exit at the hands of Luca Brecel, saying he has largely been happy after something of a low last summer.

The Rocket lost the final seven frames of the match to Brecel as the Belgian Bullet prevailed 13-10 in an incredible contest at the Crucible.

It was an unlikely defeat for the world number one, but it has not ruined his season, which he has largely enjoyed, winning both the Champion of Champions and the Hong Kong Masters this campaign.

O’Sullivan admits that he was down for some time after winning his seventh world title last year, but once he had recovered from that low, he has had a good time.

I think it’s been marvellous. Lots of smiley faces,’ O’Sullivan said of his season. ‘It started off a bit miserable, I’ve got to be honest, I was on a bit of a comedown from the World Championships.

So I didn’t really feel like playing much. I knew why, so I just took some time off the practice table, played the tournaments, and I’ve enjoyed it. I’ve had a great season.

‘I judge my season on whether I was happy and I’ve been very happy.

May, June, July, August I just didn’t want to play, it was weird. I can only put that down to such a massive high. It might have been something else.

O’Sullivan was gracious in defeat to Brecel (Picture: Getty Images)

You go through periods like that, people fall in and out of love with what they’re doing. I just chose not to practice, took some time out and that was great.

I came back in January, put the time in and I’ve really enjoyed my practice and the tournaments I’ve played in.

Alright, I haven’t won as much but well-being, happiness, they’re the most important things. Snooker, that’s a bonus. If it goes great, I’ll take that. If it don’t go so great, alright. There’s always another tournament.’

Jason Francis, Ronnie’s manager, speaking to Phil Haigh expressed a completely different perception about the situation

Ronnie O’Sullivan ‘incredibly disappointed’ with early World Championship exit, believes manager

Phil Haigh Wednesday 3 May 2023 5:36 pm

Ronnie O’Sullivan suffered a shock quarter-final exit from the World Championship this year (Picture: Getty Images)

Ronnie O’Sullivan was left ‘gutted’ by his quarter-final exit from the World Snooker Championship this year, believes his manager Jason Francis.

The Rocket was beaten by eventual champion Luca Brecel in the last eight, after downing Pang Junxu and Hossein Vafaei in his opening two contests.

The defending champion was looking good after battering Vafaei 13-2 and then leading the Belgian 10-6, but seven frames on the spin from the Bullet saw him shoot into the semis and oust the world number one 13-10.

O’Sullivan took the loss very graciously, heaping praise on the performance of Brecel and saying he has enjoyed a ‘marvellous’ season, but his manager says there was certainly a lot of disappointment over the defeat.

‘I think he was gutted,’ Francis told the Talking Snooker podcast. ‘I think that one thing I don’t have to tell you is he knew he was in a winning position.

But that takes nothing away from the way Luca played, I’ve never see anyone play like that against Ronnie here.

This place, Sheffield, it either makes you or it breaks you and I think the people who come through and can handle it, they become real champions.

People say it defines their career, if they’re successful here, but it can also define the way they play in the future, because there’s no harder place to play.

So I think he came up against someone who played unbelievably well, but I also think that he’s incredibly disappointed, because if you look from the outside there was an opportunity there this year.’

Francis has been working with O’Sullivan for the last decade, and explained that a huge part of his job is trying to keep people from distracting the Rocket when he should be focussing on snooker.

My role with Ronnie is filtering chaos and trying to put out fires before they come,’ he explained. ‘One of Ronnie’s faults is his generosity, so you can turn up at a tournament, it will start off being me and him but very soon the circus is in town.

Someone who’s a friend of Ronnie or wants to come and see Ronnie…what Ronnie probably should say is: “Look, I’m here to win the World Championship, I’ll see you in a couple of weeks for a dinner.” But he’s so generous, they want to come and see him, and suddenly we end up with an entourage.

Part of my job over the last 10 years has been managing that, but also be respectful that ultimately he’s the player, he has to decide

I don’t want anything I say to ever thought to have cost him a match. There’s nothing that I can do to make him win a tournament or lose a tournament. It’s the player and the table, but my job is to try and bring some stability, maintain relationships with people and be professional. I think that’s why it’s worked with Ronnie for as long as it has.’

The reasons Jasons put forward are quite interesting. Some players, like Luca f.i., seem to be able to switch in and out of their “zone” very easily and naturally, but I know that this is not the case for Ronnie.

That said … yes, this season has been poor but it’s been the case for many top players and it would be interesting to fully understand why. Ronnie ends the season still ranked number one and he’s 14th on the one year list as it stands today, despite missing some events because of the elbow injury. Judd Trump is 13th on it with only 7000 points more than Ronnie despite not missing any event. John Higgins (23d), Mark Williams (19th) and, very surprisingly, Neil Robertson (22d) are out of the top 16 on that list. It’s been a very bizarre season indeed and the only explanation I can think of is the shambolic structure of last season’s calendar with big gaps alternating with some very intense playing periods.

2023 Crucible – Day 1 – Ronnie’s Win and Tour News

Ronnie being the defending champion played his first round match to a finish on the first day of the World Championship. He beat Pang Junxu, who was making his Crucible debut, by 10-7.

Here are the scores:

It was a lengthy match, far from easy, and as you can see Pang was the heaviest scorer of the two. Ronnie didn’t make s century in the match, something that hadn’t happened at the Crucible since the SFs in 2023…

As it transpired, Ronnie was battling though illness and really struggling physically. He was also full of praise for his young opponent.

Here are the reports by WST:

Morning Session

Defending Champion O’Sullivan Leads Pang

Defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan made a strong start to his Cazoo World Championship campaign, emerging from the opening session with a 6-3 lead over debutant Pang Junxu at the Crucible Theatre.

This morning’s tie saw O’Sullivan break the record for most appearances at the Crucible. It’s the Essex cueman’s 31st time competing at the Theatre of Dreams, surpassing Steve Davis’s previous record of 30.

O’Sullivan’s 18-13 win over Judd Trump in last year’s final earned him a record equalling seventh Crucible crown, drawing level with Stephen Hendry. The Rocket came out of the traps quickly this morning in his bid for an eighth world title.

China’s Pang, who reached a maiden final at the recent WST Classic, took some time to settle on the sport’s grandest stage and even walked out through the wrong entrance to the arena after he was introduced to the crowd. However, a strong rally at the end of the session saw Pang stay in touch.

The first chance of the morning went to Pang, who crafted a run of 50 to take control of the opener. O’Sullivan got himself back into the frame and a missed blue from Pang allowed him to deposit the last three balls and move 1-0 up.

Further breaks of 61, 53 and 71 helped 47-year-old O’Sullivan to secure a commanding 5-0 lead. However, those who were expecting 23-year-old Pang to wilt in the Crucible cauldron were mistaken.

A stunning run of 133 earned Pang his first frame. Despite O’Sullivan then moving 6-1 ahead, the momentum was with his opponent. Pang shut the 39-time ranking event winner out for the following two frames and made breaks of 83 and 44 to come out of the session just three behind at 6-3. The match will be played to a finish this evening at 7pm.

Evening Session

O’Sullivan Sets New Crucible Record

Ronnie O’Sullivan achieved a new record for appearances at the Crucible as he battled to a 10-7 success over Pang Junxu in the first round of the Cazoo World Championship in Sheffield.

O’Sullivan made a fast start and went 5-0 ahead but as the day went on he struggled with the affects of illness and fatigue. He looked vulnerable in the closing stages when he was hauled back from 9-4 to 9-7, but eventually made it through to the second round for the 27th time.

I am relieved it’s over,” the 47-year-old told Eurosport. “I’ve got a bug. Everything has gone, I was just hanging in there. In the end I was just desperate to get over the line, it was a horrible feeling. I can’t wait to get back to bed. At least I can have a few days of rest now.

O’Sullivan first played at the Crucible in 1993 and has been ever present since; 31 appearances puts him one ahead of Steve Davis. He could have reached another landmark as a century today would have made him the first player to make 200 tons at the Crucible, but his highest break was just 82.

Having equalled Stephen Hendry’s record of seven world titles last year, today’s victory was the first step in his quest to win an eighth Crucible crown and he now faces another tough test in the last 16 against Ding Junhui or Hossein Vafaei.

China’s 23-year-old Pang, who was Rookie of the Year in 2021, impressed on his Crucible debut, showing his charisma around the table.

He led 6-3 after the first session then that 82 extended his advantage. Pang had a chance to snatch the next from 54-0 down but ran out of position with two reds left, and later played a loose safety which handed his opponent the chance to extend his lead to 8-3.

Frame 12 came down to the last red and Pang enjoyed a handy fluke, slotting it into a top corner when attempting safety, which allowed him to pull one back. O’Sullivan dominated the 13th for 9-4 but the tide turned after the interval as Pang reeled off three in a row with 78, 70 and 73. His hopes of an upset were ended in frame 17 by O’Sullivan’s 81.

When you are feeling good, you are enjoying every moment,” added world number one O’Sullivan. “But tonight I felt as if I was sliding about. It feels like glandular fever, it saps the energy out of you. Sometimes you just have to get through those situations. You fight, that’s what you do. Tiger Woods won a tournament on one leg, Stephen Hendry won the world title with a broken arm.

I believe in the snooker Gods, if I had lost tonight they would have determined that. I turn up and try my best, and if that’s not good enough I have to move on. I never get down or frustrated or worried.

Asked about Pang, he added: “He’s a phenomenal player, a joy to watch. I was like him 30 years ago. It was lovely to see.

WST shared the last frame on the YouTube channel

There were loads of pictures floating around as you would expect

A big big thanks to my friend Tai Chegzhe for these, much appreciated!

And more shared on social media by WST, Matt Huart and other various sources:

Ronnie doesn’t play before Friday so, hopefully he will get enough time to rest and recover.

Announcements …

By Ronnie


At least three events will be played in China next season

World Snooker Tour Set To Return To China With Three Events In 2023/24

The World Snooker Tour will stage a minimum of three tournaments in China later this year, including the first world ranking events since 2019.

CLICK HERE for the 2023-24 WST Provisional Calendar

Aside from the 2022 Hong Kong Masters which was an eight-player invitation event, these will be the first professional snooker events hosted in China for four years.

The tournaments are:

Shanghai Masters – invitational with 24 players. September 11-17

Wuhan Open – world ranking event. October 9-15

International Championship – world ranking event. November 5-12. Host city to be confirmed

Total prize money for these three events combined will exceed £2 million. The provisional calendar for the 2023/24 season has now been released.

WST Chairman Steve Dawson said: “This is a momentous announcement for our sport as we ramp up our return to staging events in Asia. To have a minimum of two world ranking events, plus a major invitation tournament, in China later this year is fantastic for the players and fans.

“Throughout the pandemic we have maintained dialogue and relationships with the Chinese Billiards and Snooker Association as well as our key partners and promoters across China. This has allowed us to make a fast return to staging key events now that travel restrictions have lifted.

“We promised our players that this was top of our agenda and we have delivered on that promise, adding more than £2 million in prize money to the tour. We will continue to explore opportunities to stage further events in China and beyond.

We are excited to host a tournament for the first time in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei Province and a vibrant city of 11 million people. The Shanghai Masters has a long history and is renowned for its prestige.

There is a vast appetite for snooker among fans in China and they will keenly anticipate the return of our star players. We look forward to working with our partners on building a bright future for snooker in the region.

That’s, of course, excellent news.

Snooker News – 19 January 2023

This is a kind of “low key” post as I must confess that what was revealed yesterday regarding the match fixing enquiry has been affecting me.

In relation to that, WST has announced changes in the draw of upcoming events. Nothing unexpected here of course.

Updated German And Shoot Out Draws

The draws for the BetVictor Shoot Out and BetVictor German Masters have been updated.

Zhao Xintong has been withdrawn from the BetVictor German Masters in Berlin, and his opponent Tom Ford will receive a bye into the next round.

Click here for the updated draw
Click here for the updated format

Zhao Xintong and Zhang Jiankang have been withdrawn from the BetVictor Shoot Out, and replaced with a straight swap in the draw with the next available players on the Q School 2022 Order of Merit. Zhao Xintong is replaced by Haydon Pinhey and Zhang Jiankang is replaced by Michael Georgiou.

Click here for the updated draw

There was actually one good news coming out today

Jessie May Donation Boosted To £15,000

WST has decided to increase its donation to official charity Jessie May Children’s Hospice at Home to £15,000, based on the number of century breaks made at the Cazoo Masters.

Before the tournament at Alexandra Palace started, WST pledged £500 for every century up to a maximum of £10,000. But the final century tally was 30 and WST will now donate the full total based on £500 per century, which is £15,000.

Bristol-based charity Jessie May provides nursing care at home for children and young people with life limiting conditions who are not expected to live beyond the age of 19.

WST Chairman Steve Dawson said: “After such a fantastic Cazoo Masters tournament and a barrage of centuries, we have decided to boost the donation to Jessie May up to £15,000. We know what amazing work they do for vulnerable children and their families. The pandemic has really affected their funding and we urge everyone to have a look at what they do and dig deep to support them because private donations are vital to their future.”

Kim James-Coggins from Jessie May said: “All of the team at Jessie May are truly grateful for the support from WST. The impact your support has on our nurses and families is incredible.”

To find out more about Jessie May, visit jessiemay.org.uk

I’m glad that WST took that decision considering that many families, especially the most “vulnerable” ones, continue to suffer from the combined effects of the pandemic and the Brexit induced economic crisis in the UK. There is nothing worse for a parent than to lose a child, or to raise a child knowing that their life expectancy is limited and every day is a struggle. Well done WST, well done the players who scored as many as they could.

As for the match fixing issue, I can only urge everyone to wait for the results of the hearing and the full facts before asking for “life bans” … What annoys me is that some of those taking the harsh stand are the same who regularly pleaded leniency for Stephen Lee, asking for him to be allowed back “because he has such a Rolls-Royce cue action”. There should be consistency, no matter the nationality of the players.

IF it is proven that some of the older players in that group lured/coerced their young compatriots into a match fixing scheme, yes, they should get a life ban and should be sent back to China with no possibility to return to the UK or anywhere in Europe. Not just because of the match fixing, but more importantly because the vile betrayal of confidence. I’m sure that many parents of Chinese teenagers sent to the UK to play professionally were glad to know that their kids weren’t alone and that older, more experienced fellow citizens would be there for them. It’s only normal. It would be the same for UK parents if their teenagers were sent to live as ex-pats in Asia. That betrayal, above all, IF true, is unforgivable.

Snooker will survive. Cycling survived the countless doping scandals. The Tour the France is still watched by millions. Formula One survived despite the terrible decisions that deprived Lewis Hamilton. A couple of heads fell and the circus goes on. Snooker is much cleaner than most sports, especially those that attract the BIG money.

Snooker News – 06.12.2022 mixed bag

This one is really a mixed bag …

Let’s start with the “neutral” bit.

WST has published the draw and format for the 2023 German Masters at the Tempodrom

BetVictor German Masters Final Stages Draw

Defending champion Zhao Xintong faces Tom Ford in the opening session of the BetVictor German Masters at the magnificent Tempodrom venue in Berlin in February.

Click here for the draw

Click here for the format

Zhao beat Yan Bingtao 9-0 in the final last year and he’ll be back at the Tempodrom to defend his crown, starting against Ford at 3pm local time on Wednesday February 1st.  On the same day in the evening session, BetVictor European Masters champion Kyren Wilson is up against Sam Craigie, while legend Jimmy White takes on Peng Yisong.

Standout matches on Thursday February 2nd include Neil Robertson against Joe Perry, and Luca Brecel facing Matthew Stevens. The final takes place on Sunday February 5th.

The tournament will be screened by Eurosport, discovery+ and a range of other broadcasters worldwide.

This event could well be a big opportunity for one of the mid-ranked players as there is no “Class of 92” in the draw, no Mark Selby, no Judd Trump, no Mark Allen , no Shaun Murphy… But it could also be a real nightmare for the promoters that so many big names miss out. The Tempodrom is an extraordinary venue, but not a cheap one. We could lose this one if it becomes financially un-sustainable. Time for a “tiered” format? I would say yes.

WST attempted to move the cut-off point for the 2023 Players Championship and faced a social media riot

This was the initial announcement:

Players Championship Cut Off Point

Thursday 1 Dec 2022 08:50AM

The seeding cut off point for the 2023 Players Championship, which runs from February 20 to 26, will come after the 2023 BetVictor German Masters.

Our calendar previously stated that the cut off point would fall at the end of the BetVictor Welsh Open, which finishes on February 19. However we have now moved the cut off point back to end of the BetVictor German Masters which finishes on February 5. This means that the draw and format for the Players Championship can be announced well in advance.

Only the top 16 players on the one-year ranking list, as it stands at the end of the BetVictor German Masters, will qualify for the Players Championship, which returns to Aldersley Village in Wolverhampton, where Neil Robertson won the title last season. 

And the “reversal” of the decision on the next day…

Updated Players Championship Cut Off Point

Friday 2 Dec 2022 03:29PM

Following the announced change to the seeding cut off for the 2023 Players Championship, the decision has today been taken to revert to the original seeding cut off point of after the 2023 BetVictor Welsh Open.

The announced change was made for good reasons to assist scheduling and planning for players; however, it is recognised that it is mid-season, and this decision should be considered at the end of the season and in advance of a full calendar.

The top 16 players on the one-year ranking list at the end of the BetVictor Welsh Open, which finishes on February 19, will qualify for the Players Championship which runs from February 20 to 26.

It’s not often that you see all the players agreeing on a topic and actively opposing one of WST decisions, but it did happen this time. Indeed the initial decision to “move the goalpost” for the Players Championship qualification, by excluding the 2023 Welsh Open from the list of qualifying events proved to be extremely unpopular. As Mark Williams wrote on social media, players plan their season and enter events, or don’t, based on their goals, the season calendar and the prize money schedule. Changing the “rules” mid-season is not on.

The 2022 English Open will be played in Brentwood , Essex next week. This, for Ronnie, Ali Carter, Stuart Bingham and Mark King will really be a “home” event.

It’s the last qualifying event for the 2023 World Grand Prix and WST has been looking at the implications of this for various players.

Race To Cheltenham Concludes In Brentwood

Gary Wilson has leapt to fifth place on the one-year ranking list with just one counting event to go before the field is confirmed for the World Grand Prix.

Wilson won the first ranking title of his career by beating Joe O’Connor 9-2 in the final of the BetVictor Scottish Open in Edinburgh on Sunday. The £80,000 top prize boosted him up 47 places from 52nd.

At the end of next week’s BetVictor English Open, the top 32 players on the one-year list will qualify for the World Grand Prix, to be staged in Cheltenham from January 16 to 22.

O’Connor earned £35,000 for reaching his first ranking final, so he’s up from 69th to 13th and is now sure of a place in Cheltenham. Neil Robertson reached the semi-finals and leaps from 43rd to 24th, while Thepchaiya Un-Nooh also made the last four and he’s up from 59th to 31st with a total tally of £30,500. Robertson is £4,500 ahead of Un-Nooh, with Mark Selby a further £1,000 inside the safe zone. Ronnie O’Sullivan is in 17th spot with £37,500.

Jamie Clarke and Jordan Brown are tied in 32nd spot, but both failed to qualify for the BetVictor English Open in Brentwood so in fact they are out of the running.

Big names currently outside the top 32 and in need of a deep run in Brentwood are Yan Bingtao (42nd with £21,500), Zhao Xintong (44th with £21,500) and John Higgins (74th with £12,000). Four-time World Champion Higgins will have to reach the final in Brentwood to get into the top 32.

BetVictor English Open prize money:

Winner: £80,000
Runner-up: £35,000
Semi-finals: £17,500
Quarter-finals: £11,000
Last 16: £7,500
Last 32: £4,500
Last 64: £3,000
High break: £5,000
Total: £427,000

The same one-year list will be used to determine the field for the other two events in the Players Series. The top 16 at the the end of the BetVictor Welsh Open in February will qualify for the Players Championship  at Aldersley Village, Wolverhampton (February 20 to 26) and only the top eight will go on to the Tour Championship at the Bonus Arena in Hull (March 27 to April 2).

On the official two-year list, Wilson climbs from 32nd to 18th, while O’Connor jumps from 55th to 40th. Ronnie O’Sullivan remains the official world number one, with a lead of £211,000 over Judd Trump.

Wilson is up to second place in the BetVictor Series Rankings, just £7,000 behind leader Kyren Wilson. Mark Allen is third, just £1,000 behind Gary Wilson. There are four events to go in that race, with the money list leader after February’s BetVictor Welsh Open to bank the massive £150,000 bonus.

Ahead of the event, Ivan Hirschowitz, WST press officer, has been speaking on “Phoenix FM” , the local radio station.

You can read and listen here:

World Snooker Comes to Brentwood – Ivan Hirschowitz

Written by Bob Simpson in One 2 Three👁 843

Monday 5 December 2022, 3.59pm

Snooker’s top stars will be heading to the Brentwood Centre for the first time next week and tickets are on sale now.
The Essex venue will host the BetVictor English Open, a world ranking event and part of the Home Nations Series, from December 12 to 18.
Over 70 players including the top 16 seeds will be on the green baize at the Brentwood Centre. Winners in recent years and include Ronnie O’Sullivan, Judd Trump, Mark Selby, and current champion Neil Robertson.
Today the Head of Media for the World Snooker Tour – Ivan Hirschowitz, joined me in the studio to tell us all about it.

You can listen to our chat here

Phoenix FM was created by Paul Golder who, with Django Fung, started “The Grove”, a snooker club and a management team. They currently manage Mark Selby, Neil Robertson, Judd Trump, Ding Junhui, Ali Carter and Michael Holt. Their first player though, about 15 years ago, was Ronnie, who remains on friendly terms with both of them.

And finally a personal concern that may or may not be justified

This season, a number of snooker players, top players, have embraced pool as an alternative: Mark Selby, Mark Williams, Mark Allen to name a few. Judd Trump played in a major Pool event last season too. Nothing wrong with that as the early season has been very start/stop with long gaps for them to fill.

However, at the same time, I also sense a change of priorities at Matchroom. Emily Frazer, Matchroom’s Managing Director is a very dynamic and proactive person. I’ve met Emily a few times at the Premier League Snooker years ago (2007-2011) and I can only admire her. She does a sterling job. Her priority however is pool, not snooker. This is very obvious to anyone following her twitter account. She clearly has Barry Hearn’s support. Eddie Hearn is only interested in boxing… If Matchroom priorities, and with it, their investments, shift mainly to pool, it could be very bad news for WST and snooker because, actually, Matchroom owns 51% of the WST shares. Barry Hearn “bought” snooker in 2010. At the time he literally saved it of course, but …


The 900 week 6 and other news – 27.10.2022

The 900 – week 6

Week 6 at the 900 concluded yesterday and it provided great entertainment again.

On Monday… Ant Parsons emerged the winner, beating the legend that is Les Dodd in the final. Here is how it unfolded:

It was however Tam Mustafa who stole the show… playing with incredible flair.

On Tuesday, it was Lenny Baker who prevailed.

George Pragnell, who currently dominates the Q-Tour was the favourite. He was beaten in his first match though. Of course, over just one frame, about anything can happen. Tam Mustafa delighted the fans all evening but Lenny Baker eventually had too much for him.

On Wednesday …

The winners of the previous days met in the final, with Ant Parsons emerging the winner

The 900 proves to be a very interesting, diverse and highly appreciated event. this is what Matt Andrews, a mental coach who helped Ronnie in the past, and David Church, a WDBS player, had to say:

Here are some more images shared by Jason this week:

Jason now “plots” a “Junior 900” and a “Legends 900”. Bring it on!

News from the Barbican …

Mark Williams’ reaction to this tweet was immediately calling for a return of the “best of 17” format. I agree with him and I would like to see a return of the tiered format in the majority, if not all, events.

Some players, notably Barry Pinches, brand it unfair. I don’t think it is, especially if players losing their first match, no matter the round, get no ranking/rating points. That removes the “protection” that was, maybe, a problem in the past. What Barry seems to overlook is that the majority of the current top 16, grew through the tiered system and started at the very bottom, and that includes someone as young as Judd Trump. They weren’t privileged or protected, they were better than the rest and that’s why they are there. Barry, and many others in his generation, had exactly the same opportunities.

What I do see is that the vast majority of the current top 16 who have grown and developed through the tiered system, have been there for many years, despited the alleged “protection” being removed long ago. What those players have, that the younger ones seem to struggle with is consistency and consistency comes from a solid foundation. The current system doesn’t offer a good path for development. It’s too brutal. It’s mentally bruising. Playing more matches, and more winnable matches is what builds a good foundation and grows confidence. It’s naïve to believe that players who qualify for the main tour are “ready” or should be “ready” from day one. Experience matters in all walks of life and in every profession or job.