2023 UK Q-School Event 2 and Asia-Oceania Q-School Event 1 – The Laureates

Six players secured a two years tour card yesterday: four emerged from the 2023 (UK) Q-School Event , two qualified through the Asia-Oceania Q-School Event 1. Here are the reports by WST:

UK Q-School Event 2 Outcome

Burden, Young, Carrington And Heathcote Regain Cards

Alfie Burden, Dean Young, Stuart Carrington and Louis Heathcote all bounced back from relegation by regaining their World Snooker Tour cards on the final day of Q School event two.

Heathcote, Burden and Young all won nail-biting matches by a 4-3 scoreline in the final round in Leicester, to secure a place on the pro circuit for the 2023/24 and 2024/25 seasons. Carrington eased through with a 4-0 success against Rory McLeod.

Londoner Burden, a veteran who first turned pro in 1994, was up against Ukraine’s Iulian Boiko in the last round. He made a break of 88 to lead 2-1, before falling 3-2 behind. Runs of 52 and 43 set up a nervy decider in which both players had chances, but Burden was always in front and eventually potted the final brown to clinch the result.

There are so many emotions,” admitted Burden. “I actually tried to pull out of Q School after the World Seniors (where he lost to Jimmy White in the final) because I felt I had let my family down by not winning that event – I felt very down and didn’t want to pick my cue up. I had a few days practice, came here and rolled the dice.

Q School is so tough. After I won I went to the toilet and there was a kid bent over the sink crying his eyes out because he had lost. It was Florian (Nuessle) and I feel for him. I almost wanted to swap places with him because I have had a long career, while he is a young kid just starting out and wanting it so badly, trying to win a place on the tour.

Everything I do is for my children and I’m just delighted to win today.

Scotland’s Young, who first turned pro two years ago, faced Austria’s promising Nuessle, who was looking to earn a tour place for the first time. A break of 90 helped give Nuessle a 3-1 advantage, and he had chances in each of the next three frames. The closest he came to victory was in frame six which came down to the last two balls, but Young potted the pink for 3-3, then made a break of 30 at the crucial moment of the decider to seal the tie.

I could hardly stand up towards the end,” said Young. “I don’t have a clue how I won. He missed a pink at 3-2, he should have closed it out. I had no Plan B, so to get through Q School was all or nothing for me. The pressure here is immense, I have never felt anything like that in my life. My first two years on tour was an apprenticeship and I am hoping to do better next time.

Leicester’s Heathcote turned pro in 2019 and was named Rookie of the Year after his debut season. He struggled for results in 2022/23 and slipped out of the world’s top 64, but handled the immense pressure of Q School to book two more years on the top tier.

He faced Ryan Davies and – just like Burden and Young – trailed for much of the afternoon before producing a strong finish. England’s 21-year-old Davies, looking to earn a tour card for the first time, led 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2. But Heathcote fired breaks of 111 and 74 to take the last two frames.

I have never felt so focussed, and now I am so relieved it’s all over,” said 25-year-old Heathcote. “At 3-2 down, nothing was going my way. I went to the toilet and told myself to use my last four years of experience and somehow won two frames with two good breaks. I am really proud of myself and I can have a fresh start now. I hope I never have to go back to Q School because it is the most stressful ten days.

Carrington, from Grimsby, had a ten-year spell as a pro from 2013 to 2023, and the two-time ranking event semi-finalist can enjoy an immediate return. He was made to wait several hours for his final match as his opponent Rory McLeod battled to a marathon four hour 13 minute 4-3 victory over Robin Hull in the penultimate round. But Carrington was unflustered as he eased to a 4-0 success with top runs of 66 and 53.

I was expecting to be there all night!” he said. “I thought it would be a tough match. I was solid and my safety was good, though 4-0 was a bit flattering. The last 18 months has been really difficult for me, it has been mental torture. I have been struggling to pull the cue back. I wasn’t expecting a great deal this week but I have hung in there and fought my way through, without hitting the ball well. I have two years now to work on that and find the right person who can help me technically as well as mentally.

Eventually the 2023 (UK) Q-Schools produced just one debutant: Liam Pullen. All the other players coming through it are either former professionals or players who regained their tour card immediately. Six out of 8 laureates were competing on the main tour in 2022/23. This shows again that this system strongly favours former pros and in particular those who have just been relegated. It’s certainly NOT the best system to get new young talents on tour. Alexander Ursenbacher is the only laureate from mainland Europe. Iulian Boiko actually tops the Q-School order of merit. Although he didn’t regain a tour card he has been the best/most consistent player in the field. I do hope that he gets opportunities to play in in several ranking events in the coming season.

Bai Yulu has in many ways been the story of the European Q-Schools. She has shown that women can compete with men. She has beaten several experienced, solid players. All her matches went the distance and I believe that, against Simon Bedford, she eventually ran out of steam. Out of 208 entrants, she finished 41st in the order of merit, which is better than 80% of those who entered. I hope that she gets the opportunity to compete on the Q-Tour. She needs a lot of matches against strong opposition to progress further and she won’t get that on the Women’s tour.

Asia-Oceania Q-School Event 1 Outcome

Thor And Phetmalaikul Earn Tour Cards

Malaysia’s Thor Chuan Leong beat Lei Peifan 4-1 in the final round of Asia-Oceania Q School Event One in Bangkok, regaining a place on the pro tour after a three-year absence.

In the other semi-final, Thailand’s Manasawin Phetmalaik beat China’s Ka Wai Cheung to earn a place on the tour for the first time.

Thor, age 35, earns a two-year card for the World Snooker Tour for the 2023/24 and 2024/25 seasons. He previously competed on the circuit for six seasons between 2014 and 2020 and has reached the last 32 of four ranking events.

Having won four matches to reach today’s final round in Thailand, Thor made breaks of 106 and 58 to take a 2-0 lead. China’s Lei, who was relegated from the tour at the end of last season, pulled a frame back, but Thor then won the next two to seal the result.

I’m very pleased with the win today,” he said. “I have prepared myself well, entering this year’s Thailand Ranking Circuit. The gold medal in snooker singles at the South East Asian Games in Cambodia earlier in May really boosted me up for the Q School.

I just played my game today, trying to relax and continue with good breaks to keep the game under control. To be able to get back on the tour has been on my mind since I dropped off and always wanted to go back. It is very good that I can qualify here in Thailand rather than going to qualify in the UK as the cost is much less coming here. It is very good for all Asian players to have the opportunities to qualify here. The venue is great and the table condition is perfect. All the hard work I have put in over the past months has now paid off.

Phetmalaik has been based in England for several years as his father Chusak owns the Q House snooker academy in Darlington, home to the likes of Thepchaiya Un-Nooh and Zhou Yuelong.

Breaks of 99, 82 and 65 today helped 24-year-old Phetmalaik to a comfortable victory. He said: “The standard of snooker is just as good here as it is in the UK Q School. I really had to be on top of my game to get through each round especially today as Cheung has compiled many big breaks this week.

I have always been keen to become a professional player. I first picked up the cue when I was 14 and it took me ten years to finally make my dreams come true. I would like to thank my dad and my family for their tremendous support.

The match was presided over by Assistant Prof. Dr. Veeris Ammarapala, the governor of Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand, as guest of honour along with Mr. Suntorn Jarumon, President of Billiard Sports Association of Thailand and his board members.

Event two gets underway on Wednesday.

Click here for the draw

Click here for the Frame Scores

Click here for the Match Schedule & Results

From what I watched, the level at the Asian Q-Schools is significantly better than it was last season.

Congratulations to all Laureates!

2023 UK Q-School Event 2 and Asia-Oceania Q-School Event 1 – Day 4

The action continued in the UK and in Thailand as amateurs and relegated pros try to earn/regain professional tour cards. Here are the WST reports on what happened yesterday:

UK Q-School Event 2 – Day 4

Hitman Still Gunning For Tour Return

Michael Holt kept his hopes of avoiding another year away from the professional circuit alive, thrashing Muhammad Aurangzaib 4-0 at Q School event two in Leicester.

Former Shoot Out champion Holt was relegated at the conclusion of the 2021/22 season and subsequently was unable to secure a return through 2022 Q School. Having lost in event one this year against Hayden Staniland, he must be successful this time out if he wishes to be on tour next season.

Over the last year he has turned to coaching amateur players to earn a living, as well as setting up his own YouTube channel. However, the Nottingham cueman is determined to regain his place on the professional circuit. He played well this afternoon and crafted break of 57, 81 and 68 on his way to victory. Next up is a third round meeting with Belgian Daan Leyssen.

“It has been a big part of my life for so long. It has been tough watching. I have to deal with that situation and crack on. The coaching is going alright. Ultimately I still see myself as a player, because when I practice the level is more than there. I will keep going,” said 44-year-old Holt.

“I have to think about things because I have a family and that is life. I might not get back on. I am aware of that, but until I can’t play to the level I always have to try. I know there is a big world out there, so we will see.”

China’s World Women’s Championship runner-up Bai Yulu scored a thrilling 4-3 late night win over Joshua Thomond. The 19-year-old sensation had trailed 3-2 but came through to win on the final black. She faces Simon Bedford tomorrow.

Ukrainian 17-year-old Iulian Boiko staved off a fightback from India’s Laxman Rawat to progress as a 4-3 victor. Boiko had led 3-1 before being reeled back into a deciding frame. He held his nerve and got over the line to book a third round clash with Zachary Richardson.

World Seniors runner-up Alfie Burden progressed with a 4-2 defeat of Andrew Tapper, while talented Welsh teenager Liam Davies succumbed to a shock 4-0 defeat against Stephen Kershaw.

There are three players from outside the UK/Ireland already through to round 4, and 8 more still competing in round 3. Of those 11, 10 are from mainland Europe. And I’m not counting Eden Sharav, who plays for Israël but who has always been UK based.

Asia-Oceania Q-School Event 1 – Day 4

Asia-Oceania Q School Update

Malaysian former professional Thor Chuan Leong is through to the penultimate day of Asia-Oceania Q School event one after scoring a 4-1 win over India’s Kreishh Gurbaxani in Bangkok.

Thor crafted breaks of 62 and 79 on his way to victory. Next up he faces a last 16 clash with Thailand’s Narongdat Takantong.

Lei Peifan continued his bid for an immediate return to the professional circuit with a 4-2 defeat of Yu Kiu Chang. Lei made contributions of 128 and 66 during the tie and will now play Tawan Pooltong, who edged to a 4-3 win over Raza Mubashir Faraz.

Filipino Jefrey Roda made breaks of 105 and 56 on his way to a 4-0 victory against Prin Ratmukda, while Manasawin Phetmalaikul secured a 4-2 defeat of Alvin Barbero.

The last 16 and quarter-finals will take place tomorrow, with the final round being played on Tuesday. There are two tour cards up for grabs in each event.

All four winners mentioned above have already won their first match today, as did Ka Wai Cheung who is a very fine player. Having a Filipino on tour could be interesting. Filipinos have a strong tradition in cue sports, mainly pool. Of course, wether Jeffrey Roda, should he qualifiy, will be able to afford to move to UK to play on the main tour, remains to be seen.

2023 UK Q-School Event 2 and Asia-Oceania Q-School Event 1 – Day 3

Again WST shared short reports on day 3 at both ongoing Q-Schools

2023 UK Q-School Event 2 – Day 3

Nuessle Flying The Flag

Austria’s Florian Nuessle admitted he is determined to become his country’s first ever professional, after whitewashing Welsh youngster Riley Powell 4-0 at Q School Event Two in Leicester.

Nuessle has been attempting to get on the circuit since his Q School debut in 2019, but the 21-year-old believes his game is now ready to mount a serious bid to take a place at snooker’s top table. He nearly staged a sensational fightback at World Championship qualifying back in April. After trailing 8-0 he pushed Chinese sensation Si Jiahui hard before, losing out 10-7. Si would go on to make the semi-finals.

The Graz cueman put on a strong showing this afternoon, crafting breaks of 64, 84 and 56 on his way to victory. Next up he faces India’s Lucky Vatnani in round three.

I’ve been trying really hard to get on tour for the last three or four years. The experience is coming, that is what I need to get on. I am getting more ready each year,” said Nuessle.

I would be the first from Austria and it would be great for the country. Like Luca Brecel did by winning the World Championship for snooker in Belgium, it would explode (in Austria), if I could do that.”

Welsh 16-year-old Liam Davies earned a third round berth with a 4-1 win over Stuart Watson.

Davies became the youngest player ever to win a match at the World Championship in 2022, when he defeated Aaron Hill at Crucible qualifying. Since then Davies has continued to showcase his potential with some notable results, including a win over Noppon Saengkham at the Welsh Open.

He made breaks of 53 and 58 on his way to this morning’s victory and will face Stephen Kershaw in the next round. Kershaw staged a surprise 4-2 win over Peter Devlin.

Recently relegated professional Steven Hallworth survived a scare to beat Malta’s Aaron Busuttil 4-3, while Hayden Pinhey continued his good form with a 4-0 win over Jordan Shepherd. Leicester’s Louis Heathcote is still in line for an immediate return to the tour after beating Paul Deaville 4-1.

It’s good to see WST finally giving more visibility to non-UK/Irish players and young players. That’s what snooker needs: attracting more young exponents and finally working at deserving the tag “World” Snooker. There is still a lot to do towards those goals but it has to start somewhere and these latest pieces give me a bit of hope.

2023 Asia-Oceania Q-School Event 1 – Day 3

Gong Dumps Out On Yee

Gong Chenzhi put on a fine display to beat three-time Women’s World Champion Ng On Yee 4-0 on day three of Asia-Oceania Q School in Bangkok.

China’s Gong crafted breaks of 67 and 94 on his way to victory and will face Indian Ishpreet Singh Chada in the next round.

On Yee will now have to turn to event two to try and gain her place on the circuit. She was relegated from the tour at the end of last season and narrowly missed out on a fresh card on the women’s world rankings.

Former professional Lei Peifan continued his bid for an immediate return to the World Snooker Tour with a 4-1 win over Singapore’s Kingsley Tian Yi Ang. Chinese cueman Lei top scored with 60 and now plays Yu Kiu Chang.

Malaysian Thor Chuan Leong beat Hamza Akbar 4-3 in a battle of the ex professionals, while Filipino Jefrey Roda defeated Sattar Noor 4-0.

I hate the way the word “dump” is so often used. People are not rubbish that you put in the bin, no matter how poor their performance was and On Yee was very poor indeed. I wonder if the situation with the funding of the sport in Hong Kong is putting additional pressure on her. But also, fundamentally, I believe that she would benefit from playing a more aggressive/instinctive brand of snooker as well as playing a bit faster. It’s impossible to find any fluency when you are constantly overthinking. Also, as I heard Ken Doherty once saying as a conclusion after delivering a long explanation about the art of safety: “But at the end of the day you shouldn’t forget that to win you have to pot those balls… “

Several matches are streamed on the Billiards Sport Association of Thailand facebook page

They also shared an album with over 400 snooker action pictures

And, as usual, you will find live scores and detailed results for both event on snooker.org

2023 UK Q-School Event 2 and Asia-Oceania Q-School Event 1 – Day 2

You will find day 2 results for both events on snooker.org as usual: UK Q-School Event 2 and Asia-Oceania Q-School Event1.

There was no surprise whatsoever on in the first round of the European Event. WST daily report focusses on an interview with young Vladislav Gradinari from Moldova:

Gradinari Books Second Round Slot

Moldova’s talented 14-year-old star Vladislav Gradinari eased to the second round of Q School Event Two, thanks to a 4-0 whitewash win over Simon Bevz in Leicester.

Gradinari and his family moved to the UK in 2021 for him to pursue a career in snooker. He has already reaped the rewards of that, having won the English Under-14 Championship and made the last 32 of the Shoot Out earlier this year.

The Moldovan closed today’s win out with a break of 57 in the fourth. He now faces a tricky test in the second round against Ireland’s Ross Bulman. Although he’s aware of his family’s sacrifices to get to this point, Gradinari is keen to stay in the moment and enjoy his development as a player.

We have sacrificed everything in our lives, my parents especially, just to get here and play near some professionals at the best level. I want to get as much experience as I can from these players. I need to enjoy playing at this age, because it is going to be difficult to enjoy it later,” said Gradinari.

The Shoot Out was different. I have never felt anything like this. I was shaking in the first match. I couldn’t feel the crowd because there was so much space between the crowd and the table. It was like a practice table with sounds. I tried to enjoy it. The tournament was so much fun and it is perfect for kids to get some experience playing on the TV stage.

Ukrainian 17-year-old Iulian Boiko bounced straight back from the disappointment of defeat in the final round of event one, defeating James Height 4-0. Boiko fired in breaks of 68, 90 and 56 on his way to victory.

Craig Steadman and Stuart Carrington, who were relegated from the professional circuit at the end of last season, scored wins to earn second round slots. Steadman came from 2-1 down to beat Jake Crofts 4-2, while Carrington whitewashed Pommy Kang 4-0.

WST also reported on the first day at the Asian event but I must confess that I know nothing about most of the players involved in that competition first round.

Two female players are in the draw: On Yee Ng and Cheung Yee Ting. On Yee was seeded in round 2 and lost this morning by 4-1 to Gong Chenzhi. Cheung Yee Ting got a walk-over is her opponent didn’t show up and, at the time of writing, is yet to play in the second round.

Gong Chenzhi had played really well to beat Wang Yuchen in the first round and if he kept that level in his second match the outcome is no surprise to me. All the same it’s a terrible result for On Yee.

2023 Q-School Event 2 and 2023 Asia-Oceania Q-School Event 1 started

The second 2023 European Q-School event and the first 2023 Asia-Oceania Q-School started yesterday.

WST eventually published the draws for both 2023 Asia-Oceania Q-Schools held in Thailand.

Thursday 1 Jun 2023 07:03AM

Asia-Oceania Q School kicks off on Thursday. Click below to see the draws.

Click here for event one draw

Click here for event one match schedule

Click here for event two draw

Click here for event two match schedule

The event will run from June 1-12 in Bangkok. There will be two tournaments, with the finalists from each tournament earning a place on the professional tour for the next two seasons.

About time… the first event had started already!

And whilst the European Q-Schools are only streamed in China, the Asia-Oceania Q-School is streamed on Facebook by the Billiards Sports Association of Thailand (BSAT). Yesterday there were quite a few issues with the streaming but today that seems to work well although the scores are not shown on some streams. Tell me about an oxymoronic situation…

On the other hand, live scores are available on the WST site for the European Events, whilst following live scores for the Asian events is trickier. BSAT publishes various files with draws/live scores/results but it’s not easy to follow.

As usual the snooker.org team does everything in their power to keep fans up-to-date with both events

WST has published reports on what happened yesterday …

In the UK

Powell Powers To First Win

Welsh 14-year-old Riley Powell secured his first ever Q School victory, beating Bradley Cowdroy 4-2 in the opening round of Event Two in Leicester.

Powell made his World Snooker Tour debut at the Shoot Out earlier this year and scored a sensational maiden win over world number eight Kyren Wilson, before bowing out against compatriot Daniel Wells.

The talented youngster practises with legendary three-time World Champion Mark Williams, who advised him to savour his Q School experience and not put too much pressure on himself. That is a philosophy which Powell is determined to adopt. He faces a tricky test in the second round against Austria’s Florian Nuessle, who beat Jedd Mann 4-1.

Powell said: “You just learn so many things from Mark. He is so much better than people think he is. In practice he is unbelievable and I am so thankful to him for helping me with my journey so far. Before I came up here, he just told me to go out there and enjoy it. All I am here for is a bit of experience. I want to win, but if I lose I will go back to the practice table and come back next year.”

China’s 19-year-old Bai Yulu won her second Q School match with a 4-1 defeat of Zac Cosker. She will now go straight through to the third round, with her scheduled second round opponent Andrew Pagett having already earned a tour card through event one.

Bai has showcased her talent on the World Women’s Tour this season. She was runner-up in the World Championship and won the British Open. Bai composed breaks of 50 and 61 in today’s victory.

Steven Hallworth recovered from the disappointment of losing in the penultimate round of event one, beating Jeremiah Connors 4-0. Former Shoot Out quarter-finalist Hallworth crafted breaks of 69 and 55 on his way to the win and now faces Malta’s Aaron Busuttil.

Fraser Patrick earned his second round spot with a 4-2 win over Ian Barlow, while English pool player Jordan Shepherd beat Andrew Robson 4-1.

I don’t doubt young Riley’s talent but at fourteen I think he’s far too young to be thrown into the cut-throat competitive environment that is the main tour. It is NOT true that if you are good enough, you are old enough. We hear so many stories about adult snooker players suffering from mental health issues because it’s such a hard and lonely sport. Exposing a 14 years old kid to that – no matter how good he might be technically – is irresponsible and potentially extremely damaging.

In Thailand

Lei Off To Winning Start

Former professional Lei Peifan made a strong start to his Asia-Oceania Q School campaign in Bangkok, whitewashing Pakistan’s Zulfiqar Abdul Qadir 4-0 to reach the second round.

Lei lost his tour card at the end of last season and is seeking an immediate return to the professional ranks. His best performance on the circuit to date saw him make Judgement Day at 2022 World Championship qualifying. Lei came within a single frame of the Crucible, but lost out 10-9 against Hossein Vafaei.

The Chinese 20-year-old crafted breaks of 55 and 62 on his way to victory. He now faces Singapore’s Kingsley Tian Yi Ang in the last 64.

India’s Asutosh Padhy showed his steel with a gutsy final frame to edge out Hong Kong’s Kai Sang Yeung 4-3. Padhy had led 3-0, before being hauled into a deciding frame. However, he fired in a break of 82 to get over the line.

Filipino Jeffrey Roda booked his second round slot with a 4-2 win over Shrikrishna Suryanarayanan. Roda top scored with a contribution of 122.

For full scores click here

For match schedule click here

For draw bracket click here

And BTW, BSAT has completely outplayed WST when it comes to the “glamour” of the environment and the look of the players seats … at least on table 1!

2023 Q-School Event 1 – The Laureates

The four players who emerged from the 2023 UK Q-School Event 1 are Alexander Ursenbacher, Andrew Higginson, Andrew Pagett and Liam Pullen. Congratulations to them!

Here is the report by WST:

Ursenbacher, Higginson, Pagett and Pullen Clinch Tour Cards

Alexander Ursenbacher, Andrew Higginson, Andrew Pagett and Liam Pullen came through Q School Event One in Leicester to earn two-year cards for the World Snooker Tour.

All four players now have the right to compete on the pro circuit for the 2023/24 and 2024/25 seasons.

Switzerland’s Ursenbacher bounced back from dropping off the tour last month, by defeating Barry Pinches 4-3 in a thrilling clash. The result continues his impressive record in Q School, which he’s now successfully negotiated three times.

Ursenbacher showed promising signs early on last season, when he beat Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-1 at the British Open. However, difficulties with the psychological side of the sport plagued his game and a poor run of form saw him lose his place on tour.

Despite this, Ursenbacher showed his steel this afternoon. The Basel cueman fired in a nerveless break of 69 in the final frame, having been pegged back from 3-1 up, to secure a vital victory.

Ursenbacher said: “I just didn’t want to play another week of Q School. What it does to you, it is not healthy. I know I am guaranteed two years now and I am going to make some changes, because I can’t do that again.

I guess many players have a back up plan with studying, having a job anyway or sponsors. I have none of this. I know what I am capable of so that puts a lot of pressure on myself. I just didn’t want to disappoint myself, my family, my girlfriend and my friends. I am really pleased.”

Former Welsh Open finalist Andrew Higginson secured his return to snooker’s top table, after whitewashing Hayden Pinhey 4-0.

Higginson dropped off the tour at the end of the 21/22 campaign and spent the last year off the circuit. The Widnes cueman came agonisingly close to securing a tour card at World Championship qualifying last month. He battled through three matches to make Judgement Day and move one win from the Crucible and a professional return, but lost 10-5 to David Grace. However, that loss is a distant memory now and he is delighted to be back.

I didn’t have a lot of high hopes coming into it, but if you have the right frame of mind and tunnel vision that stands you in good stead. Having the year off tour was probably something that I needed,” said 45-year-old Higginson.

For years I have been putting too much pressure on myself. The game is hard enough. I think when you relax and you are happy you play your best snooker. I am enjoying the little bits of practising I am doing now. It will be nice to meet up with my mates on tour again.”

Welshman Andrew Paggett recovered from tour relegation to earn an immediate return with a 4-2 defeat of Ukrainian teenager Iulian Boiko.

Pagett won the European Amateur Championship in 2020 to gain professional status. However, he had his tour card deferred due to illness with Diverticulitis. Pagett eventually took up his place two years ago, but fell off the circuit at the end of last season.

I’m just relieved really. It is hard work here. It is tough. There are lots and lots of good players and it is a short format. It is brutal basically,” said 41-year-old Pagett.

I’ve never been right over the last two years, since the illness. Two or three months back I found the right cue. I have gone back to the basics and feel like I can play the game again. I am just so relieved to get through. I couldn’t think of anything worse than another six days of hell out there.”

English teenager Liam Pullen earned a dream maiden place on the World Snooker Tour, beating Alex Taubman 4-0 to qualify.

Pullen had 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.

The 17-year-old showcased his mental fortitude by beating Q School veteran Craig Steadman 4-3 last night to make the final day, having trailed 3-0. This afternoon’s win was a more comfortable one and he becomes the first rookie to qualify from 2023 Q School.

Pullen said: “I’m looking forward to the next two seasons. After losing to Stan, who was by far the better player in that final. I learned a lot from that and if I didn’t get to that final I wouldn’t have qualified this week. Grit, determination and staying calm was huge.

I wanted it so bad. It was really hard for me after Australia. I practised really hard when I got home. I shouldn’t have done it and I should have had a week off and a mental break. It was an emotional time.”

Andrew Higginson is a lovely character, well appreciated by fellow players and fans alike. I’m really happy for him. I’m also happy for Alex Ursenbacher. It’s much harder for the non UK/Irish players in this sport and the more players from mainland Europe we have on tour, the better. I’m not a fan of Andrew Pagett and I would have preferred Iulian Boiko to come through but Andrew had a very tough two years, he’s been very ill – his condition was life threatening at one point – so all credits to him and best wishes, in particular with his health. As for Liam Pullen, I hope that he will be able to enjoy his rookie years as a pro, learn and progress. It’s great to get young players on the tour and I hope he’s got the right people around him because it won’t be easy. It never is.

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