Rookies Louis Heathcote and Chang Bingyu both won their first match as professionals, against Ryan Day and Ian Burns respectively. Chang’s match wasn’t streamed in Europe, by Louis’ one was and he played extremely well. Ryan Day himself wasn’t playing badly at all. Si Jiahui on the other hand was beaten soundly by Ricky Walden; Ricky, for what I saw of the match, played really well which pleased me because it’s always sad when a player of Ricky’s quality struggles badly because of injuries.
Returning professional Chen Zifan also started his season well with a win over Michael Georgiou. Xu Si however was beaten by Ali Carter, who looked very strong.
Luca Brecel looked sharp as well, whitewashing And Hicks. Yuan Sijun, who caught Stephen Hendry’s attention, also won, beating Noppon Saengkham by 4-2.
Yan Bingtao – seeded 16 here – beat Anthony McGill – seeded 18 – by 4-2 in a rather painful match. Yan is on the back of a poor season, ans so is McGill. Both probably lack confidence and both struggled.
Clive Everton, best known as one of snooker’s leading television commentators for over 40 years, has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Clive, age 81, will receive the award from the Queen at Buckingham Palace later this year.
In his youth, Clive excelled as a billiards players, winning the British under-16 and under-19 titles, as well as the Welsh Championship five times. He reached the semi-finals of the World Amateur Championship twice and was ranked as high as ninth in the world. He was also a fine snooker player, winning the Midlands amateur title and climbing to 47th in the world.
In January 1971 he founded Snooker Scene, a monthly magazine chronicling the game’s growth from little known pastime to a multi-million pound television sport. Clive has edited every edition of the magazine for the last 48 years.
From 1978, when the BBC began extensive live coverage of snooker, Clive was at the forefront of the commentary team. He was the ‘Voice of Snooker’ for hundreds of memorable moments for more than three decades, as millions of fans throughout the UK and beyond watched the sport’s biggest tournaments on the BBC.
Clive continues to commentate for a variety of broadcasters, including ITV on their coverage of four events each season. Last March he was on the mic as Ronnie O’Sullivan made his historic 1,000th career century during the final frame of the Players Championship.
As a journalist, Clive has written for newspapers including The Guardian, Sunday Times and Independent on Sunday, and provided voice reports for a wide range of BBC radio stations, as well as running Everton’s News Agency, which supplied stories to national and regional newspapers.
He has written over 20 books about snooker and billiards, including his autobiography Black Farce and Cue Ball Wizards, which was shortlisted for the British Sports Book of the Year award.
Two years ago he was inducted into World Snooker’s Hall of Fame, and remains the only broadcaster to receive this honour.
Clive said: “I love snooker and I couldn’t have worked in the game for so many years without that. I am pleased that my work has been recognised with an MBE. I am a little surprised because people who are anti-establishment don’t often get them, though in recent years I have been very much in favour of the establishment in snooker because the things I campaigned for under previous regimes have been achieved.
“I am proud of running Snooker Scene for 48 years because it is a journal of record, which every sport needs, as well as providing me with the opportunity to campaign for what I believe in.”
World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn said: “We are thrilled for Clive to have received this honour, as a great servant to snooker for decades. Two years ago we inducted Clive into the World Snooker Hall of Fame in recognition of his dedication to our sport. We hope he keeps going in his roles as a commentator and journalist for years to come.”
WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson added: “There can be few people who have loved snooker and dedicated their lives to it in the way that Clive has over the past 60 years. He was a fine player and is widely recognised as one of the best television commentators the sporting world has produced. The MBE is a greatly deserved award and we congratulate Clive.”
The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association has today announced that Shaun Murphy has taken the decision to step down from the Board of Directors and his role of Chairman of the Players Commission with immediate effect.
The former world champion was elected to the WPBSA board in December 2017 and has made a valuable contribution since his appointment, however, has now decided that the time is right to focus on his successful playing career.
Jason Ferguson, WPBSA Chairman said: “It has been a pleasure to work with Shaun during his time with us. He is passionate, committed and has helped us to shape many things that have been for the benefit of the players and our sport as a whole.
“I am sure that he will continue to make a great contribution to our sport over the seasons to come and on behalf of the WPBSA board of directors I would like to wish him every success for the future.”
Plans for the administration of the Players Commission will be announced in due course.
Shaun had what was possibly his worst season ever in 2018/19 and it’s understandable that he wants to put that right and fully focus on his career. That said his duties as a member of the board were not the only factors that distracted him from his snooker: moving to Ireland, and the birth of his baby daughter, whose health was a concern for a while, certainly took their toll too. Good luck to Shaun this season.
And, finally, the fitters are at work in Ponds Forge, as the first event of the season starts on Monday!
“In the early days, playing and competing wasn’t enough,” said the Englishman.
O’Sullivan said he had been “addicted” to the “pursuit to be the best” in snooker.
“I went through a lot of denial early on, that I didn’t have an addiction at all,” he said.
“Addiction is not just around food; it can be women, relationships, gambling, spending, working too hard – it covers so many different areas.
“I think the western world has become a world of addiction. We live such a hectic fast-paced life; everyone gets on top of each other, trying to climb that ladder.
“I’ve probably trampled on people – not in a horrible way, but in my pursuit to be the best.
“If I had my time over again, I definitely wouldn’t choose snooker as a sport to pursue. In the early days, playing and competing wasn’t enough. I think I had an unhealthy relationship with snooker.”
Chasing a record 37th ranking title, O’Sullivan arrived in Sheffield as the favourite, where his defeat by Cahill was described by pundits as the biggest upset in the history of the Crucible, if not that of the sport.
Earlier in the season, he won the invitational Shanghai Masters and Champion of Champions, as well as the UK Championship, Players Championship and Tour Championship.
In the process, he also became the first player to compile 1,000 career centuries and went past the £10m career prize money landmark.
“Snooker and winning titles is great but if that’s all that life is, at some point that’s going to go,” O’Sullivan added.
“The better you are at something, the more you enjoy doing it. I’ve had to dig deep and ask whether I’ve got the character, the will, the determination.
“When I play snooker, I go into a tunnel vision world and I block out everything and everyone around me. But the people around me are not getting their wants and needs.
“Human relationships are very important – probably more important than anything. We need to interact with people. Sometimes I have to draw in a bit, and say ‘maybe I’ve been a bit selfish’, and when I approach that, life gets better again.”
‘It’s not the end of the world’
O’Sullivan recalls conceding his UK Championship quarter-final against Stephen Hendry after just five frames in December 2006 as a marker for his progress.
The Rocket, then reigning champion, also missed the 2012-13 season because of “personal issues” and stated the 2013 World Championship could be his last major event as he only returned to the sport for “a bit of money”.
He claimed a fifth world title success on his return to action, and says the help of sports psychologist Dr Steve Peters has helped him to build a “healthier dialogue” with himself.
“When I walked out on Stephen Hendry halfway through the match – when I look back – I think, when I feel like that, don’t act like that. It’s very fickle. One frame, one shot and I could be flying again,” said O’Sullivan.
“But I never used to think like that, I’d say ‘give up, don’t bother; it’s not your week’. Walking out, giving up, playing the wrong shot, putting the towel over your head – [it was] all part of that same feeling.
“I learned from Steve not to do that. I’ve got to have faith in myself; just don’t sabotage it. The running, the gym, spending time at home – it all helps. You’ve got to start taking care of yourself, what’s important to you.
“Do I eat right? Sleep right? Keeping myself fit. Am I finding time for the things I enjoy? Then I can go and play snooker.
“If I win, great; if I don’t, it’s not the end of the world.”
The tournament will run from July 26-28 at the Arena Riga in Latvia.
Unsurprisingly, Ronnie has entered neither of them.
The Riga Masters unfortunately isn’t a “rich” tournament and there are always a number of top players who skip it. Ronnie, John Higgins, Mark Allen and John Higgins are giving it a miss and that will surprise nobody. But Judd Trump also is missing from the draw. He’s the World Champion for the first time and, maybe, one could have expected him to be there at the opening event of the new season.
The International Championship of course has a big prize money and everyone is there … except Ronnie.
Yesterday saw the conclusion of the Q-school 2019.
Congratulations to the four Event 3 graduates:
Andy Hickx, Barry Pinches, Alex Borg and Alexander Ursenbacher.
All of them have been professional before and three out of four are over forty. They earned their place, so it’s big well done to them, but it’s not the kind of outcome I like to see with the future of the game in mind.
Congratulations to the four who graduated through the Order of Merit:
Si Jiahui, Lei Peifan, Peter Lines and Billy Joe Castle
Two new names – Si Jiahui and Lei Peifan, both teenagers – and two returning pros, Peter LInes and Billy Joe Castle.
Lei Peifan 16, is the youngest player of on the tour, Jimmy White, 57, is the oldest.
There are (only) 10 teenagers on the tour, 8 of them from China. Jackson Page (Wales) and Riley Parsons (England) are the only “exceptions”.
There are 35 players over 40 on the tour, 3 of them over 50. One of those players, David Lilley is a pro for the first time. Marco Fu (Hong Kong) and James Wattana (Thailand) are the only Asian players in this bracket.
There are 23 players from China on the Main Tour. There are only 18 players on the tour who are 22 or less, 13 of them are from China. The oldest chinese players are 36 – Mei Xiwen and Chen Feilong – and only four others are in their 30th – Liang Wenbo (32), Ding Junhui (32), Tian Pengfei (31) and Xiao Guodong (30).
There is no woman on the tour, despite it to be open to both genders. On Yee Ng is the one who got the best results in the Q-School and she isn’t even in the top 56 that would guarantee her the right to play on the Challenge tour.
The youngest player in the Q-School 2019 was Iulian Boiko (13!) from Ukraine. He did well enough to secure his spot on the Challenge Tour. Wether he will be able to play in it, remains to be seen … obviously he’s still a schoolboy. He also became the youngest player to score a competitive century in a professional event.
Yesterday, in answer to my latest post, Eddie Jones commented
This is an unpopular opinion but im going to say it anyway. Woman’s Snooker tour is a great breeding ground for Women players but there has to come a time a good woman player moves to the next level and that means play in tournaments which contains the best Amateurs to hone their Skill. Both Ng And Reanne Evans are great players but flicking between Womans Tour and playing better players can’t work you got to commit and then the results will come.
and he is RIGHT of course but it’s not quite that simple when looking at the women in snooker in general.
Nevertheless, the actual situation remains that girls have to overcome a lot of more hurdles than boys to be accepted and respected at grassroot level, which is where it all starts. That doesn’t help. Succeeding in every sport is also a number game, and if girls are outnumbered at grass root – because they feel unwelcome at best – we shouldn’t be surprised to see very few of them succeeding at the highest level, or staying away from the Main Tour.
And then there are other, trivial but unavoidable, considerations about sponsoring and funding. The poor “image” of women in snooker is not helping them to find sponsors.
On Yee has repeatedly stated that her ambition is to compete with the men. She came very close to beat Alan McManus in Sheffield last April, she didn’t do badly in the Q-school this time either. She’s slowly getting there. But she can’t afford to lose the funding she gets from her national body in Hong Kong, and what justifies that funding are the successes she gets on the Women’s Tour, because that’s what makes Hong Kong sporting authorities proud and gives them results to show off on the sporting scene. So she can’t ditch that to focus on the main tour just yet.
Two young Thai women, Mink (Nutcharut Wongharuthai – 19) and Ploy (Ploychompoo Laokiatphong -16) weren’t seen at the Q-School, despite Mink’s statement that her ambition is to compete on the main tour, and her making a 147 earlier this year. I can only suppose that they couldn’t afford the cost of it. BTW, there was no male Thai player at the Q-school this time either, so I can only suppose that they got no support from their federation.
And here is a question for Lewis … are women competing on the CBSA “professional” circuit alongside with men? If not, why?
The CBSA has yesterday confirmed that Chang Bingyu and Bai Langning have qualified to play on the World Snooker Tour for the 2019/2020 and 2020/2021 seasons.
This comes as no surprise to anyone who follows snooker in China.
The last Q-School event is now into the early phase of round 3.
There will be no woman on the main tour. Ng On Yee has been the only one record at least one win in the Q-school. On Yee has won four matches, and is currently ranked 75 in the Q-School order of merit.
The two youngest players in the competition, both from mainland Europe, are also out, but they certainly gained invaluable experience. Iulian Boiko, 13 years old from Ukraine, won four matches, and lost in a deciding frame in round 3 of both Event 1 and Event 2. He also became the youngest player to make a century in professional competition; he is currently ranked n°56 in the Order of Merit. Ben Mertens, 14 years old from Belgium, reached the second round in each of the Q-School events and also made a century; he’s currently ranked n°80.
Si Jiahui from China, only 16, is currently on top of the Order of Merit. As it stands it would ask for something impossible for him not to get a tour card via the Order of Merit: Peifan Lei, Lukas Kleckers, Billy Joe Castle and Ross Bulman would all need to reach the QF in Event Three and to lose at that stage for Si to miss out. Kleckers and Castle being bound to meet in the QF, should both of them get to the last round, Si Jiahui is already certain to get a tout card.