After several weeks of non-stop action, it’s time to take a break and catch up with the snooker tour news.
Rankings Update: O’Sullivan Up To Third
Ronnie O’Sullivan is up to third place on the one-year ranking list following his victory at the Cazoo World Grand Prix on Sunday.
O’Sullivan beat Neil Robertson 10-8 in the final in Coventry to capture the £100,000 top prize and climb from seventh place to third, behind only Zhao Xintong and Luca Brecel. The Rocket now looks well placed to qualify for the two remaining events in the Cazoo Series.
Robertson banks £40,000 as runner-up and jumps from eighth to sixth. Stuart Bingham reached the semi-finals and he’s up from 22nd to 18th. Mark Selby was the other losing semi-finalist and he jumps from 21st to 17th.
There are only two counting events to go until the field is confirmed for the second event in the series, the Cazoo Players Championship, as only the top 16 on the one-year list will make it to Wolverhampton (February 7-13).
Those events are the BetVictor Shoot Out (January 20 to 23) and the BetVictor German Masters (January 26 to 30). The qualifying rounds of the latter event have already taken place (click here for the last 32 draw), so certain players such as Bingham only have the BetVictor Shoot Out to try to climb into the top 16.
Four players who are outside the top 16 of the official two-year list are currently inside the top 16 of the one-year list: David Gilbert, Gary Wilson, Jimmy Robertson and Ricky Walden. Anthony McGill is currently on the bubble in 16th place with £53,500.
Only the top eight will contest the final event of the 2021/22 Cazoo Series, the Cazoo Tour Championship (March 28 to April 3, Llandudno).
On the official two-year rankings, Robertson remains in fourth place while O’Sullivan remains third.
Where prize money is won without a player winning a match in a tournament, NONE of that prize money will count towards these prize money rankings save for the World Grand Prix, Players Championship and Tour Championship.
Where prize money is won by a player at a qualifying venue and that player does not go on to appear at the final venue, for whatever reason, that prize money will not count in the prize money rankings until the situation has been considered by the appeals committee who may, at their absolute discretion, allocate ranking points where it can be demonstrated that there are extreme mitigating circumstances. These points will be allocated from the date of the committee meeting and will not affect previously issued draws.
WST Seeding – Count Back: Players on equal prize money will be seeded based on the best performance (stage/round reached through winning a match) working backwards from the most recent ranking event. If still equal, frames won when losing will determine their position, working backwards from the most recent ranking event. For the purposes of count back, competing in an event and losing is treated as a better performance than not entering or competing in an event.
For a full explanation of how the rankings work, click here
You will find the “race to the Players Championship” rankings here on snooker.org. With 50000 points between Ronnie third and Mark Williams fourth, it would take something extraordinary for Ronnie to miss out on the Tour Championship.
The 2022 Shoot-Out is the next event counting towards the Players Championship and WST has published the draw and format:
BetVictor Shoot Out Draw
Snooker’s unique BetVictor Shoot Out heads to the Morningside Arena in Leicester in January, with top stars including Mark Selby, Shaun Murphy, Mark Williams, Kyren Wilson, Zhao Xintong, Ding Junhui, Mark Allen, Luca Brecel and defending champion Ryan Day in the field.
The draw has been made for the 128-player world ranking event, to run from January 20 to 23.
Notable first round ties include:
New UK Champion Zhao Xintong against 2020 Shoot Out winner Michael Holt – Friday January 21, 7pm session
World number one Mark Selby against Li Hang – Thursday January 20, 7pm session
Three-time UK Champion Ding Junhui against 2012 Shoot Out winner Barry Hawkins – Friday January 21, 1pm session
Two-time Crucible finalist Ali Carter against former Masters and UK Champion Matthew Stevens – Thursday January 20, 1pm session
Former World Champion Shaun Murphy v Chang Bingyu – Thursday January 20, 1pm session
Three-time Crucible king Mark Williams v Stuart Carrington- Thursday January 20, 7pm session
Women’s World Champion Reanne Evans v Fan Zhengyi – Thursday January 20, 7pm session
As always, the tournament features a unique set of rules. All matches last a maximum of ten minutes, with a shot clock of 15 seconds for the first five minutes and ten seconds for the last five, while any foul means ball in hand for the opponent.
Televised by Eurosport and a range of other broadcasters and online platforms worldwide, the tournament forms part of the eight-event BetVictor Snooker Series, from which the player earning the most prize money will receive a huge £150,000 bonus.
No Ronnie, no Judd Trump, no Neil Robertson, no John Higgins … unsurprisingly. As you would expect, given that they are just outside the Players Championship qualifying zone, Mark Selby and Stuart Bingham have entered. What really surprises me is to see Ding’s name in the draw…
Nirvana Cosmopolitan To Host Turkish Masters
The fantastic Nirvana Cosmopolitan Hotel was named as the host of the new Nirvana Turkish Masters world ranking event today at a press conference in Antalya.
The tournament will run from March 7 to 13 in 2022 and it will be the first professional event staged in Turkey, with 64 players heading to the beautiful city of Antalya to compete for total prize money of £500,000.
WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson, President of the Turkish Billiard Federation Ersan Ercan, VP and Snooker Director Muhammad Leysi, Director of Sport at Nirvana, Mr Burcin Badem and local promoter Tuğba İrten were among those to host the press conference.
Ferguson said: “The Nirvana Cosmopolitan Hotel is an absolutely superb location to stage what will be a historic event on the World Snooker Tour. The players will love this stunning venue and it will be an incredible opportunity for fans to see the leading stars and to enjoy the local hospitality in Antalya.
“Our greatest ambition is to bring our sport to all corners of the globe and to stage an event in Turkey for the first time, where we know there is huge support for snooker, is a crucial step forward. We look forward to delivering a top class event and working with our partners in the region: the Turkish Billiard Federation, the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Kilit Group and the Nirvana Hotel, along with our promoter Tugba Irten.”
Antalya is renowned as one of Europe’s outstanding destinations, known for its culture, history and ideal location on the Mediterranean coast.
WST has agreed a four-year deal with the Turkish Billiards Federation and Big Break Promotions to stage the Turkish Masters every season until at least 2024/2025. Overall prize money will increase each year.
A qualifying round will be staged with players needing to win one match to make it to the final stages. Two Turkish wild cards will also be handed places in the main event in Antalya. The tournament will be televised by a range of broadcasters worldwide including Eurosport and Matchroom Live.
Obviously the prize money is good and Antalya is a beautiful place with a rich history. Turkish cuisine isn’t bad either. Having the whole event played in a luxury hotel is reminiscent of the glorious old days when snooker was really a prominent sport and its exponents true stars.
Whether there will be held-over matches is unclear to me. The first sentence in bold seems to indicate that all players will need to qualify ahead of the main event. The second sentence in bold on the other hand says that the two Turkish wildcards will play at the main venue, therefore, unless they play each other, two players at least will have their first round match held-over. WST will probably go “by ranking” but the sponsors may have something to say about it too, especially for a first event in the country. We shall see.
Finally … it was ten days ago but surely worth mentioning … Si Jiahui won the Q Tour event 2.
Success For Si At WPBSA Q Tour
Si Jiahui has won the second event of the 2021/22 WPBSA Q Tour following a dramatic 5-4 victory against former professional Michael White at the Terry Griffiths Matchroom, Llanelli.
The WPBSA Q Tour is an official pathway to the World Snooker Tour with two professional places to be won across the season from four tournaments. The events are open to all players, with 48 players automatically qualified for the last 64 stage through their position on the 2021 Q School Order of Merit.
China’s Si had previously reached the final of Event one in Brighton just three weeks ago and having again progressed to the quarter-finals on Saturday, made it back to back finals with victories against Sydney Wilson and Sean O’Sullivan.
Awaiting him would be two-time ranking event winner Michael White, who added a further two century breaks to the five he had already compiled the previous day during wins against Alex Clenshaw and Belgium’s Ben Mertens.
Having fallen 4-0 behind against David Lilley in the previous final, it was Si who this time made the stronger start, breaks of 54, 82 and 53 ensuring that he would stand just one frame from the title at the mid-session interval.
With a lead of 45-1 during frame five, a whitewash appeared to be on the cards but there was to be a twist in the tale as White hit back with 50 before eventually snatching the frame on the pink, before adding breaks of 58 and 70 on his way to drawing level at 4-4.
The decider was to prove no less dramatic as White once again erased an early deficit – which included a snooker on the colours – but this time Si was not to be denied as he potted green, brown and blue to secure victory.
With 11 match wins from 12 played from the first two events, Si has put himself in a strong position on the Q Tour Ranking list at the halfway point of the season, but there remains all to play for ahead of the final two events in Leicester and Leeds over the coming months.
Two World Snooker Tour cards are available from the Q Tour series, with the top ranked player following this season’s four scheduled events set to qualify. A further 16 players will contest a play-off tournament for the second card.
The WPBSA would like to thank all of the players, officials and in particular the Terry Griffiths Matchroom and its staff, who helped to support another fantastic weekend of snooker in south Wales.
The WPBSA Q Tour will return with Event Three from 28-30 January at The Winchester Snooker Club, Leicestershire. The closing date for entries for the event is 4:30pm on Friday 14 January
And of course … the traditional Championship league is under way, with Group 1 concluding today.
BetVictor Championship League Groups Confirmed
The 2022 BetVictor Championship League Snooker Invitational gets underway with Group 1 live from the Morningside Arena, Leicester on Monday 20, December starring Jack Lisowski, Gary Wilson, Graeme Dott, Zhou Yuelong, Tom Ford, Liang Wenbo and Ryan Day, broadcast live on FreeSports in the UK and Ireland, Viaplay in the Nordics and Baltics alongside broadcasters worldwide.
Both Tables 1 and 2 will be available live globally with Lisowski set to take on Zhou in the opening match of the tournament at 11am. Group 2 will take place on December 22-23 before Groups 3-5 get underway from January 3-8 and Group 6 on January 17-18. Group 7 and the Winners’ Group to find out the winner will take place from January 31-February 3.
Mark Selby, Judd Trump, Neil Robertson, Ronnie O’Sullivan, John Higgins and invitational defending champion Kyren Wilson are all set to feature during the group stage.
The groups can be found below with missing spots completed by the previous group’s 5th placed player, two losing semi-finalists and losing group finalist.
Jack Lisowski, Zhou Yuelong, Graeme Dott, Tom Ford, Gary Wilson, Ryan Day, Liang Wenbo
Xiao Guodong, Lu Ning, Joe Perry
Mark Selby, Mark Williams, Stuart Bingham
Judd Trump, Kyren Wilson, Barry Hawkins
David Gilbert, Martin Gould, Ali Carter
Yan Bingtao, Ricky Walden, Ding Junhui
Ronnie O’Sullivan, Neil Robertson, John Higgins
Where to Watch
- Foxtel – Australia
- FreeSports – UK and Ireland
- Nova – Czech Republic & Slovakia
- NTV – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenia, and Uzbekistan
- Sky Network – New Zealand
- SuperSport – Africa
- Sportklub – Croatia & Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Kosovo, and Slovenia
- TVP – Poland
- Viaplay – Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania
- Viaplay – Iceland
- Viaplay – Scandinavia
- Zhibo.TV – China
- Matchroom.Live – Table 1 is available exclusively to those outside of the countries listed above. Table 2 will be available live on Matchroom.Live excluding the Nordic and Baltic regions
- The tournament will also be live on betting websites around the world
The tournament carries a prize fund of £205,000 with players earning £100 per frame won with significant bonuses for their final group position and increased prize money in the Winners’ Group. A place in the 2022 Cazoo Champion of Champions is also on the line with each group featuring seven players with matches being held over two days.
All matches are a best-of-five, and each group is played to a round-robin format. The top four in each group contest the play-offs, with the eventual winner advancing to Winners’ Group. The three play-off players who don’t advance will move into the next group, where they are joined by the player who finished fifth in the table and three new players. Those finishing sixth and seventh in each group are eliminated from the competition.