Tour News – 9.3.2022 – Marco Fu returns, World Champs Wilcards, Gibraltar Open Draw

Whilst the Turkish Masters continues in Antalya a few interesting news have emerged regarding the rest of the season.

Marco Fu, who hasn’t played in a professional event at all for about 2 years, has announced that he has entered the 2022 World Championship. The news was received with joy by fans as well as by fellow pros. Marco is currently LAST in the professional rankings, having not played at all in the previous and this seasons. He is facing a very tough task. Should he manage to reach the Crucible however, he would of course get a new 2 years tour card.

Also, about the World Championship, it has been confirmed that the format will be only best of 11 in the early rounds, which is a shame. There will be 128 players in the draw including 16 wildcards, that will be selected following these published criteria:

Amateur Players For World Qualifiers Announced

The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) and World Snooker Tour have today announced the qualification criteria for the 16 amateur qualifiers who will be offered the chance to compete at next month’s Betfred World Snooker Championship in Sheffield.

The qualifying rounds for this year’s Championship will return to the English Institute for Sport, Sheffield from 4-13 April and be contested by a field of 128 players. The field will include professionals ranked outside of the world’s top 16 following the Cazoo Tour Championship and amateur top ups from the 2021 Q School Order of Merit.

They will be joined by 16 elite amateur players selected by the WPBSA, based on their performances at recognised international competitions held this season. For the first time this includes players from the new WPBSA Q Tour, who will be confirmed following the fourth and final event of the season which is set to conclude on 20 March 2022.

Jason Ferguson, WPBSA Chairman said: “We are delighted to be able to announce today the qualifiers who have earned their chance to compete at this year’s professional World Snooker Championship in Sheffield.

“Each player has earned their chance following their performances at the sport’s leading amateur competitions, including the recent World Snooker Federation Championships – the biggest international amateur event held in many years with over 300 players having taken part – as well as WPBSA Q Tour, our sport’s premier amateur tour.

“These prestigious events are now leading the way in providing a direct pathway to the World Snooker Tour, whether through two-year tour cards, or other opportunities to compete in major events including the World Championship.”

Full WPBSA Qualifiers list:

  • Si Jiahui – 2022 WSF Championship Winner
  • Lee Stephens – 2022 WSF Championship Runner-up
  • Daniel Wells – 2022 WSF Championship Semi-Finalist
  • Michael White – 2022 WSF Championship Semi-Finalist
  • Anton Kazakov – 2022 WSF Junior Championship Winner
  • Jake Crofts – 2022 WSF Junior Championship Runner-up
  • Liam Davies – 2022 WSF Junior Championship Semi-Finalist
  • Yorrit Hoes – 2022 WSF Junior Championship Semi-Finalist
  • Nutcharut Wongharuthai – 2022 World Women’s Snooker No.3 / World Champion
  • Rebecca Kenna – 2022 World Women’s Snooker No.4
  • Dylan Emery – 2021 EBSA European Under-21 Championship Winner
  • TBC – WPBSA Q Tour No.1 (decided after 20 March)
  • TBC – WPBSA Q Tour No.2 (decided after 20 March)
  • TBC – WPBSA Q Tour No.3 (decided after 20 March)
  • TBC – WPBSA Q Tour No.4 (decided after 20 March)
  • TBC – WPBSA Q Tour No.5 (decided after 20 March)

All players selected will appear subject to acceptance of their place and any travel restrictions in place. Any replacement players will be selected from a reserve list to include performances at World Snooker Federation and recognised regional events.

Any current professional players who do not enter the tournament will be replaced from the 2021 Q School Order of Merit.

I have put the last line in bold as this is important to understand. Last year, players high in the Q-school order of merit felt aggrieved because they had not been invited, whilst amateurs emerging from other comps had. Some said the WST was contractually bound to take them in, rather than those guys. This was a misunderstanding. WST is bound to take them as replacement for pros who opted not to enter the event, but those 16 spots are something else. Their “aim” is to promote deserving amateurs who did well in big amateur competitions.

Finally, WST has published the draw for the 2022 Gibraltar Open, and much to my and other’s surprise, Ronnie has entered it.

BetVictor Gibraltar Open Draw

Ronnie O’Sullivan, Mark Williams, John Higgins, Neil Robertson, Kyren Wilson, Mark Allen, Shaun Murphy and defending champion Judd Trump are among the star names competing in the BetVictor Gibraltar Open later this month.

Click here for the draw

Click here for the format

The tournament runs from March 24 to 26 at the Europa Sports Complex. Tickets start at just £20 and it’s a fantastic opportunity to see many of the world’s most decorated players.

Ronnie action WSTTrump has won the title in each of the last two years and this time he starts his defence against Andrew Higginson. O’Sullivan, playing in this tournament for the first time, will meet Ben Woollaston in the first round, while Robertson will take on Liang Wenbo.

The world ranking event has a top prize of £50,000 and it’s also the eighth and final event in the 2021/22 BetVictor Series, with a £150,000 bonus up for grabs. No fewer than 11 players can still win the bonus by topping the BetVictor Series rankings. Higgins and Allen currently top the list but with nine players in pursuit it’s sure to be a dramatic conclusion to the series.

The tournament has been running since 2015, when it was won by Hong Kong’s Marco Fu. Shaun Murphy, Ryan Day and Stuart Bingham lifted the trophy in the following three years, then in 2020 and 2021 the event was dominated by Trump.

A spokesman for WST said: “This is without question the strongest field we have ever had for the BetVictor Gibraltar Open, with so many of our sport’s all-time greats in the draw. For snooker fans in the region it’s an incredible opportunity to see the top stars of snooker’s golden era for the price of a single ticket.

And with so much at stake including a prestigious title and the massive BetVictor Series bonus, it promises to be three days of great excitement and top class live sport.”

Ronnie certainly never showed any interest for this competition and many are wondering why he entered it now, including me. I’m slightly nonplussed. I can only think of two things that could explain this move: the tournament is played right before the Tour Championship and he might want some competitive snooker in order to sharpen for that big one and, maybe, now being single, staying home just hasn’t the much appeal right now.

Turkish Masters and Tour News – 8.3.2020

The Turkish Masters starts tomorrow in Antalya. Hector Nunns is on site and has shared some images on social media: venue, arena and the old port scenery.

From what I understood from his posts on twitter, table 1, 3, 4 and 5 are in one place and table 2 in a different area… bizarre. Maybe I misunderstood.

Mark Allen is already over there and, going by his Instagram, is particularly impressed with the food.

The two highest ranked players in the draw, Mark Selby and Neil Robertson have withdrawn. Mark Selby has decided to take a break from snooker and will not play in any event before the World Championship.

Here is Hector’s piece about this:

Mark Selby To Take A Break Before Defending Betfred World Championship Crown

World No1 Mark Selby will be taking a complete break from snooker before defending his Betfred World Championship crown in Sheffield in April.

Both Selby and Neil Robertson have both pulled out of March’s inaugural Turkish Masters. And reigning world champion Selby, 38, has also withdrawn from the Gibraltar Open – meaning he will not play again before defending his world title at the Crucible next month.

Seeing two of the world’s top four pull out of the first ranking snooker tournament staged in Turkey is a disappointing blow for the pioneering event in the resort city of Antalya, especially as world No2 Ronnie O’Sullivan also decided not to enter in the first place.

Leicester’s four-time world champion Selby revealed in January that his mental health had deteriorated, and that he was suffering with depression.

At first he tried to play on while at the same time receiving professional support – but has now decided a total break is needed before heading for the game’s blue-riband event.

Selby said: “I am very sorry not to be going to the first Turkish Masters as I had been looking forward to the tournament and I’m sure it will be a great event. Unfortunately, it has just come at the wrong time for me with some challenges I am facing.”

Selby’s decision also rules him out of contention from sneaking into the field for the prestigious Tour Championship for the season’s best-performing eight players. He was well back in the one-season rankings and would have needed to win one of the remaining qualification events.

….

World No 4 Robertson, 40, and the player of the season with three big titles already, will not be playing due to reservations about the long trip with uncertainties created by the war in Ukraine.

He said: “I want to apologise to the fans in Turkey and would have loved to play there. I look forward very much to being there next year.”

Mark Selby’s decision is not really surprising of course, as he is battling depression. As for Neil Robertson’s reasons … maybe someone should offer him a map of Europe?  Antalya is nowhere near the war zone, and the route to it doesn’t get near it at any point either. Never mind…

The poster now looks really weird.

TurkishMastersPoster

In other news, tickets have gone on sale for the 2022 World Championship qualifiers.

The good news is that there will be a crowd.

The bad news is that there will be only 4 tables and it’s the best of 11 format in the “early” rounds. So what was supposed to be a measure dictated by the covid situation has now been made permanent. The trend to shorten the formats continue. This devaluates the World Championship, and snooker as a sport in general.

 

Tour News – 21 December, 2021

After several weeks of non-stop action, it’s time to take a break and catch up with the snooker tour news.

Rankings

WST has published this update about the rankings:

Rankings Update: O’Sullivan Up To Third

2021WGPROSWinner-12Ronnie 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

Ryan Day beat Mark Selby in last year’s final

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.

Click here for the draw

Click here for the format

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…

WST has also confirmed the dates for the 2022 Turkish Masters and provided more information about the event.

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 known for its history, scenery and culture

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

Congratulations Si!

And of course … the traditional Championship league is under way, with Group 1 concluding today.

He is WST info about this season’s groups:

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.

Group 1 

Jack Lisowski, Zhou Yuelong, Graeme Dott, Tom Ford, Gary Wilson, Ryan Day, Liang Wenbo

Group 2

Xiao Guodong, Lu Ning, Joe Perry

Group 3

Mark Selby, Mark Williams, Stuart Bingham

Group 4

Judd Trump, Kyren Wilson, Barry Hawkins

Group 5

David Gilbert, Martin Gould, Ali Carter

Group 6

Yan Bingtao, Ricky Walden, Ding Junhui

Group 7

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.

 

 

 

 

2021/22 Q-Tour News

WST has shared the following WPBSA information regarding this season Q-Tour:

WPBSA Q Tour 2021/22 – Dates and Entry Information

The WPBSA has today confirmed the provisional dates and venues for the 2021/22 WPBSA Q Tour.

wpbsa-qtour-2020-logo-2048x502-1

Announced last month, WPBSA Q Tour will become the premier qualifying circuit to the World Snooker Tour with two professional places to be won across the season.

There will be four regular Q Tour tournaments held from November 2021 to March 2022, with the top ranked player at the end of the season guaranteed to earn a two-year tour card. There will also be a play-off tournament run with 16 players, with the winner also to earn their professional card.

The Dates

The provisional dates for this season’s Q Tour are:

  • 19-21 November 2021 – Castle Snooker Club, Brighton
  • 10-12 December 2021 – Terry Griffiths Matchroom, Llanelli
  • 28-30 January 2022 – The Winchester, Leicester
  • 18-20 March 2022 – Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds

Each weekend will see 64 players in action, to include a maximum of 48 who have qualified directly for the main draw due to their positions on the 2021 Q School Order of Merit.

The remaining 16 players will come from an open qualifier to be held on the Friday to complete the field.

The Players

The top 40 highest-ranked players not already on tour and the next highest ranked eight junior players (Under-21), not already qualified from the 2021 Q School Order of Merit, will be eligible to compete in this season’s Q Tour tournaments. These players are:

Top 40: Sanderson Lam, Michael Georgiou, Si Jiahui, Soheil Vahedi, Michael White, David Lilley, Ross Muir, John Astley, Bai Langning, James Cahill, Dylan Emery, Mark Lloyd, Simon Blackwell, Haydon Pinhey, Billy Castle, Kuldesh Johal, Rod Lawler, Leo Fernandez, Robbie McGuigan, Daniel Womersley, Ryan Davies, Oliver Brown, Michael Collumb, Luke Pinches, Joshua Thomond, Ross Vallance, Saqib Nasir, Niel Vincent, Luo Honghao, Ross Bulman, Paul Davison, Sydney Wilson, Ben Fortey, Alex Millington, Dylan Mitchell, Sean Harvey, Ben Mertens, Brian Cini, Paul Davies and Tony Knowles

Juniors: Hayden Staniland (50), Jenson Kendrick (55), Florian Nuessle (57), Hamim Hussain (58), Liam Pullen (65), Julien Leclercq (70), Callum Beresford (71) and Liam Graham (72).

These players will be contacted directly by email with entry instructions. Each player will be required to pay a block entry fee of £200.00 by 12:00pm on 15 October and will be guaranteed a place in the last 64 of each tournament.

Following this date, subject to the number of players who have accepted and paid for their Q Tour place, we will contact top up players as required until we have 48 confirmed players for each event. These players will have until 12:00pm 19 October to claim their place.

Open entry for all Friday qualifying tournaments will be opened to all players from no later than 20 October. We aim to accommodate all players who wish to enter, however, we do reserve the right to limit entries for each qualifier subject to the number of tables available at the club and time available.

All entries are to be made via WPBSA SnookerScores.

Event entry deadlines are as follows:

  • Q Tour 1 (Brighton) – 5 November 2021
  • Q Tour 2 (Llanelli) – 26 November 2021
  • Q Tour 3 (Leicester) – 14 January 2022
  • Q Tour 4 (Leeds) – 4 March 2022

The entry fee for each tournament will be £50.00, with a total prize fund of £12,000 per tournament to be won.

Jason Ferguson, WPBSA Chairman said: “We are today excited to confirm the four excellent venues that will host this season’s WPBSA Q Tour.

“Each of these facilities are proven venues used to hosting significant competitions and we look forward to delivering these high-quality tournaments for the best amateur players in the world, who have the ambition to test their skills on the World Snooker Tour next season.”

At least it’s a “restart” for the Q-Tour (previously Challenge Tour) and that’s good news.

Luo Honghao was playing in the Haining Open, a CBSA event, earlier this week, with the aim to “rebuild his confidence” (according to his coach Roger Leighton). I’m not sure that he will want to come back to the UK for those Q-Tour events.

There are a few young players in those lists who don’t live in the UK , and some are still at school. It may be difficult for them to commit to all four events.

I hope that there will be some sort of streaming for these events.

Next Season Tour Cards Structure

WPBSA and WST have announced the 2022/23 provisional Tour Cards structure

2022/23 World Snooker Tour Cards

The WPBSA and WST have today jointly announced the provisional tour card structure for the 2022/23 World Snooker Tour.

Once again, the top 64 players on the official world ranking list following the 2022 Betfred World Championship will retain their professional status. They will be joined by players who are currently on the first year of a two-year tour card, as well as the top four players on the one-year ranking list, not already qualified for next season.

The tour will be completed by players who are able to successfully qualify through recognised tour qualification pathways. As was the case last season, these will include Q School, the CBSA China Tour, the World Women’s Snooker Tour and the Regional Federations recognised by the World Snooker Federation (WSF). Due to the timing of rescheduled regional events following the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, additional places may be award for these tournaments.

There will also be places won via the planned staging of the WPBSA Q Tour and World Snooker Federation Championship tournaments, both of which were unable to take place last season but are now set to proceed.

Jason Ferguson, WPBSA Chairman said: “We are delighted to announce the tour structure for 2022/23. This is a golden era for snooker in terms of our strength in depth and the standard of play on our global tour gets stronger every year.

“We are particularly excited to bring back tour places for the winners of the fantastic amateur events staged around the world, providing incentive and opportunity for the best new talent from around the planet. It is so important to see the leading players from all continents, including Africa and the Americas, playing in the spotlight of our professional circuit, in order to help our sport grow in those regions.

“We are one of the few truly inclusive sports, with no barriers in terms of gender, age and nationality, and that is reflected in our tour structure.”

Full qualification list:

Top 64 from the two-year Prize Money World Rankings after the 2022 World Championship: 64

Players awarded a two-year Tour card for the 2021/2022 season (not already qualified): 31*

Top 4 players from 2021/2022 one-year ranking list following the 2022 World Championship (not already qualified)** 4

CBSA China Tour**: 2

Q School**: 12

WPBSA Q Tour**: 2

WSF Championship**: 1

WSF Under-18 Junior Championship**: 1

World Women’s Snooker Qualifiers**: 2

EBSA European Qualifiers**: 2

APBSF Asia Pacific Qualifier**: 1

PABSA Americas Qualifier**: 1

ABSC Africas Qualifier**: 1

*Final total subject to change if any of these players finish inside of the top 64 of the two-year prize money rankings after the 2022 World Championship

 **Players will receive a two-year tour card

In addition to these confirmed places, any players who qualify for the final stages of the Betfred World Championship at the Crucible, who otherwise would not earn a new tour card, will also receive a two-year tour card, as was the case last season.

Interestingly no mention of invitational cards …

Also worth noting that APBSF includes Oceania.

Players coming from some of these regions have consistently struggled on the main tour, some gave up before completing their two years, some even never showed up.

I’m certain that Jason Ferguson is aware that the level of the snooker in some areas is nowhere near what is required from main tour professionals and that the players coming from those areas have next to no chance to stay on tour after two years. It’s hard enough to have to move to the UK as an expat, to leave the family, to learn a different language, to adapt to a different culture without having to cope with the fact that you feel that you don’t have a proper chance to succeed. Ideally, there should be a true secondary tour, and this should be where all new pros start. The fact though is that there isn’t such a secondary tour for now … so why not offer those aspiring players one full year of scholarship under supervision of a mentor/coach and, only after that year, offer them a two years card PROVIDED that

  1. they still want one
  2. they have shown commitment and dedication throughout their scholarship
  3. they have played in most Q-Tour events available to them (*)

Also, just as WST/WPBSA have put structures into place to support those players who struggle with mental health, it would be a good idea for them to facilitate the access to English language courses for those who need them. Brits tend to assume that everyone speaks English (whilst themselves usually don’t speak any other language 😉) but this isn’t the case. Being able to communicate is essential in every aspect of our lives. It’s even more important when one is away from home and family. Isolation is a huge negative factor when it comes to wellbeing and mental health.

(*) If the Q-Tour becomes truly international, some of those aspiring players may find it difficult to secure visas and other required papers for some destinations.

 

Snooker and Pool – News and Opinions – 15.09.2021

Let’s start with the opinions.

Following Judd Trump’s suggestion that the World Championship should leave the Crucible, David Hendon, in his podcast makes a very strong case for the Crucible, and for keeping longer formats as well. It’s well worth to listen to. It’s only the first 13 minutes and a bit, but it explains why, beyond the emotional aspect of a possible move, it would be extremely costly. David also makes a case for have more TRUE invitational events in the calendar. David was extremely critical of Judd’s ideas, but also praised him for taking part in the  US Open pool event.

Judd BTW won his second match in Atlantic city. Once again his opponent appeared to be quite weak. Here is what Phil Haig put on twitter:

Screenshot 2021-09-15 at 11.12.56

and here is WST report on it:

Trump Eases To Round Three

Judd Trump continued to impress on his 9-ball pool debut at the US Open in Atlantic City, beating India’s Dhruvalkumar Patel 9-2 to reach round three.

The Ace in the Pack swept to a whitewash victory in the opening round against the USA’s Joe Magee. His opponent on that occasion looked nervy and it was a similar story today. It was Trump who secured a 2-1 lead after an edgy first three racks. He then broke and ran the fourth to extend his lead to two at 3-1.

There was a further break and run later in the tie to move 6-2 ahead, from which point he reeled off the following three racks to emerge a comfortable victor. He now faces Saudi Arabia’s Abdullah Al-Shammari in round three.

Trump said: “There was a good buzz in here today. It is exciting for me to play pool and to be out here among the American fans. It is something new for me. He looked nervous before the game. He said I was one of his idols and that he watches a lot of snooker so it is obviously very difficult for him.

“It is a good warm up for me to try and see what I’m doing right and what I’m doing wrong. It will obviously get a little bit harder when you go further through the draw. The next game is going to get harder again. I like playing against the top players in any sport. I’m just excited to come up against the top players and see where I’m at.”

WST also published this about the Cazoo Series:

Cazoo Series – Ranking Points

WST is pleased to confirm that, following consultation with both the WPBSA, and the WPBSA Players Board, this season players will receive both prize money and their ranking points where they lose in round one of any Cazoo Series event. This is a change from the previous position where players would only receive the prize money.

This is conditional on players both competing and completing their round one match. Players unable to complete their match for any reason will not receive the associated ranking points.

For the avoidance of doubt the Cazoo Series includes all of the following events: Cazoo World Grand Prix, Cazoo Players Championship and Cazoo Tour Championship.

 

2021/22 Q-Tour News

This was shared by WST yesterday:

WPBSA Q Tour 2021/22

The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) has announced the relaunch of WPBSA Q Tour which will run during this current season.

Initially unveiled last June as a replacement for the previous Challenge Tour system, Q Tour will provide a clear pathway to the World Snooker Tour with two professional places to be won and further high-quality competition for elite amateur talent in our sport.

The 2021/22 season will see a minimum of four Q Tour events held, with the top ranked player at the end of the season guaranteed to earn a two-year tour card. There will also be a play-off tournament run with 16 players with the winner also to be awarded a main tour place.

There will be a prize fund of £12,000 to be won at each tournament with the overall Q Tour ranked number one and the final play-off winner each earning a bonus of £2,000 upon joining the professional circuit.

It is planned that each of the four events staged this season will be held within the UK due to the continued challenges caused by the global pandemic. It is, however, the clear intention that from the start of the 2022/23 season, Q Tour will become a global circuit to include regional Q Tour competitions.

Event structure

Each weekend tournament will be made up of 64 players, with the top 40 eligible players from the 2021 Q School Ranking List eligible to compete. They will be joined by the eight highest ranked junior players on the 2021 Q School Order of Merit, not already qualified.

Tournaments will also include an open entry element through the introduction of preliminary rounds held on the Friday immediately prior to the start of the weekend competition. Up to 16 players will qualify to complete the weekend field.

All Q Tour events will be held at official 147 Clubs recognised by the English Partnership for Snooker and Billiards.

Jason Ferguson, WPBSA Chairman said: “I am today delighted that we are able to announce our plans for the staging of WPBSA Q Tour this season.”

“Snooker has not been immune to the effects of the pandemic, and it is of course the amateur game that has perhaps been most significantly affected as a direct result of the coronavirus restrictions that we have all experienced over the past 18 months. I know that it has been an extremely challenging time for these fantastic players and I am grateful for their continued patience as we have worked to provide opportunities to compete.

“The launch of WPBSA Q Tour 2021/22 represents the first of these opportunities and will be a significant addition to our calendar for elite amateur players, providing a direct pathway to the World Snooker Tour.”

It is anticipated that the first Q Tour competition will take place not before November and further information including entry details will be released soon.

It’s good to finally get some news about the Q-Tour, and to read that it’s on, even if  it’s with only four events this season. It’s also too to see that 8 spots will be reserved for junior players.

I do not expect covid-19 to go away though and I sincerely hope that WPBSA will come good on the promise of having regional Q-Tour events next season despite the circumstances. We all want and need to go back to normal, even if that means taking a few additional precautions for some more time. It’s something that everyone should accept: it’s a matter of health and security for all.