2022 IBSF Youth Championships in Romania

Whilst, from tomorrow on, our attention will be mainly on the European Masters in Fürth, it’s worth noting that another set of tournaments started today in Romania: the IBSF Youth Championships. You will find all the information on this page.

There are many recognisable names in the field.

Here is where you will find the results and standings

And this is where you will find the live scores

Table 1 is streamed.

 

 

Jason Francis’ initiatives to boost Amateur Snooker

Before I start on these initiatives … of course I’m aware that Jason is not the only one who sets up and runs amateur events. There are many others who are (or have been) organising events this summer and it’s great. I’m thankful to every one of them for promoting the sport I love. It’s just that I have been closer to Jason for many years and therefore know a bit more about what he does … and it’s a lot.

I already did a piece to explain what “The 900” is about.

Now the line-up for the 8 first weeks is (almost) known:

900Weeks1-8Lineup

As you can see, it’s a truly ” diverse” field: young and older, legends, aspiring pros, ex-pros and pure amateurs, women and men, able-bodied and disabled players … Of course, UK/Iraland players are the majority, but it still attracted a few non-uk based players. I’m glad to see Levi Meiller (USA Senior), Alex Borg (Malta), Tony Drago (Malta) and, maybe the most surprising for me … Pankaj Advani (India). It should be good, very good!

But Jason has other things in his pipeline…

Screenshot 2022-08-06 at 11.16.43Screenshot 2022-08-06 at 11.17.00

About the latter, from what transpired, it will be run over a long period of time – probably seven months – but the format is “best-of-11” matches, which is quite interesting and unusual for a league event. Regarding the “time span”, we should remember that the players are amateurs only, hence most have a job and can’t take (much) time off work for this.

Finally, Jason also shared good news about the future of the Seniors Tour.

Snooker News – 03.08.2022

WST has published the draw and format for the 2022 European Masters (main event)

The draw and format for the final stages of the upcoming BetVictor European Masters is now available.

Click here for the draw

Click here for the format

The world’s finest players will converge upon Furth in Germany from August 16th to 21st. The likes of defending champion Fan Zhengyi, World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan, Judd Trump and Mark Selby will be amongst those battling it out for the title.

There will be six tables in operation it seem, which is great news for fans able to watch on site.

The 2022 British Open qualifiers will start in less than a week and the good news is that fans will be able to watch the matches at the venue. The price is very affordable which makes it even better.

WST has also published their first “ranking update” of the season, following the conclusion of the ranking CLS. It also comes with a short explanation about how the ranking/seeding system works.

Rankings Update: Brecel Breaks Into Top Ten

BetVictor Championship League winner Luca Brecel has moved up three places in the official world rankings, from 12th to 9th, following his victory in Leicester last week.

The Belgian Bullet amassed £33,000 of prize money throughout the event. That also sees him take an early lead in this season’s one-year list. Brecel has established a £10,000 cushion over second placed Lu Ning on £23,000.

Brecel also takes an early lead in this season’s BetVictor Series. The player who amasses the most prize money across the eight qualifying events will scoop a massive £150,000 bonus.

Meanwhile three-time ranking event winner Ricky Walden has edged into the world’s top 16. He dislodges Anthony McGill, who falls back to 18th place. World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan remains on top of the pile as world number one.

World Rankings After the BetVictor Championship League

1 Ronnie O’Sullivan 1,041,000
2 Judd Trump 1,011,500
3 Mark Selby 916,500
4 Neil Robertson 902,000
5 John Higgins 537,000
6 Zhao Xintong 443,500
7 Mark Williams 428,500
8 Kyren Wilson 421,000
9 Luca Brecel 330,000
10 Shaun Murphy 322,000
11 Jack Lisowski 316,500
12 Barry Hawkins 311,000
13 Stuart Bingham 305,000
14 Mark Allen 291,500
15 Yan Bingtao 253,000
16 Ricky Walden 209,000

Click here for the world rankings in full.

Click here for the one-year list in full.

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

Finally, at amateur level, Jason Francis has shared the line-up for the first three weeks of his new 900 series:

It’s really a mixed field: legends of the sport, former pros and “pure” amateurs, junior and senior players, women and men. Good to see!

Reanne Evans wins an 11th UK crown on the Women’s Tour

Reanne Evans has won the UK Women’s Snooker Championship for the 11th time

Congratulations Reanne!

Here is the report by the Women’s Tour:

Evans Wins 11th UK Crown

Reanne Evans defeated Ng On Yee 4-3 to win the Taom UK Women’s Snooker Championship for a record-extending 11th time at the Northern Snooker Centre in Leeds.

Victory for Evans in the season-opener represents her first ranking event triumph since the same event in September 2021 and her third consecutive success at the Tour’s second most contested title. The win is her 64th ranking event title in all, moving Evans to within four of the all-time record set by Allison Fisher.

The world number one defeated Chucky Preston (3-0), Jamie Hunter (3-1) and Rebecca Kenna (4-1) to reach her 14th UK final since her debut at the event back in 2002.

Awaiting her would be long-time rival and world number two Ng On Yee, herself a four-time UK champion from just five previous appearances in the competition and looking to claim her second ranking event title of the calendar year following success at April’s Winchester Open. She dropped just one frame from six matches on her run to the final, which most notably included a 4-0 whitewash of reigning world champion Nutcharut Wongharuthai in the semi-finals.

It was the Hong Kong player who led the match three times at 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2, a match-high break of 57 in frame five taking her to within a frame of victory. Back though came Evans to force a decider, during which both would have chances with England’s Evans ultimately doing enough to prevail and end her short title drought.

Victory for Evans sees her consolidate her position at the head of the world rankings ahead of Ng, with beaten semi-finalists Nutcharut Wongharuthai and Rebecca Kenna remaining third and fourth respectively.

Side-Tournaments

For the third consecutive tournament there was a title double for Ploychompoo Laokiatphong and Tessa Davidson in the Under-21 and Seniors tournaments respectively, as the pair continued their dominance in the categories.

Victory for Laokiatphong against first-time junior finalist Chloe Payne sees the Thai player become the number one ranked player in the Under-21 rankings for the first time, with former number one Steph Daughtery having turned 21 during the summer.

For Davidson, her victory against Sarah Dunn sees the former ranking event winner retain her unblemished record on the Seniors Tour since her return to the circuit in January, with four titles from four events played so far. She will retain the top Seniors ranking ahead of second placed Jenny Poulter.

Finally, there was a first side-tournament victory for Thailand’s Siripaporn Nuanthakhamjan, who defeated Zoe Killington in the final of the Challenge Cup for players who did not qualify from the group stages. The 2019 World Cup winner claimed the single frame final with a fantastic break of 79.

World Women’s Snooker would like to thank title sponsors Taom Billiards and host venue the Northern Snooker Centre, without the support of whom the event would not have been possible.

The WWS Tour returns later this month with the inaugural staging of the US Women’s Open from Ox Billiards in Seattle. Entry remains open for the event HERE.

I’m sure though that many reading this will think “Bah! She’s not able to do anything on the Main Tour, what’s the value of it?”.  I can understand such reactions, but let’s have a look at some factors that are important to consider before issuing such damning judgement.

Every sport is a “number game”: the more exponents, the higher the chances to find exceptional talents. I have already written about this in the past but it’s worth saying it again: many women and girls have got bad experiences in billiards/snooker clubs. They are often made to feel unwelcome, some clubs and league still ban them altogether. They are often taunted, mocked and sexually hassled, especially the teenagers. The majority of them will give up quickly, feeling unsafe. The Women’s tour is offering them a “safe” place, “safe” events. The level isn’t as high as on the main tour and that’s an understatement. It does attract girls to the sport, which is a huge positive, but it doesn’t offer a level of competition allowing girls to succeed on the main tour, not yet anyway.

Yesterday, the “Lionesses”, England’s Women’s football team, won the UEFA Women’s EURO in a packed Wembley stadium. The match was shown by the BBC and attracted an immense audience. They got the whole nation behind them. Journalists on site praised the good spirit in which the match was played, as well as the enthousiast but friendly crowd. One of them, reflected that it had made him realise how “tribal” and “toxic” men football often is. This, IMO, is true especially at the highest level, the level where money has superseeded sport. By that I mean both the indecently high wages some get and the huge betting industry around the sport.

Women have a lot to bring to sport. They need however to be allowed to play, and to be able to start in a safe and welcoming environment. That’s the only way to “grow” the number of girls in sport, and with it the chance to see exceptional talents.

Jason Ferguson has often said that snooker isn’t a sport requiring physical strength, and, therefore, girls should be able to compete with men “on equal terms”. I’m not entirely convinced. There are men, currently on the tour, who can’t play certain shots as well as other competitors, because of their stature or relative lack of power. Women are, on average, shorter and less “powerful” than men. But there is more IMO. Just observe toddlers … “on average” boys will display better eye-hand-foot coordination, girls will be more advanced when it comes to language skills and “precise” small mouvements. Eye-hand coordination is essential in snooker. At that age, I don’t think it’s a “culturally induced feature”, more likely the result of a long but slow “genetic” evolution. Mind you, it’s been about 2 700 000 years since “Homo” started using tools,  300000 years since “Homo sapiens” is around, only 3500 years since writing was “invented”.  Civilisation and technology  have gone through an accelerated evolution path. Genetics won’t evolve that quickly. But “on average” means nothing for the individual. Very clumsy men, as well as  extremely well coordinated women exist …  if snooker can attract enough girls, if the opportunities are there, female champions will emerge.

Snooker News – 11.07.2022

The 2022 ranking CLS week 3 starts today with Willo in action (if someone can extract him from the golf courses, that is…)

Meanwhile, some snooker news “en vrac” …

The Hong Kong Masters return is confirmed

Snooker Stars Heading For Hong Kong In October

World Snooker Tour and Hong Kong Billiard Sports Control Council (HKBSCC) are pleased to announce the return of the Hong Kong Masters to the WST calendar in October this year.

This prestigious invitation event was last held in 2017 and was a tremendous success. The last edition in 2017 was held in Hong Kong’s Queen Elizabeth Stadium, which was recognised by many players as one of the best venues for a snooker tournament. Neil Robertson beat Ronnie O’Sullivan in the final.

Neil Robertson won the Hong Kong Masters in 2017

This time it will be staged, for the first time, in the Hong Kong Coliseum, the largest indoor stadium in Hong Kong with a maximum capacity of 10,000.

HKBSCC will invite eight top players, including Hong Kong’s snooker icons Marco Fu and Ng On Yee, to compete over four days from 6 to 9 October 2022.

WST Chairman Steve Dawson said: “We are excited to bring this event back to the calendar for the first time in five years and we are thrilled to be working with HKBSCC on what will be a fantastic tournament.

Many of the world’s top players described the 2017 Hong Kong Masters as one of the best atmospheres they have ever played in, and this is another opportunity for them to experience the support of the local fans.”

HKBSCC Chairman Vincent Law said: “The Hong Kong Masters will be the first major international sport event in Hong Kong since we were hit by the pandemic. There is no better occasion to show to the world that Hong Kong is back for business. We hope the tournament this time will set more records and bring excitement that the public have been longing for. We are thankful to WST for its support to billiard sports in Hong Kong. We hope the players and the people of Hong Kong will have some fun.

The player line up and ticketing information will be announced by HKBSCC shortly.

Snooker returning to Asia is good news. It will be interesting to see who are the 6 “other” invited players and who will want to make the trip. I’m not sure though that 10000 persons around one table will work … already at the Crucible, with less than a thousand spectators, the table looks minuscule from the rafters.

WST reports that Ding’s team won the 2022 CBSA cup

Ding’s Team Wins CBSA Cup

Ding Junhui, Fan Zhengyi and Mei Xiwen were the members of the victorious Shaanxi team at the CBSA Cup in Xi-an, which concluded on Saturday.

Running from July 5th to 9th at the Xi’an Aerospace International Conference Centre, the CBSA Cup is regarded as one of the most prestigious national events staged in China.

Over the five days, 29 teams from all over China attended, featuring professional World Snooker Tour players, as well as leading amateur players and rookies.

The Shaanxi team, named by Shaanxi Tourism Group, beat Guangdong 4-2 in the final. Zunyi and Beijing shared the third place.

WST congratulates the CBSA on the successful staging of this fantastic event.

Congratulations to the Shaanxi Team!

All three members are or were professionals. I find it a bit funny that Fan Zhengyi is only mentiommed “en passant”, when, of the three, he’s the one who won a professional event most recently… anyway…

Jamie Curtis-Barret won the 2022 English Amateur Championship

JamieCurtis-BarrettEnglishAmateurChamp2022

The English Snooker Championship is the longest running competition in snooker.  It was first help in 1916. There are many prestigious names on that trophy, but not Ronnie’s 😉

Congratulations Jamie! 

The Under-18 English Snooker Championship was won by Stan Moody, who defeated Aidan Murphy (7-0 !!!) in the final.

StanMoodyU18EnglishAmateurChamp2022

Congratulations Stan!

Mink has joined Victoria’s Snooker Academy

MinkVicSnookerAca

This can only be a good move for her. First class practice facility, first class support and first class practice opponents!

Ronnie was in Dundee for snooker exhibitions … 

Not much transpired so far, maybe Csilla will be able to tell us more.

From what I could find …

… Ronnie insisted to drive the “taxi” himself

ROWaytoDundeeJuly2022

… the club and its owners made him feel very welcome

ROSDundeeJuly2022-1

… and one of these two had a 147 yesterday evening

ROSDundeeJuly2022-2

And that’s it (for now).

The report by Csilla is in the comments section. Thank you Csilla!

and here is the 147 as shared by Snooker Legends on Facebook

The full show is now available, shared by the club on YouTube

 

Tour and Q-Tour and Hong Kong News – 09.07.2022

WPBSA and WST have got news for us.

This is about this season Q-Tour:

WPBSA Q Tour

The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) has announced the return of the WPBSA Q Tour for the 2022/23 season.

Following its successful inaugural season which saw Sean O’Sullivan and Julien Leclercq earn professional status for the next two years, Q Tour will continue to provide a clear pathway to the World Snooker Tour for elite amateur talent within our sport.

The series will be expanded to a minimum of six Q Tour events held, with four to be staged within the UK and a further two in mainland Europe. The top ranked player at the end of the season will be guaranteed to earn a two-year tour card, with a 16-player playoff tournament to run with its 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.

THE DATES

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

  • 2-4 September 2022
  • 16-18 September 2022
  • 14-16 October 2022
  • 25-27 November 2022
  • 9-11 December 2022
  • 6-8 January 2023
  • 4-5 March 2023 (Playoff)

Venues will be announced in due course. All dates are subject to change.

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

THE PLAYERS

As was the case last season, each weekend tournament will be made up of 64 players comprising the following:

The top 32 eligible players from the 2022 UK Q School Order of Merit eligible to compete.

Zhao Jianbo, Steven Hallworth, Sunny Akani, Ross Muir, Daniel Wells, Florian Nuessle, Farakh Ajaib, Ian Martin, Ross Bulman, Kurt Maflin, Michael Holt, Haydon Pinhey, Andrew Higginson, Michael Georgiou, Soheil Vahedi, Brandon Sargeant, Rory McLeod, Cheung Ka Wai, Luke Simmonds, Ben Hancorn, Peter Devlin, Robbie McGuigan, Harvey Chandler, Leo Fernandez, Lee Walker, Lewis Ullah, Gao Yang, Daniel Womersley, Tyler Rees, Liu Hongyu, Rodney Goggins, George Pragnell

The top 8 from the 2022 Asia-Oceania Q School Order of Merit

Kritsanut Lertsattayathorn, Narongdat Takantong, Anekthana Sangnil, Lim Kok Leong, Thitiphong Choolasak, Pongsakron Chongjairak, Rachata Khantee, Khash-Ochir Tuvshinjargal

The eight highest ranked junior players on the 2022 UK Q School Order of Merit, not already qualified.

Sean Maddocks, Iulian Boiko, Liam Davies, Ryan Davies, Luke Pinches, Alfie Lee, Nattanapong Chaikul, Jamie Wilson

EVENT ENTRY

The 48 qualified players will be contacted directly by email with entry instructions. Each player will be required to pay a block entry fee of £300.00 by 12:00pm on 22 July 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 26 July to claim their place.

Open entry for all Friday qualifying tournaments will be opened to all players from no later than 27 July. 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.

Further information including venues and full entry details will be released in due course.

This is all good and well but do they really any of the Asia-Oceania Q-School order of merit top 8 to be able to compete in this series? Unless they get the certainty that there will be at least a couple of events in Asia, this is financially and logistically totally unrealistic, especially as they need to commit with a £300.00 entry fee by 22 July, which is less than two weeks away.

Sunny Akani is unlikely to enter. Only a couple of days ago, on his facebook page, he repeated that the plan was the stay and play in Thailand, heal and fully recover and try to get back on Tour via the 2023 Asia-Oceania Q-School.

Other than that WST has published the full list of  professional Tour players for this season

2022/23 Tour Players

The full list of WST players for the 2022/23 season is now available.

In all there are 131 tour players this season. To read more about them, click here.

The Top 64 (64)

These players finished inside the top 64 of the official world ranking list at the end of last season and so will retain their places on the circuit, with a one-yearcard.

End of season rankings:

  1.  Ronnie O’Sullivan
  2.  Judd Trump
  3.  Mark Selby
  4.  Neil Robertson
  5.  John Higgins
  6.  Zhao Xintong
  7.  Mark Williams
  8.  Kyren Wilson
  9.  Shaun Murphy
  10.  Jack Lisowski
  11.  Barry Hawkins
  12.  Luca Brecel
  13.  Stuart Bingham
  14.  Mark Allen
  15.  Yan Bingtao
  16.  Anthony McGill
  17.  Hossein Vafaei
  18.  Ricky Walden
  19.  David Gilbert
  20.  Ali Carter
  21.  Matthew Selt
  22.  Jordan Brown
  23.  Zhou Yuelong
  24.  Stephen Maguire
  25.  Jimmy Robertson
  26.  Joe Perry
  27.  Robert Milkins
  28.  Ryan Day
  29.  Martin Gould
  30.  Tom Ford
  31.  Jamie Jones
  32.  Ding Junhui
  33.  Gary Wilson
  34.  Lu Ning
  35.  Graeme Dott
  36.  Fan Zhengyi
  37.  Noppon Saengkham
  38.  Xiao Guodong
  39.  Liam Highfield
  40.  Liang Wenbo
  41.  Jak Jones
  42.  Ben Woollaston
  43.  Chris Wakelin
  44.  Sam Craigie
  45.  Lyu Haotian
  46.  Scott Donaldson
  47.  Joe O’Connor
  48.  Li Hang
  49.  Jamie Clarke
  50.  Anthony Hamilton
  51.  Mark King
  52.  Thepchaiya Un-Nooh
  53.  Pang Junxu
  54.  Mark Davis
  55.  David Grace
  56.  Matthew Stevens
  57.  Oliver Lines
  58.  Mark Joyce
  59.  Dominic Dale
  60.  Elliot Slessor
  61.  Robbie Williams
  62.  Alexander Ursenbacher
  63.  Tian Pengfei
  64.  Stuart Carrington

The Two-Year Cards (31)

These players competed on the main tour in 2021/22 and will start the 2022/23 season on the second year of their two-year tour cards.

  • Cao Yupeng
  • Jackson Page
  • Andy Hicks
  • Yuan Sijun
  • Wu Yize
  • Zhang Anda
  • Hammad Miah
  • Mitchell Mann
  • Peter Lines
  • Zhang Jiankang
  • Duane Jones
  • Xu Si
  • Lei Peifan
  • Louis Heathcote
  • Gerard Greene
  • Craig Steadman
  • Chang Bingyu
  • Andrew Pagett
  • Barry Pinches
  • Fraser Patrick
  • Ian Burns
  • Jamie O’Neill
  • Michael Judge
  • Dean Young
  • Alfie Burden
  • Jimmy White
  • Ng On Yee
  • Chen Zifan
  • Reanne Evans
  • Marco Fu
  • Igor Figueiredo

The Top Four (One-Year Ranking list) (4)

The top four players on the 2021/22 one-year ranking list, not already inside of the top 64 of the two-year ranking list or on the first year of a two-year card. They receive a fresh two-year tour card, starting on zero ranking points.

  1. Ashley Hugill
  2. Michael White
  3. Allan Taylor
  4. David Lilley

Q School UK (12)

A further 12 will be promoted from Q School UK and again they will receive a two-year tour card.

  • Rod Lawler (Event One semi-finalist)
  • Fergal O’Brien (Event One semi-finalist)
  • Andy Lee (Event One semi-finalist)
  • Bai Langning (Event One semi-finalist)
  • Adam Duffy (Event Two semi-finalist)
  • Zak Surety (Event Two semi-finalist)
  • Aaron Hill (Event Two semi-finalist)
  • Sanderson Lam (Event Two semi-finalist)
  • Lukas Kleckers (Event Three semi-finalist)
  • Jenson Kendrick (Event Three semi-finalist)
  • John Astley (Event Three semi-finalist)
  • James Cahill (Event Three semi-finalist)

Q School Asia-Oceania (4)

A further four players will be promoted from Q School Asia-Oceania and again they will receive a two-year tour card.

  • Muhammad Asif (Event One finalist)
  • Dechawat Poomjaeng (Event Two finalist)
  • Himanshu Jain (Event Two finalist)
  • Asjad Iqbal (Order of Merit)

World Snooker Federation (2)

Two players have qualified via the 2022 World Snooker Federation Championships. They will be awarded a two-year card.

  • Si Jiahui (WSF Championship winner)
  • Anton Kazakov (WSF Under-21 Championship winner)

WPBSA Q Tour (2)

Two players have qualified via the 2021/22 WPBSA Q Tour. They will be awarded a two-year card.

  • Sean O’Sullivan (Highest ranked eligible player)
  • Julien Leclercq (Playoff Winner)

World Women’s Snooker Tour (2)

The top two eligible players from the World Women’s Snooker Tour rankings will be awarded a two-year card.

  • Mink Nutcharut (No.3 Ranked / 2022 World Champion)
  • Rebecca Kenna (No.4 Ranked)

China Tour Qualifiers (1)

One player has qualified via the CBSA China Tour. He earns a fresh two-year tour card.

  1. Peng Yisong

Regional Champions (7)

Seven players have qualified as regional champions. They will be awarded a two-year card.

  • Oliver Brown (2021 EBSA European Champion)
  • Dylan Emery (2021 EBSA European Under-21 Champion)
  • Andres Petrov (2022 EBSA European Champion)
  • Ben Mertens (2022 EBSA European Under-21 Champion)
  • Ryan Thomerson (2022 APSBF Champion)
  • Victor Sarkis (2021 PABSA Champion)
  • Mohamed Ibrahim (2022 ABSC Champion)

Invitational Tour Cards (2)

Two players have been awarded a new two-year Invitational Tour Card for the upcoming season.

  • Stephen Hendry
  • Ken Doherty

And finally, it seems that there is still some hope for an event in Hong Kong as reported by Phil Haigh

Plans remain for Hong Kong Masters in October but snooker bosses face obstacles

Neil Robertson and Ronnie 2017Hong Kong masters Final gettyimages-821330208
Neil Robertson beat Ronnie O’Sullivan in the final of the last Hong Kong Masters in 2017 (Picture: Getty Images)

The Hong Kong Masters could still return this season, with organisers hoping to host the tournament in October after an August date become unworkable.

Snooker bosses are keen to get the professional tour back on the road, with the circuit still UK-focussed since the pandemic hit and wiped out the numerous events in China.

Competitions have returned in central Europe and the Turkish Masters sprung up last season, while there is an encouraging sign that the Six Red World Championship will be held in Thailand in September.

It was hoped that the Hong Kong Masters would be back on the calendar for the first time since 2017 in August, but travel restrictions are still too strict for that to happen.

However, it may only be a short delay, with World Snooker Tour still leaving the dates of 6-9 October clear on the calendar and organisers in Hong Kong hopeful that arrangements can be worked out.

The South China Morning Post quoted a source close to the Hong Kong Billiard Sports Control Council as saying: ‘We are still in discussion with government regarding the quarantine requirements but they can’t promise anything at this stage.

They have asked us to prepare everything in accordance with the current situation, which means a seven-day isolation is required for all inbound travellers.

This will be very difficult for the players to accept, with the rest of the world having opened to all travellers.

The world governing body of the sport could not believe it and has questioned us about it. The proposed date in August is therefore not feasible, because we can’t confirm anything at the moment.

The quarantine period is a big problem, but so is the threat to airlines that carrying in passengers who are infected will result in a flying ban in Hong Kong.

Ronnie at the 2017 Hong Kong Masters gettyimages-821189270
O’Sullivan at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium, a venue which was loved by the players who played there in 2017 (Picture: Getty Images)

However, the SCMP’s source is hopeful and optimistic that the October dates can be met, even if restrictions remain in place.

October should be more feasible because we can have more preparation time,’ he continued.

Even if the quarantine requirement is still there, we can apply a safety bubble for the players, but they can only travel point-to-point from hotel to venue, without any interaction with spectators – which we do not prefer, and nor do the players. The cost will also be much higher.’

Speaking in May, WPBSA chairman Jason Ferguson explained that talks were ongoing over the return of the Hong Kong Masters, with travel restrictions were the problem then, as they are still now.

He also explained that it would be a small field, invitational event, as it was last time in 2017 when just eight players were involved.

We are in discussions over it, it’s not finalised as yet, but we’re very optimistic about it,’ Ferguson told Metro.co.uk in May.

A lot of it is down to travel restrictions. Demand for us to put on events in Asia is huge, but it’s down to whether we can make it work from a travel perspective.

The idea is to try and put a marker down, push to get an event on in Asia, put those protocols in place and then push to expand on that.

We can’t be too ambitious at this stage, so I imagine it will be a fairly small field if we do it.

The last Hong Kong Masters was held in July 2017 at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium, rated by the likes of Judd Trump and Neil Robertson as one of, if not the best arena they have ever played in.

Robertson won that event, beating Ronnie O’Sullivan in the final.

In 2017, the players and the fans enjoyed it immensely. It would be good if it could be organised, and hopefully available to watch for fans in Europe as well.

The 900? What is it all about?

If you follow snooker stuff on social media, you may have noticed a lot of post about “The 900” recently et you may wonder what this is all about … here are some answers!

The 900 - Poster

The “900” will be a televised event for amateur snooker players, the first in many years. It’s an initiative by Snooker Legends.

The event will feature 25 nights of televised snooker, available on SKY Channel 537.

It will start on Monday, September 19, 2022, will be broadcast from Monday to Wednesday, and will run until Wednesday, November 9, 2022. That’s eight weeks and each week will produce a winner. Those 8 winner will contest a Grand Final on November 16, 2022. All events will be staged at Jason Francis’ Crucible Club in Reading.

The broadcast time is unusual: 10 pm until 1 am UK time.

The 900 Calendar

The 900 is a new concept, but shares many elements with the Shoot Out.

A frame is 15 minutes long, that’s 900 seconds, hence the name. A 20 seconds shot-clock will be in operation, with no time-outs. A ball must touch a cushion on any shot, unless it’s a pot. Any foul gives the opponent ball in hand, and that includes “time out fouls”.

About the format

Each Monday, 8 players will contest a knock-out mini tournament. The winner will get £500, the runner-up will get £250. The finalists and both losing semi-finalists will progress to the Wednesday “Final”.

Each Tueasday, the Monday’s losing quater-finalists are joined by 4 new players. They will compete in a mini tournament with a similar format to the Monday’s one.

Each Wednesday, the 8 players who emerged from the Monday and Tuesday, will compete in a weekly Final. The winner will take £1500 and will progress to the Grand Final. The runner-up will get £500 and the losing semi-finalists will take £150 each.

The Grand Final on November 16, 2022, will be contested by the 8 weekly winners. The winner of this Grand Final will get £5000. The runner-up will get £1500 and the losing semi-finalists will get £500.

The players

This event is an invitational event, meaning that players are invited by Snooker Legends. It is for amateur players ONLY. No holder of a 2022/23 professional tour card is eligible. Also, players serving a WPBSA or a National Gouverning Body ban are not eligible.

Those who follow Snooker Legends on social media will have seen that quite a few players have already been invited and confirmed. They come is all forms and shapes: from juniors to seniors, able-bodied and disabled…

Good luck to all involved!