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.

 

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.

Judd Trump: pool, shorter formats and moving the World Championship

Judd Trump is going to play in the US Open Pool Championship next week. It’s a Matchoom event. Of course the move has attracted the attention of the media, and Judd took the opportunity to once again air his views on what the future of snooker should be: shorter formats, more like pool and moving the World Championship away from the Crucible and towards a “big” venue. You read it here:

Judd Trump on his chances at pool next week:

‘Deep down I know I can’t win it’ – Judd Trump testing the waters with US Open Pool Championship entry

“I’m going there to see if I could ever do it more, if I could play pool and go back to snooker and not lose too much feel or anything,” he sai, . “It’s a feeler event to go out there and test the water. “Deep down I know I can’t win it, but I’m getting a cue, I’ve got somewhere to practice for the next three days, I’ve got a table when I arrive so I can get going straight away.”

Judd Trump says his trip across the Atlantic for the US Open Pool Championship is to test the waters, and he would be happy to win one game.

There is a gap in the snooker calendar due to the cancellation of the Turkish Masters, and it opened up a window for Trump to enter the eight-ball event.

Trump will face Joe Magee in his opening match on Monday, but is not expecting much as his practice has been non-existent and he does not even possess a pool cue.

I’d be happy to win a game,” Trump told the Metro. “We left it so late and I’ve just tried to experiment and do as much as I can with no snooker tournaments going on.
I’ve not even got a proper cue at the minute. I haven’t played since I was a kid, really. I expect absolutely nothing.”

The US Open is the most prestigious pool tournament on the calendar, and Trump is hoping to make a positive impression to open up the prospect of mixing sports.

“I’m going there to see if I could ever do it more, if I could play pool and go back to snooker and not lose too much feel or anything,” he said. “It’s a feeler event to go out there and test the water.

I don’t like going with the attitude that I’m just there to enjoy it, that’s not what I’m about, I like going there knowing I can win it.

Deep down I know I can’t win it, but I’m getting a cue, I’ve got somewhere to practice for the next three days, I’ve got a table when I arrive so I can get going straight away.

Trump has spoken about trying to modernise snooker, and he feels pool is more suited to his forward-thinking approach.

It’s something I want to be involved with,” Trump said. “It’s much more up to date, more modern and more in line with the year we’re in and values I want and who I want to appeal to.

To be a worldwide sport you’ve got to have the backing of America, I think. Pool has the potential to do that, whereas snooker is still struggling, that’s why I’ve gone over there to suss out the market and see what can be done.

There’ll be a lot more noise. It’s not good when you’re losing and I’m probably going to lose so it’s not good for me, but when you get on a winning streak in that kind of environment you can feel invincible.”

Judd TRump about moving te World Championship away from the Crucible and making it shorter.

Judd Trump: The World Snooker Championship needs to move on from the Crucible

Betfred World Snooker Championship - Day Five
Judd Trump feels the World Snooker Championship could do with a new venue (Picture: Getty Images)

Judd Trump believes it is time for the World Snooker Championship to move on from Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre, feeling that the pinnacle of the sport deserves a bigger venue.

The World Championship has been held at the Crucible since 1977 and has become the sport’s spiritual home, with the likes of Stephen Hendry, Ronnie O’Sullivan and Steve Davis winning all their world titles there.

However, it is a relatively small venue with a capacity of around 1,000, less than half the number that Alexandra Palace in London can accommodate for the Masters, for example.

Trump accepts that the uniquely tight conditions the Crucible provides helps create the special atmosphere in the room, but also feels that snooker bosses should look to expand if they want to grow the sport.

‘It’s an amazing venue but is it the best place for the World Championship now? Probably not, I don’t think,’ Trump told Metro.co.uk.

‘It needs an historic, prestigious event there, maybe put the UK Championship there but the Worlds needs to go to a bigger venue, for me.

The pinnacle of the sport shouldn’t be held back spectator-wise, there should be thousands! If you can sell the Masters for 2,200 people, the Worlds should be getting 5,000 at a massive stadium or arena, not a little theatre.

‘I know it brings the excitement with the crowd so close, it makes you more nervous but I think they could do that on a bigger scale somewhere else. It’s the World Championship, everyone’s going to be excited, everyone’s gearing up for it all year, but I think it’s just a little bit held back.

The 2019 world champion was speaking after Neil Robertson suggested a reduction in the length of matches in the semi-finals and final of the World Championship, with the Australian also suggesting playing the first few rounds elsewhere before returning to the Crucible for the one-table set-up.

Robertson was making the point that casual or non snooker fans will struggle to stay engaged over matches that last four sessions and Trump agrees that changes are needed to attract new supporters.

Nobody wants to make changes, but Neil’s not saying that for his benefit, he’s thinking of a bigger picture,’ said Judd. ‘He knows that to play snooker over two days, four sessions, the die-hard fans watch it, but the people who we want to appeal to, to grow the sport aren’t going to watch all four sessions.

‘They’re going to come in at the last session and watch the end, it doesn’t really get going until it gets to like 12-12 or something like that. I can see where he’s coming from.

‘The format needs to be long, it needs to be two or three sessions, but first to 18 might be a bit too long these days.

World Snooker Championship - Day 17
Trump beat John Higgins to win the World Championship title at the Crucible in 2019 (Picture: Getty Images)

The semi-finals taking three days…a round should never take longer than the final. I’ve played in second round matches that take three days, which is absolutely ridiculous.

‘Three sessions is enough, you could even do it in a day, play 10am, 2.30pm and 7pm and have it done in a day. I think it could capture the audience more.

‘Going to the first day of a match is not the same as seeing the outcome. I wouldn’t go to, say, golf and just watch the first 12 holes and not the finale. I wouldn’t watch the first set in tennis then not the rest of the match.

‘Probably from a commercial point of view, extending the tournament makes more money, sells more tickets, better viewing figures, but the game could head in a different direction in that tournament.

The Ace enjoys playing at the Crucible and recognises the vast history connected with the venue, but strongly believes it is in the good of the game to move on and try new things to attract new fans.

It’s such a special event with so much history behind it, but unless you were around in that era…I don’t think kids these days go back and watch the 1978 or 1980 final. I know I don’t,’ he said.

Stephen Hendry and Jimmy White
Stephen Hendry and Jimmy White have contested some memorable Crucible matches (Picture: Getty Images)

It’s an amazing place to play snooker, it’s hard to say and a lot of people won’t like it, but maybe put another tournament there and move the World Championship somewhere else, or maybe you could have it there every couple of years at first.

‘Neil’s not saying what he said to benefit himself and neither am I, it’s beneficial for the future of snooker. People aren’t going to like it now but you’ve got to think about 10 years’ time.

‘To grow the game it’s got to go to a bigger venue. It’s not an easy change to make and the Crucible will always be attached to snooker and should have a tournament there, but I’m not sure it should be the World Championship.

Judd Trump Neil Robertson
Trump and Robertson are in agreement that they would like to see the World Championship shaken up (Picture: Getty Images)

Trump has been happy to speak out about the future of snooker in the past, telling Metro.co.uk earlier this year that dress codes, commentary and the marketing of the game all need to be shaken up.

On taking over from Barry Hearn as World Snooker Tour chairman this year, Steve Dawson said he was looking forward to talking with Trump about his ideas for the future.

‘The door is always open,’ Dawson told the BBC in April. ‘It will be good fun to talk.

‘There are formal channels which players should go through but there is no reason why we shouldn’t listen to players and groups of players and their ideas.’

Asked whether that chat has taken place yet, Trump says is hasn’t, but understands that it has been a difficult time for snooker chiefs, trying to get tournaments organised as the impact of the pandemic rumbles on.

‘Not yet. I think it will happen in time,’ said Trump. ‘At the moment it’s been quite quiet, it’s probably stressful them with not many tournaments and people moaning that they can’t earn money.

It’s nobody’s fault but it’s a bit of a struggle and stressful time for a lot of people at the moment. They’re obviously working hard behind the scenes but as soon as we can start getting back to tournaments again and crowds back in, and we know it’s not going to be taken away at any given moment, then that’s when we can really get into the nitty gritty and give our opinions on how we can grow the game for the benefit of snooker.’

Trump believes it is not just his opinion that needs to be heard, but all players should have more of a say on how the game is run.

The world number two has the whole of September off as the Turkish Masters was postponed and the top 16 now go straight to the venue for Home Nations events, with qualifiers brought back in for those outside the elite, which take place this month.

The change was brought in for this season and the former World, Masters and UK champion feels players should get a say on such things.

It is quite hard because players don’t really get a say in anything,’ he said. ‘For me, there should have been a vote over whether players want to play in qualifiers or not, but it’s just done instantaneously, all of a sudden a letter’s sent out and people have to go to qualifiers.

‘Everything is brought upon players so fast and I think players need more of a say in stuff.

OK, in short, here are my views:

  • If Judd wants to grow snooker then he should make sure that snooker remains snooker and is not made to look more like pool, be it when it comes to the rules, the dress code, the atmosphere. If people want to watch pool, they will attend pool events.
  • Formats should certainly NOT get shorter. I would go back to best of 9 as the standard, maybe event best of 11. I want the best players to get through, I want tension to build. I’m a traditionalist, not a sensationalist (or a gambler) loving “shocks”.
  • The format of the World Championship offers a unique challenge and should stay. There are two changes I would want to see though: a return to the best of 31 for the SFs – to possibly avoid the very late SF2 night finish – and the Final to conclude on a Sunday, not on a Bank Holiday Monday, which is only a holiday in the UK. If WST has serious ambitions to make snooker global the latter is a must.
  • The Crucible is an iconic but inadequate venue in many respects: it’s cramped, it’s too small, it’s poorly ventilated, it offers little room for hospitality. However, IF the World Championship is to be moved, it should be moved around the World, not just more or less permantly moved somewhere else in the UK. The BBC would probably never agree to such change though.
  • Putting the World Championship or any snooker event in a big 5000 seats stadium is just preposterous. Already at the Tempodrom, if you are sat in the rafters, the table looks very small and you need good eyes … There is no point to be sat in a big venue, and to pay good money, only to have to watch on TV screens to see the action properly. If it comes to that, you’ll be more comfy at home … maybe with a very good bottle of wine that will cost you (much) less than the price of the ticket + travel + hotel.

In principle I would agree on a vote on qualifiers. However, no qualifiers would mean, having to travel to the main venue for all, and this in turn would mean added costs for the UK players, whilst it would stay the same, or be cheaper for the “oversea’s” players and for this reason I’m afraid that, even if nobody likes qualifiers, they would still stay because UK players are a majority, and the current UK centric bias would only be reinforced by the fact that it would then be the result of a “democratic vote”… and that UK bias in turn is one of the reasons why the UK players continue to be a majority. It’s a vicious cercle.

The only way to get out of this vicious cercle would be to scrap qualifiers, play the tournaments as a whole at or near the final venue, and to pay basic fees to the first round losers, not counting towards rankings, but covering basic expenses. It would only be right: you need two to play a match of snooker. As long as they give it their best, the losers contribute to the event, entertain the fans, generate money for the broadcasters, sponsors and venue management. they should get something for it, it should not cost them. It’s not “rewarding mediocrity”, it’s paying for a work done.

Having said all that, good luck to Judd at next week event, and safe trip.

Jason Francis discloses Important News

Jason Francis was on Facebook live yesterday to disclose some important news. For those who don’t have acces to facebook, here is his announcement.

There are a lot of  “news” in there: pro-ams. junior competitions with a handicap system, seniors tour news, Ronnie’s shop, and a return of the Legends events.

What Jason does to promote snooker is fantastic. Unfortunately because of  circumstances out of his control (Covid and Brexit) , it will once again mainly benefit UK based players. As a mainland Europe snooker fan, I write this last sentence not as a criticism to Jason, far from it, but with some sadness.

The part specific to Ronnie stuff is the last one in the video. He will play in three “Legends events” alongside Reanne Evans, Stephen Hendry, Ken Doherty and Jimmy White.

Some dates clash with main tour events: the shoot-out and the Gibraltar Open.

There are also other announcements, detailed in the comments section, and again, for those who can’t acces Facebook, here are screenshots:

2021-09-07 Ronnie announcements -12021-09-07 Ronnie announcements -32021-09-07 Ronnie announcements -2

Regarding the Seniors Tour news, you will find more details here.

It’s a one hour long video but well worth the listen from start to finish.

 

 

30 August 2021 – Snooker News

With not much action in the coming day here are two pieces published in the news:

Mark Williams reckons that Ronnie owes him a favour… 

Ronnie O’Sullivan owes me a massive favour for Champion of Champions place, says Mark Williams

Ronnie O’Sullivan was helped out by his old rival at the British Open (Picture: Getty Images)

Mark Williams reckons Ronnie O’Sullivan owes him a ‘massive favour’ after his British Open win is set to secure the Rocket in this season’s Champion of Champions event.

Williams claimed the British Open title on Sunday 22 August, beating Gary Wilson 6-4 in the final in Leicester and he gave his old rival a helping hand in the process.

O’Sullivan, quite remarkably, reached five ranking finals last season but failed to win any of them, so didn’t manage to book a spot in the Champion of Champions by lifting any silverware.

However, due to players winning multiple titles over the last year, places in the event are opened up to the highest ranked players who didn’t manage to qualify.

With the Rocket ranked number three in the world and Williams stopping Wilson from qualifying for the event, O’Sullivan is set for a return to the Champion of Champions and the Welshman is expecting a thank you from his fellow Class of ’92 legend.

Speaking after his British Open glory, Williams spoke of the remarkable achievement that he, O’Sullivan and John Higgins are still competing at the top of snooker nearly 30 years after turning professional.

‘Myself, John Higgins and Ronnie O’Sullivan having turned pro together all those years ago… we are still hanging around like a bad smell,’ Williams told The Sportsman.

‘I have dropped down the rankings a few times and come back up. But we just seem to be sticking around for a lot longer than people expected.

‘I have always believed there are definitely more titles out there for the other two, but I have won another one here and won one last season – so who knows, maybe I can get a couple more?

‘And by winning this week I may have guaranteed Ronnie a place in the Champion of Champions on his world ranking, so that could be a massive favour he owes me.’

Williams took his ranking title tally to 24 with his victory in Leicester cementing his place at fifth on the all-time list behind O’Sullivan (37), Stephen Hendry (36), Higgins (31) and Steve Davis (28).

The Welsh Potting Machine thinks that players of his era and older were only limited by the number of events they played in during their pomp and Judd Trump (next on the list on 22 titles) has a great chance to surpass them due to the regular tournaments on the calendar now.

‘I do think that if there had been the number of events we play in now all through from 1992, then Ronnie would have 100, Higgins 80, and maybe me on 40,’ said Williams.

”Judd has won 11 in two years. There were only 12 tournaments in total in two years at one time.’

The Class of ’92 and Trump will have their next chance to add to their ranking titles at the Northern Ireland Open, with the main stages starting on 9 October in Belfast.

The Northern Ireland Open and then the English Open offer qualifying chances for the Champion of Champions in November, but even if there are two unqualified winners at those events – which aren’t O’Sullivan – that will still only be 15 different champions for the event and the Rocket will take the final spot on the world rankings.

So about this one…

  1. I totally agree with Willo that comparing how many ranking titles players of different era have won makes little sense. When I said something very similar to what he says here about Trump’s tally I got stick (including from Trump)  but it’s only common sense.
  2. I would prefer for Ronnie to qualify for the Champion of Champions on merit … on the other hand making it to 5 ranking finals in proper events is better in my eyes than winning the Shoot Out. So… if Ronnie wants to play in it, good luck to him, I won’t complain!

This appeared yesterday on news feeds

Chinese snooker player Xiao Guodong accuses British competitor of abuse after match, enraging Chinese netizens

Published: Aug 30, 2021 12:57 AM
Photo: Screenshot of Weibo

Photo: Screenshot of Weibo

Chinese snooker player Xiao Guodong said on China’s Twitter-like Sina Weibo on Friday that he was abused by British rival, Peter Lines ,with swear words after winning a match. Xiao reported the rude behavior to the World Confederation of Billiards Sports (WCBS). “I do not make trouble but also am not afraid of any trouble,” Xiao wrote.

The incident has been considered “a very ungentle scene at a gentle event” on Sina Weibo and in media reports. Chinese netizens strongly condemned Lines for not accepting defeat and insulting Xiao.

Xiao beat Lines by 4-3 and qualified for the Northern Ireland Open on Thursday. After the match, Lines abused Xiao in the lounge in front of other witnesses using “swear words.”

“Peter was also threatening Xiao to step outside the arena for a fight in front of a referee, which is not acceptable and quite intimidating for a player who is coming here from a different country,” according to a letter to the WCBS Xiao posted on his Sina Weibo account.

The letter also said that Wu Yize, Pang Junxu and Elliot Slessor were all witnesses of what happened, adding that security staff had to stop Lines from doing anything worse.

Xiao took to Sina Weibo again on Saturday to thank for all the support from netizens. “I have sent all the details to the WCBS and am waiting for them to announce the investigation results. I will not make trouble and I am not afraid of any provocation. I am a Chinese,” he wrote.

Many Chinese netizens stood by Xiao, supporting him to guard his rights and dignity.

“Do not need to be afraid! 1.4 billion Chinese people are all behind you,” one Sina Weibo user commented.

Netizens also urged the WCBS to investigate if Lines abused Xiao, adding that to correct the damage to the sports spirit, he must be punished and apologize.

“I agree with Xiao’s attitude. No one can unequally treat Chinese people, especially on sports events. We are waiting for a result together with Xiao,” another netizen wrote on Sina Weibo.

When I read this I was surprised for several reasons:

  1. I have known and met both players for over 12 years now and never saw anything bad from either so this surprised me. I won’t take sides and I will wait for WST/WPBSA inquiry. What I do know is that, with a lot at stakes during matches, emotions run high. Mistakes and misunderstandings  do happen.
  2. I was very surprised that nothing was said on WST website.
  3. I’m even more surprised that when WST did react it only appeared on Chinese social media…

WSTXiaoLinesIncidentonWeibo

 

That’s weird to say the least. Why not put this on their website as well? Because, obviously, this was always going to land somewhere in a news feed or on social media sparkling questions and speculations.

Tour News – 10 July 2021

The first news I want to share today is a very sad one: Jake Nicholson, an extremely talented amateur snooker player passed away last Thursday in the evening. He was only 28 years old. He died from cancer. He had been ill for four years, but had kept his illness “within the family”.

I have met Jake many times at events, PTCs and pro-ams and Challenge Tour events, but I won’t claim I really knew him. What I can say however is that he came across as a very nice person. He was well respected by his fellow players for the quality of his snooker, and very popular within the “snooker family”. Yesterday, social media was flooded with messages of sympathy.

Jake continued to play at a high standard well into his illness and nobody would have guessed that he was so unwell.

Here is what WST published yesterday:

Jake Nicholson Passes Away

Talented snooker player Jake Nicholson has sadly died at the age of 28 after a battle with cancer.

Nicholson receiving the trophy from Brendan Moore at a Challenge Tour event in 2019

Nicholson, from Flamborough in Yorkshire, was a popular character on the amateur circuit and will be much missed by all of his friends in snooker.

As a junior, Nicholson represented England at under-21 level. In 2019 he won a Challenge Tour event, beating Andrew Pagett 3-1 in the final in Newbury. That got him into the 2020 Challenge Tour Play-Offs, where he reached the semi-finals before losing to Allan Taylor.

Nicholson also competed in the World Championship qualifiers in 2020 and beat Brandon Sargeant before losing to Jak Jones, while in the English Amateur Championship in the same year he reached the last 16.

WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson said: “We are deeply saddened to hear that Jake has passed away. Our sport will come together to remember this very talented and likeable young man who had a great future ahead of him.

“I remember congratulating him when he won a Challenge Tour event two years ago and thinking he could be a star in the making, because he had so much ability. It’s so sad that he does not have the chance to fulfil his dreams.

“Our thoughts and sincere condolences are with Jake’s parents and all of his friends and family.”

Many of Jake’s fellow players have paid tribute to him:

Oliver Lines: “Jake my bro I don’t even know where to begin, you knew how much you meant to me and our whole family! I hope you’re finally not in any more pain, I will miss you forever, until we meet again, I love you brother!”

Sanderson Lam: “You were my brother, my best mate, I can’t believe you’ve been taken away from us, you were so positive in life and we had so many memories together, and I wish I could have seen you before you left us, you will be missed very much and we all love you so much, you rest in peace.”

Peter Devlin: “Gutted to hear the news about Jake Nicholson. I will always remember playing a tournament in Leeds. I was about 16, and he was on the table next to me. He had three centuries in a best of seven, and I was inspired by that. Great player and nice lad. Life can be very cruel, RIP Jake.”

Steven Hallworth: “Devastated. Eight years to the day we were competing for England together at the World Under 21s in China. An extremely talented player, an even better bloke. Will miss your infectious and sometimes quite ridiculous laugh. Rest easy Jake, brother.”

Barry Pinches: “I’m devastated to hear the news today that Jake Nicholson has passed away. A promising young snooker player and a lovely lad too. My thoughts are with his family. RIP Jake.”

Jamie Curtis-Barrett: “Jake, we met many moons ago in Leeds and from day one we hit it off, we became good friends, travelled the world together sharing hotel rooms, flights and drives, practice sessions. We had some amazing times and you were such a character, class act on and off the baize. You will be sadly missed by many, my heart goes out to your parents and family. Now fly high, spread your wings and keep potting those balls.”

My thoughts go out to his family, his girlfriend and countless friends. I feel for his parents in particular. I don’t think there is anything worse, nor more difficult to come to terms with, than to lose a child.

The other piece of news is the new version of this season snooker calendar:

2021-22SnookerCalendar.v3

Changes, as compared to the previous version, are in red.

I’m not sure how we should read the bits about the Turkish Masters. What seems to be clear is that there is currently no certainty that the tournament will be held in Antalia end September. What is unclear to me is what will happen, should the covid situation or anything else prevent it to be held in Turkey at those dates. Will it be postponed or will it be replaced by the “potential ranking event” in Barnsley?

Also the Gibraltar Open is now marked as an “option” whatever that means.

 

 

The Snooker Tour is heading to Turkey

This was posted by WST today

Snooker Heads To New Territory With Turkish Masters

The World Snooker Tour will stage an event in Turkey for the first time next season when the Turkish Masters takes place in the beautiful city of Antalya.

The provisional dates of the tournament are September 27 to October 3 and WST will closely monitor all guidelines on travel and Covid safety, working with governments in the UK and overseas.

The world ranking event will see 64 players heading to Turkey to compete for total prize money of £500,000.

Ruins of Aspendos theatreAntalya is known for its history, culture, beaches and cuisine

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 in August 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.

WST Chairman Steve Dawson said: “We are thrilled to continue snooker’s international expansion by staging a world ranking event in Turkey for the first time. Over the past decade we have made dramatic progress in becoming a truly global sport, and to enter a brand new territory is a further step on that journey.

“We have tracked the growth in interest in snooker in Turkey in terms of television viewing figures and digital audience. This new event will provide a focal point for our sport in the region and it will help us to develop our strategy of building foundations across Europe.

“We are particularly excited to stage this event in Antalya because of the status of the city as an outstanding tourism destination. We have no doubt that the world’s leading players will be delighted with the chance to visit this stunning location while competing for a prestigious title and significant prize money, particularly given the challenges they have faced over the past year.

“We look forward to working with our new partners in Turkey on this fantastic project. To stage a major sporting event in Antalya will help develop the profile of the city.”

WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson said: “Congratulations to Ersan Ercan, President of the Turkish Billiard Federation, his hard working team, and local promoter Tuğba İrten for everything they have done to bring the Turkish Masters to the forefront of snooker’s global calendar. We have no doubt it will become one of the most popular events and destinations on our circuit.”

Antalya – the Pearl of the Mediterranean

Ersan Ercan, President of the Turkish Billiard Federation, added: “I would like to say a sincere thank you to WST for giving us the opportunity to welcome snooker to Turkey for the first time in our history.

“We are very excited and work has already begun to make this event one of the best on the calendar. I can assure those who attend of one thing, and that is they will fall in love with Antalya.”

Antalya is a marvellous place with a rich Greek, Roman and even Persian history. Tradional cuisine should be excellent as well… for those who know better than burgers and kebabs. Expect hot weather at that time of the year though…

I’m a bit surprised at Turkey interest in snooker. Their “traditional” game is 3-cushions billiards, a discipline they excel at. Turkey has produced top 3-cushions billiards players over the years, but none more famous than the great Semih Sayginer, the Turkish Prince.

For those of you who know nothing about 3-cushions here it is in short: there are three balls on the table: a white, a red, a yellow. One of the players plays with the white, the other one with the yellow. the goal is to score points. To score a point, the player at the table has to hit the red and his opponent’s ball, in any order, but before they hir the second ball they need to have hit at leat three cushions. The player stays at the table as long as they score. It’s simple… not!

Here is a short video featuring two of the best exponents of that discipline: Semih Sayginer and Torbjorn Blomdahl

Anyway…

What annoys me with this event is that Turkey is not a great country when it comes to respecting human rights. They have very recently withdrawn from the Istanbul convention , basically making domestic violence against women and girls legal. They also have a history of violence towards ethnic or religious minorities and even genocide, most notably against Armenians and Kurds.

More down to earth… it will be interesting to see if Ronnie will enter, given that, unless he’s drawn against a wildcard, he will likely need to qualify. And if he doesn’t, if he will give any reason for it other than not liking the qualifiers…

In general, I’m curious to see if any player with a moral compass AND politically informed will say anything.