Snooker News – 22.10.2019

More happened last week than just the English Open.

The Women’s Tour was in Australia where Mink (Nucharut Wongharuthai), still only 19, won her first ranking event, beating On Yee Ng by 4-2 in the final.

Here is WPBSA report


Maximum Mink Wins First Ranking Title

20th October 2019

Nutcharut Wongharuthai has defeated Ng On Yee 4-2 in the final of the Australian Women’s Open to capture her first-ever ranking event title on Sunday.

View tournament information

Held for a second time at the Mounties venue in Sydney, Australia, following last year’s inaugural event, the competition saw 24 players battle it out to become champion across four days of hard-fought action.

It would be the top two seeded players who would make it through to the showpiece match, Thailand’s Wongharuthai ominously doing so for the loss of no frames, while defending champion On Yee made it back-to-back finals in Sydney with victories against Jessica Woods and So Man Yan in the latter rounds.

Contested over the best of seven frames, the final saw 19-year-old Wongharuthai make the faster start by moving into a 2-0 lead, before former world number one On Yee hit back with a run of 70 to get herself off the mark. Mink, as Wongharuthai is also commonly known, took the fourth frame to restore her two-frame advantage, only for On Yee to again close the gap with a second 70 break to stay in the match.

Wongharuthai was not to be denied however, runs of 38 and 37 in the sixth and ultimately final frame proving enough for her to claim glory for the first time on the World Women’s Snooker Tour.

Victory for the Thai star adds to a career-best year which has already seen her reach her first World Championship final and become the first woman to make a verified 147 break back in March. She is now also guaranteed to climb to a new career-high ranking of number three, overtaking Rebecca Kenna who did not compete in Australia.

Wongharuthai’s success also represents the first ranking event win for a player other than On Yee or Reanne Evans on the circuit since Maria Catalano claimed victory at the Connie Gough Trophy back in February 2017 and the Thai star also finished the week with the highest break after her run of 90 during the group stage.

All at World Women’s Snooker would like to thank the Australian Billiards and Snooker Council for their hard work in running this event during the week.

Congratulations Mink!

This week, the Championship League Snooker continues with Groups 3 and 4.

Group 3 is in its second day and you can follow it on snooker.org

Meanwhile, this week a significant number of main tour players are already plaing in China, in a CBS event: the Haining Open.

Non Chinese main tour players: Mark Selby, Barry Hawkins, Jackson Page, Michael Georgiou, Jimmy Robertson, Thepchaiya Un-Nooh, Craig Steadman, Billy Castle, Jordan Brown, Mark Davis, Mark King, Michael Holt, Igor Figueiredo, Ricky Walden, Stuart Bingham and Elliot Slessor

Chinese players who compete(d) in the main tour or the Q-School: Zhou Yuelong, Zhao Xintong, Wu Yize, Zhang Yong, Zhang Jiankang, Pang Junxu, Mei Xiwen, Chang Bingyu, Zhang Anda, Fang Xiongman, Luo Honghao, Ju Reti, Lu Ning, Xu Si, Li Yan, Si Jiahui, Li Hang

Note that Barry Hawkins and Mark Selby withdrew from the Championship League to play in this one.

The full draw is here: http://bems.crandtec.com/index.php?g=&m=Index&a=huiwaisai_live&e_id=NzU%3D&s_id=MTcw&type=1

 

Snooker News – 13.10.2019

As the players get ready for the first of the Home Nations tournaments, the English Open, the focus is understandably on that event. There are however other snooker news worth a mention.

Malta to Host New World Snooker Federation Championships

12th October 2019

  • Luo Honghao wins trophy

The World Snooker Federation (WSF) and Malta Billiards & Snooker Association (MBSA) are today delighted to jointly announce the staging of the new WSF Championships as major amateur events providing qualification to the professional tour.

Two events will be held from 4-17 January 2020 at the Malta Snooker Academy and the San Antonio Hotel, the World Snooker Federation Junior Open (for players aged 17 and under) and the World Snooker Federation Open (All age groups). Both competitions will be open to players of all nationalities and both men and women equally, with the winner of each tournament to earn a two-year tour card to the World Snooker Tour from the start of the 2020/21 season.

Each recognised National Snooker Federation will be given the opportunity to nominate two players to each event for their national champions and top ranked players. This respects the valuable contribution many National and Regional Federations make to the development of talented players. In addition to these nominations, direct entries will then be accepted from players online, making this a truly open event for all players around the world who have aspirations to carve out a career in our sport.

Jason Ferguson, WSF President said: “This groundbreaking new open format for world level amateur events is a significant step forward to ensure we are a sport for all. The WSF are thrilled that this season’s tour qualifying events will be open to all, regardless of nationality, age or gender. Only the best in the world will make it to the World Snooker Tour.

“I am particularly proud that the WSF is developing a focus on junior talent. It is fundamental to the future of our sport that the next generation of talented players are presented with playing opportunities at world level with the unlimited prize of full graduation to the professional sport.

“I would like to extend my thanks to our friends at the MBSA who have once again shown us fantastic support during the planning of this tournament. Our inaugural Championships held in Malta back in 2018 were a real success and it is testament to the quality of the team in Malta that when the opportunity arose to return there for this tournament that we did not hesitate to say yes.”

Frans Bugeja, MBSA President said: “We are delighted to welcome the WSF back to Malta for these prestigious events. We look forward to building upon the success of last year’s great Championships and to see who will follow in the footsteps of 2018 champion Luo Honghao by lifting the open title.”

How to enter

It is anticipated that entry for both events will open during the week commencing 21st October. Confirmation of the entry process will be distributed to all national federations and posted on our website and social media platforms as soon as possible.

Entry for the WSF International Junior Open will be open to players 17 or under up to and including 31 December 2019.

The entry deadline for each event will be 8 December 2019 at midnight.

This is of course good news. When the first WSF event was played in Malta nearly two years ago, it created a lot of hopes and expectations. Unfortunately they didn’t really materialise until now. This time there is no Women nor Seniors event, the focus clearly set on the Juniors. The only concern I have is about the hotel, which is quite a luxury and expensive one. Hopefully the event being played in the winter the prices will be “softer” than what is their usual standard otherwise this might be a real hurdle for some juniors in particular. Of course, setting up a number of snooker tables, in good conditions, requires space and adequate environment, which this type of hotel is usually able to offer.

Worldsnooker has published the resised draw and format for the Yushan World Open

The draw and format for the Zhiyuan Huanbao Yushan World Open following the completion of the qualifiers is now available.

Click here for the draw

Click here for the format

The world ranking event runs from October 28 to November 3 in China

Basically they added the wilcards to the draw. Ronnie will play his held-over match against Dominic Dale on the opening day in the afternoon – morning in Europe. Should he win he will play Fergal O’Brien the next day, in the afternoon again. Hopefully, Ronnie will be able to fly to China a few days ahead as to get over the worst of the jet-lag.

Finally, the Women were playing a competition in Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Masters. 

It was Bex Kenna who won it – her first title – beating Bai Yulu, a 16 years old from China, in the Final. The score was 4-1. Bai Yulu has been mentioned a few times on this site by Lewis who is our “China expert”. She plays along the men in the CBSA events. Bex – as she mentions in the above article – came quite late to the snooker and her progress has been truly remarkable. She played in her local league but faced a sexist attitude in some clubs who wouldn’t allow her to play in their premices. She fought – still fights – for herself and all the female players and is a great promoter of the Women’s game. Well done Bex!

Ronnie makes a 147 in Bucharest (5.10.2019)

ROSReanneRomania5.10.2019

Ronnie and Reanne Evans played an exhibition in Circus Globul Bucharest last night.

At the start of the event, Ronnie payed tribute to Marius Ancuta, who sadly passed away in July last year; he was only 52. Marius was the Romanian “Mister Snooker”, Eurosport commentator, MC and passionate about the sport. He was the face of snooker in Romanian media.

Ronnie then played two local amateurs.

After a short break, the match with Reanne started and then this happened!

Thanks to Dana Motruna

Thanks to Jason Francis

Thanks to Ionut Gabriel

And …

O’Sullivan makes a maximum break 147 against Reanne Evans in Bucharest! 5.10.2019

This was probably the first ever 147 made in Romania! Alex Crisan was the man in white gloves.

Ronnie won the match by 4-2. There was no other century. Reanne has a chance to have one but a kick when she was on 79, with two reds left, ruined it.

Two more frames found …

Here are some pictures …

The South West Snooker Academy is closing…

Paul Mount shared this on the SWSA Facebook page

Message from SWSA owner Paul Mount :

After almost 10 years creating amazing events and memories I have decided to permanently close the South West Snooker Academy (SWSA) and the Capital Venue on 30th November 2019 so that I can use the space for a variety of other things including a private snooker room containing 4 tables.
As I agreed with Barry Hearn many years ago the SWSA to me is like Leighton Orient football club to him; a labour of love which will costs us money and give us lots of fun. When the fun stops it’s time to stop.
There will be one final competition on the weekend of 1st November after which I will be selling most of the assets including the bar, most hardware within the bar, bar stock, 6 star snooker tables, a large number of new snooker cues, sets of G1 snooker balls and catering equipment. A full list of items for sale will be published shortly, including details on how to bid, and each item will be sold to the highest bidder.
I would like to thank all those that supported the SWSA, especially the Pink Ribbon, and trust you have enjoyed your visits to us and have some of your own magical memories from this place.
I would especially like to thank all the staff of SWSA and Capital venue, both the permanent staff and those that have worked casually or volunteered for some of our charitable events. A big “shout out” has to go to Andrew Norman who has been the nucleus of all things snooker for some years and has developed into a first class coach.
The private snooker room will be available to SWSA snooker teams, for their matches and practice, and for invited tour professionals, to practice. Opening times will be limited and I will provide more detailed information to SWSA team captains in a meeting to be organised in the coming weeks.

This is sad news … I don’t really have words to express how it feels right now.

Thank you for the memories, there are so many great ones. Thank you for ten fantastic Pink Ribbons, for the friendship, the laugher, the buzz.

The place, and above all, the SWSA people  … I will be missing you. Badly.

Good luck in your future endeavours.

 

Shanghai Amateur Masters 2019 News

The Shanghai Masters starts tomorrow and will feature four Chinese amateur wild cards that have not yet been announced by Worldsnooker at the time of writing.

Browsing weibo, and within the limits of automatic translation, this is the information I could gather.

Two of these wilcards will be CBSA recommanded players: Wu Yize and Zhao Jianbo.

The two others come from the Amateur Masters a competition combined with coaching by Ronnie and Ding. The competition – six reds – was played yesterday. The winner and runner-up, Zhang Yi and Cao Jin, will complete the draw. See Lewis comment here under.

Today they got some coaching from Ding and Ronnie.

Here are a few images shared on weibo:

Ronnie and Ding had a lot of time for the fans and the whole event was played in great spirit. The “pupils” totally enjoyed their coaching.

Other than that, Ronnie posted his first “blog” on weibo … it’s a vlog actually

The draw was made at the start of the welcome ceremony:

ShanghaiWIldcardDraw-1

Ding v Zhao Jianbo, Gilbert v Cao Jin, Lisowski v Wu Yize, Carter v Zhang Yi.

ShanghaiMastersDraw

Tour News – Slow play? Is AST a meaningful measure?

This was published by Worlrdsnooker a few days ago:

The number of snooker players on the sport’s global tour with an average shot time of more than 30 seconds has fallen from 12 to four over the past two seasons.

Data was made available on snooker’s live scoring website during the 2017/18 season, showing the average shot time of all 128 players on the World Snooker Tour.

The number of players averaging over 30 seconds dropped from 12 to six during the 2018/19 season. And in the 2019-20 season so far it has dropped to just four players: Lee Walker, Rod Lawler, Martin O’Donnell and Peter Ebdon.

The 14 slowest players from the 2017/18 season all significantly improved their shot times in 2018/19. For example, Joe O’Connor quickened from 33.23 seconds to 27.27, while Mitchell Mann went from 31.38 to 25.66.

World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn said: “Two years ago we decided to make this average shot time data publicly available, in order to make this information transparent for the players, officials and fans.

“It has had the desired effect because players don’t want to be near the bottom of the list, and many of them recognise that playing more fluently actually improves their performance.

“Our governing body the WPBSA recently published an updated version of the rules of snooker, and for the first time there is a separate rule on Time Wasting. This helps make it clear to players that taking an abnormal amount of time over a shot will lead firstly to a warning and then to loss of the frame.

“These measures are helping to eliminate slow play from our sport. The vast majority of players prefer to keep the game moving, as we are in the entertainment business. We are pleased to see the clear message getting through to the small minority who need reminding of these principals.

“We will continue to review the average shot times, and we are also reviewing the number of times that players leave the arena in between frames.

“While of course we recognise that toilet breaks are necessary, again players must appreciate the importance of keeping matches moving, especially live televised games. The frequency of these interludes must be kept to a minimum and we will be monitoring this closely in the current season.”

Average shot time, 2019-20 season so far:

Fastest five

Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 16.66 seconds
Zhao Xintong 18.42
Jack Lisowski 18.55
Robert Milkins 18.80
Mark Williams 18.90

Slowest five

Tian Pengfei 29.95
Peter Ebdon 30.04
Martin O’Donnell 30.53
Rod Lawler 31.98
Lee Walker 33.78

Whilst I’m all for a stricter application of section IV of the rules – the one dealing with time wasting – I’m not convinced that focusing on AST is the answer to eradicate unecessary slow play. Players have different natural paces, and whilst most of them play better when they play fluently, without overthinking, there will always be “slower players” and “faster players”.

What I would like to see, is a stat about the players average frame time over a season. Of course the frame duration depends on how the game unfolds, of the context of the match, and on the opponent as well of course. But everyone following the snooker regularly knows beforehand whether a match is likely to be lengthy or not depending on who is involved in it. There are players with an “average” AST who always seem to get involved in over-running matches, whilst others, who are on the slow side, actually rarely do. Why? Because “negative play” is more likely to produce a  drawn-out affair than “positive play” even combined with a slow “action”. There is no way to “rule” against negative play quite simply because, although most snooker fans would recognize it when they see it, it’s impossible to “define”. A match can be very tactical, without any negativity. The same shot can be an astute tactical move, or can be plain negative, depending on the sitution on the table and the context of the match. In short, ultimately, the “style” of a player, and their mindset, are more significant than their action “speed” when it comes to frames/matches duration.

As for BH obsession with toilet breaks… I really don’t see the problem, certainly on television. Even if a player leaves the arena, they are usually back before the table is reset and the adverts break is over. BBC of course has no adverts, but they usually have pundits commentating between frames. Repeated toilet breaks of course may disrupt the opponent rhythm and, if the referee thinks there is an issue, they surely have the right to have a word with the players, first of all making sure they are allright. Surely repeated breaks are better than an embarrassing incident?