Pro and Amateur Game News

African Games news (source WPBSA)

Morocco’s Amine Handed Tour Card

  • 28th August 2019

Amiri Amine of Morocco has been awarded a place on the World Snooker Tour after winning a gold medal in the African Games.

Triple Gold for Morocco as Snooker History is Made in Casablanca

25th August 2019

Moroccan snooker players dominated on home soil this week by claiming a trio of gold medals as the sport was contested at the African Games for the first time in its history.

The 12th staging of Africa’s biggest multisports event has seen athletes from 54 African nations come together across 26 sports including snooker. Staged at the Hotel Farah in Casablanca the groundbreaking competition saw full-medal tournaments contested by men, women and mixed gender doubles teams.

There was a dramatic victory for Morocco’s Amiri Amine in the men’s competition on Saturday as he won a deciding-frame shoot out against Abdulraham Haridi of Egypt. It was Haridi who led 2-0 and 3-2 in their best of seven frame encounter, before Amine took frame six on a re-spotted black to force a decider that he would ultimately go on to dominate on his way to claiming gold.

The bronze-medal match was also won by Morocco as Yassime Bellamine defeated African champion Mohamed Ibrahim 4-2 to claim the final step on the podium.

The first competition of the week to be played was won by Morocco’s Yousra Matine as she defeated Ganton Askiri of Egypt to claim gold in the women’s event, with Hakima Kissai taking bronze.

There was better news for Kissai in Wednesday’s mixed doubles event, however, as together with Yassime Bellamine the pair defeated Amiri Amine and Yousra Matine to claim gold.  Egypt finished in the bronze medal position with Mohamed Ibrahim and Yara Sharaf.

The event was well-supported throughout the week with visits from distinguished guests including AASC President General Ahmed Nasser, Africa Billiards and Snooker Confederation President Mohamed El-Kammah and World Snooker Federation President Jason Ferguson.

The event received significant media interest across Africa with live action and interviews broadcast on television and online.

Mohamed El-Kammah said: “It has been a dream to see our sport enter such a prestigious occasion as the African Games. It is a journey that began many years ago and I am very proud to see this dream become a reality. Egyptian players have always had a strong presence in snooker, I believe the opportunity to earn medals will now inspire the next generation.”

Jason Ferguson said: “It has been an honour to work on this project along with our regional federation, the ABSC. It is clear that our sport has a place in the Africas and this landmark inclusion event is just the beginning as we aim to provide more opportunity for players in the region. I must thank Ahmed Nasser, Mohamed El-Kammah and their teams for their inspiration in making great strides for our sport.”

Learn more about snooker in Africa: https://www.africabsf.com/

Amine won the men’s event at the African Games in Casablanca last weekend, beating Abdulraham Haridi of Egypt 4-3 in the final. Haridi led 2-0 and 3-2, but Amine took frame six on a re-spotted black and then won the decider to take gold.

He was subsequently nominated by the African Billiards and Snooker Confederation for a tour card. He will take up his place on the circuit for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons.

Click here for the full list of this season’s tour players and their nationalities.

First, of course, congratulations to Amiri Amine, and good luck to him as he starts his life as a pro. That said, I can’t help to think that it would have been better to give him a two years card starting next season. As it happens now, he’s already missing quite a few events, and he’s certainly also facing a few tough administrative challenges: work permit, visa, settling in the UK… None of it is easy and, in addition, he’s likely to face a much tougher opposition than the one he’s usually facing in Africa. Staying on the tour at the end of next season is a very difficult task for any rookie, and it will be even harder for him, starting “late”, the only African on tour.

The CBSA Tour Huizou was won by Yuan Sijun who beat Pang Junxu in the final.

You can see how the tournament unfolded here

This places Pang Junxu in a good position to earn one of the two “CBSA” main tour cards next season. The boy was impressive at the World Snooker Qualifiers last April. He beat Stuart Carrington by 10-6 in the  first round and gave Kurt Maflin a tough challenge in the second round. Kurt eventually won 10-7.

The scene is set for tomorrow’s Challenge

 

 

 

 

Shanghai Masters 2019 – Build-up

In the build-up of the Shanghai Masters, Worldsnooker interviewed John Higgins

Seven years ago John Higgins came through a 10-9 victor in arguably the best ever Shanghai Masters final against Judd Trump.

With the 13th running of the event just under two weeks away, we caught up with the four-time World Champion to preview his trip to Shanghai for the elite 24-player invitational…

John, looking ahead to this year’s Shanghai Maters what are your targets given there is such a prestigious field in attendance?

“I just want to win one match! I’ve not had a great record in Shanghai apart from that final with Judd Trump in 2012. It is a tough event because you are playing against the best players in the world. I just find it an enjoyable tournament to be a part of. I’m taking my brother and my brother in law out there this year. I am playing in the Six Red World Championship in Bangkok just before that, so they are going to get a holiday out of it. The Shanghai Masters is one of the best tournaments we play in all year and it is a great city to go to.”

How fondly do you look back on that dramatic final with Judd Trump back in 2012?

“That was just a brilliant match. Judd played really well at the beginning and was completely shutting me out. I was 5-0 behind and it looked as if he was just going to go on and win it. However, I managed to make a maximum break which was a special moment. I still ended the first session 7-2 behind and you don’t really give yourself much of a chance from that position. I was lucky that I began to play really well and he missed a couple of balls. We always seem to have good matches against each other and that was certainly one of them.”

After losing Crucible finals in 2017 and 2018, you talked about how hard that hit you at times last season and cast doubts on your future in the sport.

However, you managed to put that aside and reach a third consecutive World Championship final back in May, coming up short against Judd Trump. How are you feeling currently about your game and what is the key to the longevity that has allowed you to still be at the top of snooker at the age of 44?

“Well it does get a little bit harder as you get older, but it is just one of those things. I am a snooker player and that is all I’ve ever known. When you retire that is it for the rest of your life. You need to enjoy it while you still can and while your eyesight is still alright. Snooker doesn’t really have any age barriers. That is one of the great things about it. Especially if you compare it to things like football and tennis where you are finished by your late 30s.

“I’ve never got too high when winning events and I’ve also never really got too low when I’ve lost. That was slightly different over the last couple of years, but I’ve generally kept things at a happy medium and that has stood me in good stead.”

Two places in the Shanghai Masters go to players who have come through the Amateur Masters. How important do you think events like that are to boost the grassroots of the sport?

“I think the Amateur Masters is brilliant and the city always supports it. That is to their great credit because you can see how things like that are helping young talent come through in China. Each year they have more young guys emerging. I played a teenager called Wu Yize at International Championship qualifying and won 6-5. He is a fabulous player and it is events like the Amateur Masters which allow people like him to develop.”

I was there, in the media room, during that match. I can remember vividly how the atmosphere of the match turned when John made that maximimum. He was 7-2 down when the session finished, but the seeds of doubts had been firmly planted in Judd Trump’s mind and it showed from the first ball in the evening. Judd had most of the audience on his side and I’m not sure it helped him. It added more pressure. from the evening MSI on I had no doubts that John would win. You just could see it coming.

In other news, those images were posted on weibo, related to the 30th of August exhibition.

As are these

 

Barry Hawkins wins the Paul Hunter Classic 2019

Congratulations Barry Hawkins !

PHC2019Winner

Here is the report by Worldsnooker:

Barry Hawkins won the Paul Hunter Classic in Germany, edging out Kyren Wilson 4-3 in the final.

World number ten Hawkins won four matches at the 16-man invitation event in Fürth to take the title for the first time.

Wilson was looking to win the tournament for a second consecutive year, but just missed out in a close final.

Londoner Hawkins lost the opening frame then made breaks of 63 and 120 to lead 2-1. World number eight Wilson compiled runs of 59 and 52 as he went 3-2 ahead, and he had a match-winning chance in frame six, but broke down on 57.

Hawkins made a superb 41 clearance to level at 3-3, then fired a run of 69 to win the decider.

“It was a strong field and it’s tough to win any tournament,” said 40-year-old Hawkins. “To win a title early in the season puts me in good stead. In spells during the weekend I played really well and scored well. There are two big tournaments coming up in China so hopefully I can keep this form going.

“I was feeling tired in the final, it was a bit scrappy. It was a huge frame to go 3-3 because I thought it was game over. I potted a good long red and managed to clear up. Then in the last frame I held myself together. The fans here are some of the best in the world, it’s always a great atmosphere.”

Earlier in the semi-finals, Hawkins edged out Joe Perry 4-3 while Wilson beat Luca Brecel 4-1.

Yes, the fans are always good and coming in huge numbers in Germany, as they do everywhere in mainland Europe. This tournament, its faithful fans, and Paul Hunter’s memory deserve better than what it was reduced to this year.

I certainly don’t want to belittle the merit of the players who were in Fürth over the week-end, quite the opposite, I’m grateful to them and Barry Hawkins should be proud.

There was nothing and nowhere to watch from the main action. But thanks to my close helping friend here is some of the speed-cup. Enjoy!

2019 Paul Hunter Classic: Gary Wilson v Mark KingKing speedcup

2019 Paul Hunter Classic: David Gilbert Speedcup

2019 Paul Hunter Classic: Michael Holt v Julian Boiko speedcup

2019 Paul Hunter Classic: David Gilbert – Ken Doherty (Speedcup)

2019 Paul Hunter Classic: Mak King v Luca Brecel + Shoot-out Joe Perry V Florian Nüssle

MissingClip 2019 Paul Hunter Classic: Mark King – Dave Gilbert (Speedcup)

MissingClip 2019 Paul Hunter Classic: Mark King (Speedcup)

MissingClip 2019 Paul Hunter Classic: Mark King – Gary Wilson (Speedcup)

It’s Gary Wilson who won the Speed Cup. This was his reaction on twitter

Won something at least, Paul Hunter Speed Cup Winner. Great idea for an event and great fun. Thanks to all the German fans also, they never fail!

🏆

😂

⏰

👍🏼

PHC2019SpeedWinner

Paul Hunter Classic 2019 – Day 1

The Paul Hunter Classic 2019 got underway yesterday in Fürth. It’s not on televion, it’s not even on the ES player or streamed. It’s reduced to a 16 men (actually 13 men and three boys) field. Anyway … here is the report by Worldsnooker on day1 action:

Top 16 stars Kyren Wilson, Barry Hawkins and David Gilbert all enjoyed emphatic wins on the first day of the Paul Hunter Classic to reach the quarter-finals.

The tournament in Furth, Germany, is a 16-man invitation event this year, with a mixture of professional players and promising amateurs.

Results
Tickets

Wilson is defending the title and got off to a strong start as he needed just 60 minutes to beat Austrian amateur Florian Nuessle 4-0, making breaks of 55, 86, 80 and 60.

Hawkins was a fine form in a 4-1 win over Gary Wilson, knocking in breaks of 101, 94 and 113. Gilbert compiled runs of 108 and 89 as he beat Michael Holt 4-1. Belgium’s Luca Brecel top-scored with 102 in a 4-1 win over Ken Doherty.

Joe Perry saw off Ben Mertens 4-0 while Ricky Walden made a 104 in a 4-0 defeat of Julian Boiko. Mark King beat teenager Ryan Davies 4-0 with runs of 58, 56, 67 and 67 while Dominic Dale scored a 4-1 victory over Matthew Selt.

The tournament is played to a finish on Sunday.

Quarter-final line-up
Kyren Wilson v Dominic Dale
Luca Brecel v Ricky Walden
David Gilbert v Joe Perry
Mark King v Barry Hawkins

Iulian Boiko came through the qualifying event, beating Barry Pinches in the Final. He’s from Ukraine and only 13. Shaun Murphy had to withdraw due to injury (achilles I heard) and Matthew Stevens withdrew as well. Fortunately they got replaced before the start of the tournament. A lot of pro players it seems regret the way the tournament was downgraded and were more than ready to play in it given the chance.

Get well soon Shaun Murphy, thank you Steve Davis!

The following has been shared on social media by the VSF Snooker – the Flemish Snooker Federeation:

Helaas heeft Shaun Murphy zich gisterenavond wegens een ernstige kwetsuur moeten afmelden voor de geplande Snooker Exhibitie van volgende dinsdag 27/08/2019 te Overijse.
De organisatie heeft op zeer korte tijd gelukkig een vervanger kunnen vinden met name MBE Steve Davis, 6-voudig wereldkampioen, meervoudig wereldkampioen trick shots, top analist en commentator bij BBC en last but not least een super entertainer.
Het beoogde doel van de organisatie blijft hetzelfde namelijk promotie voeren voor de snookersport in combinatie met een huldiging voor de winnaars van de individuele Vlaamse kampioenschappen waarbij de jongeren extra in de schijnwerper worden geplaatst.
Wij hopen ook u te mogen verwelkomen.

Bosuil 27.08.2019Tickets zijn nog te bestellen via https://snooker-exhibition.eventsquare.co/nl/xlxldaioysr3

here is the translation (by me… )

Unfortunately, yesterday evening Shaun Murphy was forced to withdraw from the exhibition planned on next Tuesday, 27 of August 2019 in Overijse, citing a serious injury.

Fortunately the organsers were able to find a replacement at very short notice. His name is Steve Davis MBE, 6 times World Champion, multiple trick-shot World Champion, top pundit and commentator for BBC, and last but not least a super entertainer.

The organisers goal remains the same: to promote snooker as a sport and to reward the winners of the Flemish Championships, with the young players being given extra exposure.

We hope to welcome you all there.

First of all, I want to wish Shaun a speedy and complete recovery.

Next, a big thank you to Steve Davis for stepping up at such short notice. I’m certain everyone will be happy to see him there.

Finally, I can only suppose that this means that Shaun won’t be able to compete in the Paul Hunter Classic 2019. Another blow for the tournament… 😥

Update: Ricky Walden is replacing Shaun in the Paul Hunter Classic.

Catching up with the news

There were two main pieces of news worth noticing over the last days

The venues for the upcoming Challenge Tour have been confirmed (Worldsnooker)

The calendar of events for the 2019-20 Challenge Tour season is now available.

As previously announced the 2019-20 Challenge Tour will comprise ten events, followed by a play-off. The dates are:

  • Event 1: August 31-September 1. Germany – Nuremberg (Ballroom Nürnberg)
  • Event 2: September 21-22. England – Newbury (The Crucible Sports & Social Club)
  • Event 3: October 5-6. England – Leeds (Northern Snooker Centre)
  • Event 4: Oct 19-20 Belgium – Bruges (The Trickshot)
  • Event 5: Nov 2-3 England – Brighton (Castle Snooker and Sports Bar)
  • Event 6: Nov 16-17 Hungary – Budapest (Hungary Snooker Academy)
  • Event 7: Dec 14-15 Belgium – Neerpelt (De Maxx Snooker, Pool en Café)
  • Event 8: Jan 18-19 England – Tamworth (Tamworth Sports Bar)
  • Event 9: Feb 15-16 Wales – Llanelli (Terry Griffiths Matchroom)
  • Event 10: Feb 29-Mar 1 England – Leicester (The Winchester)
  • Playoff: Mar 28-29 TBC

World Snooker director Jason Ferguson said: “We are delighted to announce a range of high quality venues for this season’s Challenge Tour. This tour is an important breeding ground for talent, giving players below professional level the chance to improve their skills and gain competitive experience.

“The final play off in March will be awarded to a suitably prestigious venue and host nation. We have ongoing discussions and the venue will be announced in due course.”

The player who finishes top of the Challenge Tour rankings after ten events will be awarded a Tour Card. The next eight players in the rankings with go into a play-off event, with the winner of that event to receive the second Tour Card. The draw for the play-off will be seeded with the player highest in the Challenge Tour rankings drawn against the eighth highest, and so on. The prize money for each event will be £10,000.

The field for events will be made up as follows:

UK Events

  • The top 56 players from the 2019 Q School ranking list
  • Eight Wildcards, to be selected with the intention to promote the development of grassroots talent
  • If necessary, the last-64 round will then be topped up with players on the Q School ranking list

European Events

  • The top 56 players from the 2019 Q School ranking list. All 56 will be directly entered into the last 64.
  • Eight Wildcards, to be selected with the intention to promote the development of grassroots talent.
  • An unlimited number of further entrants will compete in pre-qualifying stages, playing down to the available places in the last 64.

The two available World Snooker Tour Cards will be for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons.

The part in blue (coloring by me) is interesting. Last season a lot of those events outside UK were poorly attended and this is an attempt to secure a full field. The venue in Germany and both venues in Belgium are excellent, this from my own experience. The Ballroom in Nuremberg has hosted amateur rounds of the PHC, before the PHC was ruined, the Trickshot has hosted Seniors qualifying events, and “the Maxx” is run by no other than Wendy Jans , and has hosted Women Snooker events.

Jimmy White could be invited at the Champion of Champions (Worldsnooker)

The World Seniors Championship has been added to the qualification list for snooker’s ManBetX Champion of Champions, which will take place at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry from November 4-10.

Jimmy White won the Seniors title at The Crucible on Sunday, beating Darren Morgan in the final. The World Seniors Championship will be added to the bottom of the ManBetX Champion of Champions Qualification List, meaning White is not yet assured a place at the Ricoh Arena.

Ricoh Arena

The Qualifying List comprises 28 spots, which are split into seven sections. Tournaments within each of the seven sections are listed chronologically. The first 16 different players on the list will form the line-up for the 2019 ManBetX Champion of Champions. The World Women’s Snooker Championship is listed 27th on the list, with the World Seniors to be listed 28th.

With twelve players having already been assured of their place at the ManBetX Champion of Champions, if the five remaining events yield three repeat winners then White will receive his invite to play at the Ricoh Arena in November, live on ITV4.

Tickets for the 2019 ManBetX Champion of Champions are on sale now. Prices start from just £11 per session with Premium and VIP packages also available. The draw and schedule for the event will be announced during the week prior to the tournament.

Featuring tournament winners from the previous 12 months, the ManBetX Champion of Champions is broadcast live on ITV4 and has become one of snooker’s biggest tournaments since launching at Ricoh Arena in 2013. The likes of Ronnie O’Sullivan, John Higgins and Shaun Murphy have all lifted the trophy.

The tournament starts with a quartet of four-man groups played over four days from Monday, November 4 until Thursday, November 7. The winner of each group progresses to the semi-finals, with one played on Friday, November 8 and the other on Saturday, November 9. The final on Sunday, November 10 will be over 19 frames.

Now, there is no doubt that this is a commercially driven move. Like it or not, Jimmy White is still hugely popular, still driving fans to events. That’s a hard fact and we saw it again last week in Sheffield.

The decision isn’t popular with eveyone. Clearly some people close to former seniors Champions feel this is favouritism and, indeed, I’m not sure the same decision would have been made had Darren Morgan won last Sunday.

There are however a few things to consider:

  • Every season it seems, we have serial winners (ROS, Trump notably this time) and the field isn’t filling. Jimmy White only will get there if there are three more “repeating” winners from five remaining events. Should that happen, would it be better to shoe in players who have won nothing at all? I’m not sure and I remember people moaning when this happened in past years.
  • The same decision was made a few weeks back regarding Reanne Evans. It didn’t cause an upheaval. Yet it’s the same situation. Only now, do we see people complaining and citing favoritism because it wasn’t done in previous years for On Yee.
  • The decision to include the World Championship runner-up was made a few years back and it was blatantly done because of Ding. That was IMO a much worse decision because a runner-up is NOT a winner. That was right up there with the decision that was made about held-over matches to guarantee that Ding would be in the field in Chinese tournaments. Commercially it was the right decision, ethically it was plain wrong because Ding clearly wasn’t trying his best in qualifiers and, ultimately, he was rewarded for it.

Jimmy White wins the WSS ROKiT Phones.com 2019 World Championship

White Wins at the Crucible

19th August 2019

Jimmy ‘Whirlwind’ White has defeated Darren Morgan 5-3 to win his second ROKiT Phones.com World Seniors Snooker Championship title at the iconic Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.

View all tournament results

Held at the undisputed home of snooker for the first time, the four-day event saw both White and Morgan come through a field of 20 players comprised of former greats champions and amateur qualifiers from across the globe to contest the title match.

The final would prove to be a tightly contested affair during which the players were never separated by more than a single frame until the final ball was potted.

Former world number eight Morgan drew first blood with a clearance to the pink from the last red to take the opening frame, before White countered a break of 55 with a dish of his own to level the scores.

The following two frames were also shared as the pair headed to the interval locked at 2-2, before 10-time ranking event winner White hit the front for the first time with a break of 53.

It was Morgan’s turn to respond positively as he claimed the sixth frame for 3-3, before White hit a match-high break of 86 to move one away from finally breaking his Crucible duck, having famously lost in the final on six occasions at the professional World Championship.

As the tension grew, it appeared as though the final was destined to head for a deciding-frame as Morgan established a useful advantage with the remaining reds awkwardly placed.

White, however, had other ideas as he fought back to within five points with two reds remaining, before eventually earning what would prove to be a match-clinching chance to seal an emotional victory at the Crucible Theatre.

The success comes an incredible 38 years after White made his Crucible debut back in 1981 and earns him the top prize of £25,000. The success caps a fantastic season which has already seen the 57-year-old claim victories at the Irish Seniors Masters and the 6-Red World Seniors Championship tournaments.

“It sounds strange to be world champion at the Crucible,” said White. “I have been playing really well, I lost the form on Thursday coming here and today I managed to get my game together and I felt very strong. I am delighted to win because [Darren] Morgan plays all of the time, he is a top amateur, so he is very sharp. I knew I had a tough match, it looked like it was going to go 4-4 so it could have been anybody’s and sometimes you have got to take these opportunities.

“On Thursday I was playing fantastic stuff and I went to Barnsley [for the China Championship qualifiers] and lost 5-4 after I should have won and everything just went out of the window.

“Tony Knowles [former world number two] said to me that I wasn’t standing right and that my back leg needed to lock like years ago. I actually looked at a couple of videos last night and he was right, my back leg used to be straight. It gave me a lot of confidence today and I potted some real good long balls. A great example was the red to get in to win the match, you are even money to get them anyway but it was a great cueing shot.”

(source WPBSA)

Here are the final and the trophy ceremony

2019 World Seniors Championship: Jimmy White – Darren Morgan (final )

And the link to the Final’s day picture album

Congratulations Jimmy White! Long overdue!