Reflecting on the decade: the year 2010

This is the first of the “years” series. For each year of the decade, I will look back at a small selection of very significant moments/events in that year. Of course making such a selection is always a matter of personal choice and interest. I’m due to overlook things that are important to others, and probably to bore a few with subjects they don’t find interesting…

Of course 2010 was the year Barry Hearn took control of Worldsnooker. On June 2, 2010, Barry Hearn Hearn was backed by 35 of the top 64 players at a WPBSA extraordinary general meeting in Sheffield; 29 voted against him. Hendry, Ding and Ebdon had been his most vocal opponents. This was the start of a radical transformation of the sport with a huge increase of the number of tournament as well as the money on offer. I already touched some key features of the Hearn decade in other posts.

For me though, 2010 was the year of my first World Championship, and I was privileged to spend it in the media room and in the snapper boxes, and it was a quite extraordinary championship too.

2010WCPoster

The hights

Neil Robertson becomes World Champion

Neil Robertson came to the Crucible unsure that he would be able to compete to the end of it, should he go deep: indeed  his partner Mille was expecting their first child, and the baby was due on the week-end of the Final! Compete he did, and he won the whole thing. Baby Alexander was considerate enough to wait for another ten days before making his entrance … It wasn’t all plain sailing though. In the last 16, Neil was trailing Martin Gould by 11-5 at the end of the second session. The first two sessions were played on the same day (April 23) and Martin Gould played absolutely blistering snooker … as he can. It was a mesmerising performance from Martin. Then he had to sleep over it, and it was his undoing. The next day, Martin was a shadow of the player he had been in the first two sessions, and a determined Neil Robertson came back at him and eventually won the match 13-12. There was no stopping him after that. His mum flew over from Australia during the Final and stood proudly at his side on the floor when he lifted the trophy after he beat Graeme Dott by 18-13 in the final. It was a very emotional moment for both of them. Neil is a very proud Aussie and being the first Australian to win the World Championship at the Crucible was huge for him. It should have made all the headlines in the next day papers … but it didn’t.

Steve Davis qualifies for the World Championship for a record 30th time and goes on to send the defending champion home in the last 16

At the age of 52, Steve Davis beat Mark King by 10-9 in the last 32, then the defending champion, John Higgins, by 13-11 in the last 16, to reach the QF of the Championship. I will always remember the last frame of this match. I watched it from one of the commentary boxes. It was incredibbly tense. The great Steve Davis was barely able to breath as he potted the last balls. They had the whole Crucible for themselves, the match/session at the other table had finished early and the whole Crucible was living the moment with Steve. When he eventually won, Steve got a standing ovation.

Here is a footage of the last balls. The quality is poor unfortunately.

and Steve’s press conference

Steve was beaten heavily by Neil Robertson in the QF round. It was his last competitive match at the Crucible.

The low and ugly

And it was a very low and terrible moment for our sport  … the News of the World scandal.

In the media room at the Cucible …  the last session of the second semi final between Graeme Dott and Mark Selby was underway. All the signs were there that this was going to be a late finish. I was working on pictures whilst following the match on the screens at the same time. Suddendly I became aware that the atmosphere in the room had changed: it was too quiet, and almost grave. One of the journalists, behind me, was looking at his screen, a colleague at his side, both obviously in shock. One of them said  “This looks very bad” … They had stumbled upon an article, and a video, to be published in the next issue of the “News of the World”. The video showed John Higgins and his manager Pat Mooney, discussing with a group of people in Kiev about how they could make money by fixing matches in future events, get more players into the scheme and how to “laundry” that money. . They were smiling and toasting. The video had been filmed a couple of days before…

We were asked to keep quiet and embargo the news. Pat Mooney was a member of the WPBSA board of Directors, John Higgins was still technically the reigning World Champion. The sponsor was a betting company, Betfred. It was very bad indeed. There were fears that they could withdraw their support to snooker because they wouldn’t trust the integrity of the sport anymore. Barry Hearn immediately had a meeting with Fred Done, who reassured him that he would not do such thing. John Higgins was immediately suspended.

An immediate concern in the media room was the impact the news would have on Graeme Dott who was also managed by Mooney. Graeme won the semi final, and it was immediately obvious that he had no clue about what had been going on. He was in shock and immediately distanced himself from Mooney. Wether it impacted his performance in the final, we will never know for sure.

You probably know what happened next. Pat Mooney immediately resigned from his position as director of the board and was later permanently  banned from every interaction//business related to snooker. John Higgins got a hefty fine, and was banned for six months. The best part of the ban though was served over the summer and, actually, John Higgins didn’t miss that many events, and none of the big ones.

Here is a  press report on John Higgins fine and ban

John Higgins banned from snooker but cleared of match-fixing

John Higgins, the former snooker world champion, will be free to resume his career in November after he was cleared of match-fixing at a disciplinary inquiry into allegations, revealed by the News of the World, that he agreed to throw frames for money.

The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association withdrew the match-fixing charges after accepting Higgins explanation of his encounter with an undercover reporter from the newspaper posing as a businessman.

He was fined £75,000 and given a six-month ban for the lesser offence of bringing the game into disrepute for failing to report the reporter’s approach. As he was suspended in May following publication of the allegations he can resume competition in November.

The independent tribunal was more harsh on Higgins’s manager Pat Mooney, a former director of the WPBSA. It ruled that Mooney had been fully aware that the subject of match-fixing might be raised in discussions with the reporter, and was pursuing financial gain by encouraging Higgins to take part.

The tribunal chairman Ian Mill QC said that Mooney had only escaped punishment on match-fixing charges through a technicality as the competition in which fixing was discussed is not strictly covered by WPBSA regulations.

“The Association maintained that Mr Mooney had intended to act fraudulently and corruptly as alleged,” Mill said in his judgment.

He ruled that Mooney should pay £25,000 costs and be banned from playing any official role in snooker for life. Mooney resigned from the WPBSA in May, and told the hearing his involvement in snooker is over.

Higgins and Mooney were filmed by the News of the World in Kiev in April, days after the Scot had been eliminated from the World Championship by Steve Davis.

In the film, and transcripts subsequently published by the newspaper, they were heard apparently discussing throwing frames in a proposed new competition. Higgins appeared to discuss how easy it would be to miss pots deliberately to throw a given frame, and how best to obscure his payment of 300,000 euros (£261,000) for co-operating with the proposed betting sting.

Higgins denied that he had any intention of co-operating with the plot, but said he had played along with the reporters because he feared for his safety and wanted to end the meeting as soon as possible.

That version of events was accepted by Mill. “He would never throw, and had no intention at that meeting of throwing any frame of snooker for reward,” he said.

Higgins said he was delighted to be exonerated: “I am guilty of anything it is naivety and trusting those who, I believed, were acting in the best interests of snooker and myself,” he said. “I make this promise [to my fans]: John Higgins will be back and he’ll be back winning”.

In a statement Mooney’s solicitor said: “Mr Mooney bitterly regrets being caught up in the News of the World’s entrapment and is unreservedly sorry for the impact the sting has had on snooker and Mr Higgins in particular.”

Here are the findings against Pat Mooney as reported by snooker scene on their official blog

JOHN HIGGINS: THE FINDINGS AGAINST PAT MOONEY

Ian Mill QC was unimpressed by Pat Mooney or his story and has recommended he is permanently excluded from playing any future role in snooker.

He said Mooney, “committed the most egregious betrayals of trust – both in relation to the Association, to which he owed fiduciary obligations as a Director and by reason of his great influence in the world of snooker, and to Mr Higgins whose entire career and professional future he inexplicably put at serious and wholly unjustifiable risk.”

His full findings were:

‘Mr Mooney’s conduct is, in my judgment, of a completely different order of seriousness. He was first made aware not later than 8 April 2010 by the undercover journalist posing as a businessman (“Mr D’Sousa”) of the fact that those behind him in the purported business venture were looking to make money through gambling in circumstances where frames in snooker matches were deliberately thrown. Yet, he made no disclosure at the time of this stated requirement to the Association, to Mr Higgins (whom he represented in snooker matters, who was one of his partners in the business (World Series Snooker) which Mr Mooney was representing in his discussions with Mr D’Sousa, and most significantly who was targeted by Mr D’Sousa as the player required to throw the frames) or to his other business partners in World Series Snooker, Debbie Mitchell and Adrian Stewart.

Furthermore, despite this requirement being stated, Mr Mooney not only continued his engagement with Mr D’Sousa thereafter but persuaded a materially ignorant Mr Higgins to accompany him to meet with those behind the venture in Kiev. He accepts that, in continuing that engagement and by the words spoken by him on 8 April 2010 he had led Mr D’Sousa to believe that the throwing of frames was something that could be achieved.

Once in Kiev, on 29 April 2010, it was made clear to Mr Mooney on several occasions (in Mr Higgins’ absence) that the subject of frame throwing had to be discussed with Mr Higgins.

Still, he said nothing to Mr Higgins until minutes before the meeting the following day.

When he did mention the subject to Mr Higgins, Mr Mooney misrepresented to him the position, stating that it was possible that the subject might not come up at all.

Furthermore, despite at the time owing fiduciary obligations to Mr Higgins as his snooker representative and to the Association itself (he was a Board Director of the Association at the time), Mr Mooney did not advise Mr Higgins to make it clear that frame throwing was out of the question, and he did not even discuss with Mr Higgins the possibility of leaving Kiev without attending the meeting. In so behaving, in my judgment, Mr Mooney was motivated by concerns as to his own position to the exclusion of all others. He had positively responded to the requirement of frame throwing in all his previous discussions and he had brought Mr Higgins to Kiev expressly to discuss this aspect of the matter. He was concerned as to the consequences for him if these assurances proved groundless.

At the meeting in Kiev on 30 April, Mr Mooney continued to represent himself as able and willing to participate in, and to procure, corrupt frame throwing. Thereafter, he neither reported the events which had occurred to the Association nor encouraged nor advised Mr Higgins to do so.

A number of points were made by and on behalf of Mr Mooney. On his behalf, Mr Phillips asserted both as a matter of law and of fact that I could not and should not find that Mr Mooney in fact intended what he represented as being his intention in his various discussions with Mr D’Sousa and in Kiev. His legal argument, which I rejected in a ruling which I delivered yesterday, was that it was not open to the Association to maintain such an argument, given its withdrawal of Charge 2. As a matter of fact, he invited me to accept Mr Mooney’s evidence that he was clear in his own mind that Mr Higgins would never deliberately throw a frame for reward and, therefore, to conclude that Mr Mooney could not in fact have intended to put the corrupt agreement asserted by the Association into effect. As to this, Mr Bourns on behalf of the Association pointed to passages in the transcripts of discussions which suggested that Mr Mooney might have had in mind to procure the throwing of frames though the activities of players other than Mr Higgins.

Mr Mooney gave evidence before me, during which he told me in terms that he did not intend to put any such corrupt agreement into effect. His explanation for his encouragement of Mr D’Sousa prior to Kiev was that he was playing along with him, humouring him, in order to get to meet those behind the venture in Kiev. He was so certain that what Mr D’Sousa was saying about the frame throwing requirement was nonsense that he had not found it necessary to inform any of the Association, Mr Higgins, Ms Mitchell or Mr Stewart of what had been said. Once in Kiev, when it rapidly became apparent to him that Mr D’Sousa had in fact been telling the truth, he was intimidated into acting as he did. He gave no explanation for the failure to report the matter to the Association thereafter.

I was unimpressed by Mr Mooney as a witness and I found much of his account highly implausible. I very strongly suspect that he intended to put the corrupt agreement alleged by the Association into effect without having decided precisely how he would do this (given that Mr Higgins would clearly not be cooperative). His motivation throughout was, I find, financial self interest, in particular having regard to the very valuable sponsorship undertakings being offered by Mr D’Sousa and his colleagues.

However, I have concluded that it is unnecessary for me to make such a factual finding, since it would have no impact on the sanctions which I have decided appropriate on the basis of factual findings that it is accepted on Mr Mooney’s behalf are open to me.

It seems to me that, on any view, in the light of the factual summary which I have set out above, even if Mr Mooney did not intend to carry out the agreement reached, he committed the most egregious betrayals of trust – both in relation to the Association, to which he owed fiduciary obligations as a Director and by reason of his great influence in the world of snooker, and to Mr Higgins whose entire career and professional future he inexplicably put at serious and wholly unjustifiable risk.

Mr Mooney resigned as a Director of the Association on 2 May 2010 and his membership of the Association (which derived from his position as a Director) was suspended (as were his privileges derived from his position as Mr Higgins’ appointed representative) on 6 May 2010.

In my judgment, both those suspensions must be made permanent. Mr Phillips on Mr Mooney’s behalf told me that his client’s involvement in the world of snooker is at an end. So it should be. That must remain the case.

I do not intend additionally to impose any financial sanction on Mr Mooney other than that he must make a contribution to the Association’s costs in the amount of £25,000. Mr Phillips has explained to me his client’s precarious financial circumstances in the light of the recent events which have unfolded. It does not seem to me in the light of that information that an Order to make payment of a fine would be proportionate.’

Those are the facts, and the findings about what was certainly one of the darkest days for the sport we love. It tarnished the final and took the headlights away from Neil Robertson big moment.

It’s been ten years and it’s probably time to move on. The truth though is that I still find it difficult because I stay with unanswered questions and the feeling that John Higgins got away very, very lightly – especially considering how some before and after him were punished – and I don’t understand why. John Higgins was a 34 years old man, a father, a professional sportsman, and a multiple World Champion. He wasn’t some inexperienced kid who would need guidance. If you read the part I put in blue above, it’s quite baffling to me that anyone would have needed to advice him about his conduct under the circumstances. When the subject was brought up first by Mooney, he could have refused to attend the meeting, and once the subject was brought up during the meeting, he could have left, he could have objected, or at least he could have stayed quiet and not offer a way to laundry the money in Spain where he had a property. And by any means, he could and should have reported the approach as soon as he was back in the UK. If he was innocent, why didn’t he? Was he really that scared and naïve? How did he intend to get out of this mess if he wasn’t going to go along with the match fixing? Because, yes, he was setup, but he didn’t know it, so the way he acted is the way he would have acted had the situation been a real approach.

And that is just some of the unanswered questions about this story. The NOTW suggested they were tipped or at least that’s what I heard. It’s very likely. That scam in Kiev was no cheap coup. They invested a significant deal of money in this, they must have been pretty confident about the outcome. For what purpose? Who or what was actually the real target of this setup? Was it Pat Mooney? Was is John Higgins (unlikely as it seems he only traveled because he had lost early)? Or was someone trying to undermine Barry Hearn’s endeavours by discrediting his board of Directors? After all Hearn had become Chairman of the WPBSA in December 2009 but the definite players vote was still to take place later in June 2010 and the outcome was by no means a certainty. Or what it something else altogether?

Someone must have the answers…

 

WPBSA Rules Committee Statement Regarding Yesterday’s Incident

Following yesterday’s incident in the Allen v Hickx match, the WPBSA Rules Committee has published this statement:

Statement by the WPBSA Rules Committee on the incident during the Mark Allen – Andy Hicks match at the 19.com Scottish Open on December 10, 2019.

Multiple Rules were involved in the incident; Section 3 Rule 10 (Fouls) states that “If a foul is committed, the referee shall immediately call FOUL.”

Under paragraph (c) it states that “If a foul is neither awarded by the referee, nor successfully claimed by the non-striker before the next stroke is made, it is condoned.”

Paragraph (i) states: “If a striker fouls any ball including the cue-ball prior to striking it, the appropriate penalty will be imposed.”

According to these Rules, it could be assumed that once the stroke was made, the feathering of the cue-ball is condoned, and no further action must be taken.

However, the Rule was not made for situations like these. Let’s be honest, if striking the cue-ball directly after feathering will condone the infringement then it may become common practice because there simply may not be enough time for the referee, or the non-striker, to react.

Therefore, Section 5 (The Officials) of the Rulebook comes into operation.

Rule 1 (The Referee) paragraph (a)(i) states that the referee shall “make decisions in the interest of fair play for any situations not covered adequately by these Rules.”

Paragraph (c) states: “If the referee has failed to notice any incident, they may at their discretion take the evidence of the marker……or, if available, they may view a camera/video recording of the incident to assist their decision.”

Rule 2 (The Marker) states that “the marker shall……assist the referee in carrying out their duties.”

The marker was made aware, through his headset, by the broadcaster that an incident had occurred and therefore made the decision to notify the referee before the incoming player played his next stroke. The referee then stopped play to review the incident and felt that, in the interest of fair play, the feathering of the cue-ball was part of the striker’s action to execute the stroke and therefore made the decision to penalise the striker for the infringement. The referee then decided that the incoming player had the usual options after a foul.

The WPBSA Rules Committee has decided that the whole incident was correctly handled by both the referee and the marker.

The Committee would also like to stress that in no way, shape or form it was assumed that the action of the striker was wilfully unfair. It was just an unfortunate incident that required a Ruling based on fair play.

No further statements on the matter will be made.

This is a very clear and useful explanation about the situation and the rationale behind the way it was dealt with. As a fan of the sport, I really appreciate the Committte’s efforts to clarify the rules involved and the solution that was found by the referees in order to be fair to both players. Thank you.

Arbroath Nights of 1000 Centuries – 22/23 November 2019

ArbroathNov2019-Poster

22 November 2019

For what transpired it was a very good exhibition and Ronnie played really well.

Jason Francis on twitter:

Thank you @shotz147 great night with @ronnieo147

3 centuries and one of the best 79 clearances you’ll see… more of the same tomorrow we hope

And a few images shared by the fans

23 November 2019

Ahead of the show, Ronnie posted this on Facebook:

Looking forward to tonight with JV, jason and marc and Ryan
4 smokies done so far…

Earlier this week he had posted

Want to take me on Friday and Saturday? Bring smokies and we will play for them

Good to see the Scottish fans taking him to his word!

This is Jason’s report on twitter after the second nigth, another great one…

Sneaky 142 tonight and 2 other centuries. Thanks to @shotz147

The “victim” of the 142 wasn’t too dispirited. He tweeted this 

It’s not every day you get to meet one of your heroes. Even played a frame with @ronnieo147: he broke off and I played what I thought was a decent safety shot… then he cleared up with a 142 break! Still a night I’ll never forget.

And pictures shared by the fans:

And maybe Csilla can tell us more…

Also this short video popped up on youtube:

Arbroath itself is a lovely place, and not just because of the smokies…

Here are some pictures albums from three weeks ago

Walking around Arbroath harbour

Arbroath old Benedictine Abbey

The coastal trail between Arbroath and Auchmithie – sspectacular sceneries

Meet Ross Bulman, Ronnie’s next opponent.

Ross Bulman from Ireland is only 18 and had some really good results during the last Q-school. He’s now been invited to play in the UK Championship and his opponent is none other than the defending champion, Ronnie.

Ross was interviewed by the Irish press

Youghal snooker sensation Ross Bulman ready to face his hero Ronnie O’Sullivan

YOUGHAL snooker prodigy Ross Bulman is ready to take on one of the greatest players of all-time in the UK Championship.

Ross Bulman

The 18-year-old faces Ronnie O’Sullivan at the Barbican Centre in York next Thursday in his second professional tournament, the toughest of tests. Still an amateur, Bulman pulled off an upset at the Northern Ireland Open recently by beating Zhang Jiankang, world number 89.

“Playing in Belfast in the Northern Ireland Open was a great achievement and just playing in the event was brilliant. To win in my opening match was unreal.

“I had been waiting for that for a long, long time. I felt I played well against Joe Perry in my second match and with a bit of luck, it could have gone 3-3 and anything could have happened after that.”

He found out earlier this week he’d be facing the iconic Ronnie O’Sullivan.

“I was at home after having a few frames in my club at Youghal CYMS and got an email from World Snooker. I looked at the draw and kept scrolling down for my name, then I looked at the top and saw it was actually me and Ronnie. I couldn’t believe it. Inside 20 minutes the whole town knew!”

Ronnie O’Sullivan has always been Bulman’s idol.

“It will be a packed-out arena and that will be a new experience. Hopefully I can play well and get a few frames.

“Ronnie is probably the best player ever to pick up a cue, but I have to just play my own game. I am not going to change anything much. I will concentrate on the game ball by ball, frame by frame and hopefully I can play a bit well anyway, so let’s see what happens.”

The local support for Bulman means a lot to the Youghal native.

“I’m thankful to my family, my club Youghal CYMS, and my sponsor Bertie’s Bar with Paul and Carmel. In Belfast, I wasn’t in the main arena so this will be in the main venue and that is really exciting for me. I am practicing six to eight hours a day and getting this match is going to help my confidence a lot for the future.”

The young man can play – his results in the Q-school prove that; he reached the QF in Event 1 and the last 16 in Event 3  – and comes across as quite level-headed. He is coming to York with the right attitude.

Snooker news – 26 October 2019

So … some updates on the events mentioned yesterday

Michael Judge, from Dublin, Ireland, has beaten Jimmy White by 4-2 in the final to become the 2019 Seniors UK Champion.

Michael Judge WSS UK Champ 2019

Congratulations Michael !

You can read all about it here:

Day 1 in Hull in Pictures

Day 2 in Hull in Pictures

Thepchaiya Un-nooh has won the Haining Open, beating Li Hang in the Final

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Congratulations Thepchaiya!

All the results are available on snooker.org

Meanwhile, some players went back to school

Jackson Page and Elliot Slessor were among players who visited Ziwei Primary School in Haining during the China Billiards and Snooker Association tournament this week.

The two British stars were joined by Chinese potters Zhao Xintong and Bai Yulu, along with Jason Ferguson and Nigel Mawer of the WPBSA.

They played snooker with ten students in grades three and four, before meeting the school’s Headmaster.

Ziwei Primary School was established in 1906 and is renowned for extracurricular sports activity. It has a snooker course which has given coaching to more than 300 students. Coaches from the Haining Billiards and Snooker Association visit the school twice every week to develop the technical skills of young players.

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It’s nice to see a female player involved for once. After all there are about the same number of girls and boys in primary school, kit’s important to break the “snooker = male only” image. Bai Yulu (center) plays in CBSA events along the men. She’s only 16 and a very promosing prospect.

Snooker news – 25.10.2019

First … Ronnie has arrived in China. He shared this video on twitter:

My guess is that this is Shanghai.

The Championship League Groups 3 and 4 were played earlier this week with Gary Wilson beating Kyren Wilson to win the first one, and Scott Donaldson beating Graeme Dott to win the second. Group 4 was very eventful, with several match incidents involving Matt Selt triggering a lot of social media activity – at this time I’m still not sure what this was all about – and Scott Donaldson becoming ill and then recovering enough to win the thing.

Group 3 results (snooker.org)

Group 4 results (snooker.org)

The WSS ROKiT Phones.com UK Championship is underway in Hull 

This is my “report on Day 1 in Pictures”

Enjoy!

 

 

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