Snooker News – 24th of January, 2023

I could/should have published this yesterday but as we had two day without live snooker, I kept a few things for today.

Congratulations to Mink, 2023 WWS Belgian Open Winner

Here is the report by WST:

Mink Rules In Bruges

Mink Nutcharut defeated Wendy Jans 4-1 to win the Belgian Women’s Open for the first time at The Trickshot, Bruges.

A repeat of the 2022 World Championship final, the match would have the same outcome as Mink recovered from the loss of the opening frame to prevail following an exciting three days of snooker in Belgium.

The victory sealed back-to-back titles on the World Women’s Snooker Tour for the 23-year-old for the second time (2022 British Open-World Championship), and her fifth career ranking event title in all.

Her performance in Belgium also sees the Thai star climb to a new career-high ranking of number two following the tournament, ending the nine-year duopoly of Reanne Evans and Ng On Yee, with Ng dropping to third.

Mink impressed throughout the tournament as she whitewashed Nikolya Broyak, Emma Parker and most notably 12-time world champion Reanne Evans in the semi-finals to progress to the title match.

Awaiting her would be Belgian number one Wendy Jans who having progressed from the group stages without the loss of a frame, emerged from a tricky last 16 tie against England’s Tessa Davidson, before adding the scalps of Mary Talbot-Deegan and most notably Rebecca Kenna, following a tense deciding frame, to reach the final. Kenna herself had already come through a dramatic quarter-final against Ng On Yee, defeating the three-time world champion for the first time in 13 attempts on Tour.

It was Jans who dominated the opener as she restricted her opponent to just five points, but from there it was Mink who imposed herself upon the match, ultimately sealing a 4-1 victory with a break of 53 in what would prove to be the final frame.

The highest break of the tournament was also constructed by Mink as she compiled a run of 94 during her last 16 match, having missed the pink for what would have been a century break.

SIDE-TOURNAMENTS

England’s Tessa Davidson defeated compatriot Mary Talbot-Deegan 2-0 to win the Seniors competition in Belgium and further consolidate her position as the number one ranked player in the over-40s category.

Davidson defeated Belinda Focquaert of Belgium, before avenging her defeat to Diana Schuler at last year’s Scottish Open to reach the title match. Talbot-Deegan had herself seen off Michelle Cohen and Sarah Dunn on her way to the final, but it was Davidson who would claim her seventh Seniors crown from eight tournaments contested during the past 12 months.

The Challenge Cup tournament for players who did not reach the quarter-finals of the main tournament, was won by Belgium’s Emilie Demeester, who was competing in her first WWS event. She defeated Emma Powers-Richardson, Sarah Dunn, Jasmine Bolsover and in the final Nikola Broyak to take home the title on her debut.

As always, World Women’s Snooker would like to thank everyone who has supported the tournament, including our host venue The Trickshot, owned by Olivier Vandebohede, who was presented with a commemorative plaque by WWS President Mandy Fisher after the tournament.

The WWS Tour returns in just over a week’s time with the Asia-Pacific Women’s Snooker Championship, to be held at the Mounties Club from 31 January – 3 February 2023.

A few words about Wendy Jans… she’s 39 years old now. She lives in Neerpelt, in Belgium, where she runs an excellent snooker club, “De Maxx”.

Between 2003 and 2022, she has competed in 13 IBSF Women World Championship Finals, winning 8 of them. She did beat Mink for the title in 2022.

Between 1999 and 2021, she has competed in no less than 20 EBSA Women Championship finals, winning 13 of them.

Wendy has also competed in 19 Belgium National Finals, winning the title a staggering 17 times.

That’s quite the CV and it could have been even bigger if Wendy had got more support/sponsors. There have been international titles that she was unable to defend because she didn’t have the financial means to attend the tournaments.

Wendy is a very, very good player and, if she was based in the UK, she would probably be on the main tour currently.

It was another Belgian , Emilie Demeester, who won the Challenge cup. Belgium, a small country, has three players on the main tour, all young: Luca Brecel, Ben Mertens and Julien Leclercq. There IS a huge potential for snooker in mainland Europe but the strong UK centric nature of the main tour, as well as the fact that all European Q-Schools and most of the Q-Tour events are played in the UK are not helping to develop it.

Stephen Hendry fined … for being Rubbish

No, no, no… it’s not about his poor performances on the baize. Here is the explanation thanks to BBC

Stephen Hendry fined for pulling out of tournaments to appear on ‘The Masked Singer’

Stephen Hendry

Seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry says he was fined for pulling out of snooker tournaments in order to appear on ‘The Masked Singer’.

Hendry, 54, was unveiled as ‘Rubbish’ on the ITV celebrity singing show on Saturday night.

The Scotsman was fined by the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) for pulling out of events that clashed with filming.

You’re dying to tell people what you’re doing but you can’t,” he said.

WPBSA rules state if a player pulls out of a tournament after the draw has been made there is a standard fine.

I do have wildcards to play in some events and I actually pulled out of a couple and got fined by the WPBSA,” said Hendry.

And I couldn’t tell them why because this recording was going on and I couldn’t obviously say why I pulled out. I just said ‘Look, I can’t play the tournament’. So, yeah, it was, very, very, very strange.”

‘The Masked Singer’ sees celebrities wear elaborate costumes and face masks to hide their identities. They then anonymously perform a selection of songs live in front of a studio audience and panel of celebrity judges, who vote on which celebrity to unmask.

I have been asked to do the other reality shows, but the thing that appealed to me about this one obviously was the fact that you are in a costume. Nobody can see you,” added Hendry.

And obviously (there is no) stress – this is not a singing competition, it’s just a show that you just go in this costume and have fun.

My son texted me and said ‘I’ve watched the show every week. I love it. I can’t believe you’ve done that‘.

He didn’t even have a clue so the feedback and the reaction was incredible.”

Frankly WST, this is rubbish! Be good sports … put that money (back) in the bin!

Ronnie’s new book

This came up in the news yesterday and was shared on social media by David Hendon

Seven Dials pots snooker legend O’Sullivan’s uncompromising memoir

Seven Dials has landed Unbreakable, the “raw, fascinating, and uncompromising” memoir from snooker legend Ronnie O’Sullivan.

Vicky Eribo, executive publisher, acquired world all-language rights from Jonny Geller of the Curtis Brown Group. It will be published in hardback, export trade paperback, audiobook and e-book on 11th May.

In a career spanning more than three decades, O’Sullivan’s journey to becoming the greatest snooker player of all time has been filled with extremes, the publisher’s synopsis begins. A teenage snooker prodigy, he turned professional with the highest of expectations.

“Together with a challenging personal life, [this pressure] catapulted him into a life of excess and addiction,” it continues. He was winning titles—his first within a year of turning professional—but losing himself and his game as he tried to block out mental pain and misery. While O’Sullivan appeared to be at the top of his game to spectators, these were the moments when he felt at his lowest. In the year 2000 he started rehab and began the journey to get his life back.

The publisher said that Unbreakable takes the reader inside the mind of one of Britain’s most-loved sporting icons, with the book framed around the lessons he has learned from his extraordinary career.

“With this book he takes us beyond the success and record-breaking achievements to share the reality—and brutality—of what it takes to rise to the very top. With these stories and techniques, he hopes to help readers navigate their own personal challenges and obstacles and in turn reach their maximum potential.

“This is Ronnie O’Sullivan as you’ve never seen him before: unflinchingly honest, often vulnerable and always inspiring,” the synopsis concludes.

Eribo said: “If you think you know Ronnie O’Sullivan’s story, read this book and think again. Providing an extraordinary insight into the mind of one of the most fascinating sporting greats of all time, Unbreakable is a sports memoir unlike anything you’ve ever read before. It’s an intoxicating, compelling and incredibly immersive read and we couldn’t be more thrilled to be welcoming Ronnie back to Orion for what we are confident will be one of the biggest autobiographies of 2023.”

O’Sullivan said: “A lot has happened in the 10 years since I last told my story. Unbreakable is both an account of this journey and an honest insight into what it has taught me. I hope that reading stories of the lessons and techniques I’ve learned on and off the table will help readers find their own path to being the best versions of themselves.” 

O’Sullivan’s first memoir Ronnie sold 72,762 copies via Nielsen BookScan TCM across all editions, and his second 2013 memoir Running has sold 55,017 copies.

And this…

More snooker news: Liang Wenbo and 2023 German Masters

Liang Wenbo suspended again

Shortly before Liang Wenbo was due to play Peter Lines in the English Open qualifiers, WST site, on their sessions page, indicated that Lines was getting a walk over.

Later this was published:

Thursday 27 Oct 2022 03:03PM

The WPBSA has today suspended Liang Wenbo from attending or competing in WPBSA sanctioned events.  This is due to an ongoing investigation into allegations of misconduct. The suspension will remain in place until the conclusion of the investigation or the outcome of disciplinary proceedings.

The WPBSA will not comment further until the investigation is complete.

This is bizarre on many accounts. According to reports in the press, this suspension is NOT linked to the domestic abuse affair that lead to the previous one. However there was no indication about the nature of the “misconduct”. Also, Liang was informed of his suspension at very short notice before his match. He’s not allowed to attend WPBSA sanctioned events: it’s not just that he isn’t allowed to compete, he’s not allowed to be there, even as a spectator. I’m not sure how common such restriction is, but I know that the same is true for Stephen Lee.

German Masters Draw and Qualifiers format

WST has published the draw and qualifiers format for the 2023 German Masters

Friday 28 Oct 2022 10:04AM

The draw and format for the 2023 BetVictor German Masters are now available. The qualifying rounds will be played from November 21 to 26 in Leicester, with 32 players going through to the final stages at the Tempodrom in Berlin in February.

Click here for the draw

Click here for the format

Zhao Xintong, who beat Yan Bingtao 9-0 in the final last season, will start the defence of his title against Wu Yize. World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan will take on Oliver Brown while Germany’s top player Lukas Kleckers will face India’s Himanshu Jain.

Matthew Stevens will be up against Stephen Hendry – a repeat of the 2003 UK Championship final – while Judd Trump will meet Mark Davis. John Higgins will play Marco Fu in a repeat of their recent Hong Kong Masters semi-final.

Ronnie has entered the tournament. I was not really expecting this: he’s rarely shown a lot of enthusiasm for this event, there are two rounds of qualifiers, with no held-over matches, and he has a couple of exhibitions in Bulgaria on 25 and 26 November. He’s playing his first match on November 23, with the second, should he qualify, the next day.

Liang Wenbo is also in the draw, which is slightly baffling given the previous announcement. I suppose that they can’t prevent him to enter events until the investigation finishes and maybe they expect it to be quick.

Snooker News and Talking Points – 15 September 2022

Talking point: Shaun Murphy’s ideas about the World Championship

Yesterday I shared news about a podcast with Shaun Murphy, who branded the World Championship format as scandalously unfair. As you would expect this divided opinions, including among the players.

One player who definitely disagreed with Shaun is Kyren Wilson. Speaking to “The Sportsman”, this is the report on what he had to say:

However former Crucible finalist Wilson, 30, has reacted strongly to the Magician’s outspoken rant. 

And The Warrior claims that the current arrangements are very successful, offer a justified reward to top players for two years’ effort, and guarantee fans booking in advance will see their favourites. 

Wilson said: “I don’t agree with what Shaun has said at all. The World Championships has been the same for many, many years and all the former champions won it coming through the same process. 

It is an event that sells out for most sessions a year in advance. So in this sense it is absolutely perfect the way it is, and doesn’t need touching. 

The fans pay good money to play the top players in the world and I wouldn’t want to touch that.  

And for the top players, there does need to be some reward for being where you are in the world rankings having earned that over two years. And I think this is one of those. 

There is room for many different formats on the tour and it should be mixed up, many with all in from round one and others like the World Championship where they aren’t, or an FA Cup style draw. 

If I were ever to try and modify anything at the World Championship, you could maybe tweak the distance of the semi-finals and final because the best of 33 and then best of 35. 

I only experienced the final once but those really take it out of players and could maybe be shorter.” 

When the World Championship was first staged at the Crucible in 1977 there were eight seeded players going straight through to the iconic Sheffield theatre, with the other eight having to battle through qualifying to take them in in the first round proper. 

That was the case until 1982 when the first round was expanded to the current 32 players, with the top 16 in the rankings seeded and parachuted directly into that stage.  

Since then no one has touched that aspect of the tournament though there have been plenty of changes in the actual qualifying process. 

Until relatively recently the qualifying process was tiered, so that those ranked 17-32 only came in at the end for the last match and therefore had to win only one to get to the Crucible. That all changed in 2015, when the remaining pros were topped up with 16 wildcards for the qualifying event and all players regardless of ranking had to win three best-of-19 frame matches to reach the promised land. 

And there have been further tweaks since then, with some of the earlier rounds reduced to best-of-11 frame contests with just the last round over the traditional distance. And the most recent alteration will come for this season’s competition when once more there will be three rounds for all 128 players, and all restored to the fuller distance for 2022-23.

Kyren is right. One aspect that Shaun totally overlooked is that the sponsors and broadcasters have a huge say when it comes to the events’ format as well as to who gets on the main table. The top players are the ones bringing the money to the game and every other player benefits from it. They are the ones putting bums on seats, and “selling” the “snooker product”.

Also, most of the players who actually complained, are players who are about the same age as the “Class of 92”. They had exactly the same opportunities as those three to climb the rankings and get at the top, only they didn’t. The “system” was and is the same for everyone.

Personally I stay with what I said yesterday. I believe that more “tiered” events would benefit the young players by helping their development. I know for certain that Mark Williams 100% shares this view and has said so on social media in the past. He’s one of the top players who is really involved with helping the aspiring youngsters in his area.

News: WST has posted the “rules” for the Mixed Doubles

BetVictor World Mixed Doubles – The Rules

Here are the rules for the new BetVictor World Mixed Doubles, which runs on the weekend of September 24 and 25 in Milton Keynes.

Tickets for the ITV-televised event are still available – for details click here.

The Rules

  • The opening round is played on a ‘round robin’ league table basis with each pair playing the other three pairs in four frame matches, where all four frames will be played.
  • Each frame is played under the published Rules of Snooker with particular reference to ‘Four-handed Snooker’ found in Section 3, Rule 18 (pages 33 and 34). To specify, this is alternate visits and NOT an alternate shot version.
  • One point will be awarded for each frame won in a match to determine the league table. In the event of two teams being tied on points, the result from the match between those teams will decide the positions, winner progressing. If this result was a 2-2 draw or in the case of multiple tied positions and results, the individual highest break in the event from the players involved will be the deciding factor, then the second highest if still tied and so on.
  • The pairs finishing first and second in the league table will play each other in the Final, over the best of seven frames.

The Teams
Ronnie O’Sullivan & Reanne Evans
Judd Trump & Ng On Yee
Rebecca Kenna & Mark Selby
Neil Robertson & Mink Nutcharut

News: Mark Williams is the next snooker player to join “Ultimate Pool”

Here is the announcement

Three-time world professional snooker champion Mark Williams is heading for the Ultimate Pool circuit, and is set to make his debut as he teams up alongside Carl Morris in the Pairs Cup live on FreeSports and ultimatepool.tv on Monday 10th October.

One of snooker’s all-time greats – with 24 ranking titles and two invitational Masters triumphs to his name – Williams will also become an Ultimate Pool professional player for the 2023 season, competing in events around his schedule on the snooker circuit.

“The Welsh Potting Machine” is the first professional wildcard to be announced by Ultimate Pool for the 2023 campaign, with 8-ball pool’s top tier expanding in numbers once again.

Williams will partner 1998 WEPF World 8-Ball Pool Champion Morris – still the sport’s youngest-ever world champion – during Group 11 of the unique Pairs Cup. The duo will face very tough opposition in the shape of Adam Bassoo & Dave Fernandez, Lakesh Badhan & Ben Flack and Andy Blurton & Neil Raybone, as they aim to top the group and qualify for the last 16 phase later this year.

As well as several other major Ultimate Pool ranked events that he would be eligible to enter, Williams will be part of an 88-player professional roster for the ten-event Pro Series next year.

The current world number 8 said: “I’m really looking forward to giving the Ultimate Pool circuit a go. I have been playing a lot of 8-ball pool recently and it has been fun.

Ultimate Pool looks exciting to get involved with and I’ve been impressed with the events and high standard on show. It’s going to be very difficult for me, but I will enjoy the challenge!”

Williams is the latest high-profile snooker player to enter the Ultimate Pool arena after appearances from Mark Selby in the Pairs Cup and Mark Allen in the Players Championship.

News: The 900 Series will begin on September 20, in the afternoon

This was initially scheduled on September 19. The change in schedule is motivated by obvious reasons.

It all starts with this group:

It will be streamed here: https://www.sportystuff.tv

Jason Francis, on social media, has hinted at a “Professionals 900” and “Women’s 900” coming in the future…