The new season starts in Preston

The new professional snooker season is almost upon us already, and for some it’s an immediate return to the Guild Hall in Preston for the Riga Masters qualifiers on 31 May and then the China Championship qualifiers on 3 June. And for spectators £5 for the full day is a bargain.

These two events look quite different though from an amateur view point.

For the first up, the Riga Masters, there are no less than 10 amateur top ups, selected from the Q School order of merit (not all of those eligible have taken up the offer for whatever reason). But for the next event, the China Championship, there are no top up places on offer. Four Chinese wildcards and two Invitational Tour Cards make up the shortfall from the pro entries.

Anyone shed any light on why that could be? The China draw was published first and I thought the removal of the entry fees for pros was the reason for the big take up. The Riga draw proved me wrong. No less than 7 of the top 10 haven’t entered, and it’s not as if they need help with entry fees anyway!

For the likes of Jackson Page, Ashley Carty and co, it will be a chance to prove that they should have been there by right, and may well be next year!

The Malcolm Thorne handicap series

The Malcolm Thorne handicap series continues on Sunday at Breakers Snooker Club in Leicester with another chance to qualify for the Grand Finals in December.

Each tournament features a plate as well as the main event and the winners of each qualify for the finals.

Winners so far are Daniel Blunn, James Jelly, Hamza Bhimani and Graham Brew in the main competition and Hiren Zinziwadia, Tom Kemp, Krunel Ghorecha and Shoaib Ahmed in the plate.

£5 from the £15 entry fee for each tournament is kept back for the Grand Finals.

For more details click here

Pink Ribbon Charity Pro Am

The closing date for the country’s biggest charity Pro Am of the year is 29th May

For more details including how to enter, see https://snookerhub.co.uk/event/pink-ribbon-charity-pro-am/

The event provides a rare chance for amateur players to play alongside, and even against, their heroes from the professional world, as well as playing on the fabulous tournament tables.

For players and spectators alike, there are opportunities for photographs, autographs and to mingle with the professionals and to see some top quality snooker as well.

“The annual event has raised over £71,000 since 2010 and I’m hoping the professional and amateur snooker players will support it as well this year as previous years so we can hit the £80,000 mark.
Last year Jamie Jones was our champion and the year before it was Ronnie O’Sullivan. Who will be this years Pink Ribbon champion?” – Paul Mount. Founder of the SWSA.

See pictures of recent winners here

School’s Out! – Q School 2017 – Review

Q School is over for another year and 12 new pros take their cap and gown and head off to practice for an immediate return to Preston Guild Hall for the Riga Masters qualifiers in less than a couple of weeks. The draw will be updated soon enough to include their names I’m sure.

For many it’s a time to reflect on what could have been and to try to work out how to make that quantum leap to the main tour – or even, how to return.

Of course, next year’s crop of hopefuls will have the new ‘Challenge Tour’ to look forward to with potentially realistic prize money to be won as well as another shot at the elusive tour card.

Opinions are divided on Q School but for many it’s that opportunity to play in proper conditions with the prize of becoming a professional, that spurs them on. When I say proper conditions, I mean Star tables, top class referees, top venue and the world watching (albeit scores only). Surely no one can begrudge them that? There must be many and various reasons for entering, and some think it’s a waste of £600 if there is no realistic prospect of qualifying. But there is no doubt that the better players usually come through, and the newly ‘relegated’ pros find out the hard way that the amateur standard isn’t all that bad! This year there were 16 of these pros and a total of 8 found their way back onto the tour.

Old pro – new pro?

From Event 1 – Allan Taylor makes an immediate return but for Ashley Hugill, Bill Castle and Lukas Kleckers, it’s the first time on the main tour. Hugill has served his apprenticeship on the EASB Regional Junior Tour and the Premier Junior Tour while Castle is a protege of the Cuestars setup. Kleckers is now the only pro from Germany.

From Event 2 – There is a new pro, Chen Zifan form China and there are three pros making an immediate return; Sanderson Lam, Duane Jones and Paul Davidson

The Order of Merit has proved to be a life-line for the former pros and given return tickets to Zhang Yong, Shaun O’Sullivan, Joe Swail and Martin O’Donnell

So, out of the 12 tickets, 8 go to ‘relegated’ pros and 4 go to amateurs who are new to the main tour.

There were 206 entries this year but there may well be more considering entering next year’s event, even if it is just to be eligible for the Challenge Tour. At the moment, all we know is what Barry Hearn included in his recent announcement –

“At the end of next year’s Q School we will launch a Challenge Tour. This will be a series of ten events available to players who have shown ambition to be a professional snooker player by entering Q School. The winner and runner up will get a tour card.

The Challenge Tour may well prove to be kiss of life that amateur snooker needs to encourage more to take up and stick at a game that has potentially very nice rewards – huge for some.

SnookerHub will be here to provide as much information as possible with regards to where and when tournaments are being held.

LiteTask Grand Final

It’s time for the Grand Final of the first of a very popular LiteTask pro-am series on Sunday 7 May.

After 6 hotly contested tournaments with in the region of 120 entries in each, the top 16 in the order of merit will compete for the top prize of £2000. Of course, there will also be an air of expectation if anyone sets off on course for a maximum, which carries a massive £10000 bounty!

You can follow the draw/scoring etc by clicking the mySnookerStats logo

LiteTask have already announced the second series, called the “summer/winter pro-am series” and the first event is on 18 June
See the details of the first event here

 

The English Amateur Championship

Jamie Bodle. Winner of the 100th English Amateur Championship

On the EASB site the English Amateur Championship is described as

The most important event in the EASB calendar and the oldest amateur snooker competition in the World. Its roll of honour reads like a who’s who of snooker nobility. The winner will represent England in the World Amateur Championships, European Championships and Home Internationals Seniors Team. The runner up will automatically be selected for the European Snooker Championship and will be first in line should the winner not take his place in the World Amateur Championship, or if further places are made available to England.

Recently, the Southern section of the English Amateur Championship was played at the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester.

See the results here

The last two standing are Billy Castle and Andrew Norman who will play at the EASB finals weekend in June.

They will be joined by David Lilley and Ashley Carty, the finalists from the Northern section

View the results here

WEBSF Gold Waistcoat 2016/17

Gold Waistcoat Tour – Event 5

(TOP Q SNOOKER CLUB, GLOUCESTER)

Symons Avenges Defeat

22nd April 2017

For the second month in succession Andy Symons from Tavistock met Harvey Chandler from Northamptonshire in the final of a West of England Gold Waistcoat Snooker Tour event. The previous encounter in event four saw Chandler clear the table to steal the match in the decider. In event five it looked like Chandler was on track for a repeat performance as he, once again, proceeded to clear the table in the deciding frame. However, after running slightly out of position on the brown he a missed testing pot leaving Symons the opportunity to clear and avenge defeat, which he duly did to take the winner’s trophy and prize-money. On route to the final both players were made to work hard for their results. In the group stages Chandler finished in third place, behind Andy Neck (Newton Abbot) and Michael Rogers (Bath), Neck making breaks of 68,75 & 104. Even though Symons posted breaks of 52,61,95 & 105, he could only achieve third place in his group behind two experienced ex-professionals; Nick Pearce (Cheltenham) who was undefeated in the group, amassing breaks of 50,57,60 and a fluent 122 and Hassan Vaizie, who posted breaks of 50 & 70.

In the semi-finals Symons (76 break) beat reigning tour champion Haydon Pinhey (Plymouth) (64 break) in a decider whilst Chandler brushed aside former event winner Rogers, aided by a 67 break. Other wins worthy of note in the last 16 and quarter finals where; Pinhey over Vaizie (3-2), in this match Pinhey made the highest break of the day to take the break prize, a superb 130 clearance; Pearce, having already made a century in the group stage, made another against Dale Branton (Plymouth) in the last 16 reeling of three frames with breaks of 58,78 & 110. Pearce up until this point look every bit a champion, However, having only recently returned to competitive tournament play, he ran out of steam in the next match against Chandler, losing in the deciding frame.

With just one event left to play next month in The Galaxy Centre, Torquay the overall ranking table looks close, Eddie Manning heads the table on 195, followed by Andy Symons 187, Haydon Pinhey on 179, Andy Neck on 176, and Harvey Chandler 152.

Spokesman for the WEBSF said, “Once again we have seen an array of quality play that has produced five centuries on the day, along with several other frame winning breaks. Haydon Pinhey’s 130 superb clearance hardly raised an eyebrow, such is the expectations of the players. The return of ex-professional Nick Pearce to tournament play is great to see, once he has re-kindled some matchplay stamina he will no doubt be a force to be reckoned with. His break building prowess has been a spectacle here today. With everything hanging on the last event next month, it should prove an interesting dash to the finishing tape.” Thanks to Top Q, Gloucester for hosting and sponsoring this event and to international roving Referee Nick Harry (Plymouth) for his tireless contribution to fair play. Any player interested in entering WEBSF events or potential volunteers willing to get involved with the work of the WEBSF they should contact Steve Canniford, Mobile 07891940995 or visit http://www.websfsnooker.com or WEBSF Facebook.

Report by Steve Canniford

Gold Waistcoat Tour Ranking Table 2016-17 – After Event 5

 

New challenge tour for amateurs

As the World Championships gets ready for the semi finals, and amateurs who dream of being there in the future get ready for Q School, many an ear pricked up at the announcement by Barry Hearn of plans for a new challenge tour.

The tour, planned to start in 2018, is likely to be 10 events across Europe with 2 tour cards up for grabs. This may well be a replacement for the current EBSA Order of Merit. Those who enter Q School next year and have, as Barry Hearn says, shown a commitment to wanting to be a professional,  will be eligible for the tour.

All in all, great news for amateur snooker.

EASB Premier and Regional Junior Tour Play-Off Places

Because of the high fall-out of participants (due to age ineligibility) at the end of this season, next season’s Premier Junior Tour will be reduced to 32 places.

18 players will remain on the tour. They will be joined by 8 players directly qualifying from the Regional Junior Tour. The numbers from each region are based on the pro-rata number of entries as per the table below:

PJT  Qualifiers
Region Entries Decimal Rounded
North West 13               1.095 1
North East 35               2.947 3
Midlands 19               1.600 2
South East 14               1.179 1
South West 14               1.179 1
95 8 8

So that is 1st place in the North West, South East and South West regions. 1st and 2nd place in the Midlands Region.  1st, 2nd and 3rd  place in the North East Region. This is a promotion to the Premier Junior Tour and there is no option to remain on the Regional Junior Tour.

The bottom 4 eligible players on the Premier Junior Tour will be invited to take part in the Junior Play-Off. They will be joined by 12 players from the Regional Junior Tour. The numbers from each region is based on the pro-rata number of entries as per the table below:

Junior Play-Off Qualifiers
Region Entries Decimal Rounded
North West 13        1.642 2
North East 35        4.421 4
Midlands 19        2.400 2
South East 14        1.768 2
South West 14        1.768 2
95              12 12

So that is 2nd & 3rd place in the North West, South East and South West Regions, 3rd and 4th place in the Midlands Region, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th place in the North East Region.

All qualifying players will be contacted by e-mail to your Member Zone registered e-mail address over the next week. For qualifiers to the Junior Play-Off this will include full details of that Event which takes place on the 6th May at the North East Derbyshire Snooker Centre, Chesterfield, S45 9AG.

Premier Junior Tour Concludes

This coming weekend sees the conclusion of the EASB Premier Junior Tour.

This is a six event, season long tour in which 40 of the countries best under 21s compete for places in international events such as the EBSA and IBSF Under 21 and Under 18 Championships.

After the event is concluded, places on next season’s Tour will be allocated to winners in the Regional Junior Tour. The top ranked players in each region, based upon a proportional number of total entries in each region, will be eligible for automatic promotion to compete on the 2017/18 Premier Junior Tour, whilst additional players from each region will be invited to enter the Junior Play-Offs, depending how many places are available.