“WPBSA Q Tour is set to be the most competitive amateur tour around. It will be made up of those players with a track record, and on the edge of professional status, fighting it out against the most talented juniors in the world who are hungry for success.“Jason Ferguson. WPBSA Chairman
The World Snooker Tour (WST) have for the last two years run the Challenge Tour but this has now been re-branded as the Q Tour and responsibility passed to the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA).
There are some definite improvements. Namely –
– 32 Places from the Q School Order of Merit (Seeded apart)
– 16 Places for selected under 21s
– 16 Places up for grabs by qualification the day before the event
– More matches to be individually refereed
No news yet though as to the entry fee but the prize money is good with £12,000 in total up for grabs at each event and a total of £100,000 for the tour.
Q Tour represents the latest move by the WPBSA in the restructure of amateur snooker and will sit alongside WSF tournaments in providing a clear pathway for amateur players to turn professional.
The 16 places for under 21s or the “Elite Junior Talent Pool” as the WPBSA call it, are selected based on –
“performances and results in national and international competitions such as the World Snooker Federation events during previous years.“WPBSA Press release
And these players will need to commit to the Q Tour by entering all 8 events at the start of the season.
The top 32 in the Q School Order of Merit will have automatic places and will be seeded apart.
They will play up to 16 from the elite juniors and the 64 will then be made up from the open-entry qualifying round played on the day before the main tournament weekend.
The events themselves are still up for venues to tender for, but English venues will need to be members of the 147 Club. A spread of the four UK events would be good if suitable venues can be found. I wouldn’t like to see too much bias towards England.
There are again 2 main tour places to be won. One for the top ranked player after the eight events and another for the winner of a 16 place play-off.
The 16 are made up of the eight winners of the events plus eight from the rankings.
“Q Tour is now a clear pathway to a career in snooker for young talent, however we must also be mindful about producing high quality and very competitive environment for those who have perhaps been on tour a short while but have the will to battle for a second chance.“Jason Ferguson. WPBSA Chairman
These improvements to the much maligned Challenge Tour should see a better take-up of places and the standard will hopefully be top quality.
We now eagerly await the details of dates, venues etc.