School’s Out! – Q School 2017 – Review

Posted on: 20 May 2017

Last edited on: 25 June 2020

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.

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