After the “bonkers” of the Shoot Out, and during a few matches in the Championship League, we are now starting to look forward to the BetVictor Welsh Open. The magnificent Celtic Manor resort will certainly make a welcome change from Milton Keynes for the players.
This event is the penultimate leg of the BetVictor European Series, the final leg of the Home Nations events and is also the last event before the cut off for the Cazoo Players Championship. So there’s lots to play for between the top guys!
From the amateur angle there are a few matches to look out for as well.
The biggest is the Welsh derby between the number 1 amateur, Michael White, and fellow Welshman Mark J Williams, currently ranked 14 in the world. This match is scheduled for the TV table at 1pm on Tue 16 Feb.
White has been off the tour since 2019 but in the head to head with Williams he would appear to have the advantage.
In their last meeting at the UK Championship in 2019, White was the winner 6-2 and other than Championship League matches it’s 4-1 to White.
White was relegated from the main tour at the end of the 2019/20 season and only just failed to regain his place at Q School. He lost out in the final of the first event but ended up top of the Order of Merit following good performances in the second and third events. This means he is the first top-up player for ranking events.
Many say that White is too good not to be on the main tour but he’s just got to get his head down now and prove them right.
The two wildcards for this event are Dylan Emery and Ben Fortey.
With the COVID pandemic preventing the Welsh NGB from completing their calendar, a wider list of nominations was made with World Snooker narrowing them down to these two players, no doubt following their international performances earlier in the year at the WSF Open in Malta
Dylan Emery plays Lu Ning, currently ranked 33, and Ben Fortey plays Elliot Slessor, ranked 45. Tough matches for them both!
After the wildcards, WST look to the Q School Order of Merit to top up the entries to 128. Along with Michael White, the other two two amateurs making up the draw are Brian Ochoiski and Paul Davison who have been drawn to play each other!
Update: Amine Amiri has withdrawn and has been replaced with a straight swap in the draw with the next available player on the Q School Order of Merit, Jamie Curtis-Barrett.
Lets hope the amateurs can put on as good a show as they did at the Shoot Out!
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