Bahrain Championship 2008: Draw News

With the qualifiers for the inaugural Bahrain Championship taking place next week, it is time to have a quick look at the recently released draw and explain the four first round byes that have been given…

Essential info

First things first, click here to view the draw for the tournament over at the Global Snooker Centre. As you can see, the qualifiers will take place at the end of the month with the TV stages beginning a week later on November 8th.

Why the byes?

As confirmed a few days ago, the three top 16 players who will be involved in the Premier League competition on November 13th have had to withdraw from the event due to their prior contractual arrangements with Matchroom Sport. This means that John Higgins, Ding Junhui and Mark Selby will unfortunately be missing from the event and losing out on the ranking points that they would otherwise have earned.

The knock-on effect of their withdrawals though is that Matthew Stevens, Ken Doherty and Jamie Cope who are ranked just outside the top 16 will now progress to the last 32 in their place. The same goes for the three players just outside the top 32, 48 and 64 who will also have one less qualifying match to navigate at Pontin’s.

The fourth player involved in the Premier League on that clashing date is Steve Davis, though he has not yet withdrawn from the event. I can only assume however that he would do so if he were to win his qualifying match at Pontin’s and whilst far from an ideal situation, it will enable him to gain up to 1,400 extra points so he is perfectly entitled to do this.

There is also a distinct possibility that Graeme Dott may again withdraw due to his arm injury, though this will presumably be confirmed nearer the time. As it stands he has been entered into the tournament.

Finally there is a fourth first round bye due to the absence of tour newcomer Declan Hughes, though I have not yet seen any reason for this. If anyone is aware of the reason for his withdrawal then please let me know.

Wildcard matches

As has been the case with the tournaments in China and Malta recently, there will again be local wildcards competing in this event. Here there will be six of them, probably one from each of the GCC countries and once their identities are known I will post them on this page.

Points to note from the draw itself?

Looking at how the seeded players have been allocated, both halves of the draw appear to be pretty even this time, though for me the bottom half appears to have more in-form players in it. On the other hand though, there are some extremely dangerous qualifiers such as Ricky Walden and Dave Harold in the top half so it will be very interesting to see how things pan out.

For all the Jimmy fans out there, White will have to see off Peter Lines, Alan McManus and Stuart Bingham to reach the final stages – not easy, but not impossible either.