World Snooker Rankings: State of play heading into Sheffield

Just one more tournament to go and it is the big one as the fight for those all important top 16 places comes to a conclusion. Click below to read how the situation currently stands, (according to my maths anyway!), as well as the remaining battles to be resolved further down the list…

Where else to start but with a full run down of how the rankings currently stand after China, also including minimum points already gained from the World Championship:

Points after the China Open (inc World Championship):

1    Ronnie O’Sullivan     51175
2    Stephen Maguire     44450
3    Shaun Murphy     40575
4    Ali Carter     40125
5    John Higgins     37225
6    Ryan Day     37075
7    Marco Fu     34950
8    Mark Selby     34375
9    Joe Perry     32875
10    Neil Robertson     30225
11    Stephen Hendry     29525
12    Peter Ebdon     29400
13    Mark Williams     29319
14    Mark Allen     27875
15    Ding Junhui     27244
16    Barry Hawkins     27175


17    Dave Harold     26607
18    Ricky Walden     26050
19    Mark King     25900
20    Jamie Cope     25632
21    Stuart Bingham     25419
22    Joe Swail     24894
23    Steve Davis     24544
24    Michael Holt     23225
25    Stephen Lee     23188

26    Matthew Stevens     23132
27    Liang Wenbo     22825
28    Judd Trump     21901
29    Nigel Bond     21357
30    Fergal O’Brien     20795
31    Gerard Greene     20751
32    Anthony Hamilton     20688


33    Dominic Dale     20620
34    Graeme Dott     20094
35    Ian McCulloch     19263
36    Michael Judge     19007
37    Stuart Pettman     18770
38    Mike Dunn     18739

39    Rory McLeod     18163
40    Jamie Burnett     17888

41    Alan McManus     17801
42    Adrian Gunnell     17500

43    Andrew Higginson     17438
44    Ken Doherty     17363
45    Marcus Campbell     16863

46    Martin Gould     16645
47    Mark Davis     16588
48    Jimmy Michie

Those players in green are still in the World Championship and can move up, while those in red cannot improve their points.

Click here to view the points schedule for the 2008/9 season.

‘Fight’ at the top

Coming into the season with nearly a 4,000 lead over anyone else, Ronnie O’Sullivan was always in a strong position to to remain top of the rankings and so it has proved as heading into Sheffield only Stephen Maguire can mathematically move above him. You might be expecting me to produce a number of possible scenarios here but in fact the situation is simple.

If Ronnie wins his first round match against Stuart Bingham then he will secure the number one spot for a second consecutive season, the fifth in all. Even if he does fall victim to what would be a huge upset against Bingham, Maguire would still need to go all the way in the tournament and win it – nothing else would do.

I can’t see it happening but who knows, this is exactly the scenario we had in 1998 when John Higgins needed to win the title and hope that Stephen Hendry went out in round one and look what happened there…


While mathematically several players currently ranked inside the top 16 on the provisional list could still fall out of that bracket, I would suggest that at least those down to Joe Perry in 9th place can be absolutely certain of remaining there for another season.


The next four players, Neil Robertson, Stephen Hendry, Peter Ebdon and Mark Williams are separated by just 1,000 points down to 13th on the list, but with a small cushion of over 3,000 points to those currently outside the top 16 even when you take into account the points they have won for qualifying, it looks like all of them will retain their place. In particular the winner of the Hendry/Williams tie in round one will gain 2,400 points and be absolutely sure.

In danger

Three players who are right in the fight however are Mark Allen, Ding Junhui and Barry Hawkins, all of whom could theoretically lose their opening match and remain where they are, but would be sweating on a lot of other results. It has been a strange season for Mark, after a strong start he was well up inside the top 16 and looking like he would have no trouble moving up the list. Last 32 defeats in his last two tournaments however, combined with good runs for the likes of Hendry and Ebdon have dragged him right back into the mix and really needing a win over Martin Gould just to be sure.

While it is a similar story for Ding, having already qualified for the event it will not be quite as easy for Barry Hawkins as he can only gain a further 1,000 points by winning in the last 32, as he already has 2,800 for qualifying. Even if he made the last 16 therefore, Mark King by matching this achievement would gain another 2,400 points and move ahead of him.

The chasers

So who are the most realistic chasers and what do they need to do to give themselves a chance of moving into the top 16?

While Ricky Walden is the closest to overtaking 16th placed Hawkins in the rankings due to the early exit of Dave Harold, the most likely man to make a move in my opinion is Mark King, who despite sitting down in 19th place at the moment, has a great opportunity to add points to his tally by virtue of not having played a match yet.

If he can overcome Rory McLeod in the last 32, he will gain a further 2,400 points on top of the 1,400 already added, and would move right up into 14th place. If he could then produce something special to defeat possibly Stephen Maguire in round two, he could leapfrog Mark Williams and Peter Ebdon for good measure, making absolutely sure.

The man currently with the most points in the bag outside of the current top 16 is Ricky Walden, but having already qualified he must make at least the quarter-finals if he is to stand any chance of moving ahead of Hawkins and into the 16 for the first time. While a victory over Mark Selby in the opening round would be a terrific achievement, it would only gain him a further 1,000 points and move him up to 17th at the very best. As a result he will have to follow it up with victory over either Graeme Dott or Barry Hawkins to really put himself in the frame.

It is a similar story for Jamie Cope and Stuart Bingham too who would not be able to do enough by reaching the last 16, but could move ahead of Ding and Hawkins with a run to the quarter-finals. Realistically though I would expect one of Ding, Allen, Hawkins, Walden or King to have a decent  a run and leave Jamie and Stuart needing a fairytale run to the semi-finals to stand a chance.

Needing a miracle

Beyond Stuart there are a further eight players who theoretically have a chance of moving up into the top 16 provisionally, but it is hard to imagine any of them really doing it.

In the case of veteran duo Joe Swail and Steve Davis each of them would need a run to the semi-final to put themselves into contention, while Michael Holt, Stephen Lee or Liang Wenbo would need to at least make the final.

To conclude, Nigel Bond, Gerard Greene and Graeme Dott would each need to win the title, though the chances of all the other results going Graeme’s way are fairly slim at best!

The Top 32

Aside from the top 16, there  are also a few remaining players chasing top 32 places, the most obvious being Graeme Dott who needs just one win to move up into that bracket at the expense of Anthony Hamilton.

For the remaining four players it is going to be a tough ask though as Rory McLeod, Jamie Burnett and Andrew Higginson need to reach the semi-finals, while the lowest ranked player Martin Gould would need at least the final.


So there you have it, according to my calculations that is roughly what each player will need to do in order to stay in or move up into the top 16/32 at the end of the season. If you spot any errors or miscalculations then do let me know and I’ll sort them. Hopefully that will give you an idea of the current situation.

My prediction for what it is worth is that it will remain roughly as it is, but with Mark King moving up at the expense of Barry Hawkins, who in losing to Graeme Dott will see the Scot move up into the top 32. Time will tell though…