Rankings Round-up

As the dust settles on what has been an interesting and unpredictable season of snooker, the time has come to look at how the rankings have finished up and also to the one-year rankings to see who is in pole position for next season…

First things first, as part of an overhaul of this website which will be taking place over the off-season, I have split my rankings/results page and have created a new rankings page here. From here you will be able to access the official rankings, provisional rankings and the one-year lists which once refined will hopefully be an improvement over what I have had before.

For the purposes of this post, here are the lists that I will be referring to:

The Top 16

Next season will see just one change to the top 16 of the rankings as Welshman Mark Williams re-enters the elite group at the expense of Graeme Dott who sees his seven year run come to an end. The last time that there was just one change was way back in 1998/9 when Darren Morgan was replaced by Mark King.

Looking at the very top of the list there are few surprises as Ronnie O’Sullivan retains his spot at the head of the rankings for a second successive year (and fifth in total), Stephen Maguire holds on to second and Shaun Murphy remains third.

Following a slightly disappointing season however, Mark Selby drops three places to seventh and Stephen Hendry falls out of the top eight for the first time in 21 years. Given how things were looking going into the last two events of the season though, things could have been a lot worse for the seven times world champion. It was a similar story for Peter Ebdon who before his win in China, looked a certainty to drop out of the top 16 for the first time in several years. Ultimately though he has just about kept hold of his place and drops to 14th place.

Though he only moves up one place to fourth, 2009 world champion John Higgins has made significant gains as after a poor 2007/8 campaign, he actually came into this season ranked 14th on the provisional list. By winning the World Championship, the Grand Prix and not losing a single last 32 match however, he has scored more than double the points that he earned last season and will start next season very well-placed on the provisional list. In fact he will open with a lead of 6,900 over second placed Ali Carter which will taken on even greater significance if (as expected), there are only six ranking events scheduled for 2009/10.

Elsewhere in the top sixteen there are four players at career high rankings. These are Ali Carter up in 5th, Ryan Day in 6th, Marco Fu in 8th and Mark Allen who following his world semi-final, moves up to number 11.

Looking at the one-year list for those players currently in the top 16, players who will need to perform well in 2009/10 include Stephen Maguire who having finished at number two for the past two seasons, starts next season down in sixth and Ding Junhui who starts way down in 23rd.


Outside of the elite group things get more interesting as there have been five changes to the 17-32 group. Those losing their places are Anthony Hamilton, Dominic Dale, Ian McCulloch, Michael Judge and Ken Doherty, who have all struggled for results this season.

Replacing them are Michael Holt and Gerard Greene who both re-enter the top 32 having lost their places in the past, while Ricky Walden, Liang Wenbo and Judd Trump reach that group for the first time – surely they will stay there for a number of years yet.

Looking at the one-years, those best placed to make an assault on the top 16 are Ricky Walden (unsurprisingly after his success in Shanghai), and the legend that is Steve Davis who despite suffering a hammering at the hands of Neil Robertson in Sheffield, enjoyed a very consistent season in 2008/9. While both still have work to do in order to move up into the 16, if they can consistently win their sole qualifying match and have a couple of wins at the venue, they should stand every chance. Ricky of course will also benefit from not having to qualify for Shanghai this year by virtue of having won the event in 2008.

Also well placed are Dave Harold (who of course enjoyed a great season last year before just falling short), Michael Holt (much improved), Barry Hawkins and Judd Trump (his most consistent season by far). If they can maintain their consistency and win their opening round matches next season, then they will be right up there too.

In trouble however Nigel Bond and Fergal O’Brien who on the back of very poor seasons are ranked 42nd and 48th on the one-year list respectively. If they don’t improve significantly then they could end up having to win three qualifying matches to make the venues rather than the one currently required.


Further down the list are many of the usual suspects, though one name that does inevitably stand out is that of Ken Doherty who having won just two matches last season, is in deep trouble down in 44th position. Even worse for him is that on the one-year list he is down in 55th and looks likely to lose his top 48 place for 2010/11.

On a more positive note however, Martin Gould enters the top 48 for the first time having enjoyed a hugely successful season and both Rory McLeod and Mike Dunn are both up inside the top 40 for the first time in their long careers. If they can continue to win matches and maintain their consistency then both have a decent shot at moving up into the top 32 in a year’s time. Mark Davis has also enjoyed a positive season, moving up 11 places from 58th.


Further down the list, players who have enjoyed a positive season are Jimmy White (up nine places to 56), David Morris (up six to 58) and Andy Hicks (up six to 50th). In addition both White and Hicks in particular are well placed to continue their progression back up the rankings next season and perhaps secure a return to the top 48.

Those who have struggled however are John Parrott, David Roe, Liu Song, Barry Pinches and Joe Delaney who will all require a strong campaign next season to retain their places on the tour.  Due to the way that new tour players receive minimal starter points however, they will start the season with an advantage over their chasers. At least they are on the tour however, unlike David Gray who amazingly has lost his professional status following a poor couple of seasons. Will he get one of the WPBSA invites?

Well done to Jin Long and Peter Lines who on their return to the main tour this season have done enough not only to retain their places, but to move up inside the top 64 which means that they will start next season in the second qualifying round. This is a much bigger achievement than it might appear given the way the tour works and one that will stand them in good stead for next season. Daniel Wells and Li Hang might not have made the 64, but as two young, and talented players, it is good to see that they have kept their places on the tour and will hopefully continue to progress during 2009/10.

Finally though is a very interesting point that was raised by Bryan who commented on a previous article yesterday concerning what would happen should Jamie Burnett be found guilty of any wrongdoing regarding his controversial UK Championship match with Stephen Maguire last season. Could this have any affect on the rankings? To tell you the truth I don’t know what would happen but it is an interesting observation…