Fight For the 96: 2010/11

With just 96 places available, main tour nominations are like gold dust for the many amateur players in the game and already the race for 2010/11 is beginning to hot up. For those of you not so familiar with how those places can be won, here is an explanation…

The Top 64

Ever heard anyone mention the ‘all-important top 64’ before? Well this is because the top 64 in the two year rankings at the end of the season will automatically retain their main tour place for the following campaign.

As a result therefore it is hugely important for those currently on the tour to try and finish in that group and those inside it also have the benefit of not having to start each tournament from the very first round, unlike the remaining 32 players. Furthermore it also ensures that those lower down the rankings have something to play for throughout the season, particularly with the year-ending World Championship carrying extra points.

You can view the very latest two year rankings here and see who is currently well placed to finish inside the top 64.

The Top Eight (one-year list)

Michael White – well placed

So what if a player ends the season outside of the top 64? Well all is not lost because there are another eight places available for those currently on the tour. These will be given to the top eight performers on the one-year list for the current season, who have not already secured a place via the top 64.

This is a good idea because it rewards those players who may not have quite done enough over the two years, but have actually had a strong last twelve months. It also provides newcomers to the tour (who start off with a minimum amount of starter points), with a realistic opportunity to stay on the tour for a second successive year.

A good example of a player who looks likely to benefit from this is that of Michael White who despite currently sitting outside of the top 64 in 66th position at the time of writing, has actually had a strong season so far, as demonstrated by a position of 55 on the one-year list. He is clearly one of the top eight players on the one-year list not already in the top 64 and barring a disaster between now and the end of the season, looks good to retain his tour place. Tony Drago is another who is well in contention to survive on the circuit via this method.

You can view the very latest one year rankings for the current season here.

Pontin’s International Open Series (PIOS) Top Eight

Flying High – Liam Highfield (GSC)

So having seen that at least 72 of the 96 players currently on the circuit will retain their place for next season, where do the other 24 come from? Well eight of them will graduate from snooker’s secondary tour, or as it is more commonly known as, the PIOS.

Yes the top eight in the PIOS rankings after the season’s eight events will be promoted to the main tour. At the time of writing five events have been completed with the remaining three due to be completed by early May.

At this stage, Liam Highfield, Jamie Jones, Jack Lisowski and Anthony McGill all look very well placed to finish among that group, but with 300 points available for a win, any of the players inside the top 30 could still realistically earn promotion with a good run at Pontin’s.

International Nominations

That leaves 16 places up for grabs and this is where it gets interesting as nine of these places are made up of international nominations. Here are exactly where they come from:

IBSF World Amateur Champion

Global Snooker

The first international nomination goes to the winner of the IBSF World Amateur Championship during the previous season. As the 2009 Championship has already been held, we know that former pro Alfie Burden will be back on the tour for the first time since the 2007/8 season.

IBSF World Under 21 Champion

Global Snooker

Similarly, another place goes to the winner of the IBSF World Under-21 Championship. This year the tournament was staged in Iran and won by Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham.

EBSA European Under 19 Champion:

Who will succeed Luca Brecel as the European Under 19 Champion?

The next spot will be taken by the winner of the European Under-19 Championship. This tournament will be held between the 27th April-1st May 2010 and will be held in Malta.

EBSA European Champion:

And who will follow in the footsteps of David Hogan, last year’s European Champion?

The fourth international spot goes to the winner of the European Championship. This tournament will be staged in Bucharest between the 3rd-14th June 2010.

EBSA European Play Off Winner:

The third and final European nomination goes to the winner of the European Play Off. This event takes place alongside the European Championship and is open to all European nations aside from the UK and Ireland who already receive places from the WSA. The players looking to follow in the footsteps of 2009 winner Tony Drago will do so between 1st-3rd June 2010.

ACBS Asian Under 21 Champion:

Another spot will go to the winner of the Asian Under-21 Championship. This will be held sometime in April over in India.

ACBS Asian Champion:

As well as the under-21 spot, another place will also go to the winner of the senior event, though I do not currently have the details of when the 2010 event will be staged. Hopefully we will have more information on the dates in the near future.

ACBS Asian Nomination:

2008 nomination Aditya Mehta (GSC)

Finally from Asia there will be a third spot available via the Asian Nomination. In 2008 this went to Aditya Mehta who finished as runner-up in both the Asian Championship and the Indian National Championship.

Oceania Champion:

Finally there is a spot available for the winner of the Oceania Championship. It should be noted however that the winner for the last two years, Glen Wilkinson, has declined to take up his main tour nomination and instead the Oceania prize has instead reverted to a discretionary wildcard for the governing body.

National Nominations (Great Britain)

So then, after the international nominations that leaves seven more places to fill and six of the will be national nominations from Great Britain. The places will be allocated as follows:

  • England – Two places
  • Scotland – One place*
  • Wales – One place
  • Northern Ireland – One place
  • Ireland – One place

In all likelihood the successful nomination will either have finished top of the national rankings for the previous year, or have won their national championship during the same period. Hopefully as the season draws to a close then it will become clear as to who has been selected.

*However, back in October it was announced that Scotland’s place would be withdrawn due to the ongoing problems within the national association. Whether this will remain the case only time will tell but if it does then presumably that spot would become a second…

World Snooker Wildcard

Finally the last remaining will place will be filled by a wildcard as selected by World Snooker. This may be given to a high profile player who has fallen off the tour, a young and highly promising player or anyone else. Last year for a variety of reasons there were actually four wildcard places available and three of them went two the next three players on the one-year list, David Gray, Ian Preece and Andrew Norman.


So that is it, if everything goes according to plan that is where the 96 players who will make up the 2009/10 main tour will come from. Stay tuned to this site for updates as and when more players are confirmed.