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Jan 23 2010

Provisional rankings updated

Global Snooker

A quick note to let you know that I have now updated my provisional rankings page after the Welsh Open qualifiers. Click below to read who the biggest movers and shakers have been…

Note that I have not yet updated my one-year rankings page, this will follow later in the day although my provisionals page does include each player’s one year total.

Unsurprisingly the biggest mover this week was Tony Drago who has managed to add another 1,200 points to his overall tally and move up from 67th place to 60th. This means that he is in excellent shape as he looks to retain his main tour place for 2010/11 because as well as being up in 45th place overall on the one-year list, he is currently inside the all-important top 64 on the two years.

Another man on the rise is Liu Song whose qualification for the last 32 has seen him move up six places to 76th. While he does remain well outside of the top 64 and so is in danger of losing his professional status, he has significantly improved his position on the one-year list with this run and still has a chance of surviving as one of the top eight players not in the top 64 of the provisional list already.

Incidentally that top eight is currently made up of:

  • Michael White
  • Simon Bedford
  • Liu Song
  • Jimmy Robertson
  • Craig Steadman
  • Thepchaiya un-Nooh
  • Matthew Couch
  • Joe Jogia

With two big events to come and a dozen players within 1,000 points of Jogia in eighth place however, it is hard to read too much into the situation at this stage. Following the China Open qualifiers I will post in detail on the situation and like last year will provide daily updates during the World Championship qualifiers at the EISS.

One thing that will interest many though is the situation of Jimmy White. Currently 59th on the two-year list, is well down on the one-year list and so will need to win a match or two before the end of the season if he is to be sure of keeping his main tour place. That said even if he were to lose his place I would fully expect him to be awarded a wildcard place by the WSA.

  • Hemund

    Yes. Jimmy White must pretty much be a lock for a wildcard. I’m not too fond of the wildcard concept though. It seems unfair, as it’s not entirely based on a person’s playing abilities.

  • matt2745

    To be honest I think that this will be the last year that the established tour system remains in place. I’m expecting a new ranking system at least next season with changes to the tour structure as a whole not being far behind…

  • matt2745

    I would loathe to see that, I think the number needs to go up an not down!

  • Steve

    I agree, I think the number of players will be reduced to 64 or may even 32 players. Only time will tell though!

  • Witz78

    Matt,

    i agree with you, i think the ranking set up will be totally changed next season.

    My main problem at the moment is the tiered system with the top 16, 17-32, 33-48 etc. Its too stagnant with players having to climb the ladders to reach events and also ultimately to reach the top 16.

    The newcomers to tour are at a major disadvantage and face a mad scramble to remain on tour in the lottery of a few high pressure best of 9 matches in the cubicles at Pontins. They face each other in the first qualifying round so are cutting each others throats all season long. They recieve lower minimum starter points for each event so are also at a disadvantage to the players they are trying to catch above them.

    Possibly the biggest farce is the fact that they start the season off with the points that the player who finished 64th last season did, so through no fault of their own they are at the bottom of the pack. A far fairer way would be for them to have their points earned in their first season on tour doubled at the end of the season to truly reflect their form.

    Of this years newcomers, Drago has won 10 games at Pontins so far from 4 events and is the ONLY newcomer to be within the top 64 on the provisional rankings, albeit periouslly in 62nd. Shows how hard it is for the newcomers, with only the top 8 on the one year year list being the best realistic hope for newcomers.

    I feel that there are many great young players who have the odds stacked against them when they join the main tour and because of this they end up yo-yo’ing between the main tour and the PIOS before being lost to the game forever.

    The seasoned pros, journeymen above them in the mid ranks (33-64) consist of many players who have never reached the top and never will, but do the bare minuimum to survive on tour by winning a few qualifying matches earning them enough points to keep their position. They are barely making a living from the game are in my eyes (and probably Hearns) deadwood that does not have any place in snookers future.

    Hearn did state that players would get the opportunity to prove their qualities but it would be sink or swim for all.

    We will see what happens come the end of the season, but as you say, i expect major changes to happen.

  • matt2745

    Excellent comment Witz and I agree with pretty much all of it. Can’t be right that you can have a player winning 10+ matches a season and barely being able to stay on the tour while some can just win a couple and don’t suffer from it until two years later.

    Personally I would prefer a system such as that in tennis where they earn points and they stay with a player for 52 weeks and then drop off. Results from the Summer of 2007 are still counting now for players which is ridiculous, though obviously enforced by the lack of tournaments.

    Perhaps a rolling money list like in Hearn’s PDC darts which goes back a couple of years would keep it slightly more current.

  • matt2745

    Personally though I would like to see the tour opened up a bit, the opportunities for overseas players to get on the tour are so limited at the moment.

  • Witz78

    Matt,

    Yes a rolling ranking list updated after every event would be the ideal scenario for me. Also with a much fuller calendar on the tour under Hearn, it should be easier for it just to include results from the past 12 months.

    I think an alternative Asian Tour would be a good idea. There are numerous players who have to move halfway round the world in a strange environment to ply their trade on the PIOS or lower ranks of the main tour who basically earn pennies.

    Surely it would be better for them to serve their snooker apprenticeship on a tour in their homeland then so many could progress to the main tour. Also, if Asia is such a snooker hotbed (100million + TV Viewers, players treated like movie stars etc.) then surely a tour could be supported there, the demand must be there. It would be a good chance for the Asian players to earn proper money and play at a far higher level which would progress their games.

    Of course, if were serious about snooker being a true world sport then the Asian tour could be a rival tour under the WPSBA control with players having the option of which tour to play on. Some Europeans may elect to play some events on both tours.

    It could be similar to golf with the different PGA tours with the top players from all tours coming together at the majors, World Championship, Masters, UK and the China and European Opens could become Majors too.

    Mainland Europe certainly and North America to a lesser extent could also support tours to supplement the main UK based tour.

  • JohnH

    The obvious answer to me to make qualifying fair is to have players 33-64 playing those 65-96 in the first round with the winners playing against each other to provide 16 players to play those ranked 17-32. A seeded draw could ensure that 33-48 would oppose 49-64 in the second qualifying round should they successfully negotiate their first round matches. This provides some reward for ranking and retains finacial guarantees for players ranked 17-32 in that they still enter at the final qualifying round, and ensures the top 16 play in the last 32 for the needs of television and overseas events who want the top ranked players to actually reach that stage. Ideally of course all tournaments would be televised in their entirety and played at the final venue with players 1-32 facing the winners of the qualifying round in the last 64.
    This will not happen due to costing but would be the fairest way of playing a tournament with 96 players.

  • Andrew

    I like the idea of an alternative tour, there’s so much potential overseas but their oppurtunities are limited. Personally I would just like to see a system where all the new up and coming players get a decent shot.

    Also, what age was ronnie when he came on the scene, 17 or something? What was the system like back then!?

  • Witz78

    Andrew,

    Ronnie, Higgins and Williams were among a wave of players who entered the game when the main tour was opened up in the early 90s and anyone could become a professional. Whilst obviously all would not make it, i believe there were around 600 “pros” trying to make their living around then, and this opening of the tour, certainly helped to fast track many new stars into the game whilst so many of the older faces and players from the 80s found their old hit and run style of play a relic of the past as the game transformed from a middle aged sport to a 20 somethings sport.

    Since then, the tour has became restricted again, and weve seen the rankings go stale to an extent with players such as Burnett, Michie, Hicks etc being examples of players who have languished in the lower reaches of the ranks for almost 2 decades, without ever threatening to become a force in the game.

    I feel a similar early 90s style “opening up of the game” would help cull the deadwood and revitalise the game with a new wave of talented young players from around the world getting their chance at expense of these journeymen who have had ample chances and have proven themselves not capable of reaching the top level.

    Of course, that isnt the fault of the Michies, Burnetts etc of this worlds, but if the tour is opened up and the qualifying set up for tournaments is changed then im sure that fairly quickly they would be eclipsed by the new breed of players just like the older players and legends from the 80s pretty much all vanished by the mid 90s, which proved that the new talent then was out there and better than the current players back then, and if given the chance to, would prove it, which it did.

    Im sure Hearn will also see that a similar scenario in this new decade and new dawn for the game will kickstart its revival as some exciting new stars and faces are required, as the current biggest draw Ronnie is showing early signs of natural decline, whilst other than Ding, Robbo, Selby, Trump, Allen, there is little in the way of new-ish talent emerging !!!

  • matt2745

    Nice discussion going on here.

    I agree with you Witz because what I’m annoyed by is the fact that you can have players like Li Hang who record some impressive results, regularly win matches and because he had to miss one tournament due to the wildcard issue and drew an inspired Drago in the UK qualifiers, could well drop off the tour. Seems a little harsh when in the main he and others like him have done well.

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