Closing In On The Cut: Crucible 2014


Following the conclusion of AT4 earlier today, there are now just two events to run prior to the final mid-season seedings revision, which will decide who will be at the Crucible Theatre as of right next month for the World Championship and how many matches the rest will have to win if they are to make an appearance at the season’s biggest event.

Click below to see how the battle is currently shaping up, as well as a reminder of how the seeds would be placed in the Crucible draw as things currently stand…

  • Click here to view the draw for the Haikou World Open
  • Click here to view the latest projected seedings
  • Click here to view the points tariffs for events this season

On 29th March 2014 following the Players Championship Grand Finals, the seedings list will be revised for the final time this season and will be used to determine the seedings for the 2014 World Championship.

By that date, all points earned from the 2011/2 season, except those from the 2012 China Open and 2012 World Championship, will have been deducted and replaced by those from this season up to that date.

As always, I have already removed those points from the appropriate column on my latest projected seedings list, to show the situation as up to date as possible…

The Crucible Draw

For those who may not be aware, unlike other tournaments, the top 16 seeded players at the World Championship are placed in the draw in a very specific manner, for example the top seed is always scheduled to meet the 16th seed in the second round, the second seed is always poised to meet the 15th seed and so on.

That being the case, as explained in more depth during my recent post here, the last 16 draw is currently shaping up as follows…

O’Sullivan (1) v Milkins (16)
Maguire (9) v Fu (8)

Hawkins (5) v Davis (12)
Walden (13) v Selby (4)

Ding (3) v Carter (14)
Higgins (11) v Bingham (6)

Trump (7) v Murphy (10)
Perry (15) v Robertson (2)

Of course these positions are likely to change over the course of the next two events and a more detailed look at exactly who has to do what will follow ahead of the Players Championship Grand finals, but this is what we can see right now…

Battle for Number 1

Realistically a two-man battle heading into the final two events prior to the cut-off, Neil Robertson currently holds a lead of 5,140 points over Ding Junhui, with 7,900 points still to play for (factoring in minimum points already allocated.

Clearly then, Robertson has a huge advantage, with a semi-final run at the Haikou World Open alone enough to guarantee him the top ranking heading into the Crucible, even if Ding were to win both events.


If Ding were to finish as runner-up at the Haikou World Open and win the PC Grand Finals, Robertson would only need a last 16 appearance in China, irrespective of what happens in Preston.

Mathematically, third placed Mark Selby also remains in with an outside chance of taking top spot, however would need to win in Hainan and reach at least the final of the PC Grand Finals to be in with any chance.

Battle for the Top 8

Currently holding on to the final remaining top eight seeding is Australian Goldfields Open champion Marco Fu, with Stephen Maguire 1,370 points behind and Shaun Murphy a further 860 points back.

If for simplicity’s sake we are to assume that all three reach a similar stage in Preston, Maguire would in all likelihood have to progress a couple of rounds further than Fu in China if he were to overtake him, although of course with seeds 8 and 9 set to meet at the last 16 stage in Sheffield, in reality the draw would not change significantly, unless Murphy were able to leapfrog either one of them.

Further back, players such as John Higgins and Mark Davis are mathematically also able to challenge for a top eight seeding, but would need to perform well at the Haikou World Open in particular and hope that those above them exit early if they are to bring themselves into contention.

Battle for the Top 16 (15)

With reigning world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan taking the top seeding, this means that only the world’s top 15 ranked players at the next cut-off can be sure of a place at the Crucible, without having to qualify at Ponds Forge.

Something that will no doubt come as a surprise to the uninitiated, the unfortunate man currently in 16th place is Mark Allen, who trails fellow On Q Promotions player Robert Milkins by 1,125 points with two tournaments to go.


In Mark’s favour however is the fact that unlike Rob, he has qualified for the Players Championship Grand Finals (as top seed no less), so has two tournaments at which to try and close the gap.

Above Milkins, Joe Perry, Ali Carter and Ricky Walden will be hoping to make sure of their Crucible spots over the coming weeks, while below Allen, Mark Williams is the only other player in with a chance of breaking into the top 15 who has qualified for Preston.

Both Graeme Dott and as a very long shot Matthew Stevens could yet secure a Crucible seeding, but would need to run deep in China, having not qualified for the PC Grand Finals.

Again, a closer analysis will follow the Haikou World Open.

The Top 32

Though it is the battle for automatic Crucible spots which will take a lot of the attention over the coming weeks, the race for top 32 seedings is arguably just as important this year, as those finishing between 33-64 will have to win three qualifying matches if they are to make it to the venue stages, compared to just one if they finish between 17-32.

Compared to the other brackets, this section of the rankings is especially tight, with just 1,630 points separating eight players between 29th placed David Gilbert and Martin Gould in 36th.


Of those players, only Gilbert and Ireland’s Fergal O’Brien have qualified for the Players Championship Grand Finals in Preston, though conversely O’Brien failed to qualify for the venue stages of the Haikou World Open.

Marcus Campbell and Jack Lisowski are two players out of both tournaments already and can be discounted, so the three currently outside of the top 32 to keep an eye on in China will be Andrew Higginson, Tom Ford and Martin Gould. If 32nd placed Michael White were to lose his opening match at the venue to Aditya Mehta, both Ford and Gould could overtake him with two wins, Higginson only one.

The Top 64

With the top 48 no longer a bracket that will keep a difference as far as World Championship seedings are concerned, the next section to look at is the top 64, who will have one fewer matches to play than those ranked lower.

Thanks to his two victories at the AT4 event last week, Scotland’s Scott Donaldson has moved up above Ian Burns and into the 64th and final spot, while unlike anybody ranked below him, he remains in both upcoming events and with the chance to add to his tally further.

The situation here is relatively clear, with Thepchaiya Un-Nooh within one win of overtaking Donaldson in Haikou, while Barry Pinches would need to reach the last 16 if he were to secure a top 64 seeding.

Sam Baird would need to win the Players Championship Grand Finals if he were to overhaul Donaldson, while Mike Dunn and Michael Wasley would need to reach the semi-finals in China.


Stay tuned after the PC Grand Finals for an updated look at the situation heading into Preston…