Pro Snooker Blog http://www.prosnookerblog.com Tue, 03 May 2016 21:03:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 PSB Update http://www.prosnookerblog.com/2016/05/03/psb-update/ http://www.prosnookerblog.com/2016/05/03/psb-update/#respond Tue, 03 May 2016 21:02:42 +0000 http://www.prosnookerblog.com/?p=49356 WPBSAsquareI have recently received a few comments on the blog regarding the lack of new content following my announcement last year that I would be joining the WPBSA on a full-time basis.

To clarify, my blog has since continued over at WPBSA.com here, with all of the ranking and tour structure blogs that I have worked on here at PSB since 2008. The updated provisional ranking lists on the other hand have continued to be posted here at PSB, pending the construction of a new WPBSA website.

I am happy to say that the build of the new site is well underway and it is hoped that it will be ready to launch for the start of the new season, or certainly not long after that point. This site will contain all of the provisional list, points to defend tables and various ‘race’ lists that I have managed here, in addition to preview and round-up blogs around tournaments analysing the latest position and implications of results.

More news will follow in due course, but for now keep an eye out for my blogs and much more snooker news at WPBSA.com ahead of the start of the 2016/17 season!

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World Championship 2016: Tour Survival Blog http://www.prosnookerblog.com/2016/04/02/world-championship-2016-tour-survival-blog/ http://www.prosnookerblog.com/2016/04/02/world-championship-2016-tour-survival-blog/#comments Sat, 02 Apr 2016 08:22:30 +0000 http://www.prosnookerblog.com/?p=49230 ponds

And so it is almost upon us – the start of the 2016 Betfred World Championship qualifiers next Wednesday which will determine who will join the 16 seeded players at the Crucible Theatre two weeks from now.

Not only that, but the results will also determine who will stay on tour for next season, either as a top 64 player or via one of the other lists and also who will be forced to come through Q School if they are to retain professional status.

As is now tradition, this then is the post that will be updated throughout the week’s matches (and the Crucible if necessary), focusing on those players in the battle for tour survival…

  • Click here to view the draw for the World Championship qualifiers (pdf)
  • Click here to view the format
  • Click here to view the draw (snookerorg)
  • Click here to view the latest provisional end of season rankings
  • Click here to view the prize money tariffs for this season

Live Standings

The full two year breakdown can be found here, however below I have reproduced a simplified list to show only the players fighting for their main tour status, which will be updated with players being ‘struck out’ as the tournament progresses to show the current live position.

  • Players in dark green are currently inside the top 64 provisionally and as it stands will remain on tour
  • Players in blue are currently set to qualify through the European Order of Merit
  • Players in orange are currently set to qualify through the Asian Order of Merit
  • Players in red are currently set to be relegated from the tour
  • Players with their names struck through are out of the Betfred World Championship

Latest in-running tour survival battle (two-year money list):

61st – Oliver Lines – 50,808 (r80)

62nd – Ian Burns – 50,622 (r48)

63rd – Yu Delu – 50,400 (r144)

64th – Stuart Carrington – 49,431 (r80)

————————————

65th – Zhang Anda – 45,816 (r48)

66th – Gerard Greene – 45,132 (r80)

67th – Liam Highfield – 44,716 (r48)

68th – Craig Steadman – 42,999 (r80)

69th – David Morris – 42,233 (r80)

70th – Mitchell Mann – 40,791 (r48)

71st – Anthony Hamilton – 39,223 (r48)

72nd – Cao Yupeng – 38,175 (r80)

73rd – Peter Lines – 35,725 (r80)

74th – Lee Walker – 26,233 (r80)

76th – Michael Georgiou – 28,591 (r144)

79th – Joel Walker – 24,666 (r144)

81st – Scott Donaldson – 23,541 (r80)

85th – Zak Surety – 14,616 (r144)

86th – Michael Wasley – 14,582 (r144)

88th – Barry Pinches – 13,639 (r144)

91st – Chris Melling – 12,757 (r144)

93rd – Michael Leslie – 11,422 (r144)

94th – Tony Drago –  10,941 (r144)

96th – Thanawat Tirapongpaiboon – 8,800 (r144)

100th – Lu Ning – 6,817 (r144)

104th – Steven Hallworth – 6,191 (r144)

105th – Chuan Thor Leong – 5,925 (r144)

107th – Ian Glover – 4,141 (r144)

108th – Lyu Chenwei – 4,125 (r144)

114th – Rouzi Maimaiti – 2,100 (r144)

117th – Ju Reti – 1,400 (r144)

120th – Liu Chuang – 600 (r144)

122nd – Steve Mifsud – 0 (r144)

Pre-Crucible Blog

So now that the dust has settled on the World Championship qualifiers – how have the results this week affect the battle for tour survival?

In short, following Gerard Greene’s second round defeat to Peter Ebdon at Ponds Forge, the situation remains as it was at the start of the week, but with those in and around the top 64 having moved positions.

That means that as things stand, Liam Highfield remains in position to take the final tour card available from the European Order of Merit, however with two players (Zhang Anda and Mitchell Mann), remaining in the tournament, this could yet change. In simple terms then:

IF ZHANG ANDA REACHES THE LAST 16 OF THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP:

Zhang would climb provisionally to 61st position with a first Crucible win against Barry Hawkins. This would push Stuart Carrington out of the top 64, however we would retain his tour card via the European Order of Merit at the expense of Liam Highfield, who is lower than Stuart on that list.

The place on the Asian Order of Merit vacated by Zhang would be taken by amateur Lyu Haotian as the next in line on that list.

IF MITCHELL MANN REACHES THE LAST 16 OF THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP:

In this case Mann would climb to 64th position exactly, again nudging Stuart Carrington out of the top 64. In this case however, Liam Highfield would survive via the European list, effectively taking the spot vacated by Mann.

IF BOTH ZHANG ANDA AND MITCHELL MANN REACH THE LAST 16:

Same as described for Zhang Anda above as Mitchell Mann would in this case finish outside of the top 64 in 65th position.

IF ZHANG ANDA REACHES THE LAST 16 AND MITCHELL MANN THE QUARTER-FINALS

In this eventuality, both Yu Delu and Stuart Carrington would drop outside of the world’s top 64 with both Zhang and Mann overtaking them.

Carrington would survive via the European Order of Merit, but Yu Delu would be relegated from the circuit. Liam Highfield would in this case survive, with Carrington’s case effectively being taken by Mann.

Saturday blog

Nowhere else to start today than with a big win for Oliver Lines yesterday which lifted him from provisionally 65th, up to 61st position. With 62nd placed Yu Delu already out of the tournament and Ian Burns and Gerard Greene on a collision course for the third round, Lines now looks all but certain to finish the season inside of the top 64.

Lines’ win mans that Gerard Greene now drops out of the top 64 and must beat Peter Ebdon to remain in contention to break back in, while Liam Highfield moves back into position to qualify from the European Order of Merit (effectively taking the place vacated by Lines.

Elsewhere, wins for Zhang Anda, Cao Yupeng and Mitchell Mann kept them mathematically in the hunt for a top 64 place, but it is the end of the road for established players such as Tony Drago and Barry Pinches, who lost out yesterday and are now poised to drop off the tour.

Friday Blog

No changes today in the battle for top 64 places, although with his 10-9 defeat to Paul Davison, 61st placed Yu Delu is now vulnerable to those behind him in the chasing pack.

Wins for Craig Steadman and Liam Highfield mean that they remain in contention for a top 64 place, while Oliver Lines leads 5-4 overnight in his must-win match to break back into the provisional top 64.

Thursday Blog

Today has been a big day for both Gerard Greene and Stuart Carrington, who both came back from 9-7 down to win 10-9 and keep their hopes of finishing the season inside of the top 64 alive.

Their wins mean that the pressure now switches to Oliver Lines, who drops to 65th position provisionally and now must beat Lu Ning to edge back ahead of Greene in the latest standings.

Another consequence of Greene returning to the top 64 at present is that Liam Highfield would now miss out upon a tour card via the European Order of Merit (that place going to Oliver Lines), but that would change if Lines can re-pass Greene.

Elsewhere, victory for Peter Lines and David Morris kept them in the hunt for top 64 places a little further back, while while defeats for Michael Georgiou, Lyu Chenwei, Michael Wasley, Chris Melling and Joel Walker mean that they will drop off the tour.

Wednesday Blog

Day one completed at the 2016 World Championship qualifiers and a big win for Ian Burns against Duane Jones to consolidate his position inside of the provisional top 64. Already guaranteed a tour card via the European Order of Merit, he is targeting a position inside the top 64 and with a 10-8 win against Duane Jones moved ahead of both Oliver Lines and Stuart Carrington (who plays tomorrow), in the current standings.

Otherwise, there was an important victory for Anthony Hamilton to keep him in the hunt for a top 64 spot by the end of the season, but defeat for Zak Surety against Mark Joyce ensures that he will now have to re-qualify through Q School if he is to remain on tour.

In the afternoon matches due to conclude tomorrow, Gerard Greene came back from 4-1 down against Jimmy White to lead 5-4 at the end of the session in a must-win match for the Northern Irishman, while Peter Lines also kept his outside chance of a top 64 place alive by moving 9-0 up on Ng On Yee.

Pre-tournament

Heading to Ponds Forge there are three players (Gerard Greene, Craig Steadman and David Morris) not currently qualified for next season via other means, potentially within a single win of overtaking at least 64th placed Ian Burns. With all of these players set to face lower ranked players in the opening round however, it is likely that they will have to win multiple matches to break into the all-important top 64.

For Cao Yupeng at least two wins are required at Ponds Forge, while the remaining players not already safe via either the European or Asian lists, will need to at least qualify for the Crucible if they are to stay on tour.

It is also important to note that in the case of Liam Highfield, his future is to some degree out of his own hands as although he is currently set to earn a fresh tour card through the European list, he could miss out if for example either Ian Burns, Stuart Carrington or Oliver Lines were to drop out of the top 64 after Sheffield. This is because if either Greene, Steadman or Morris were to replace those players, the players dropping out would instead qualify through the European list as they are placed higher than Highfield on that Order of Merit.

We will know a lot more after the first round with £6,600 available for those able to win their first match…

Follow @prosnookerblog for all of the latest from the venue as the situation develops

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Race to the Crucible 2016: Live Blog http://www.prosnookerblog.com/2016/03/28/race-to-the-crucible-2016-live-blog/ http://www.prosnookerblog.com/2016/03/28/race-to-the-crucible-2016-live-blog/#comments Mon, 28 Mar 2016 14:41:24 +0000 http://www.prosnookerblog.com/?p=49161 Crucible

It has all come down to this – the 2016 China Open is now underway in Beijing, following which the world’s top 16 players will be guaranteed to appear at the Crucible stages of next month’s World Championship.

For a summary of how the position stood prior to the Monday’s action, please read my comprehensive blog at WPBSA.com, or continue reading below for the very latest position as the week progresses:

  • Click here to view the latest race to the Crucible

Race to the Crucible – 01/04/2016

15) Michael White – 190,033 (r64)

16) Stephen Maguire – 187,450 (SF)

————————————-

17) Ding Junhui – 183,425 (r128)

18) Liang Wenbo – 178,101 (r128)

19) Kyren Wilson – 174,899 (r32)

20) Ryan Day – 156,557 (r32)

21) Robert Milkins – 154,644 (r32)

22) David Gilbert – 154,433 (r16)

23) Matt Selt – 151,900 (r32)

24) Graeme Dott – 142,483 (r16)

 

Crucible draw

The position of the seeds in the draw at the 2016 World Championship will also be determined following the conclusion of the China, in accordance with the positions of the top 16 ranked players following the China Open.

The draw currently would look like this (updated 02/04/2016):

Stuart Bingham (1) / Qualifier

Stephen Maguire (16) / Qualifier

Ricky Walden (9) / Qualifier

John Higgins (8) / Qualifier

————————————

Judd Trump (5) / Qualifier

Martin Gould (12) / Qualifier

Mark Williams (13) / Qualifier

Neil Robertson (4) / Qualifier

————————————

Shaun Murphy (3) / Qualifier

Marco Fu (14) / Qualifier

Barry Hawkins (11) / Qualifier

Ronnie O’Sullivan (6) / Qualifier

————————————

Mark Allen (7) / Qualifier

Joe Perry (10) / Qualifier

Michael White (15) / Qualifier

Mark Selby (2) / Qualifier

 

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Gdynia Open 2016: Live Blog http://www.prosnookerblog.com/2016/02/23/gdynia-open-2016-live-blog/ http://www.prosnookerblog.com/2016/02/23/gdynia-open-2016-live-blog/#comments Tue, 23 Feb 2016 22:31:01 +0000 http://www.prosnookerblog.com/?p=48880 Gdynia1 copy

Although my blog has now largely moved over to WPBSA.com (watch this space for some exciting news on that front), this weekend I will be live blogging here at PSB throughout the professional stages of the crucial Gdynia Open.

Regular readers will be well aware of the importance of this event, with tour places, Players Championship places and World Grand Prix spots up for grabs, but if you are not sure, click here to read my comprehensive preview and pre-tournament analysis of all the key battles at WPBSA.com.

For the first time I will be making the trip to Gdynia to be able to bring you updates on the key matches and talking points…

  • Click here to view the draw for ET6
  • Click here to view the latest European Tour Order of Merit (after five events)

 

Latest in-running tour survival battle (leading players outside of the top 64 on the provisional end of season ranking list only):

 

Thor Chuan Leong – 5,925 (r16)

Ian Burns – 4,050 (r128)

Lee Walker – 3,750 (r64)

Mitchell Mann – 3,675 (r16)

Aditya Mehta – 3,000 (r128)

Scott Donaldson – 2,775 (r64)

Hammad Miah – 2,700 (r128) (AM)

Anthony Hamilton – 2,325 (r32)

————————————-

Liam Highfield – 2,250 (r16)

Joel Walker – 2,100 (r128)

Zak Surety – 1,950 (r128)

Michael Leslie – 1,950 (r128)

Ryan Causton – 1,725 (r16)

Peter Lines – 1,425 (r64)

Chris Melling – 1,425 (r128)

David Morris – 1,050 (r64)

In addition to these players, there are others who are currently just inside the top 64 on the two-year world ranking list, who will have an eye on this tournament as a safety net, in the event that they slip out of the top 64 between now and the end of the season.

These include (with their European Order of Merit totals): Gerard Greene (1,950), Stuart Carrington (5,775), Oliver Lines (4,875), Sam Baird (7,275), Yu Delu (1,050), David Grace (3,000)

(names crossed once out of the tournament)

 

Latest Players Championship Race (European List – Top 24)

Martin Gould – 10,425 (F)

David Gilbert – 7,350 (r32)

————————————-

Thor Chuan Leong – 5,925 (r16)

Mitchell Mann – 3,675 (r16)

Zhou Yuelong – 3,675 (r16)

Liam Highfield – 2,250 (r16)

Ryan Causton – 1,725 (r16)

 

Latest Players Championship Race (Combined list – Top 6 + Ding Junhui/Ricky Walden)

 

Jimmy Robertson – 8,000 (r64)

Sam Baird – 7,275 (r16)

Luca Brecel – 6,675 (r32)

Graeme Dott – 6,450 (r128)

Robert Milkins – 6,200 (r128)

Mark Davis – 6,150 (r64)

————————————-

Matt Selt – 6,000 (r32)

Thor Chuan Leong – 5,925 (r16) – NEEDS QUARTER-FINAL

Zhou Yuelong – 4,475 (r16) – NEEDS SEMI-FINAL

Mitchell Mann – 3,675 (r16) – NEEDS SEMI-FINAL

Liam Highfield – 2,250 (r16) – NEEDS FINAL

Ryan Causton – 1,725 (r16) – NEEDS FINAL

 

Latest World Grand Prix Race (Top 32 one year list)

Peter Ebdon – 34,425 (r64)

Stephen Maguire – 33,250 (r32)

————————————-

Rory McLeod – 30,700 (r16) – NEEDS SEMI-FINAL

Mark King – 26,750 (r16) – NEEDS TITLE

Zhou Yuelong – 23,475 (r16) – NEEDS TITLE

Andrew Higginson – 23,275 (SF) – NEEDS TITLE

Sunday Blog

17:57 – Big developments in Gdynia with the conclusion of today’s semi-finals within seconds of each other.

Stephen Maguire will hang on to the final place at the World Grand Prix following defeat for Andrew Higginson to Mark Selby.

Meanwhile, Martin Gould has snatched a place at the Players Championship, moving into the top 24 on the European Order of Merit by defeating Kyren Wilson to reach the final.

This means that Sam Baird drops out of the top 24, but will take his place through the combined European/Asian Order of merit, meaning that Matt Selt drops out of contention.

14:45Martin Gould keeps his hopes of a place at the Players Championship alive, beating Ben Woollaston to reach the semi-finals. One more win needed against either Kyren Wilson or Barry Hawkins to reach the final and qualify.

12:32 – Defeats for a number of the chasing pack this morning have left the various ranking battles relatively clear cut now as we approach the quarter-finals.

In respect of tour survival, with both Ryan Causton and Liam Highfield losing this morning, the top eight will now not change during the remainder of the weekend.

As far as the Players Championship list is concerned, only Martin Gould can now sneak into the combined list at the expense of Matt Selt, needing to win two more matches to do so.

Meanwhile defeat for Rory McLeod helps Stephen Maguire somewhat, with Mark King and Andrew Higginson now both needing to claim the title to edge the Scot out of contention to reach the World Grand Prix.

11:09 – Brilliant win last night against Ding Junhui, but Thor Chuan Leong is now out of the Gdynia Open, having lost 4-0 to Kyren Wilson this morning, meaning that the Malaysian will narrowly miss out on a place at the Players Championship.

11:01 – First result of the day is a comprehensive 4-0 victory for Andrew Higginson against Tom Ford, Higginson needing to win the title today if he is to sneak into the World Grand Prix.

01:03 – Some big results in Gdynia late this evening in respect of the various battles.

In terms of tour survival, amateur Ryan Causton has completed a fantastic day with victory against David Gilbert to reach the last 16 tomorrow. The result means that he now requires just one more victory against Ben Woollaston now to all but secure a place on the main tour for next season.

The same goes for Liam Highfield, who came back from 3-0 down to defeat Robin Hull 4-3 this evening and put himself one win away. for Liam however, his current position could yet be enough depending on other results this season, having climbed into ninth place on the list, however his fate would then be out of his own hands.

Meanwhile there was also a sensational 4-1 victory for Thor Chuan Leong against practice partner Ding Junhui, leaving the Malaysian player just one win away from reaching the Players Championship. Next up for him will be Kyren Wilson. Check out my interview with him here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=stYb27jkWlg

Finally in the battle to make it to the World Grand Prix, Stephen Maguire remains in 32nd place, with Rory McLeod needing two wins tomorrow to deprive him of a place in Llandudno.

Further back, Mark King, Zhou Yuelong and Andrew Higginson could also spoil things for the Scot with a run to the title.

Still plenty to play for!

Saturday Blog

20:10 – After the jockeying for position on Friday, today has been slightly more straight-forward with many of the players in contention losing early on.

The big movers so far have been Scott Donaldson and Kyren Wilson, who have effectively made sure of their tour card and Players Championship qualification respectively with their results.

Away from the ranking battles, Ryan Causton has performed impressively well to defeat Michael Leslie and Ryan Day, while Jamie Jones has also secured an impressive win against Shaun Murphy this evening.

Also worth following is Ding Junhui, who is looking to follow up his quarter-final run in Cardiff recently with a strong performance in Gdynia, as he looks to make certain of his place at the Crucible.

19:29 – Somewhat under the radar, Malaysia Thor Chuan Leong has won a second match today to retain an outside chance of qualifying for the Players Championship in Manchester, not to mention cement his position in the tour survival standings.

19:26 – Big win for Kyren Wilson this afternoon against Peter Lines, which sees him climb five places in the combined Euro/Asia list and into position to make it to the Players Championship at the expense of Alfie Burden.

Defeat for Lines on the other hand means that he will not gain a tour card via the European Order of Merit, so must finish back inside the top 64 of the official two-year world rankings if he is to avoid having to play in Q School in May.

14:32 – Check out my video round-up of day one with Lewis from World Snooker: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIfMeZbx2O0

14:28 – A big win for Scott Donaldson who moves from eigth to sixth in the race for main tour cards next season ahead of Hammad Miah and Anthony Hamilton. Stay tuned to @worldsnooker1 on Twitter for reaction from Scott shortly…

13:58 – Defeat for Stuart Bingham, the reigning world champion falls to Fraser Patrick, a result that leaves him unable to qualify to play at the Players Championship next month.

Elsewhere, Mark Joyce has also suffered defeat at the hands of Ryan Day, meaning that he is unable to qualify for the World Grand Prix. The result is a boost for Stephen Maguire whose position is strengthened.

12:55 – And that is Kyren Wilson off the mark with a 4-1 victory against Welsh rookie Duane Jones.

So far so good for Donaldson and Leslie, both currently 2-0 up in their must-win matches…

And also a notable 4-2 win for Dylan Craig against Oliver Lines, to keep his own chances of joining the World Snooker tour alive…

11:24 – A very impressive win for Peter Lines early on, he defeats Robert Milkins 4-1 to keep his hopes alive of a fresh tour card through the European Order of Merit, at least a last 16 run need if he is to do so. It doesn’t get any easier for him in the next round however, with potentially Kyren Wilson awaiting him…

11:07 – So what are the key matches today? In terms of tour survival, both Scott Donaldson and Michael Leslie are the men to follow as they take on Sydney Wilson and Ryan Causton respectively.

For the Players Championship, at the time of writing reigning world champion Stuart Bingham trails Fraser Patrick in a match that he has to win if he is to remain in contention to make it to Manchester. Similarly, Kyren Wilson and Stuart Carrington are also in need of results today if they are to make it.

Meanwhile in the battle to make it to the World Grand Prix, Mark Joyce knows that he needs to win three matches today if he is to make it at the expense of Stephen Maguire.

11:01 – Rounding up the late finishes on Friday, Anthony Hamilton was unable to make it three wins as he fell 4-2 to Mark King in the early hours. The result means that although he is currently in position to qualify in seventh place of those on the European Order of Merit, he could still be overtaken by players in action today.

Another potentially significant result last night was a 4-2 victory for Rory McLeod against Fergal O’Brien, which keeps McLeod’s hopes of a place at the World Grand Prix alive, a semi-final required if he is to make it there.

Friday Blog

22:38Mitchell Mann has rounded off a perfect day by defeating Jack Lisowski to guarantee himself a main tour card for next season via the European Order of Merit.

The other player to break into the top eight in the tour survival race was Anthony Hamilton, who has added the scalp of Peter Ebdon to that of Joel Walker to significantly boost his position.

Although he is not yet safe, at the time of writing Hamilton is locked at 1-1 with Mark King with the potential to improve still further.

21:10 – And after two good wins earlier, Stephen Maguire has been knocked out at the last 32 stage by Leicester’s Tom Ford, a comfortable 4-0 winner.

The result means that Maguire can now not improve upon 32nd place in the race to the World Grand Prix and so must hope that other results go his way tomorrow if he is to be in Manchester.

21:09 – Disappointment for local favourite Kacper Filipiak, but an important win for Andrew Higginson against the Polish player to consolidate his position in the race to qualify for the Players Championship.

19:06 – A 4-1 win for Stephen Maguire serves as a further boost to his bid to qualify for the World Grand Prix, although remaining in 32nd position on that list he is far from safe with two and a bit days to go here in Gdynia.

Next up for him will be a match against either Tom Ford or Sean O’Sullivan, the pair currently locked at 2-2.

18:55 – Further wins this evening for Luca Brecel and Sam Baird in the race to qualify for the Players Championship. Both players just inside the top 24 on the European list, as well as now being in position on the combined list if they were to drop out.

One for tomorrow, Stuart Bingham must now win at least one match if he is to qualify to play in Manchester, other players having moved ahead of him on both qualifying lists today.

18:08 – Important result in the battle for places at the Ladbrokes Players Championship as Mark Selby has defeated John Higgins 4-2 to leave the four-time world champion now unable to qualify for the event in Manchester.

17:52 – Important results during the last couple of hours here in Gdynia as Anthony Hamilton recovered from 2-0 down to defeat Joel Walker 4-2 and keep his hopes alive of a fresh two-year tour card via the European Order of Merit.

The former Crucible quarter-finalist began the event some £10,000 off the top 64 and so would have been targeting a run this weekend to move into contention on the European list.

While his single win so far is unlikely to be enough, victory against Peter Ebdon later this evening could be sufficient, as he would move ahead of Zak Surety, Joel Walker and Scott Donaldson as it currently stands.

16:17 – Notable defeats for Zak Surety and Gerard Greene, who will both now remain on 1,950 on the final European Order of Merit.

For Greene, the importance of him remaining inside the world’s top 64 at the end of the season is now increased, with the safety net of a tour place via the European Order of Merit now unlikely to be there. In fact with Ian Burns just £310 behind and due to play here in Gdynia tomorrow, Greene could find himself outside of the provisional top 64 before the conclusion of this event.

15:44 – And that’s a 4-2 win for Maguire against Stevens to leave closest chaser Mark Joyce needing at least two wins tomorrow now to put him out of the running for the World Grand Prix. By no means safe yet but it helps. Alfie Burden next up for the Scot.

Other players in and around the 32 mark for the World Grand Prix are also in action, including Peter Ebdon, Mark Davis and Rory McLeod.

Elsewhere, Anthony Hamilton and Joel Walker are three frames into their crucial opening round match, with both chasing fresh tour cards via the European list.

Gerard Greene too is far from safe and had found himself 3-1 down to local hope Kacper Filipiak, but has now taken the match to a decider…

13:52 – One of the biggest matches of the day is now underway, Stephen Maguire takes on Matthew Stevens with the Scot looking to make certain of a place at the Ladbrokes World Grand Prix next month.

Currently just £125 ahead of Mark Joyce who gets underway on Saturday, the Scot will be looking to put as much distance between himself and the chasing pack as he can today…

13:28Mark Selby wins 4-2 against amateur Joe Roberts, who gave him a bit of scare coming back from 3-0 down. He looked pretty safe anyway but that surely absolutely guarantees his place at the Players Championship. John Higgins awaits in a tasty second round match, with the Scot needing to win to remain in contention to qualify for Manchester.

12:54 – Important win for Matt Selt in respect of his hopes of qualifying for the Players Championship next month – he moves into the top six currently on course to claim a place through the ‘combined’ European and Asian Order of Merit. Still work to do here in Gdynia though you feel.

12:28: HUGE win for Mitchell Mann potentially as he wins the last two frames against Sanderson Lam to boost his chances of staying on tour. He climbs from tied eighth to sixth of the eight players currently in line to claim a new two-year card.

12:27Sam Baird comfortably sees off amateur Joshua Baddeley to move into the second round and provisionally at least, into the top 24 on the European Order of Merit at the expense of Stuart Bingham.

12:07 – And a big win for Luca Brecel who edges out Joe Swail 4-3 to boost his chances of qualifying for the Players Championship. He came into this event tied for 24th position with Andrew Higginson, so as it stands at least, moves up a couple of places.

11:38 – Great win for Rhys Clark, he knocks out 2006 world champion Graeme Dott to reach the last 64. Dott is now slightly vulnerable in the race for places at the Players Championship, although one would expect him to take a place through the combined list, if he were to drop out of the top 24 on the European Order of Merit. Watch this space.

11:04 – Our first winner of the day is Jack Lisowski, who has defeated Cao Yupeng 4-2. The result means that provisionally 70th on the provisional end of season list, Cao must now have a strong finish to the season if he is to break back into the top 64 and retain his tour status for 2016/17.

9:36 – Friday morning in Gdynia and the first matches of the day are now underway.

The biggest story from the remaining amateur rounds on Friday evening came as Hammad Miah fell to Jamie Clarke in the final qualifying round, meaning that he is now unable to add to his Order of Merit tally of 2,700.

Currently sitting in fifth place of the eight in line to earn a two-year tour card, he looks to be relatively well placed, but will be keeping a close eye on the results of those immediately below him.

The main matches of interest this morning involve the qualification race for the Players Championship, with Graeme Dott and in particular Luca Brecel looking to make sure of their places in the competition.

In respect of the tour survival battle meanwhile, Mitchell Mann is also in action against Sanderson Lam, Mann being one of three players currently tied for the eighth and final tour place available.

Thursday Blog

18:04 – We are now well into the final day of the amateur qualifiers here in Gdynia and at the time of writing most of those in relatively close contention for a tour spot are still in action. Hammad Miah takes on recent European Championship runner-up Jamie Clarke this evening in the match of the evening, while both Joe Roberts and Dylan Craig also remain in the event.

Elsewhere, a look ahead to tomorrow and towards some of the matches to keep a particular eye on.

In respect of the battle for tour places, perhaps the most interesting first round match on paper is that between Anthony Hamilton and Joel Walker, both players who look unlikely to finish inside the top 64 and so will be eyeing a run in Poland.

Hammad Miah is another who will potentially be in action if he can come through his final amateur qualifier this evening, while Zak Surety, Mitchell Mann and Gerard Greene will all be looking to add to their totals of 1,950 and break away from that tie for eighth place.

Turning to the World Grand Prix and in fact most of the players in and around the cut-off point of 32nd will be in action. These include 32nd placed Stephen Maguire, who takes on fellow UK Championship winner Matthew Stevens in a tricky opening round match, as well as Peter Ebdon (31st), Mark Davis (34th) and Rory McLeod (35th).

For Maguire, he will be looking to build up as big an advantage as possible over closest challenger Mark Joyce, before he gets underway against Ryan Day on Saturday.

Finally, in respect of the Players Championship one of the biggest matches to keep an eye on is that between John Higgins and potentially Mark Selby at the last 64 stage tomorrow, Higgins in particular needing to go on a run here in Gdynia to qualify.

Both men currently sharing a tie for 24th place (Andrew Higginson and Luca Brecel) are also in action on Friday, while again Peter Ebdon and Matt Selt will be amongst those looking to force their way into the combined list tomorrow.

11:10 – Today sees the continuation of the amateur rounds at the 2016 Gdynia Open, with the professionals set to join the fray tomorrow.

In respect of the various ranking battles detailed above, at the time of writing the most notable development is that amateur George Pragnall has already fallen, meaning that he will not be able to gain a main tour card through the European Order of Merit.

A reminder also that India’s Aditya Mehta has also withdrawn from the event, so although he currently sits in place to earn a two-year tour card through the European Order of Merit, he will not be adding to his total of 3,000 during this week’s event.

 

Top photograph courtesy of Arkadiusz Pieńkos

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A New Beginning http://www.prosnookerblog.com/2015/11/25/a-new-beginning/ http://www.prosnookerblog.com/2015/11/25/a-new-beginning/#comments Wed, 25 Nov 2015 13:22:36 +0000 http://www.prosnookerblog.com/?p=48492 crucible

Little did I know back in August 2008 when I started Pro Snooker Blog that it would go on to be the start of something that would change my life, but over seven years on it is now no exaggeration to say that.

With that in mind, today I have some important news for everyone who reads this site. I am delighted to announce that I have been offered and have accepted a full-time position at the WPBSA.

This does mean that there will be changes in respect of PSB, however you need not fear because I will still be working hard to provide the same service that I have during the past seven years and much more going forwards.

While I very much see this as not the end, but rather a new beginning, I do want to take a moment to reflect on how snooker has changed since PSB launched and to thank some of the people who have helped me along the way.

I can’t remember exactly when I first became a snooker fan, there is no one match or tournament that stands out in my mind as a moment that drew me in. It is just something that I always remember being there as a child growing up in the 1990s.

It was not until 2005 however that I first attended a professional tournament, the World Championship at the Crucible Theatre. At the time speculation was rife that it would be the last to be held in Sheffield and I remember wanting to see as much as possible, expecting that it would be my one and only chance to do so.

No doubt that I had not expected to enjoy the experience as much as I did however. It was not just the action on the table, but it was the accessibility of the players, the atmosphere and meeting some of the fans who have since gone on to become good friends.

The announcement of a contract extension with the Sheffield City Council that came towards the end of the first week of the event meant that I would be certain to return and indeed I have not missed a year since.

It was not until 2008 however that I decided to start a blog. Partly inspired by a couple of friends who had started similar blogs on other sports, partly by a poor written article at one particular sports website (McGuire anyone?) and partly by having a lot of spare time at that point, PSB was born.

I was surprised by how quickly interest built up, but it has to be remembered that at the time, there were very few serious snooker websites on the internet. Twitter was not yet around and aside from Dave Hendon’s Snooker Scene Blog, Janie Watkins’ Global Snooker Centre and the official World Snooker site, there was very little of note.

Over the next couple of years, a few people within the game became aware of the site, but it very much remained the blog of an outsider looking in at a time when actual snooker tournaments remained something of a rarity.

Of course that would all change in 2010, with the return of Barry Hearn to the game and the beginning of the snooker revolution that we have since seen.

Part of those changes was the shift to a rolling ranking list, complete with seeding cut-offs for particular tournaments. The rankings were something that I had always followed, using the ‘provisional’ lists updated by Janie Watkins throughout the 2000s.

At the time of the introduction of rolling rankings there was very little information in terms of the specifics of how this change would actually work. As it turned out, my interpretation was technically wrong, yet in terms of the information that fans and most notably the players themselves wanted, it was to prove popular – and still does.

Since then, I have been lucky enough to be accepted into snooker’s media room and experience professional tournaments from an entirely new perspective. When I first started the blog I never imagined that even one professional player would read what I was writing, let alone that I would ever get to meet some of them properly and in some cases become friends with them socially.

I first met Jason Ferguson at the South West Snooker Academy around three years ago, the WPBSA Chairman on hand to present yet another trophy to the weekend’s champion and I remember immediately being convinced that he was the right person to help take the sport forward.

For many years now it has been my primary goal to help better publicise the sport and to make fellow fans aware of information that they might not otherwise be aware of. Through PSB I like to think that I have been able to do that to some degree and now with Jason and the rest of the team, I hope to be able to take this to the next level.

In terms of those who have helped support the blog throughout the years and those within the snooker world, I could list names for a couple of hours and still not be anywhere close.

To all of the fellow bloggers, journalists, players and most importantly readers who I have interacted with, it has been very much appreciated and I hope that you will all continue to follow my updates in the future.

A special mention however must go to Joanne Ballantyne, who for a number of years now has painstaking helped me to maintain a number of the ranking lists here at PSB, for no personal reward or incentive.

The future

As I said at the top of the article, there are going to be changes as a result of this announcement and more details will be available in due course.

Due to entirely unrelated technical issues with the website, service is going to be affected over the coming days in any event, however I will continue to blog throughout the UK Championship at http://www.wpbsa.com/blog and of course on Twitter.

The various provisional ranking lists will be updated and accessible here.

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Provisional Ranking List Links http://www.prosnookerblog.com/2015/11/24/provisional-ranking-list-links/ http://www.prosnookerblog.com/2015/11/24/provisional-ranking-list-links/#comments Tue, 24 Nov 2015 12:14:26 +0000 http://www.prosnookerblog.com/?p=48499 In view of the current technical issues with the site, please find below the relevant links to the important ranking lists to following throughout the Betway UK Championship:

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Site Maintenance http://www.prosnookerblog.com/2015/11/21/site-maintenance/ http://www.prosnookerblog.com/2015/11/21/site-maintenance/#respond Sat, 21 Nov 2015 14:50:50 +0000 http://www.prosnookerblog.com/?p=48485 Next Tuesday will see the start of the UK Championship and as ever I will be on site to report on all of the action from snooker’s second biggest ranking event.

As you may have noticed in recent days however, not all has been well here at PSB from a technical point of view and although the timing might not be the best, there will be an element of maintenance here over the coming days which will limit my ability to blog as much as I would like.

Please bear with me!

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Entry Deadline This Week For WDBS Event http://www.prosnookerblog.com/2015/11/16/entry-deadline-this-week-for-wdbs-event/ http://www.prosnookerblog.com/2015/11/16/entry-deadline-this-week-for-wdbs-event/#respond Mon, 16 Nov 2015 14:49:45 +0000 http://www.prosnookerblog.com/?p=48480 SWSA1

Later this month, Gloucester’s South West Snooker Academy will host the first event to be staged by the new World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) body.

The WDBS has been created by the WPBSA, with the help of the English Federation of Disability Sport and aims to encourage the participation of people with disabilities in cue sports.

The first event, known as the 2015 Open Disability Snooker Championship, will run on the weekend of 28-29 November 2015 and feature five different disability classification groups.

There will also be a free open day at the venue on Friday 27th November 2015, with coaching provided by Tim Squires from 2pm and an evening appearance by ITV daytime star Jeremy Kyle.

Although the event will be the first under the organisation of the WDBS, it may surprise some to read that there has been a long history of disability cue sports, with snooker being a part of the Paralympic Games as recently as 1988.

With the exception of 1980, snooker was in fact a part of the event every year from the inaugural Games held in Rome back in 1960, to the last occasion in Seoul where Great Britain’s Mike Langley defeated Ireland’s Michael White to take the gold medal.

Whether potential entrants in Gloucester might be aspiring Paralympians or simply find enjoyment from being able to play snooker and would like to do so with like-minded people, all are welcome and encouraged to come along to Gloucester at the end of the month.

For more information about the event including how to enter, click here to visit the new WDBS website.

You can also keep a track of news and information via Twitter, by following @wdbsofficial

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Robertson is the Champion of Champions http://www.prosnookerblog.com/2015/11/15/robertson-is-the-champion-of-champions/ http://www.prosnookerblog.com/2015/11/15/robertson-is-the-champion-of-champions/#comments Sun, 15 Nov 2015 22:50:47 +0000 http://www.prosnookerblog.com/?p=48476 IMG_20151115_220207

Neil Robertson is the winner of the 2015 Champion of Champions, after he saw off Mark Allen 10-5 this evening to win his biggest event in nearly two years at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry.

Having taken a 6-3 lead following the afternoon session, it appeared as though we might be in for an early finish as the Australian won the first two frames of the evening session to move just two away from the magical target of ten.

Closing out victory would not be so straight-forward for Robertson however as Allen came back from behind to close to 8-4, before quickly adding the next to keep his hopes alive heading into the final mid-session interval.

A marathon, low-scoring frame followed and despite both having a number of chances, it was ultimately Robertson who was able to take it on the colours and from that point there would only be one winner.

His first title of the season and biggest win financially since he completed snooker’s triple crown at the 2013 UK Championship, the victory marks a return to form for Robertson after a slow start to the season by his standards.

There were signs of his game beginning to come together at the recent International Championship in Daqing and this week he improved throughout the competition to take a deserved win in Coventry.

With a significant amount of prize money to defend at the upcoming UK Championship, Neil will need another good tournament at the Barbican Centre if he is to retain his current ranking, but that is for another day and he should enjoy his victory at what is becoming one of the biggest events on the calendar.

As for Allen, inevitable disappointment to have lost, but a dignified speech from him in the arena and a good week all in all, which saw him win ten matches dating back to the start of the Bulgarian Open, until his defeat tonight.

Overall, I enjoyed the event and the return of snooker to terrestrial television for the first time since the World Championship back in May. Yes, the standard was perhaps not the best and arguably a few too many big names went out early on than would have been ideal for the viewer, but there were still a few good matches and a deserving winner at the end of the week.

Next up for some players will be the General Cup in Hong Kong this week, but for most attention now turns to the UK Championship, beginning in nine days time…

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Allen Through To Face Robertson In Coventry http://www.prosnookerblog.com/2015/11/14/allen-through-to-face-robertson-in-coventry/ http://www.prosnookerblog.com/2015/11/14/allen-through-to-face-robertson-in-coventry/#respond Sat, 14 Nov 2015 23:58:32 +0000 http://www.prosnookerblog.com/?p=48474 Allen3

Having qualified to play at the 2015 Champion of Champions at the final opportunity last week in Sofia, Mark Allen is now through to the final in Coventry, following a 6-3 victory against Kyren Wilson in tonight’s second semi-final.

He will now play Australia’s Neil Robertson in tomorrow’s two session final, after the world number three saw off friend and practice partner Joe Perry 6-4 earlier on this afternoon.

Without going into full match report territory today (not least as I missed a couple of frames of each match), despite having dropped the opening frame, Allen generally looked good and took control of the match with a four-frame streak to lead 4-1.

Kyren did battle back to 3-4, but a protracted eighth frame which saw the reds pushed to the left-hand side of the table eventually went Mark’s way and from then on there was only going to be one winner.

Robertson meanwhile looked as impressive as he ever has in terms of his long game, but despite a flawless total clearance of 144, a few unexpected misses perhaps took the edge off his performance.

What today leaves us is an intriguing final in prospect between a player looking to kick start his season after a quiet start and another looking to win an overdue big event on UK soil for the first time.

They have had close matches before at the Masters, but the past meeting that stands out the most for me would be their last 16 clash at the 2014 World Championship. During the first two sessions of that match I felt that it was Allen who had the upper hand, but a number of incredible clearances kept Robertson ahead at 9-7 and his performance during the third session was as good as you could ever hope to see.

On paper, Robertson will start as favourite and justifiably so given his track record, but taking into account Allen’s current ten match winning streak over the past week and his more impressive form in Coventry so far this week, there is little to choose between the two.

Both are players that I particularly enjoy watching of the current generation and hopefully they will provide a classic final tomorrow, to conclude what has been an interesting week, if perhaps not the best in terms of the overall standard.

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