Pro Snooker Blog Sun, 07 Feb 2016 00:39:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 A New Beginning Wed, 25 Nov 2015 13:22:36 +0000 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 and of course on Twitter.

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

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Provisional Ranking List Links Tue, 24 Nov 2015 12:14:26 +0000 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 Sat, 21 Nov 2015 14:50:50 +0000 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 Mon, 16 Nov 2015 14:49:45 +0000 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 Sun, 15 Nov 2015 22:50:47 +0000 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 Sat, 14 Nov 2015 23:58:32 +0000 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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EBSA Order of Merit 2015: Event Four Update Fri, 13 Nov 2015 01:09:46 +0000 Miah250

As was the case last season, alongside the European Order of Merit will run an EBSA Order of Merit, on which amateurs will be awarded points, with the top 16 after six events qualifying for a play-off event next spring.

Two players from that event will earn two-year tour cards from the start of the 2016/17 season, following in the footsteps of last season’s qualifiers Martin Donnell and Sanderson Lam.

Click below to see how the list looks after four events…

What is it?

As detailed within the player’s pack for each of the six European Tour events staged this season:

“A separate EBSA Order of Merit for amateur players will be compiled from points earned across the 6 Kreativ Dental Clinic European Tour events. The Top 16 players on the EBSA Order of Merit at the end of the 6 events will qualify for the end of season EBSA Play Offs where they will compete for the 2 tour places.”

How does it Work?

As was the case last season, the system will operate as follows:

  • World Snooker will produce an Order of Merit to be compiled of points from all 6 European Tour Events
  • 10 Points will be allocated for each match won in relation to both matches in pre-qualifying stages and Main Event stages.
  • Where a Player is seeded through to a later round of qualifying and they win their first ‘seeded match’ they will receive not only the 10 points for that match but also the 10 points per round for each of the rounds that they were seeded through.
  • Where a Player is seeded through to a later round of qualifying, and they lose their first ‘seeded match’ they will be allocated 0 points for that match and 0 points for the round(s) that they were seeded through.

Current Standings

Although there are some 257 players currently on the list, for the time being I have just included the players who have so far earned points…


# NAME ET1 ET2 ET3 ET4 ET5 ET6 Total
1 Hammad Miah
40 50 40 0 0 130
2 Ashley Hugill
20 30 30 20 0 0 100
3 Sam Craigie
30 40 20 0 0 90
4 Mateusz Baranowski
0 40 30 20 0 0 90
5 Sam Thistlewhite
20 30 30 10 0 0 90
6 Elliot Slessor
30 30 20 0 0 80
7 Nico Elton
0 40 20 20 0 0 80
8 Phil O’Kane
20 20 20 20 0 0 80
9 Richard Beckham
20 30 10 20 0 0 80
10 Christopher Keogan
20 30 10 20 0 0 80
11 Adam Duffy
20 30 20 0 0 70
12 Josh Boileau
20 30 20 0 0 70
13 Joe O’Connor
20 10 20 20 0 0 70
14 Ryan Causton
10 30 10 20 0 0 70
15 Jamie Rhys Clarke
20 20 10 20 0 0 70
16 Kishan Hirani
20 20 30 0 0 0 70
17 Alex Borg
20 20 30 0 0 0 70
18 Joe Roberts
30 0 30 0 0 60
19 Jurian Heusdens
20 0 20 20 0 0 60
20 Alexander Ursenbacher
20 30 10 0 0 60
21 Ashley Carty
0 30 30 0 0 0 60
22 Brendan O’Donoghue
0 30 20 0 0 50
23 Andreas Ploner
20 0 10 20 0 0 50
24 Tomasz Skalski
30 0 0 20 0 0 50
25 Joe Steele
20 20 0 10 0 0 50
26 Lukas Kleckers
30 10 0 10 0 0 50
27 Michael Collumb
0 20 30 0 0 0 50
28 Damian Wilks
20 0 30 0 0 0 50
29 Kacper Filipiak
0 30 20 0 0 0 50
30 Ben Jones
0 30 20 0 0 0 50
31 Brian Cini
0 30 20 0 0 0 50
32 Thomas Rees
20 30 0 0 0 0 50
33 Sascha Lippe
10 0 40 0 0 50
34 Julian Mills
20 10 20 0 0 50
35 Felix Frede
0 20 20 0 0 40
36 Oliver Brown
0 20 20 0 0 40
37 Michael Williams
20 0 20 0 0 40
38 Robin Otto
20 0 10 10 0 0 40
39 Alex Taubman
0 30 0 10 0 0 40
40 Joshua Cooper
30 0 10 0 0 40
41 Marc J Davis
30 10 0 0 40
42 Jake Nicholson
10 30 0 0 0 0 40
43 Mohammaed Rangzib
40 0 0 40
44 Callum Lloyd
20 0 20 0 0 40
45 George Pragnall
30 0 0 30
46 Marcin Nitschke
30 0 0 30
47 Mark Owens
10 20 0 0 30
48 Adam King
10 0 20 0 0 30
49 Simon Lichtenberg
10 0 20 0 0 30
50 Adam Edge
0 10 10 10 0 0 30
51 Brandon Sargeant
10 10 10 0 0 30
52 Dessie Sheehan
10 10 0 10 0 0 30
53 Ross Higgins
30 0 0 0 30
54 Charlie Walters
20 10 0 0 0 30
55 Alain van der Steen
30 0 0 30
56 Charlie Sweeney
10 20 0 0 30
57 Maris Volajs
10 20 0 0 30
58 Michael Heeger
20 10 0 0 30
59 Stephane Ochoiski
30 0 0 0 30
60 Patrick Einsle
30 0 0 30
61 Andres Petrov
30 0 0 30
62 Jeff Cundy
30 0 0 30
63 Lewis Gillen
0 20 0 0 20
64 Bratislav Krustev
20 0 0 20
65 John Parkin
0 20 0 0 20
66 Peter Devlin
20 0 0 20
67 Jeff Jacobs
0 10 0 10 0 0 20
68 Adam Longley
20 0 0 0 0 20
69 Daniel Schneider
20 0 0 0 0 20
70 Rodion Judin
20 0 0 0 20
71 Dean Sheridan
20 0 0 20
72 Dennis Deroose
20 0 0 20
73 Fozan Masood
20 0 0 20
74 Gary Lees
20 0 0 20
75 Joshua Baddeley
20 0 0 20
76 Robert Czupryniak
20 0 0 20
77 Nck Jennings
10 10 0 0 20
78 Thomas Hein
10 10 0 0 20
79 Conor McCormack
0 20 0 0 0 20
80 Thomas Barton
0 20 0 0 0 20
81 Wan Chooi Tan
20 0 0 0 20
82 Zack Richardson
20 0 0 0 0 20
83 Andreas Hartung
20 0 0 20
84 Chris Norbury
20 0 0 20
85 Dennis Furrer
20 0 0 20
86 Saqib Nasir
10 10 0 0 20
87 Anna Prisjaznuka
20 0 0 20
88 Josh Mulholland
20 0 0 20
89 Lewis John Calcutt
20 0 0 20
90 Roman Dietzel
20 0 0 20
91 Sam Harvey
20 0 0 20
92 David Davidkov
10 0 0 10
93 Nicholas Roberts
10 0 0 10
94 Nikola Kemilev
10 0 0 10
95 Robbie Purdham
0 10 0 0 10
96 Sam Betts
10 0 0 10
97 Spasian Spasov
10 0 0 10
98 Teodor Chomovski
10 0 0 10
99 Chris Jones
10 0 0 0 10
100 Patrick Whelan
0 10 0 0 0 10
101 Christopher Harrison
10 0 0 10
102 Frans Veling
10 0 0 10
103 Gary Thomson
10 0 0 10
104 Habib Shalchian
10 0 0 10
105 James Silverwood
10 0 0 10
106 Johny Moermans
10 0 0 10
107 Michael Schnabel
0 10 0 0 10
108 Miro Popovic
0 10 0 0 10
109 Phuntsok Jaegers
0 10 0 0 10
110 Aleksandr Kurgankov
10 0 0 0 10
111 Kevin Chan
10 0 0 0 10
112 Marvin Losi
10 0 0 0 10
113 Paul Schopf
10 0 0 0 10
114 Andrew Doherty
10 0 0 10
115 Anthony Jeffers
10 0 0 10
116 Gerry Egger
10 0 0 10
117 Heath Williams
10 0 0 10
118 Keishin Kamihashi
10 0 0 10
119 Luca Kaufmann
10 0 0 10
120 Luke Garland
10 0 0 10
121 Ralf Gunzel
10 0 0 10
122 Sascha Breuer
10 0 0 0 10
123 Scott Lyons
10 0 0 10
124 Shachar Ruberg
10 0 0 0 10
125 Shannon Dixon
10 0 0 10
126 Simon Dent
10 0 0 10
127 Thomas Frank
10 0 0 10
128 Tony Corrigan
0 10 0 0 10
129 Vilius Schulte-Ebbert
10 0 0 10


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Bingham and Trump Take On West Ham Duo in Snooker Shoot Out Thu, 12 Nov 2015 19:15:30 +0000

As we build-up to the start of the 2015 Betway UK Championship in a couple of weeks time, last year’s runner-up Judd Trump and reigning world champion Stuart Bingham caught up with West Ham duo Andy Carroll and Carl Jenkinson for a special Snooker Shoot-out.

You can watch the video above and click here for more photos at the website of official tournament sponsor Betway.

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Wilson First Through To Coventry Semis Wed, 11 Nov 2015 00:17:45 +0000 Wilson4

World number 22 Kyren Wilson is the first man through to the semi-finals of the Champion of Champions in Coventry on a day that saw group favourites Judd Trump and Stuart Bingham fall by the conclusion of the first session.

Kyren came into the opening day of the Champion of Champions as third favourite to progress with most neutral observers, but despite making his debut at the big money event in Coventry, looked to be immediately comfortable in his surroundings.

This evening he saw off young Chinese talent Zhou Yuelong 6-3 and despite having dropped the opening frame, looked to be in command for the majority of the match.

His young opponent battled hard to close to 2-3 and 3-4, but perhaps understandably given his age showed signs of fatigue as the evening wore on and Kyren was able to win the last two frames to book his place in the semi-finals on Saturday.

I was particularly impressed with him as it is often the case with young players after a career-high triumph that they can struggle for a period afterwards before subsequently coming again, but Kyren looks to have brought his confidence from Shanghai to the Ricoh Arena.

That is not to say that he will not have to improve if he is to win the title at the weekend, but nonetheless he was impressive today and showed why it will not be long before he will be up into the world’s top 16.

Earlier in the day, Kyren’s opening match saw him come up against Judd Trump in a repeat of their final at the Shanghai Masters back in September.

Despite recent surprising defeats at the International Championship qualifiers and the Ruhr Open, Trump came into the match as a warm favourite and hit an impressive break of 104 to draw level at 2-2 in the middle part of the match.

That century aside however, it was Kyren who looked to be the more comfortable of the two and a big turning point in the match would come during the following frame. Having potted a good long red, Trump attempted to roll up behind the brown with the cue ball, only to fall short and ultimately played a wild shot to escape from the self-imposed snooker.

Left in amongst the reds, Wilson duly punished Trump for his moment of frustration with a frame-winning 78 and would go on to claim a 4-2 victory in the next frame.

His final opponent Zhou Yuelong meanwhile had already seen off reigning world champion Stuart Bingham, who was unable to kick start his season following recent close defeats.

From an early stage he looked to be struggling and almost fell 2-0 behind, before an impressive clearance saw him draw level and looked to have turned the match in his favour as he added the next two for 3-1.

Although he had chances to get over the line however, Zhou showed impressive resolve to fight back to force a decider, before eventually clinching the match with a break of 62.

While the 17-year-old’s shot selection looked to be questionable and his missed more shots than he can afford with the rest during both matches, there were nonetheless a number of flashes of the talent that has helped him up into the top 64 of the world rankings.

The experience in Coventry will no doubt prove invaluable (not least of wearing a tie) and he can take a lot of positives from his day at the Champion of Champions.

But what of Stuart Bingham? There was much talk of his ‘poor’ start to the new season during today’s coverage, but until now I had felt that such criticism was harsh at such an early stage of the season, particularly as he reached the semi-finals of the Shanghai Masters in September.

While I do not think that he should be overly concerned at this stage, clearly his recent narrow defeats are playing on his mind at the moment (he admitted as much post-match) and he will be hoping to re-establish himself at the UK Championship in a couple of weeks, having reached the semi-finals in York during each of the last two seasons.

Next up in Coventry though we will see John Higgins and Joe Perry look to fight back for the seeds tomorrow, with Ali Carter and Michael White providing their opposition respectively.

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Gibraltar Open: Draw and Format Available Tue, 10 Nov 2015 19:57:48 +0000 Ding1

Whilst the action began this afternoon at the Champion of Champions event in Coventry, World Snooker also released the draw for next month’s Gibraltar Open which you can access here.

Eyes will be drawn towards the bottom of the draw where Shaun Murphy has been drawn against Ding Junhui in the opening round, despite both currently being ranked inside the world’s top 16.

This is of course because European Tour events are seeded on the basis of the European Order of Merit, not the official world ranking list and to make the section even more difficult, the winner could face a second round match with world champion Stuart Bingham.

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