Former pros home in on main tour return

With 72 of the 96 players who will make up the tour next season now confirmed, attention turns to the remaining places, most of which will be made up of players stepping up to the tour from the amateur scene. It is clear though that a fair few of these will be former professionals who will be returning for another go at making it at the highest level…

Barring something very unusual happening between now and the end of the season we now know 71 of the 72 players who will retain their spot on the main tour next season, with either Atthasit Mahitthi or David Gray fighting over the remaining spot. Furthermore we also know that IBSF champion Thepchaiya Un-Nooh will join the tour and become the latest player from Thailand to attempt to emulate the success of James Wattana back in the 1990’s.

For a reminder of how the main tour is made up, please click here to read my previous post.

So what is the latest? Two events have come to a conclusion this week which will have a bearing on 10 of those 24 remaining spaces…


With event six coming to a conclusion last week we are a step closer to knowing who the eight players to be promoted from the PIOS will be. It certainly looks good for Xiao Guodong who in winning his second event, now tops the standings and with 650 points, will surely finish in the top eight. Xiao of course was on the tour last season so will know what he has to contend with and hopefully will be able to retain his place this time, as his compatriot Jin Long has done this season.

Similarly Bjorn Haneveer in second place looks well-placed to return to the tour as well, while event three winner Craig Steadman finally looks like stepping up to the main tour. Having narrowly lost out to David Grace in a deciding frame last season in the final of the European Championship which would have given him a tour place, Steadman has been knocking on the door for a while and it will be good to see what he can do.

Below that, Shokat Ali, Chris Norbury, Noppadol Sangnil, Stephen Rowlings and Mitchell Mann complete the top eight as it stands, though with two events to go I would suggest that all have a bit of work to do if they are to be sure of staying there. There are a further nine players within 100 points of 8th placed Mann and with 300 points available for an event win so all is still to play for, particularly when you see names like Anthony McGill, Alfie Burden and slightly further back, Jack Lisowski in the chasing pack.

EASB Pro-Ticket Tour 2008/9

Away from Pontin’s, another route to the main tour is the EASB Pro-Ticket Tour and with event five coming to a conclusion last weekend, things are looking good for Jimmy Robertson, another man looking to bounce back immediately and onto the main tour. There is a very useful article here on the most recent event which makes clear that the number one will be promoted to the main tour (as Wayne Cooper was last season), while there will be a play-off between those finishing between 2-33, which last year was won by Andy Lee who finished 6th on the list.

The rankings on the EASB website here are now slightly out of date, but you can see a number of familiar names among the top positions there, again the likes of Steadman, Burden and Norbury doing well as they are in the PIOS.

Current EASB Pro-Ticket Tour standings: 1 Jimmy Robertson (Bexhill) 806pts, 2 Stuart Carrington (Grimsby) 727, 3 Sean Bullock (Woking) 610, 4 Alfie Burden (London) 456, 5 Michael Wild (Oldham) 429.