WPBSA announces Pro Challenge Series

Interesting news today as World Snooker have announced a new ‘Pro Challenge Series’ which will see seven new events created during the upcoming season…

To read more on this development, please click here to visit World Snooker and here to read David Hendon’s take on it.

In a nutshell however, the key points are as follows:

  • Seven new events will be created and contested over the course of the next season
  • These events will not carry ranking points
  • Four of the events will be played with the standard 15 reds, while three will use the six-red format trialled recently at the World Championship
  • The events will be open to all of the 96 professional players
  • The winners of the 15 red events will pocket £5,000 while the winners of the six-red events will take £3,000
  • Venues already announced are the Northern Snooker Centre in Leeds and Pontin’s, Prestatyn.

The calendar is as follows:

Pro Challenge 1
28-30 July
Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds

Pro Challenge 2 – Super Sixes
31 August – 1 September
Pontin’s, Prestatyn

Pro Challenge 3
9-11 November
Venue tbc

Pro Challenge 4
4-6 January
Venue tbc

Pro Challenge 5
16-18 February
Venue tbc

Pro Challenge 6 – Super Sixes
16-17 March
Venue tbc

Pro Challenge 7 – Super Sixes
8-9 April
Venue tbc

I have now added these details to my calendar page and will update the venues as and when they are announced.

Initial Impressions

My early impressions of the event are positive as while it would be nice to see more ranking events on the calendar, these events are possibly the next best thing as they give the players the chance to get some competitive match action, and the fans the chance to see the players close up.

In particular I think that this is good news for the players further down the rankings who having graduated to the main tour this season, face a season in which they could play just six matches if they were to lose in the first round of each ranking event. As one professional recently told me, he is preparing to play the least snooker ever during a season! Hopefully however this may change that and at least give them a chance to keep their game sharp and also win some all-important prize money.

It will be interesting to see which venues will host the final five events of the season, hopefully they will be adventurous with it and resist staging the majority of the events at Prestatyn which already has the PIOS and the Pro Am Series to keep it occupied. The Northern Snooker Centre in Leeds appears to be a good choice, not least because I will be able to go and watch, but it would also be good to see an event in London for example, which apart from the Masters is sorely lacking an event.

So what are your thoughts? Is this a good idea? Where else should be chosen to host an event?