Premier League Snooker 2012: Format and Line-up Announced

Following the decision of defending champion and ten-times event winner Ronnie O’Sullivan not to compete in the competition this year, World Snooker have today confirmed the full line-up for the 2012 Premier League, as well as the groups and playing schedule…

The Players

Brazil Masters Champion: Shaun Murphy
UK Champion: Judd Trump
Masters Champion: Neil Robertson
Shanghai Masters Champion: Mark Selby
Australian Goldfields Open Champion: Stuart Bingham
Championship League Winner: Ding Junhui
China Open Champion: Peter Ebdon
World Open Champion: Mark Allen
PTC Grand Final Champion: Stephen Lee
Wildcard: John Higgins

With eight of the players already confirmed, World Snooker have today confirmed that the final two places will be made up by Shaun Murphy and John Higgins, as Brazil Masters champion and a wildcard pick respectively.

While I would not argue with the quality of either player, I am slightly surprised as I had expected Mark Williams and Stephen Maguire to be in with a shout according to ranking, particularly given that this is a World Snooker sanctioned event. Stephen in particular can feel hard done by given his performances in ranking event competition last season, reaching two finals as well as the last four at the Crucible.

As I say however, it is hard to argue too much with the inclusion of a couple of world champions.

The Rules

  • There will be ten players in the competition, split into two groups of five
  • The five players in each group will play each other once, with the top two in each group progressing to the play-offs at the end of the league stage
  • Each league match is played over the best of six frames, with one point for a draw, two points for a win available
  • The semi-finals will be played over the best of nine frames, the final over the best of 13 frames
  • There will be a 25 second shot clock in operation, with two time extensions permitted per frame
  • The eventual champion will receive £50,000. There will be £1,000 available for each frame won, with an additional £1,000 for each century break

As I expressed following the publication of the rules, for me the format is much-improved upon what was for me a very disappointing edition in 2011 and is a return to something bearing a closer resemblance to that in existence between 2005-2010.

The Groups

Group One:
Ding Junhui
Shaun Murphy
Stuart Bingham
Mark Selby
Neil Robertson

Group Two:
Judd Trump
Stephen Lee
Peter Ebdon
John Higgins
Mark Allen

The Dates & Venues

Thursday 16th Aug 7:30pm
Embassy Theatre, Skegness
Ding Junhui v Shaun Murphy
Judd Trump v Stephen Lee

Thursday 6th Sept 7:30pm
Biddulph Valley LC, Biddulph, Staffs
Stephen Lee v Peter Ebdon
Mark Selby v Neil Robertson

Thursday 13th Sept 7:30pm
The Sands, Carlisle
Shaun Murphy v Stuart Bingham
John Higgins v Mark Allen

Thursday 27th Sept 7:30pm
Spiceball LC, Banbury
Mark Allen v Peter Ebdon
Neil Robertson v Shaun Murphy

Thursday 4th Oct 7:30pm
Guildhall, Southampton
Stuart Bingham v Ding Junhui
Judd Trump v Peter Ebdon

Thursday 11th Oct 7:30pm
Malvern Theatres
Mark Selby V Ding Junhui
John Higgins v Stephen Lee

Thursday 18th Oct 7:30pm
Penzance LC, Cornwall
Mark Allen v Stephen Lee
Neil Robertson v Stuart Bingham

Thursday 25th Oct 7:30pm
Guildford Spectrum
Stuart Bingham v Mark Selby
Judd Trump v John Higgins

Thursday 8th Nov 7:30pm
The Dome, Doncaster
Mark Selby v Shaun Murphy
Judd Trump v Mark Allen

Thursday 15th Nov 7:30pm
Spennymoor LC, Durham
Neil Robertson v Ding Junhui
John Higgins v Peter Ebdon

Saturday 24th Nov 7:30pm
Auditorium Grimsby
Semi-Final 1
Semi-Final 2

Sunday 25th Nov 7:30pm
Auditorium Grimsby
The Final