Shanghai Masters 2014: Qualifying Wrap


Yesterday saw the conclusion of the qualifying tournament for the 2014 Shanghai Masters at the Barnsley Metrodome, as 16 players booked their places at the venue stages of the event next month. Click below for a round-up of all of the main stories, as well as my thoughts from the venue yesterday, as I took in my first live snooker since the World Championship in May…

  • Click here to view all of the results from the Shanghai Masters qualifiers
  • Click here to view the latest projected seedings

Yesterday saw three former world champions in action in Barnsley and there was to be success for two of them, as Mark Williams and Ken Doherty booked their places at the venue stages of the Shanghai Masters. Both playing in the evening session, it was Williams who was to be the first man through, running out a 5-3 winner against Thepchaiya Un-Nooh, while Ken whitewashed Mark King to follow the Welshman through.

While Williams (who unusually for him these days was sporting a white shirt with his red-backed waistcoat), was not at his very best, he never really looked like losing to his Thai opponent and finished well with a couple of good long pots reminiscent of the long balls that he earned his reputation for potting at his peak. Climbing over the new partitions at the venue on his way out it was a case of job done and onto a tie with Barry Hawkins at the venue.

For Ken, progress was slower, despite the more one-sided scoreline, but having already beaten both Jak Jones and John Astley earlier in the week, the latter avenging his loss to the Gateshead youngster following their match at last season’s UK Championship, the Irishman made it three wins in Barnsley to book his place at the venue.


There was though to be no joy for 2002 world champion Peter Ebdon, who lost out 5-1 to Northern Ireland’s Joe Swail, who completed a memorable week to make it through to his first venue since last season’s Welsh Open.

Prior to his impressive victory against Ebdon, Swail not only saw off rising star Kyren Wilson and six-time former world finalist Jimmy White in deciding frames, but in his opening match he also edged out Zak Surety using a friend’s pool cue, after his own had not yet made it back from Latvia. His reward (wildcard permitting), will be a match with another former world champion in the form of Shaun Murphy in Shanghai.

Elsewhere, there was a notable defeat for 2013 Shanghai Masters runner-up Xiao Guodong, who was denied a return to the venue stages of this year’s event by Jimmy Robertson. With narrow wins already under his belt against Ben Woollaston and Lyu Haotian, Jimmy came through a 5-3 winner against Xiao to progress to his first venue of the 2014/15 season.

There was also to be an impressive win for Jack Lisowski, the 23-year-old adding the scalp of Matthew Stevens to his earlier victories against Michael Georgiou and Cao Yupeng. With a lot of points to defend this season, Jack could do with a strong season this time around and has so far started well, making it to all three venues so far.


One of the more impressive performances of the final round came from former champion Dominic Dale, who from 3-0 down dug deep to hit back with three century breaks and see off the challenge of Michael Wasley, in a repeat of their World Championship last 16 encounter earlier in the year.

There were a few players who having started strongly, had to bounce back from a difficult middle section of their matches to make it through to Shanghai, most notably Martin Gould and Michael White.

For White in particular, having opened with a flawless 128 on his way to a 3-1 lead, it looked like he might be able to record a comfortable victory against Thailand’s Dechawat Poomjaeng, but having lost the fifth frame on a re-spotted black, soon found himself in a battle at 3-3. To his credit though, Michael, who was playing noticeably more quickly than his more methodical opponent, responded well to win the next two and seal his place in Shanghai.

Alan McManus maintained his recent strong form with a good win against Welshman Jamie Jones, despite a brilliant clearance from Jones in the fifth frame that looked like it might prove a turning point in the match. Li Hang and Liang Wenbo ensured that there will be another two Chinese players at the venue in Shanghai, while former finalist Ryan Day, Michael Holt and Matt Selt were also others to progress.

Venue Thoughts

Aside from the action on the baize, it was my first visit to the Barnsley Metrodome yesterday and in terms of the playing arena and the general set-up, I was impressed with what I saw. Sure it is only a qualifying venue, like many these days at a leisure centre and very similar on the face of it to Ponds Forge and the Doncaster Dome, but in particular I thought that the partitions worked and were a good compromise between reducing distractions for the players and allowing spectators to keep up to speed with all of the action.

Indeed it is easy to criticise sometimes, certainly thinking back a year ago to the equivalent qualifiers at the Doncaster Dome I found the set-up to be a noticeable improvement. Back then there were no partitions, the tables were the ‘wrong’ way round with spectators walking across the line of the black spot, the carpets looked extremely second hand and there was of course the unbearable heat, which admittedly is a factor outside of World Snooker’s control. This time around however, there were a number of subtle improvements which are hopefully a sign that comments are being listened to and acted upon.

I was also pleasantly surprised by the amount of spectators in attendance, as while it was by no means a sell-out (well, tickets were free but you get the idea), there were a decent number of people in watching for a Friday night in Barnsley, including a number of familiar faces who I know from a number of the qualifying venues.


Still, it was interesting talking to a few people about why events such as this cannot be played before capacity crowds, when we have multiple former world champions and ranking event winners and free entry for what is an important tournament. I am not sure how well events such as this are promoted locally, but it begs the question as to whether more could be done for example with local schools to make them aware of the action taking place and the encourage kids to go in and watch. Something for another article perhaps.

It was also good to catch up with former professional Patrick Wallace, who was in town in readiness for the start of the Home Internationals, which will be played at the Northern Snooker Centre in Leeds over the course of the coming week. As he said, he has almost come full circle, having played in that event, enjoyed his professional career and now found himself back in the annual amateur event.

All in all then, an enjoyable day and good to see people again, albeit briefly. Next stop will be the Paul Hunter Classic next week, while snooker will return to Barnsley next month for the India Open and International Championship qualifiers, well recommended for anyone thinking of making the trip. The best of 11’s in particular for the International qualifiers will be well worth a watch.