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Lively start for the 2021-22 World Snooker Tour

For avid fans of snooker, nothing else quite compares whenever watching their favorite sport. The sight of each smartly dressed protagonist standing next to the table, meticulously chalking their cue as they size up the next shot. Tension building as competitors take their shots, wincing in frustration at missed opportunities, maybe grinning with satisfaction after potting the black.

Despite the inevitable disruption caused by a global pandemic, the 2021-22 World Snooker Tour is now underway, as the top players target the biggest prizes and tournament success. Two tournaments have already been held in July and August this year, as we embark upon a schedule that provisionally features 17 world ranking events, alongside prestigious non-ranking events that include the 2021 Champion of Champions and 2022 Masters.

Opening the season was the Championship League, a huge event which features 128 professional snooker players and numerous group matches, offering £328,000 total prize fund and £33,000 for the winner. Rising through the ranks to triumph was 40-year-old David Gilbert of England, nicknamed “The Angry Farmer” but undoubtedly thrilled to win the first ranking title of his career.

Second on the agenda was the 2021 British Open, notable for its return to the World Snooker Tour calendar for the first time in 17 years, when John Higgins of Scotland claimed the 2004 title. Interestingly, he was one of just two players who hit 147 breaks this year, although he didn’t make it beyond the Last 32. The winner this time was Mark Williams of Wales, telling it was “almost destined” after pocketing the £100,000 top prize.

The next big event scheduled is the Northern Ireland Open starting on 17 October, held at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast. Qualifiers have already taken place in August and September, with veteran snooker star Jimmy “The Whirlwind” White suffering elimination. This just goes to show that at any major snooker event, quite literally anything can and will happen. Leading players can be beaten, while underdogs can rise to the fore.

Predicting winners at snooker tournaments can be tricky business, especially whenever backing the favorite players. That’s why it always pays to compare odds at the best US betting sites, making use of detailed sportsbook guides provided by the experts at They rate American betting sites based on trust and reputation, the quality of betting lines and bonuses offered, plus safety and security alongside the speed of payouts.

Often one of the favorites heading into any major event, Judd Trump of England is a name instantly recognizable to snooker fans around the globe. 32-year-old Trump topped the 2020-21 World Snooker Tour season rankings and money charts, having won five ranking events from seven finals reached, although the latest ranking table suggest indicates he will face an almighty challenge this season.

By the end of August 2021, fellow Englishman Mark Selby had jumped slightly ahead of Trump for overall earnings, as the 38-year-old reached number one spot in the WPBSA rankings. Not far behind both is iconic Ronnie “The Rocket” O’Sullivan, as the 45-year-old seeks to recapture his best form. Likewise, they will all be wary of 39-year-old Neil “The Thunder from Down Under” Robertson, who remains the only Australian pro to win a ranking event.

Throughout what promises to be an exciting 2021-22 World Snooker Tour campaign, the ebb and flow of competition amongst the best players will be thrilling to observe. Beyond the top-ranking stars, there are also plenty of other talented snooker players, all waiting for their opportunity to claim glory at major events. For the fans, those potential surprises and upsets are what make snooker such a compelling sport.

Steve Davis: Mosconi 2002 “One of the Best Moments of my Career”

He is best known around the world as one of snooker’s greatest ever players, but Steve Davis also has quite a history with the Mosconi Cup.


Having played in each of the first 11 Mosconi Cups from 1994, ‘The Nugget’ was a stalwart of the early years of pool’s greatest competition and describes his first victory as “one of the highlights of my career – regardless that it wasn’t even my career.”


Unlike in recent times, Team USA dominated the first decade of the Mosconi Cup. Having lost the inaugural event, Europe hit back in 1995 with a 16-15 victory in Romford. But they had to wait seven years to lift the famous trophy again. In 2002 they were 12-9 winners, responding in style to the 12-1 humiliation dished out by an all-star American side in which a 25-year-old Corey Deuel was the MVP.


The 2002 Mosconi Cup victory is one of Davis’ proudest moments, and something he has reflected on in his autobiography Interesting, which was published earlier this year.


He wrote: “For the first two years of the Mosconi Cup a mixture of Alex Higgins, Jimmy White, Allison Fisher and me represented Europe (even though we were by no means the cutting edge of European pool) and came up against the best players from the States (or so we thought!). We shared the spoils.


“However, the following year, the USA sent over the big guns. They looked strong, assured and mean! The granite Johnny Archer and the volatile Earl Strickland particularly impressed me. I was still new to the game but I had started to pick up some of the skills and nuances – although I never really got to grips with the explosive break-off shot or the spectacular ‘Jump’ shot. We got our asses ‘whooped’ – as the Americans succinctly put it – for the next six years.


“The most embarrassing ‘whooping’ was the sixth in 2001 when we were drubbed 12-1 at York Hall in Bethnal Green. We had two German lads in our team – Oliver Ortmann and Ralf Souquet – and they were steaming.


“Next time around, the European team met up a couple of days before the event and bonded. As usual, it was a race to 12 rubbers – a mixture of singles and doubles – but our team this time around (Oliver, Ralf, Marcus Chamat, Mika Immonen, Nick Van Den Berg and me) was a totally different proposition. By this time, I had played in numerous pool tournaments, including the new nine-ball World Championship.


“We had the crowd on our side and we were leading 11-9 when I went into battle against the mercurial and temperamental legend that was the eight-time nine-ball World champion, Earl Strickland.


“In normal circumstances, there would only have been one winner, but in a best-of-nine this turned out to be one of the most exciting matches I have ever experienced with a cue in my hand. It went down to 4-4 and sudden death.


“Earl took control of the rack but an uncharacteristic error while playing from the five ball for position on the six meant he had a missable shot. Ironically, it was the same type of shot as my black against Dennis Taylor. Amazingly, he missed it. Suddenly, I was three balls away from beating one of the greats of the game and securing the first credible win for the Europeans against the mighty Americans. I knocked in the six and the eight to leave myself perfectly on the nine ball.


“This was it. My team-mates were already celebrating and the crowd couldn’t believe it. But I had one more thing to do – pot a simple nine ball into a huge American pool table pocket from two feet. It was unmissable – but nothing is ever certain. With my back arm shaking like a leaf, I remembered to keep my head perfectly still and watched it go in. The crowd erupted as I shook hands with Earl – and then the rest of the European team descended upon me. We were in a huddle, jumping for joy. Six years of humiliation had evaporated in one shot.


“This wasn’t even my sport but I was caught up in it all. We were all in tears. It was one of the best moments of my career – regardless of the fact that this wasn’t even my career.”


‘Steve Davis – Interesting’ is on sale now.



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The Three Brit Ladies With The Three C’s

Karen Corr, Allison Fisher and Kelly Fisher

They CAME, They CONQUERED and They Have CLASS


Who else could I be talking about, but Allison Fisher (The Duchess of Doom), followed by Karen Corr (The Invader),  and Kelly Fisher (Quick Fire)


It is really amazing just how similar the careers of these three Champions are. 
All having won World Titles from a successful career in snooker  – all rose to winning US Major events almost immediately after arriving in the USA on a one way ticket from the UK, and all winning World Titles in a relatively short time, in a discipline of pool that was not in their wheelhouse prior to arriving.
Initially their potting skills were immediately noticed, but they all had to learn the nuances associated with 9 Ball. Plus the initial advantage that the smaller table gave them was soon forgotten!!
Allison got the toy of her choice for her 7 th birthday, a mini pool table.  By 13 was on the road to being a Snooker pro, something that Allison had always had on her wish list from an early age, At 16 she got her first century break partnered with Steve Davis.
Allison went on to win 9 Snooker World titles (7 individual and 2 Double) – 8 National Championships – 8 US Opens – 4 WPA 9 ball World titles – 5 Tournament of Champions titles & 54 WPBA titles 
But, first let me tell you how she was introduced to 9 ball, which up to that point had been a life dedicated to snooker.
Allison was picked for the first Mosconi Cup team in 1994, and at that point did not play pool (9 ball) very well, but Barry Hearn wanted top names associated with the pool world that also included Steve Davies, Jimmy White and Ralf Souquet. The Mosconi Cup was in an experimental format at that stage, and would take several twist and turns before settling on five man teams as it is today!!
Probably one of Allison’s first forays into American style pool was in 1991 at the Munich Masters, where she was invited along with Stacey Hillyard. They both borrowed cues and got to practice the game one day before they left!! However, even though this was not their game of choice Stacy came 1st and Allison came 3rd.
During an exhibition in Switzerland with Ronnie O’Sullivan (he was around 13 at the time), Mike Massey, Ewa and Vickie Paski for a snooker/pool challenge. Mike told her about the WPBA Tour in the states, but Allison said: “At that time I wasn’t really thinking about it”.
The final straw that broke the snooker stars back came in 1995, when Allison was in the last 8 of the World Snooker Championship in India. The conditions were awful and she turned to her mother who had made the trip with her, and said “This is the last time that I will play snooker”.
Yes, she had lost her desire and motivation in a sport that had earned her 11 World Snooker titles and yet she had no sponsors. Plus winning a snooker event could only reap you $500, which only paid the expenses!!
When Allison told her mother that she wanted to move to the States, her mum was shocked, but even she realized there was no future in staying and pursuing a career that showed no reward!!
Allison had also started what would become a long term relationship with Cuetec prior to leaving England, and said: “I guess they predicted what would happen”.
So in July 1995 Allison took a trip to Las Vegas to visit the trade show to find out how to get on WPBA tour and introduce herself to the pool World. Allison was given two promoter spots for her first two events.
Allison recalls: “I entered the first one in September 1995 in Charlotte, NC. I loved it from the first moment I stepped in the door. It was new and exciting, a big adventure.  I finished 9th losing to Ewa and Jeanette but learned a lot. The next event was a week later in Florida. Kelly Oyama and her family invited me to stay with them in Charlotte for the week and drive down to Florida with a few players. I remember it being Loree Jon Jones, Gerda Hofstatter, Robin Dodson, Kelly and myself. I ended up winning the event!  It was incredible. I gave myself 6 months and won in two weeks”. 
Allison then finished 3rd in the World Championships (Taiwan) and then back to the US to win the National title at the Bicycle Club in Los Angeles. She said: “That was my most emotional event ever because my dad flew over for it. I’ll never forget that. I won $20,000, the most I had ever won and paid off any debts I had in England”. The rest is history!!!
Allison made such a dramatic entrance into the American and World pool scene,  that the Duchess of Doom caused nothing but gloom for her fellow players for the next ten years.
Allison who is still at the top of her game to this day, was inducted into the BCA Hall of Fame in 2009, and is unquestionably a living legend on and off the table!!
Allison is also looking to lift her game even higher, following the announcement of her new sponsorship deal with OB Cues!!
We do not have room here to list Allison’s titles and awards, so if you have a couple of days to spare go to her web site:
Karen was born in the little town of Ballymoney in Northern Ireland in 1969. When she was 8 years old the family moved to England, and at the age of 14 years old her love of watching snooker on TV prompted her father to join a local snooker club for himself, Karen and her brother to play.
It took Karen no time at all to show her potential at snooker, entering her first event in the nearby city of Leicester at 15 years old and never looked back. As she soon became one of the top players in the UK.
In 1990 just one day after her 21st birthday she won her first women’s World Snooker Championship, held in London, repeating again in 1991, 1995 and 1996. Karen also won two World English Billiards Championships.
However, in the mid nineties with the restrictions on Tobacco advertising and sponsorship, the effect was devastating in the prize fund department, and caused Karen to look elsewhere to make a living from pool.
Julie Kelly a friend and fellow snooker player told Karen about the WPBA Tour in the States, prompting a four week vacation in the States to check it all out. Arriving in June 1998 Karen had to immediately play in a qualifier to get into the next WPBA event. Well the rest is history, winning the qualifier and finishing around 9th in her first event.  
Now it was back to England to put her affairs in order and one month later saw Karen back in the States embarking on what would be a fairy tale story of success.
On returning to the States Karen had to qualify for the next ten WPBA events, and did so successfully and by the end of 1998 was ranked 24th. By the end of 1999 she was ranked No 4 and by the end of 2000 she was ranked No 2 in the world (Big thank you Julie Kelly).
Karen won her first WPBA title in 2000, plus another two WPBA events before the end of 2000. She also won the Japan Open Championship in Osaka in 2000, plus 2nd place in the WPA Women’s Championship and 2nd in the UCC World Ladies Championship in Tokyo.
In 2001 Karen remarkably won every one of the WPBA events to be held that year. Plus Silver medal at the World games. By the end of 2001 Karen was ranked No 1 in the World, a position she held for the next two years.
Karen has won a total of 23 WPBA Titles!!!  Plus three consecutive Challenge of Champions events in 2006, 2007 and 2008
On October 26th 2012 Karen was inducted into the prestigious BCA Hall of Fame. The only title that has eluded Karen is the World 9 Ball Championship.  (Amazingly finishing  2nd on six occasions!!)
Unfortunately Karen’s life was turned upside down in July 2011 when she was told that her mother was very ill with cancer. Karen left immediately to take care of her mum in England and subsequently did not play pool for 12 months.
Sadly Karen’s mother passed away in June 2012, and after a few weeks Karen returned to Feasterville, PA, to find that she has lost all her invites to the upcoming World Championships because her ranking  had dropped significantly because of her time away from competitive pool.
There is some light at the end of the tunnel. Karen has received an invite to the Guilin World 9 Ball Championship in SW China in October 14 – 18th 2014. Plus Karen has been invited to the Challenge of Champions event to be held at Harrah’s Hotel and Casino in San Diego on October 8th 2014.
I asked Karen what she would like to see to put pool back on the map. She said that it was imperative to get pool back on TV, as it is the best way to give the game respectability and put it in the public eye!!
Karen is presently looking for sponsors to enable her to get to the qualifiers in China.
Kelly Fisher was born in England, and was playing on a mini pool table at home when she was three years old. Her father ran a pub, which had a pool table in it. But, during her earlier years Kelly was too small to play on it. However, when Kelly was thirteen her father let her play on the pub table, where he immediately saw something that prompted him to take his talented daughter to the local snooker club.
While Kelly was playing at the club on that first visit, her father asked if there was anybody locally that could coach his daughter. “See that gentleman sitting at the counter eating his lunch” said the house man. “He would be the man to talk too!!”
When approached the man said “she looks a little too short to be playing on that big table!!” He suggested they come back when she was a bit taller.
 The coach could not control his curiosity, and walked over to watch the kid make ball after ball. The father asked the man what he thought of her game, and he said “I think we should start the coaching immediately”
Well that relationship is still as strong now as it was that day 23 years ago!!  Yes, Lional Payne the snooker coach from Yorkshire  that thought the future 6 times World Snooker  Champion, and 2 times English Billiards Champion was not tall enough is still Kelly’s coach to this day!!!
Unfortunately because of a knock on effect from the earlier loss of sponsorship of the tobacco companies, that by the end of the nineties the financial rewards were looking pretty bleak on the Pro snooker scene. 
In May 2001 Kelly, while on vacation in the States, Kelly hooked up with fellow player and good friend Kim Shaw. Which led to Kelly getting to play in a WPBA qualifier, where she realized that she was competitive, even though she had a lot to learn at that stage. 
After the World Snooker Championship at the Crucible in Sheffield in 2003, it looked like the tournament schedule had dwindled to a point where positive action was needed to find her earnings from another source!!
Kelly even resorted to getting a regular job. (She did not like that option though!!) But money was tight at that point in her career.
So in February 2004 she put her house up for sale, and Kelly and her partner Val Finnie packed two suitcases each, and left for the States with $750 ($400 borrowed from mum and dad), even leaving the washing up in the sink!!! 
Kelly immediately picked up the art of playing 9 Ball, and soon worked her way up the rankings on the WPBA Tour, winning her first WPBA event in May 2005 “The San Diego West Coast Classic”
To illustrate just how quickly Kelly picked up the US style of pool. Kelly’s 1st WPBA event was the Canadian Classic, and she drew Allison Fisher in the first round, and had Allison 8-1 in a race ti 9 and surprisingly went on to lose to the Duchess of Doom 8-9!!! In her second event after her arrival she made it to the semi final of the US Open. 
Kelly’s first World title came in 2011, winning the World 10 Ball Title, followed by the World 9 Ball Title in 2012 and the China Open in 2012. In 2013 Kelly also won the Amway Cup. 
In December 2012 Kelly decided to move back to England. Kelly who had suffered heart palpitations unknowingly due to a birth defect all her life, was diagnosed in March 2014 with a hole in her heart that required open heart surgery. Thankfully the hole was repaired along with one of her valves. 
The surgery was carried out in Glasgow, Scotland, on the 22nd July 2014 was a success and Kelly is working hard with her therapy schedule and is taking it day by day. Her goal has been to get fit for the upcoming events and Kelly is sure hoping to do just that!!!
Kelly will be visiting the States for the Challenge of Champions to be held at Harrah’s in San Diego on October 8th 2014. Three of the four players invited to the event, just happen to be the three featured in this article. The other player is Ga Young Kim!!
This event will be televised and aired around four weeks after the event. So look for it on ESPN.
Immediately after the above event all four players will travel on to play in the 9 ball World Championship in Guilin, China. October 14th to 18th 2014 
I’m sure that you will all join me in wishing Kelly a speedy recovery and let’s look forward to seeing her back on a World Title podium in the not too distant future!!!

Murphy Storms To Bulgaria Title

Shaun Murphy won his third title of 2014 by beating Martin Gould 4-2 in the final of the Victoria Bulgarian Open in Sofia.


World number seven Murphy played superb snooker throughout the European Tour event in the Bulgarian capital, conceding just seven frames in seven matches on his way to the 25,000 Euro top prize.


After a barren spell of nearly three years, Murphy won the Gdynia Open and Haikou World Open last season, and now has his first title of the 2014/15 campaign. 


Former World and UK Champion Murphy dominated the opening frame before Gould took the next two with breaks of 60 and 45. But Murphy then stepped up a gear and fired in breaks of 89, 99 and 63 to win the last three frames in style.


"Most of the matches this week have gone my way all the way through, but Martin really pushed me hard," said Manchester-based 32-year-old Murphy. "At 2-1 I had to get myself sorted. I played really well after that.


"It has been a brilliant year for me so far. I've been working very hard on my game and it's really nice to see the fruits of that. I'm a much better player now than I was when I won the world title nearly ten years ago. Hopefully there's more to come. I'm going to keep putting the hours in on the practice table and going for it. There will be no burn-out for me.


"I've been coming to Bulgaria for a few years now and I know how popular snooker is here. The fans are fantastic – they love the sport and I can't wait to come back next year."


Earlier in the semi-finals, Murphy beat Michael White 4-0 while Gould saw off Peter Ebdon 4-2.


The 2014/15 European Tour series comprises six events across the continent, with the top 24 in the final Order or Merit to go through to the Players Championship next March to battle for the £100,000 jackpot. 


The next event is the Ruhr Open in Germany from November 19 to 23.


Results (last 16 onwards):

Last 16

Shaun Murphy 4-0 Jimmy White

Mark Selby 4-2 Robbie Williams

Michael Wasley 4-3 Judd Trump

Michael White 4-3 Jimmy Robertson

Luca Brecel 4-1 Mark King

Mark Davis 4-1 Alan McManus

Martin Gould 4-1 Ricky Walden

Peter Ebdon 4-2 Joe Perry



Murphy 4-2 Selby

Ebdon 4-1 Wasley

Gould 4-2 Davis

White 4-2 Brecel



Murphy 4-0 White

Gould 4-2 Ebdon



Murphy 4-2 Gould



Date: Sunday October 5, 2014

Contact: Ivan Hirschowitz, World Snooker media office, 07766 656133

Tickets are now on sale for:

Champion of Champions
3-9 November, Ricoh Arena, Coventry

UK Championship
25 November – 7 December, York Barbican, York

The Masters
11-18 January, Alexandra Palace, London

World Snooker Championship
18 April – 4 May, The Crucible Theatre, Sheffield

Book Now:

New Criteria For World Seniors Snooker

Mark Williams

Snooker’s celebrated World Seniors Championship has a brand new qualifying criteria this season, with the age limit reduced from 45 to 40.



The tournament will take place at the Blackpool Tower Circus Arena for the first time, onMarch 2nd and 3rd, 2015, and televised live on Sky Sports.  The changes to the criteria, which could see new faces join the stellar line-up, are as follows:



– All current or former professionals aged 40 or above at the end of the 2015 World Championship (May 4th, 2015) will be eligible to enter the event.

– All past World Seniors Champions who enter will be seeded through to the final stages in Blackpool (last 16).

– All past World Champions who enter will also be seeded through to the final stages

– The remainder of the 16 spots in Blackpool will be decided by a qualifying event.



The change in age limit means that former World Champions Mark Williams and Peter Ebdon will be able to enter the event.



They could join the likes of defending champion Steve Davis, Jimmy White, Dennis Taylor, Cliff Thorburn, Joe Johnson and Stephen Hendry, who all played in the tournament last year, as well as Ken Doherty who turns 45 this year.



Two-time World Champion Williams said: “You know you’re getting old when you’re able to play in a seniors event! But I’m looking forward to it and it will be a lot of fun and very competitive with so many great names.”



Doherty, the 1997 Crucible king, added: “It will be a fabulous atmosphere at a brilliant venue. It’s a title I’d love to win and I’ll be giving it everything.”



Leading professionals such as Joe Perry, Mark Davis, Dominic Dale, Alan McManus, Mark King and Fergal O’Brien – all currently within the world’s top 32 – could enter the qualifiers for the first time and chase the £18,000 top prize.



A spokesman for World Snooker said: “The success of the World Seniors Championship has grown year after year and we have decided to lower the age limit to give more top stars and fans' favourites the chance to enter. It will be fascinating to see who takes up the challenge and it seems sure we will have the strongest ever line-up for the tournament.



“That means that fans will see top quality snooker while enjoying the fun atmosphere. For the players, it’s often about catching up with old friends and enjoying some banter out there in the arena, but they remain fiercely competitive when there’s a trophy at stake.



“Blackpool is a stunning venue and we’re delighted to give snooker’s supporters in the north west region the chance to come to this wonderful two-day event."



Tickets are ON SALE NOW and fans MUST BOOK FAST to make sure of their seats as many sessions will sell out quickly.



Tickets for the Seniors start at just £10 (concessions £8) for details call 0871 620 7052 (calls cost 10p per minute plus network extras) or visit



The same venue will also host the spectacular one-frame Shoot-Out, featuring 64 of the world's best players, in the same week from March 4 to 6. For details


Blackpool To Host Snooker Spectacular

Blackpool will stage a sensational week of snooker next March with the World Seniors Championship followed by the dramatic Shoot-Out.


The World Seniors will take place at the Blackpool Tower Circus Arena for the first time, on Monday 2 March and Tuesday 3 March, 2015. Then the Shoot-Out returns to the same venue for the fifth consecutive year, from Wednesday 4 March to Friday 6 March.


Tickets are ON SALE NOW for what will be a glorious week of top class snooker action in the Lancashire seaside town. Fans MUST BOOK FAST to make sure of their seats as many sessions will sell out quickly.


Tickets for the Seniors start at just £10 (concessions £8). And for the Shoot-Out they start at just £12, with a 10% discount for groups of six or more. For details call 0871 620 7052 (calls cost 10p per minute plus network extras) or


The World Seniors Championship has been running since 2010 and brings together legends of the sport. Steve Davis is the defending champion while favourites like Jimmy White, Dennis Taylor and Cliff Thorburn have been recent regulars in the popular event.


Davis said: "It's a wonderful celebration of snooker, both for people who fell in love with the sport in the 1980s, and those new fans who want to see some of the all-time great characters showing they can still play. I hope the arena will be packed and the event will be a great success in its new home in Blackpool."


The Shoot-Out is fast and furious snooker at its best: a one-frame knockout featuring 64 of the world's best players, with a shot clock and plenty of crowd participation.


Dominic Dale won the trophy and £32,000 top prize last season and the player nicknamed The Spaceman is looking forward to landing back in Blackpool to defend his crown.


"The atmosphere in Blackpool is so special, it's unlike anywhere else," said Dale. "The crowd get involved and it's all about being able to embrace that and get them behind you. I love the event and winning it was one of the highlights of my career. I can't emphasise strongly enough what amazing fun it is for the fans, there is so much drama and so many great players involved."


Both tournaments will be televised on Sky Sports.


Williams – Pressure On World Qualifier

Two-time Crucible king Mark Williams will have to face the qualifying rounds of the Dafabet World Championship next month and admits he’d hate to miss out on snooker’s Theatre of Dreams.



The Welshman lifted the famous trophy in 2000 and 2003 and has won 18 ranking titles in all, but has dropped out of the world’s top 16 this season so has to win one qualifying match to earn a spot at the Crucible for the televised stages.



The qualifiers at Ponds Forge International Sports Centre run from April 8 to 16. The final round will be on April 15 and 16, with the winners to go through to the Crucible to be drawn at random against the top 16 seeds.



“I haven’t had to qualify many times in the past but I’ve got to do it now,” said 39-year-old Welshman Williams. “It’s not nice but I just have to get on with it. I don’t want to finish the season sitting at home rather than being at the Crucible. There’s a lot of pressure on everyone in that final qualifying round.”



Williams was out of the top 16 in 2009 but came through the qualifying round, beating Tom Ford 10-5. He has been ever-present at the Crucible since 1997. “That’s a good record and it would be nice to keep it going,” he added. “If I don’t make it then it’s up to me to get back into the top 16 next season to make sure I don’t have to qualify again.”



Graeme Dott, the 2006 World Champion, and two-time finalist Matthew Stevens will be among the other stars in the final qualifying round, while legends Steve Davis and Jimmy White will start their campaign earlier in the event. Both may need to win matches to keep their place on the World Snooker Tour.



Tickets for the qualifiers cost just £10 for a full day, exceptional value for the chance to see many leading players competing in snooker's biggest tournament.



BOOK YOUR TICKETS NOW by calling the box office on 0114 2233777 or visiting



There is also a SPECIAL OFFER of any three days for £20. Quote 'Special Offer'.



Students can buy all-day tickets for the two Tuesdays for just £5 (limited offer). Quote 'Student Tuesday'.



Please note there is no play on Monday April 14 due to the tables being re-covered.



The Dafabet World Championship is supported by Sheffield City Council. The final stages run from April 19 to may 5 at the Crucible – for ticket details call 0844 65 65 147 or visit

Race Is On To Keep Tour Places

Steve Davis

Snooker’s 2013/14 season is nearing the closing stretch, with many players battling for every pound to ensure their place on the professional circuit for another year.
There are still five ranking events to go this term – the Welsh Open, Haikou World Open, Players Championship, China Open and World Championship. But many of those on the World Snooker Tour will soon be getting out the calculators and working out what they need to do to keep their cards.
Crucially, the final event in the European Tour series is coming up this week – the Gdynia Open in Poland from February 7 to 9. That will be a vital event for many of those hoping to retain their pro status.
The following players will keep their place on the tour:
– Those ranked inside the top 64 on the two-year prize money list (NOT the ranking points list) following the 2014 World Championship
– Those on the first year of a two-year tour card.
The following players will be issued a new two year tour card:
– The top eight on the European Tour Order of Merit, not already qualified as above.
– The top four on the Asian Tour Order of Merit, not already qualified as above.
The Gdynia Open on the Baltic coast of Poland, then, will see players competing for crucial wins in order to climb the European Tour Order of Merit.
According to the prize money rankings issued following the German Masters 2014, the eight players who are currently in line to qualify from the European Tour Order of Merit are as follows:
1)       Gerard Greene
2)       Sam Baird
3)       Joel Walker
4)       Scott Donaldson
5)       Ian Burns
6)       Michael Wasley
7)       David Grace
8)       Tony Drago
Hot on their heels are the following:
9)       Martin O’Donnell
10)     Stuart Carrington
11)     Barry Pinches
12)     Mike Dunn
Snooker legend Steve Davis is one of the players not yet certain of his tour card for next season and potentially needing to win matches to be sure of continuing his unbroken 36-year stretch as a professional.
He currently lies 60th on the money list and 60th on the European Order of Merit. Jimmy White, meanwhile, is also in a precarious position, 62nd on the money list and 110th on the Order of Merit.
Six-time World Champion Davis said: “The last European Tour event is going to be make or break for some players. Particularly those who look very unlikely to get into the top 64 of the money list. A good run in Poland then becomes their best chance of staying on the tour.
“The big difference now is that one good run in a tournament can really shoot you up the prize money list, and it’s a much better system than using ranking points.
“If you break your wrist and miss a few tournaments, you’ve still got a chance because you can have a run to a quarter or semi-final and catch up fast. In the past, players were getting ranking points just for entering events, even if they lost their first match. Under the prize money system, if you lose your first match you get nothing, and that’s how it should be.
“Even for players who drop off the tour, there are still a lot of opportunities because they can play in Q School in May with a chance to regain their place, or as amateurs they can play in all the European Tour events.”
As for his own position, Davis added: “If I was that worried about staying on the tour or not, I wouldn’t have gone into the jungle. I missed the UK Championship and a couple of European Tour events so inevitably I have dropped back a bit. If I do drop off, I’ll enjoy the challenge of trying to get back on.
“I haven’t looked at the prize money list or the Order of Merit and tried to work out what I need to do. I’m looking forward to Poland just because I enjoy playing in tournaments. If I do enough to guarantee my place, that would be great. If not, I’ll look forward to the rest of the ranking events.”

An Artist’s Impression Of Snooker

Kevin Painter

Darts ace Kevin Painter will be at snooker’s 888casino Shoot-Out for the first time this weekend and is looking forward to seeing how the green baize stars handle the enthusiastic crowd.


Painter, nicknamed The Artist, loves snooker and is a close friend of world number two Mark Selby. He’ll be at the Blackpool Tower Circus Arena on Friday for the first night of the one-frame knockout tournament.


“I’ve been to a lot of snooker events before including the World Championship,” said former Players Champion Painter. “This will be my first time at the Shoot-Out and having watched it on Sky for the last few years I can see it’s a totally different atmosphere. It’s much more like a darts event, with the crowd getting involved.


“I imagine some of the snooker players don’t like it, especially the older guys who are used to playing in quiet arenas. They’re not using to people shouting out when they are down on the shot. I’m looking forward to seeing how they deal with it because that type of atmosphere is something we contend with in darts.


“They have to treat it as a bit of fun and there are no favourites because the matches are so fast.”


The Sky-televised event will see top green baize stars like Mark Selby, John Higgins, Shaun Murphy, Jimmy White and Steve Davis battling for the £32,000 top prize in the tournament which features ten minute frames and a shot clock.


With the event virtually sold out, EXTRA TICKETS have been released for all sessions of the tournament, which runs from Friday to Sunday. The tickets in the upper tier of the arena, some of which have a restricted view, are being sold at discounted prices, starting at just £10.


Call 0871 620 7052 (calls cost 10p per minute, plus network extras) or visit


A spokesman for World Snooker said: "We have been delighted to see tickets for this exhilarating tournament snapped up by the fans, who clearly can’t wait to experience the incredible atmosphere which is unique to this event. We are pleased to offer those who haven't got seats yet the chance to buy tickets for the upper tier. These new tickets will not last long so fans are urged to book straight away.”


Shoot-Out Opening Night Sold Out

Rapid ticket sales for this weekend’s 888casino Shoot-Out in Blackpool mean that only there are only a few remaining for Sunday’s play.


Tickets for snooker's fast and furious one-frame knockout event at the Blackpool Tower Circus Arena have sold out on the Friday and Saturday, with a limited number of standard and VIP tickets remaining for the 2pm and 7pm sessions on Sunday (January 26).


Fans who want to experience the unique and thrilling atmosphere must book now before all sessions are sold out.


The Sky-televised event will see top green baize stars like Mark Selby, John Higgins, Jimmy White and Steve Davis battling for the £32,000 top prize in the tournament which features ten minute frames and a shot clock.


Last year’s semi-finalist Michael Holt said: “The venue is brilliant, it's perfect for snooker. The seats are quite steep and it creates an amazing atmosphere.


“It’s a lot of fun. Win a couple of games and you're involved. With a bit of luck, you can go far in it but there are no expectations. You can't really practise for this sort of thing. You can get beaten as easily as you can win. I just take is at it comes and enjoy it.”


Tickets, which start at just £16, can be bought by visiting or calling 0871 620 7052 (calls cost 10p per minute, plus network extras). VIP tickets include the chance to be backstage and meet the players.