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Strong Field For Snooker’s British Open In Leicester

Mark Selby

Star names including Ronnie O’Sullivan, Judd Trump, John Higgins, Stephen Hendry and home favourite Mark Selby will be in the line-up for next month’s British Open at the Morningside Arena in Leicester.

The world ranking event will run from August 16th to 22nd and fans will be welcomed through the doors to see the greatest players on the planet.

Special offers, with tickets from just £5, are running now with limited availability and fans should book quickly to see the biggest stars in the sport. For details visit www.wst.tv/tickets

Players will include:

Mark Selby – Current World Champion and one of Leicester’s sporting greats

Judd Trump – Snooker’s world number one and the outstanding player of recent seasons

Ronnie O’Sullivan – Six time World Champion and crowd favourite

John Higgins – All-time legend who won the British Open when it was last staged in 2004

Shaun Murphy – Flamboyant cueman who reached the World Championship final in May

Stephen Hendry – King of the Crucible – this is the first chance for fans to watch his comeback live

Reanne Evans – All-time greatest female player, now competing on the pro tour

Plus Kyren Wilson, Mark Williams, Jack Lisowski, Leicester favourites Tom Ford, Ben Woollaston, Joe O’Connor and Louis Heathcote…and many more. In all there will be 128 players battling for the trophy and a top prize of £100,000.

The event will have a completely random draw for all rounds, and the first round draw and match schedule will be released on Wednesday July 28th.

The British Open previously ran from 1985 to 2004 and now returns to the WST calendar after a 17-year absence. It will receive extensive live coverage in the UK from ITV, as well as a range of broadcasters worldwide.

All matches up to the last 16 are best of five frames, the quarter and semi-finals are best of seven frames, and the final is best of 11 frames.

Snooker has led the sporting world in the post-lockdown return of live audiences, and WST will continue to work closely with the UK Government and all of our venues and partners on Covid-19 regulation.

Why Ronnie O’Sullivan Has a Point About Young Snooker Players

This photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-SA

Ronnie O’Sullivan is widely regarded as the modern era’s snooker genius. The Rocket has done it all in his stellar career on the green baize and when he talks, the sport and its fans listen.

However, O’Sullivan has been less than complimentary about the future of snooker in his recent comments. “If you look at the younger players coming through, they’re not that good really,” he told the BBC during the World Snooker Championship.

The Rocket added the further soundbite that standards were so poor that he would have to “lose an arm and a leg to fall out of the top 50”. Other senior figures in the sport have hit back at O’Sullivan over his latest outburst, labelling what he said as derogatory and disrespectful.

Judging others by the exceptional standards Rocket Ronnie has set is hardly fair. The so-called Class of 92 (borrowing from Manchester United in football) of O’Sullivan, Mark Williams and John Higgins have enjoyed remarkable sustained success in snooker, but this is the exception rather than the rule.

A cursory glance at the end of season World Rankings suggests The Rocket may have a point. Becoming a top 16 player is the first goal of any gifted potter, but there are few names under 30 in the upper echelons.

The old guard remain firmly in place. O’Sullivan, Williams and Higgins are all in their mid-40s, and still in and around the top 10. That probably says more about their enduring ability and talent than a lack of it elsewhere, though.

Joining them among the established snooker elite are thirtysomethings Judd Trump, Mark Selby, Neil Robertson, Shaun Murphy, Stephen Maguire and Mark Allen. In amongst this plethora of seasoned pros, only Kyren Wilson on the strength of his Crucible performances comes close to meeting the description of a younger player at 28.

In each of the last five seasons, he has made it to the quarter-finals or better at the World Snooker Championship. While you can find the latest snooker odds in this page, the names prominent in the betting markets are the usual suspects.

Wilson and Chinese youngster Yan Bingtao, who is only 20 and just inside the top 16, look the sport’s best prospects moving forward. What these players need in order to silence critics like O’Sullivan is major success.

Snooker has its Triple Crown of the UK Championship, Masters and World Championship. The sport’s rankings remain heavily skewed by how players get on at the Crucible, but the prestige of the other major events in the calendar cannot be ignored.

While ranking points are not available at the Masters as it is a top 16 and/or invitation only event, only by testing themselves against the aging elite will newer stars emerge. Snooker is not just about knocking balls and big breaks in as O’Sullivan has managed for over 25 years as a pro.

Tactical awareness and keeping their cue action true under pressure are some of the other skills the next generation need to master. The Rocket won’t be around forever, so who will take up his mantle?

Matchroom Live To Broadcast World Snooker Championship

Fans across the globe will have the chance to watch snooker’s biggest tournament, the Betfred World Championship, as Matchroom Live will broadcast the event in all countries without alternative coverage.

Go to Matchroom.Live to register

The Matchroom Live platform was launched in May, giving fans across the planet the chance to watch live content from the outstanding portfolio of Matchroom sports, including snooker, darts, boxing, pool and many more. There is also a wealth of classic archive content featuring great moments from the past 40 years.

And one of the most prestigious events in sport, the Betfred World Snooker Championship which has a history dating back to 1927, will receive extensive live broadcast every day.

This will start with the qualifying rounds, running from July 21st to 28th, with 128 players, all chasing one of 16 coveted spots for the final stages at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield. From veteran Jimmy White to 14-year-old Iulian Boiko, the field is packed with a range of legends and young talents.

All eight days of action from the qualifying rounds will be available FREE for all fans where broadcast is not available.

The final stages at the famous Crucible then run from July 31 to August 16. Judd Trump won the title for the first time in sensational style last year, making a record seven century breaks as he beat John Higgins in the final. He will be defending the trophy against the likes of Ronnie O’Sullivan, Neil Robertson, Mark Selby and many more of the sport’s top stars.

This will be available on Matchroom Live’s new subscription service. Fans can sign up for a monthly fee for the chance to watch not just snooker, but a wide range of world class sports content. There is also the option to watch a single day of action.

WST Chairman Barry Hearn said: “Matchroom Live is a fantastic innovation for sports fans internationally as it makes top class live events available to everyone in all corners of the globe.

“We have created a price structure which is fair and affordable for sports enthusiasts based on the percentage of the content available to access in each country.

“Around the world, people love live sport. But there are territories where they are starved of the big events because of a lack of television coverage. Matchroom Live gives them that opportunity to see the elite events and the star names. It is all about spreading the joy which live sport can bring.

“The popularity of snooker, darts, boxing and our other sports has grown so much in recent years and we want to reach out further to more and more people, and make the action available.

“And it’s not just live content because Matchroom Live contains a remarkable wealth of archive footage, going back to the 1980s, featuring names from Steve Davis and Ronnie O’Sullivan, to Chris Eubank and Anthony Joshua, to Phil Taylor and Michael van Gerwen, and many more. I could spend weeks on there just watching the classic moments!

“Anyone who loves sport must register for Matchroom Live today, it is the perfect new platform for those who share our passion.”

Matchroom Live is a video-first platform, with the ability to cast to virtually any device whether that be a console, Smart TV, or connected device. The services will also allow fans to watch up to four live events at once with ‘QuadPlay’. The service is built and powered by sports streaming and video technology specialists StreamAMG.