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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

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.

Gareth Potts Interview

Gareth Potts

With the lack of events to report on at the moment, we are teaming with the Supr Charged Agency to feature interviews with various European and American players. Hopefully this will give all of the readers a chance to get to know these players better. 
This time, we have Chinese 8-Ball Star, Gareth Potts.
You mainly play English and Chinese pool. 
What is the main differences from American pool when it comes to the tables, rules, balls and cue?
I started my career playing English 8-ball where I won 4 world titles. These, along with numerous other tournaments, meant I was the most successful English 8-ball pool player ever at the time when I finished in 2014 to pursue a new career in China.
The small ball game is run by two different governing bodies that play by two very different rule sets. One being more chess like and the other being a more attacking rule set. I am still currently the only player to win world titles at both World rules and Blackball rules respectively. 
My English 8-ball career was relatively short due to Chinese 8-ball bursting into the scene and into my life in 2013. 
I won the first ever Joy Chinese 8-ball final masters in 2013, also in 2014 and 2017. Off the back of winning the first masters in 2013, I fell in love with Chinese pool and I signed a long term contract with Joy Billiards that has allowed me to focus solely on Chinese 8-ball. Stephen Hendry, Shane Van Boening, Chris Melling and Zhang KunPeng are a few that are currently signed with Joy billiards. 
The 3 main Cue sport disciplines around the world are American Pool, English pool and snooker. They are all obviously very different in every way. Balls, tables, cloth rules and equipment all vary, but Chinese 8-ball is basically where they all meet in the middle. 
There are so many different forms of Pool across the world and this for me is one of the problems.  I personally believe that Chinese pool is the perfect hybrid cue sport that appeals to all cue sport players from every discipline, wherever you play and wherever you're from – it’s the middle ground of them all! 
It’s played on almost the same size table as American pool, with the same size and weight balls with almost the same rule set as the American BCA rules. 
The table aesthetically looks like a snooker table. The pockets are a similar cut and nap Strachan6811 cloth is used. 
Predominantly it’s 8-ball that is played. 
This is backed up even more so by the fact that players use different cues to play Chinese pool. For example, the American players feel as though an American type cue is the right equipment to use. Some Chinese players use a snooker type cue with a 10mm tip. Some English players even use their English 8-ball cue. And others use something in the middle of all those. 
I personally believe that none of these cues are perfect for Chinese pool. You wouldn’t play tennis with a badminton racket or you wouldn’t play squash with a ping pong bat. Obviously, using the right equipment is vital. I Have my own cue range out on the market (Potts Cue), which is effectively a hybrid cue for a hybrid cue sport…. 
But either way my point being is that if you were going to abolish all cue sports and just keep one, it would surely have to be Chinese pool as a compromise to every cue sport player or fan around the world, because it’s simply right in the middle of them all! 
The prize money for pool in China is the highest anywhere in the world. The two biggest Chinese 8-ball tournaments now are the Joy Masters at $150,000 to the winner and the Star World Championships which is $100,000 to the winner. These are snooker type first prizes, but there needs to be more events and more of these types of events outside of China. This then would make Chinese 8-ball more accessible to the world! 
Who was your inspiration/idol when you were younger? 
Definitely my father, who passed away when I was 21. 
Regarding players I grew up watching, Stephen Hendry. A lot of people naturally don’t like winners but I personally do, and he was the ultimate winner! 
Who do you admire amongst today's players?
There are a lot of very good players around the world from all different forms of cue sport and all have their own great traits. You have to be at the top of any sport. But when It comes to pure talent, Ronnie o Sullivan is the daddy. 
What are your greatest accomplishments? Tell us about the feeling of those wins.
Winning my first major junior title at 13 years old, which was the European championships in France, with my father there watching. 
My first world title age 21, 3 months after my father had passed away. 
All the world titles and masters titles at Chinese pool have all been special in their own way. 
I think what defines special is the timing of that particular win to that individual. 
I don’t really think too much about what I have won, I think it’s important to not live off the back of previous wins and achievements. Maybe the time for that is at retirement! 
How often did you practice at an early age and how often now?
I’ve always worked hard at my game from an early early age. 
I have always practiced hard. I believe you only get out what you put in – nothing comes for free – you have to earn it. 
I’ve been lucky over the years to have had a lot of top players to practice with, which is important. Mark Selby is my brother in law so I’ve spent many hours picking balls out, lol. Growing up I had a lot of top players around me to learn from. This is invaluable! 
I’m lucky that I always enjoyed the practice and I think when that day comes that I stop enjoying, it will be the day when I hang my cue up. 
Do you use drills when you practice? – Which drills?
Yes I use drills, they are important. A combination of solo work and practice with other top players. Finding that balance is important. 
As for what drills; there are loads. You can look on YouTube or on my social media. I have posted loads over the years at English pool and Chinese pool. 
What should newcomers practice most? – What are newcomers doing wrong?
The most important thing is constructive practice. Just hitting the balls around the table is pointless. There needs to be routine and structure to what you're doing. Adding pressure even in solo practice is important,  if you're doing a routine or drill, set yourself a target. So for example – I would say I’m not stopping for lunch until I’ve completed it 5 times in a row. ( Many days I went hungry. lol) This adds pressure and purpose to what you're doing! 
What is the strongest part of your game?
I play 8 ball and always have done so. So I would say the strongest party of my game is my patterns and my finishing. Taking the balls in the correct order is the most important part of 8-ball.
What is your weakest part of the game?
Probably doubles ( Or bank shots in America). On English tables and Chinese tables, there is not a marked diamond system and the cloth is nap. So judging the slide off the cushions isn’t easy, that's my excuse anyway. Or maybe I’m just generally rubbish at them. lol 
What is your favorite game(s) and why?
Chinese pool without a doubt. It’s the toughest form of Pool in the world. 
The pockets are extremely tight (3.35 inches) 
Any sport in the world that is at the top of the ladder always has the highest degree of difficulty. Golf, tennis, football, basketball, motor racing just to name a few. 
So the high skill level required combined with the relatively simplicity of the rules is the reason it can be, by far, the biggest pool game in the world, with the biggest prize money. 
Is fitness important for pool players?
Fitness is something I have been into since an early age, and is without doubt massively important. I go to the gym most days and work to a strict training and diet plan. 
In some tournaments, you play a lot of matches over a lot of days over big races. Going to the gym isn’t about being just physically fit, it’s about being mentally fit too. 
Cue sports is evolving all the time and the standard is getting higher all the time. Anything that gives you even a 1% edge can be the difference between winning and losing.
Also, cue sports aside, why wouldn’t you want to keep fit and healthy. 
What are the 3 most important factors? Who has the best stroke in pool today?
This is a tough question because all cue sports are different and they require different strokes and hits on the cue ball, which in turn requires different cue actions. 
American pool players tend to be very loose and loopy. Most don’t even hold the cue tight to their chest. Everything is played with a lot of spin and the cue ball does a lot of travelling. 
Chinese pool is very different, your cue action needs to be straight. The cue needs to be firm on the chest and you need to be very accurate. Your fundamentals and being ‘textbook’ technically is much more important.
Also playing on nap cloth as opposed to Simonis is also very different, which also makes the strike on the cue ball different. 
There are a lot of variants in techniques, stances and cue actions from cue sport to cue sport. So what is right for one doesn’t necessarily mean it is right for another! 
How is your mental strength? Do you have any advice/tricks?
I think my mental strength is also one of the strongest parts of my game. I have won a lot of matches from behind. But it’s not only about this; it goes much deeper. 
Having the ability to deal with making mistakes. We all make mistakes during matches. It's how you mentally deal with it and limiting what that mistake costs you. 
If you make a mistake, it can’t cost you any more than that one rack. You see so many players make a mistake and it affects them for the next 1,2,3  4 frames, which in turns ends up costing you the match, because you never mentally recovered from that first initial mistake. I’m sure a lot of players can relate to that. 
Then there is the side of if you draw a player that you think is better than you. (In some cases you’ve lost before you’ve even took your cue out of its case) 
The mental side of the game is just as, if not more important, than any other. 
How important is the equipment and why do you use the equipment that you do? 
Using the correct equipment is vital. If you're using the wrong gear, then you're never going to play to your full potential. 
As stated above I have endorsed my own cue range for Chinese pool and that’s what I use 
The other vital thing you get right is the tip and chalk. I understand with tips, it’s personal preference among top players. Some prefer harder tips some prefer softer, some prefer the tips higher, some lower. Some have them over hanging some prefer them flush to the ferrule. So it’s what works for you regarding tips.
I personally use a Soft pro Taom tip. 
This brings me into chalk. – Now this is one thing that should not be about personal preference. You have to use Taom chalk.. FACT! 
Almost all of the top snooker players use it and so do almost all of the top English 8-ball players.
Gone are the days of chalk making a mess of the table, transferring onto the cue ball and object balls and causing bad contacts, big bounces, kicks and skids. 
Taom chalk is a complete game changer and has in many ways revolutionised cue sports. Why would you not use chalk that stops all of the above? So if you miss or make a mistake it’s because you did it not your chalk. Cue sports is hard enough workout fighting against certain equipment that don’t do their job properly. 
Chalk is abrasive so therefore wears the cloth more easily. 
It is without doubt the best thing to happen to cue sports for a long time. 
The thing that needs to happen now is it should be made mandatory that everyone has to use it! 
What should the billiard industry in general do to get more recognition outside the industry?
There are players out there that are also marketable away from the table, and as pool grows with tv etc, there will become opportunities that come along for players. 
In my opinion it’s all about TV, endorsements and viewing figures. 
Tournaments and organisations need professionals in charge that know what they are doing and that run it as a business.
I suppose the more events that are on tv for higher prize money makes people sit up and take note 
What are you goals for 2020?
I set myself the goal to win the Chinese Pool International Masters again this year, which was held in China in January. I finished 5th losing to Chu Bingjie, who went on to win. So, not the result I was after, but for 95% of it I played pretty good. This was the last tournament I played and the last Chinese pool tournament  due to the Coronavirus.
Your thoughts on the Covid-19 situation and what should players do?
The situation with Covid-19 has not only stopped cue sports but it has stopped the whole world. These are unprecedented times which certainly puts things into perspective for all of us. 
Winning or losing a pool match is not so important anymore. Things that once seemed important to us no longer do or are. 
I would like to wish all fellow players, amateur or professional, from every cue sport discipline from around the world, all the best during these uncertain times. 
We can all get through this and cue sports will come out the other side of it, stronger I’m sure. 
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank my sponsors for their continued support  
The most important thing above all right now is staying safe 
Take care of yourselves and your loved ones

Imran Majid Player Interview

Imran Majid with a couple fans

With the lack of events to report on at the moment, we are teaming with the Supr Charged Agency to feature interviews with various European and American players. Hopefully this will give all of the readers a chance to get to know these players better. 
This time, we have The Maharaja, Imran Majid.
Name (and nickname): Imran Majid (The Maharaja)
The Maharaja means Indian king. A lot of people say I am the best Indian player in the world!!
Age: 47
City: London, UK
When did you get your start playing pool?
I started playing snooker first at the age of 13. I have five 147 breaks and I have beaten Stephen Hendry and Mark Williams in tournament play.
Who was your inspiration/idol when you were young?
Stephen Hendry was my idol when I was young.
Why Stephen Hendry?
Hendry took the game to the next level and invented 'one visit' snooker. He used to kill off a frame in one visit more regularly than anyone else! He also had a great temperament and his technique was outstanding!
Who do you admire amongst today's players?
I admire Alex Pagulayan because he is an all rounder, very good at all games.
Who is the next big thing in pool today?
In pool today, I think the next big thing is Joshua Filler. Well, he is already big.
What are your greatest accomplishments?
My greatest accomplishments are firstly making the Mosconi cup team,  and then winning the World Team Championships and then winning a couple of Eurotour stops.
How big was it to get picked for the Mosconi Cup team?
It was massive for me to be selected for the Mosconi cup. I was ranked number 2 in Europe at the time. That's why I was selected. It's the biggest stage in the world of pool so I was over the moon to be selected.
Tell us about the experience of playing it.
The experience was to be honest quite unexplainable. I was playing for my continent and also my self dignity and pride. I wanted to test myself on the big stage and I passed the test with flying colours. I was under pressure a lot and was shaking but I handled the pressure very well. I beat Johnny Archer 7-2 in my singles and beat Earl Strickland and Rodney Morris in the doubles with my partner Nik Van den Berg. Strickland and Morris were undefeated in 6 Mosconi doubles matches previous to this, so it was extra sweet! 
How often did you practice at an early age and how often now?
When I was younger I used  to practice nearly everyday for 5 to 6 hours. These days I don't practice as much because I simply don't have the same energy as before. I practice maybe 4 times a week these days but I do a lot of coaching which keeps me in touch with the game. My memory gets refreshed a lot when I'm teaching so it's a good thing!
Do you use drills when you practice?
I don't do too many drills. I prefer playing people or playing the ghost. I have beaten all the ghosts from 9-ball up to 15-ball. It took me 7 months to beat the 15-ball ghost so I was very happy to beat it. I play snooker once a week as well, which keeps me in good stroke! Before a big tournament though, I will do some standard drills and practice the break a lot.
What should newcomers practice most?
Newcomers need to play a lot more big tournaments…throw themselves in the deep end. That's how they will improve and gain experience quickly. 
 What are newcomers doing wrong?
Some very good players lose matches because their break is weak!
What should advanced players practice most?
Advanced players should practice the break shot more as it is the most important shot in the game! 
What is the strongest part of your game?
I don’t really have too many strengths or weaknesses. I am pretty good all round.
What is the weakest part of your game?
Maybe I could improve my kicking skills a little.
Is fitness important for pool players?
Yes, I think fitness is very important in all sports. I have been to the latter end of many big tournaments, for example the US Open and World Championships, but I think my fitness level hurt me because I seemed to lose energy! I think it's unfortunate for my pool career that my wife is a great cook and makes an awesome chicken curry…lol!
What is your favorite game?
My favourite game is 10-ball and I also love one pocket but it's unfortunate not too many people play it in Europe. 
What are the 3 most important factors in a players game?
I believe that the 3 most important factors in pool are:
Self control first. Self control is 10 times more important than cue ball control!
Discipline – If you are playing pool at a high level you should treat it as a profession and do the right things on and off the table!
Self belief- You won't get anywhere if you don’t believe in yourself!
 Who has the best stroke in pool today?
I think Joshua Filler has the best stroke in pool today. He can generate a lot of power effortlessly. He is a total natural talent and I believe he will dominate for many years to come!
How is your mental strength?
My mental fitness is quite good. Darren Appleton once told me I have very good composure, maybe one of the best in the world! I do work a lot on my mental game and also teach it a lot. I'm not scared to play anyone and don't get phased in pressure situations!
Do you have any advice/tricks for players?
Advice/tricks I can give is to follow your dreams and goals … don’t let anything get in the way!
Before a big match or tournament dont think about pool. Do something different like listen to music, watch a film or simply hang out with friends. Save your mental energy for the pool match ahead!
How important is the equipment?
I don't think equipment is that important. A good player can play with anything to a certain extent. For example, I saw Joshua filler win the China Open with a carbon fibre shaft, then after the tournament literally threw it in the bin. He then changed back to wood and won a couple of more major events!
Do you use TAOM because they are a sponsor, or because you like their products?
I use Taom products because they are extremely good. I especially like the new Fusion tips and the pyro chalk is a good combination with it.
What in your opinion is required to be a good ambassador/sponsored player?
A good ambassador for any company should promote the brand to their full potential. Advertising logos for any brand is massive so a sponsored player should always make sure the logos are intact when playing. Feedback about equipment is very important to any company, so keep them up to date with feedback…but truthful feedback. If you don’t like a product for some reason, you should tell the sponsors and maybe they can engineer the product to improve it.
What should the billiard industry do to get more recognition outside the industry? 
I think the billiard industry should raise the profile of the game to attract external sponsors. Things like players wearing waistcoats and bow ties…also WWF style introductions to matches can all make pool more appealing to companies outside the industry. Maybe have a speed gun on the break as well, it all adds to great viewing for audiences!
Thoughts on Matchroom and their efforts to make pool great?
Matchroom are a blessing for the pool industry. They have put some second tier sports such as darts and poker on the map! They are the best sports promotion company in the business and we should work with them to make pool great! They are increasing prize money so it can only help players and the industry.
You do a lot of commentary, do you enjoy it?
Yes I do a lot of commentary, mainly for the Eurotour and some World Championships.
I enjoy it a lot and people give me good reviews about my commentary because I have the technical knowledge and can spice it up as well!
It also helps me to read the tv table to see how it is breaking, etc.
I can also promote my sponsors while commentating which goes out to a massive audience reach. That is good for my sponsors!
Recently, I have taken on a new commentating venture which is in the Oslo billiard centre in Norway. I commentate on the one and only Bragging Rights Challenge…lol!!
So yes, it’s a lot of fun and I enjoy it…I may be working with Kozoom in the near future.
Tell us about your 2019 goals and results
My 2019 season wasn't that great…had some personal problems. My only real notable result was 9th place at the US Open where I beat some great players en route. 
My goal is to win a major event, which I am still trying for. Perseverance is the key and I will continue to pursue my goals,  and I will succeed!!!
Was getting picked for 2019 Mosconi Cup a goal?
Yes, being selected for the Mosconi Cup was one of my goals! Not just a goal, but the ultimate goal!
Your thoughts on the outcome of Mosconi Cup 2019?
I feel that Team EUROPE missed a trick in 2019 with their team selection, especially for the doubles. There was a loophole with the fans choice and Johan spotted it and took full advantage. I think Alex Lely will do a great job now for team Europe and I predict they will win this time in 2020
You play lots of events in Europe these days.
What's the main differences between events in Europe and the US?
I feel that events in Europe have more strength in depth. For example, there are probably about 75/100 players that could win a Eurotour event, but a similar tournament in the USA could only have 10 possible winners. Players in Europe are willing to travel abroad a lot more to play tournaments so they will gain experience quicker…i think this is the underlying factor!
Goals for 2020
My goal for this year will remain the same to try and win a major, but with the current virus situation it looks like a lot of events will be postponed!
This is a bit heart breaking, because I have put in a lot of practice recently!
Who will win these majors this year? 
– World Cup of Pool
I think Austria will win the Cup again…they are built for this particular tournament!
– US Open
I will win the US Open this year!….gotta be positive right?
– 9-ball WC
The WC is open to maybe 100 players to win. If I had to guess, maybe it's Svb's time!

JOY Chinese Pool U.S Open Enters Final Stage

Shane Van Boening

The Joy Chinese Pool US Open has advanced from it’s qualifying stage to the final double elimination 32 player bracket. The qualifying stage attracted a number of American Pro Players, Chinese Pro Players and local Los Angeles Chinese players. Notable players advancing to the final stage of the event included Gareth Potts, Shane Van Boening, Corey Deuel, Liu Wei, Li Hewen and Shi Hanqing.
Hosted by China's high-end billiards company, Joy Billiards Promotion Co., Ltd., this event is an important international event in the global system of the Joy Cup Chinese Pool Masters which is considered to be the world's largest professional pool league, successfully held in 54 countries, the prize money reached 1 million yuan (about 145,000 US dollars).
In 2016, Joy Chinese pool began global promotion of their events. In the same year, it entered the US market and participated in the BCA Pool League National Championship in Las Vegas for two consecutive years. Contemporary American pool leader Shane Van Boening is a signed player of Joy Chinese pool. On a global scale, Stephen Hendry, the greatest player in the history of snooker, is the spokesperson for Joy Chinese pool.
Follow the brackets from the final stage of the event with our online bracket coverage

Joy Billiards Announces 5th World Chinese 8-Ball Masters

The Dream Team

Joy Billiards Group is proud to announce the 5th Annual World Chinese 8-Ball Masters, to take place in Qinhuangdao City, China in January of 2017. 
This event will feature 300,000 Chinese Yuan ($45,000) in guaranteed first place prize money, and a total purse of roughly $120,000. 
Participation in this event is earned through one of three ways. A series of five qualifiers has already begun in China, with points awarded to each finisher (along with prize money for each individual event). Top points earners from this qualifying events will earn entry into the final event in January. 
Players outside of China can earn entry into the Masters at one of the qualifiers held outside of China. Qualifiers are already scheduled in South Africa, Argentina, Morocco, Canada and USA, with events being scheduled in the England, France, Australia, Ireland, Mexico, Portugal, Brazil and East Africa. 
Players can also earn entry in the Masters with an invitation from Joy Billiards Group.
Joy Billiards Group has formed their “Dream Team” of Chinese 8-Ball, consisting of Stephen Hendry, Gareth Potts, Shi Hanqing, Wang Peng, Liu Chuang and Zhang KunPeng. In addition to these players, Joy Billiards Group has a cooperative relationship with Ronnie O’Sullivan and Xiao Ting Pan, who are expected to play in the January event.
Joy Billiards Group is made up of the Joy Billiard Table Factory, Joy Billiards Promotion Co. , IPOOL Projection System and the Youze Billing System. 
The 4th Annual World Chinese 8-Ball Masters, won by Yang Fan, was broadcast live for four days on CCTV5 in China with a total audience of over 1.5 million households. 
IPOOL Projection is a new technology featuring light sensor tracking that can read the position and movement of balls and the cue stick on a properly equipped standard pool table. This technology is already being used for billiard training, as well as interactive online gaming.  The technology makes it possible for players to enjoy numerous unique games combining pool & billiards with interactive images displayed on the table. 

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


Selby conquers the world

M. Selby

Mark Selby conquered the Crucible for the first time by beating Ronnie O'Sullivan 18-14 in the final of the Dafabet World Championship.
Selby produced an astonishing fight-back to win 13 of the last 17 frames and inflict O'Sullivan's first world final defeat on the five time champion.
O'Sullivan was looking for a third consecutive crown and appeared to be cruising when he led 8-3 and 10-5 on Sunday. But Selby rallied to 10-7 overnight then won five of the six frames in the third session as O'Sullivan, uncharacteristically, crumbed under the intense pressure.
And Leicester's 30-year-old Selby produced his best snooker of the match in the concluding session, winning the last three frames and sealing victory with a stunning clearance. He goes home with the trophy and a record £300,000 top prize, which makes him world number one on the new money list.
Since reaching his first Crucible final in 2007 – when he lost to John Higgins – Selby has become one of snooker's most consistent competitors, enjoying previous spells at the top of the rankings and winning the Masters three times as well as the UK Championship. The world title was the one glaring omission on his CV, but he now has his name engraved on the sport's most famous piece of silverware.
The best safety player in the world, he also produced nerveless breaks at key moments throughout the Championship, notably in the deciding frame of a 10-9 first round win over Michael White, and in the last session of his superb 17-14 victory over world number one Neil Robertson in the semi-finals.
Selby becomes the ninth player in snooker history to win the Triple Crown of major titles, joining Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry, John Higgins, Ronnie O'Sullivan, Mark Williams, Terry Griffiths, Alex Higgins and Neil Robertson. He was runner-up in both the UK and the Masters this season – thrashed 10-4 by O'Sullivan in the latter – but picked the perfect moment to win his first ranking title of the campaign and fourth of his career.
O'Sullivan's long unbeaten spell in Sheffield came to an end after winning 14 consecutive matches. He was denied the sixth world title of his career, which would have brought him level with Steve Davis and within one of Stephen Hendry's record. 
The Rocket, who had won his quarter and semi-final matches with a session to spare, was a huge odds-on favourite for the title when he led 10-5. But he lost all confidence and fluency in the third session, and despite dressing room huddles with psychiatrist Steve Peters, he was unable to regain his rhythm.
Trailing 12-11 going into the final session, O'Sullivan started strongly tonight with a break of 100, his 13th century of the tournament. But a missed black on 24 in the next stopped him from gathering momentum as Selby ground out that frame to regain the lead.
Runs of 23 and 25 helped Selby gain control of frame 26 and he sealed it by potting the pink after his opponent failed to gain the snooker he needed. And safety errors from O'Sullivan in the 27th gave Selby the opportunity to make 56 and extend his lead to 15-12 at the interval.
O'Sullivan took the next in two scoring visits, then made a stunning 37 clearance in frame 29, highlighted by a drilled yellow down the length of a side cushion.
But Selby wrestled back the initiative emphatically, making a 127 – his only century of the final – followed by an 87 to lead 17-14.
O'Sullivan looked certain to pull one back until he ran out of position at 56-0 in the next. Selby clawed back to within 29 points with one red left. And when his chance came, he proved himself a true champion. A long red was followed by a series of terrific pots, particularly the green which was close to the top cushion, as he cleared the table to capture the title.
"It hasn't sunk in yet," admitted Selby after winning the final watched by stars including actor Stephen Fry, darts supremo Phil Taylor, Iron Maiden drummer Nico McBrain and Muse frontman Matthew Bellamy. "In the next few days it will definitely settle in. To come through playing Ronnie in the final, it's a dream come true if you're going to win your first world title. 
"At 8-3 down, I knew Ronnie is one of the best front-runners in the world and I was just not playing well at all. I had my chances but kept missing and Ronnie was taking advantage most of the time. A couple of times he missed and I just kept digging in and nicking a few frames.
"To get out 10-7 down yesterday, I felt I was winning 10-7. I was physically and mentally tired yesterday – the same as when I got to the final seven years ago against John Higgins. Ronnie outplayed me yesterday and I was still only 10-7 behind and I still felt I hadn't turned up.
"All tournament I've felt confident and I knew if I got a chances I felt like I was going to score even though I didn't yesterday. Ronnie came back to 15-14 and asked me the question, and I probably played my best snooker of the match in those last three frames.
"My father passed away with cancer when I was 16, two months before I turned professional, and his last words to me were 'I want you to become World Champion'. I said to him I will be one day it's just a matter of when not if.
"There have been a lot of people in my life that have helped my through. Willie Thorne's brother, Malcolm, who sadly passed away a few years ago, spotted me when I used to go to Willie's club. He put me on the right track and sponsored me for a few years before I turned professional so I owe a lot to him and I'm sure he and my father were looking down smiling as I lifted that trophy."
O'Sullivan said: "I want to congratulate Mark on a brilliant match and a brilliant tournament. I tried my hardest but he was just too good.
"As a top snooker player you accept the losses with the wins, you can't have it your own way all the time. I've had some great victories here but losing is part of the sport and you've just got to accept that it's part and parcel of it. You have to go away and lick your wounds and go one better next time.
"It wasn't the most free-flowing match. There were a lot of safety bouts and I just got dragged into it. I tried to make something happen and open the balls up a few times but when you're forcing something to happen, it never quite happens.
"Everything I did he just had an answer for and I was finding it hard to put any momentum together. At some points I felt a bit numb out there because I was sat in my chair for long periods of time."


O’Sullivan The Master

Ronnie O'Sullivan beat Mark Selby 10-4 in the final of the Dafabet Masters to win the title for the fifth time.

O'Sullivan did most of the damage in the first session by taking a 7-1 lead, and despite a few late wobbles, he clinched victory with plenty to spare to win the £200,000 top prize.

The 38-year-old from nearby Chigwell received vibrant supported from a packed house at Alexandra Palace during his record tenth final appearance. His fifth victory in snooker's most prestigious invitation event brought him within one of Stephen Hendry's record of six.

Matching the imperious form which gave him the World Championship crown in 2012 and 2013, O'Sullivan conceded just seven frames during the tournament, beating Robert Milkins 6-1, Ricky Walden 6-0 and Stephen Maguire 6-2. His performance against Walden was one of the most devastating displays ever seen in a televised event. Over his four matches he made two centuries and 19 more breaks over 50.

It was his third final against Selby; in 2009 O'Sullivan won 10-8 and a year later fierce competitor Selby gained revenge with a 10-9 success. O'Sullivan's work with psychiatrist Dr Steve Peters in recent years has helped him cope with the frustrations of not having everything his own way during matches, and the challenge of tussling with never-say-die opponents like Selby. 

This time last year, O'Sullivan was doing voluntary work on a farm in Essex, during a long sabbatical from snooker. He now seems to have found a balance in his life on and off the table which has enabled him to play the best snooker of his career over the past two years.

With five World titles and four in the UK Championship, O'Sullivan now has 14 'triple crown' victories and it is conceivable that he could beat Hendry's record of 18. 

Leicester's Selby was playing in his fifth Masters final in seven years and chasing his fourth title, but had to settle for the £90,000 runner-up prize.

Encouraged by a vast entourage including Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood, artist Damien Hirst, actor Marc Warren, and girlfriend Laila Rouass, as well as his kids Lily (7) and Ronnie Jnr (6), O'Sullivan started the evening session 7-1 up following breaks of 97, 70, 96 and 53 during the afternoon. He quickly extended his lead tonight with a run of 90.

A 9-1 lead looked certain until, in a bizarre end to the tenth frame, O'Sullivan missed a sitter of a brown off the last red. Selby cleared to the black then rattled it in the jaws, only for O'Sullivan's attempt to finish hanging over a top corner. Selby tapped in the black for 8-2, then made an impressive 67 to win the next after his opponent had failed on a red at 27-0.

Selby had a clear chance in the next as he threatened a trademark fight-back, but missed the pink off its spot on 23. O'Sullivan edged ahead and potted the last red to make it 9-3 at the interval.

When they returned, a run of 67 from Selby saw him pull one back, but a clinical 72 from O'Sullivan in the next sealed the title.

"It's a great feeling," said O'Sullivan. "I expected it to be 10-9 or 10-8 because Mark is such a competitor and there's not much between us. He plays better when he's behind and you're never over the line against him until you pot the last ball. 

"I missed an awful brown to go 9-1 and then I was concerned he would get it back to 8-4, so I was pleased to win the frame to go 9-3 at the interval. I told myself to just keep competing. The match against Ricky Walden was a one-off, I was never going to be able to do that against Mark.

"I've got five World, five Masters and four UKs now and I never dreamed I would do this well. It's just nice to be playing and competing at 38 because most of the others now are in their late 20s or early 30s. I have set myself a target of winning the world title when I'm in my 40s. Tom Watson nearly won the Open at 59. 

"I'm competing with the players from the new era and the standard is high. To beat Mark 10-4 after the epic finals we have had is great. The way I've played in the last two years is how I wanted to play for the previous 18. Better late than never I suppose."

Selby said: "There's no one who wins frames in one visit like Ronnie, and makes it look so easy. I should have won the fourth frame and it might have been different if it had gone 3-1. Even at 7-1 I never felt I was out of it and believed I could win. I tried to put pressure on him and build my own confidence. 

"I'm disappointed to lose in the final of both the UK and the Masters but if I keep working hard hopefully I'll be winning again soon. I have won this before so it doesn't hurt as much."