I congratulate Daniel Wells and Li Hang for keeping their places on the professional circuit for another year having made their debuts last season.
This is a much better achievement than it sounds. The rankings are worked out using two season’s points.
Wells and Li had only one year’s points, plus the starter points they were awarded at the beginning of the campaign.
These points are the number earned by the lowest ranked player on the list, so they change in amount from year to year.
Actually, both Wells and Li stayed on through the WPBSA’s sensible decision to allow eight places for players who have earned the most points in a single season that are not already in the top 64 on the two-year list.
Even this is much harder than many people realise.
New on the scene, players start in the very first round of qualifying for ranking events and the qualifiers are as competitive as they have ever been.
There are some tough match-players at Prestatyn who will never win major titles but are adept at halting the progress of rising stars.
Daniel kept his place as a result of winning three deciders in the Betfred.com World Championship before losing a fourth to Barry Hawkins to be denied a trip to the Crucible.
By doing so, he has something to work on next season rather than being relegated and spending another year on the PIOS.
Not everyone’s heart will bleed at such a plight. Sport is, after all, the survival of the fittest but I do think new players are unreasonably disadvantaged because starter points vary from year to year and, however you look it, they are still starting right at the bottom.
Here’s an idea: why not just say to the new players that however many points they earn in their first season will be doubled?
This would have seen Wells finish 60th and not 70th while Li would have been placed 64th not 71st.
Would anyone begrudge them this?
Yes, almost certainly, because people begrudge one another all manner of things.
But doubling up would at least reward success to some degree and give the new faces more of a chance.
It will be even harder for those promoted for the 2009/10 season.
Only six ranking tournaments have been announced. If the individual points tariffs are not amended then I expect almost all of them to be relegated.