There surely can’t be a commentator or referee in the land who doesn’t hope to be doing the match featuring Thanawat Tirapongpaiboon at the German Masters next February.
The Thai teenager is one of three first season professionals who have qualified for the final stages in Berlin.
Hearty congratulations to him, Jack Lisowski and Anthony McGill.
It’s about time a few new, young faces started appearing on the TV. This is one of the by-products of the new pro circuit, with its extra playing opportunities giving younger players more chances to bed in to life on the main tour and more confidence if they get a few results.
Lisowski has already qualified for the PTC grand finals and so is on a roll while McGill has also started his rookie season in useful fashion.
Tirapongpaiboon looks like one to watch. Earlier this season he became the youngest professional to compile a maximum break in competition and as Barry Hearn takes top level snooker back to Thailand he could prove to be a very important part of its rebirth there.
Several established names also made it through – Marco Fu, Stephen Lee, Ryan Day, Matthew Stevens and Anthony Hamilton – but Ken Doherty was beaten 5-4 by Liu Song, who was sensibly given a place on the circuit by the WPBSA after Patrick Einsle’s resignation.
One mystery remains, though: why wasn’t the draw made for the final stages when it was made for the qualifiers?