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?


kildare cueman said...

Perhaps the young Thai pro could shorten his name like Wattana did, to something like Than Thirapong or something. It would certainly make it easier to promote himself down the line.

By all means a great player to watch, quick, attacking, a bit like a young O'Sullivan. Always nice to see to see a player like that come along.

While there's no doubt the lot of the new pro has improved considerably, it is still mighty difficult to break through.

This is because by the time a qualifier gets to the first round, he has to compete with the seeded player for the same points, but along the way has eliminated two or three qualifiers who can beat him next time out.

This has the net effect that over the period of a season, that qualifiers really only have a third or a quarter of the opportunities that the seeded players have to earn substantial points.

In order for the system to be truly equitable, I think players ranked 33-64 should play 65-96 in a qualifying round with the top 32 playing the winners in the first round proper.

I know there's an argument that TV needs stars so its hard to please everyone, but maybe the rankers could take a step back in prestige and hold more invitational events, which would reward those who do well in the ranking events, thereby keeping everybody happy except those who lose most of their matches.

Matt said...

With regard to the draw the only possibly explanation I can think of is that due to the UK's finishing on the Sunday and the qualifiers starting the following Tuesday, they couldn't be 100% sure of the top 16 seedings until the last minute and they needed to get the details out concerning the qualifying matches which were settled once Joyce lost.

It doesn't really wash with me as there is no reason why the last 32 draw couldn't have gone out on the Monday but it's all I can think of.

Who will be seeded as #1 out of interest, Higgins as number 1 or Robertson as world champion?

Betty Logan said...

It would be great if snooker could go back to Thailand. A country of that size and with the enthusiasm it once had for the game could easily stage a couple of events per season.

The reason the main draw hasn't been done for Germany yet, I suppose, is because Barry wants to see who qualifies first before he fixes it: Ron got Jimmy and then Hendry at the World Open; Hendry got Jimmy at the UK. A few more ties like that please, Barry.

Dave H said...

If recent precedent is adhered to, Robertson will be no.1 seed

Anonymous said...

kc i find that view offensive.

if your name was Bartholomew Johnston-Hawick youd have the right to be called that and not have people suggest you get called BartJohn.

its just cos youre too lazy to say someones name...

Anonymous said...

Robertson will be no 1 seed on top of the draw where Anthony Hamilton is his Opponent.

on Twitter or Facebook today Matthew Stevens has hinted that hes Playing Mark Allen so the draw is made but why is it a WSA Secret ???

Anonymous said...

5.46- KC???

Anonymous said...

The referees don't call him by his full name, they miss the surname out. It is simply Thanawat.

Betty Logan said...

They have the seeding list up for the German Masters:


Robertson is top seed.

MaximumSnooker.com said...


I was at EPTC4 and saw some of Thanawat's match with Marcus Campbell. The referee just said "Thanawat 49 and the frame" etc etc.

Theres a video of him on my site also.

Matt said...

You're right Dave, just seen the seedings list for the event on the World Snooker website. Ta.

Anonymous said...


I believe Matt to be right. It was planned to hold the full draw on the monday but when Williams knocked Joyce out this was brought forward.

However, the top four seeds were unknown until after the semi on saturday, and as you are aware, these are the most important as they are the only ones placed in position, 1 Robbo, 8 Murphy,9 Williams and 16, Higgins.

So, we can assume that Robbo plays Hamilton, and Murphy will play Stevens in the top half. Williams will play McGill and Higgins will play Milkins.

Anonymous said...

Tirapongpaibooncrashbang or Mr. T for short.

It is understandable they stick with Thanawat. I don't know if Thailand has that reverse name thing going like they do in China with Junhui Ding being Ding Junhui and so forth. Is Thanawat his first name?

Anonymous said...

I think it is a measure of how good Terry Griffiths is at talent spotting that he earmarked Jack and Anthony for future success