The first Q School event is over and congratulations go to David Grace, Adam Wicheard, Robin Hull and Andrew Norman, who have secured places on the professional circuit for next season.
Competition over the last few days has been fierce but these four players can now look forward to entry to all of the new campaign’s ranking events.
Hull’s return to the circuit is particularly noteworthy. Finland’s best ever player had his career cut horribly short by a virus which caused him to lose his balance to such an extent that he was unable to walk straight, let alone play snooker.
In the 2001/02 season, Hull won 30 matches in ranking events, qualified for the Crucible and the following year got himself into the top 32 for the first time.
Robin also reached two ranking event quarter-finals but his health problems forced him into premature retirement.
So his qualification comes after a bleak period in his life and I’m sure he is now looking forward to having another go at the pro ranks.
Wicheard also had serious health problems. He spent months in hospital after a tumour was found on his spine.
He played on the circuit last season, was relegated but has immediately bounced back.
Grace is a former English amateur champion and is back on the main tour having played on it in 2008/09.
Norman, I know, has been inspired to carry on playing following the establishment of the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester, near to where he lives.
It has given him a first class practice centre with good opposition and the drive to keep going after an indifferent few years.
So well done to one and all. What is interesting, though, is that the first four qualifiers are all former professionals.
Will any new faces make it through from the second event, which starts tomorrow?