So Q School is finally over and we have the last four qualifiers for the main tour: Dave Gilbert, Kurt Maflin, Adam Duffy and Stuart Carrington.
Gilbert certainly earned his place. He had appeared in the final round of each of the previous two Q School events but finally got through with a 4-1 defeat of Allan Taylor.
The surprise for me was that Gilbert had dropped off the circuit at all. He’s a better player than his overall record suggests.
While a gulf does exist between the top players and those down the ranks – in the big arenas on TV in any case – the standard of play in the qualifiers is extremely high and it takes something special to make it through the quagmire time after time.
I thought Maflin was one of those players with a good chance of coming through Q School and he duly qualified with a 4-1 victory over Martin O’Donnell.
Maflin came close to beating Ding Junhui in the China Open last season and now has a choice to make. A Londoner by birth, he lives in Norway as his partner is Norwegian. They have a young child.
Maflin is now considering moving to the UK full time for all the qualifiers, PTCs and practice. Playing on the professional circuit is something you can’t do half-hearted but it’s obviously a big decision to uproot your family.
I said before Q School started that I fancied eight or nine of the qualifiers to have played on the main tour previously.
The final tally was actually nine, with Duffy and Carrington joining Li Yan, a qualifier from Q School 2.
Duffy is a Sheffield boy and so is in the right place for the qualifiers. He was the WPBSA Paul Hunter Scholar in 2009 and is a pal of Judd Trump, who he intends to practice with.
Carrington, I seem to remember, once won Junior Pot Black and gives the snooker hotbed of Grimsby another professional, following in the footsteps of the likes of Ray Edmonds, Dean Reynolds, Mike Hallett and Sean Storey.
Well done to all the qualifiers and good luck to them on the circuit next season.