So Stuart Bingham has taken his place in snooker’s ranking event winners’ circle...who else might join him as a first time champion this season?

The usual nine of ten players will in all likelihood dominate but the difference now to a few years ago is that more players are sharp because they are playing all the time.

The confidence that a good PTC run can bring feeds into the big events and there will be a number of players looking at Bingham’s win at the weekend and thinking, ‘I could do that’

Ironically, the name at the top of this list is Bingham’s chief critic at the Australian Open, Mark Allen.

He has taken a lot of stick for his comments but remains a fine talent who has reached the quarter-finals of the last two ranking tournaments despite hardly practising.

Maybe sometimes he needs to tighten up a little but he certainly has the attacking game that pays dividends in this ultra-competitive era for snooker.

Who else?

Jamie Cope has long been regarded as a talent who hasn’t quite stepped up to the next level, but it emerged recently that he has in fact been suffering from an hereditary condition that caused him to shake on the shot, for which he has now received treatment.

Hopefully this will help him make some progress now, although I think sometimes Jamie’s head drops a little too early in matches when things are going wrong and this is perhaps another issue he needs to address.

Bingham is 35 and his victory will give heart to the likes of Mark King and Joe Perry, two players who have been on the fringes of winning big titles without quite doing it.

Martin Gould is one of the most improved players on the circuit in recent times, but it remains to be seen if his open game can yield silverware.

What of the young stars? Could, say, Jack Lisowski or Anthony McGill conceivably come through the pack in the way, for instance, Paul Hunter did at the 1998 Welsh Open?

These are all questions. I don’t know the answers, but I’d be interested in your thoughts.


Hristo said...

Well done, Dave. First of all I was amazed to read on (your) twitter that the blog was only read by 12 people on a current day. This is madness. I consider the blog to be a very good one, indeed. And I read quite a few of them out there, so it actually should be ultra popular.
On the current topic, I really thing Mark Allen will be the next one to shine on the big stage. He was suffering from depression earlier this year, and as well all know, it takes a while to shake off it. (If he ever does) But, I expect the opposite "spur on" Effect on him to come into motion. He really annoyed Stuart with his comments, and they were all wrong, but now he needs to realize, that "the bottler" has one a title and he has not. I really like Mark Allen and hope he does start practicing a wee bit more and gets a title on his CV.
As for my second choice, it will actually be Mr. Croupier Gould, but I am not so sure, he safety game is good enough (if it exists) for him to win a title. But, you never know, he is such a potter, if he out pots every one in a tournament, he migh as well do it.

Sparky said...

I think you forgot to mention the leader of the most-ranking-fnals-without-a-win-list: Ryan Day!

kildare cueman said...

I think Wenbo will go close to winning a title this season.
A very good potter, he appears to be emerging from a crisis in confidence, and while tactically, he is atrocious, theres no doubt he has the bottle to do it.

Another player who could have a good run is Marcus Campbell.
He is solid, improving all the time, and has the advantage of a tough practise school up in Scotland.

Anonymous said...

its to early for Jack Lisowski and Anthony Mcgill they haven't got experience of many TV Matches and eventually they will run in to a brick wall.

main candidates are Mark Allen,Martin Gould and Liang Wenbo looks to be starting to get his act together at long last.

Chris Turner said...

If it is to happen sooner rather than later then Mark Allen has to be top of the list with Martin Gould a possibility.

Looking a little further ahead Anthony McGill and Jack Lisowski spring to mind with Jamie Jones another making good progress up the charts.

I thing the likes of Mark King and Joe Perry are past their best and would be surprised if they took a major crown. Ryan Day and Jamie Cope have been so close but Day in particular has had a bad dip in form over the last couple of seasons but if he gets it back he could well win a big one and the same goes for Liang Wenbo.

As a dark horse, watch out for Matthew Selt!

mg147 said...

Yes, we all know Mark Allen has bundles of talent..shouldn´t he then start practising harder, so he can convert those quarter-finals and semis into finals and win ranking tournaments!
Perhaps he lacks the discipline of say a Hendry or Davis to practise hard enough (which quite often seems to be the case with many natural talents?)

Anonymous said...

Interesting discussion topic Dave. I think that the two front-runners to win a maiden title this season must be Mark Allen and Liang Wenbo. As pointed out by Kildare Cueman though, Wenbo's tactical game is below par relative to the very top players. I fancy that he might have a better chance winning one of the PTC events rather than a full-blown best of 9 format event. Allen on the other hand has the all-round game. He's proved this in the World Championships and he may well be spurred on by Bingham's success to knuckle down and finally win the silverware that his obvious talent deserves.

Paul G said...

This is a question for dave or chris turner as i know both of you are snooker statisticans.i see bingham is the 48th player to win a ranking event.how many of the 48 different players have won as a qualifier?.would love to know this answer hope you can help.

jamie brannon said...

The best player never to have won a ranking event is Anthony Hamilton. A supreme breakbuilder, allied to a solid tactical game, it is mystery as to why he never entered the winner's circle.

Of course, it is still possible for him to break his ranking title virginity but time is against him, and the recent revelation of neck trouble may hasten his decline.

Mark Allen is the obvious choice in terms of current standing, and he has won a notable invitation tournament.

Ryan Day and Liang Wenbo have to figure somewhere in this debate. Both players lack a little in the safety department, and Day may be scarred by three final defeats.

Wenbo will improve, and when he does his scoring power could blow the field away in a given week.

My gut feeling is that King and Perry were never quite good enough, particularly King in the scoring aspect of the game.

As for Cope, would like to see it but he needs to develop a B-game and start scrapping out those victories when he is not firing on all cylinders.

Claus said...

12 people a day??? That is obviously not true. Dave, can you confirm this and if so, are you sure that is the case? This has readers from many countries and each post is actively commented by many and most likely read by many more. 12 people...no way. Really?

And the young star to look out for is a scottish player called Heven Stendry. One to watch.

wild said...

Terry Griffiths
Tony Jones
Dave Harold
Ronnie O'Sullivan
John Higgins
Mark Williams
Dominic Dale
Paul Hunter
Fergal O'Brien
Chris Small
David Gray
Stephen Maguire
Shaun Murphy
Ding Junhui
Marco Fu
Ricky Walden
Judd Trump
Stuart Bingham

18 of them

in the 80s and early 90s top 32 was seeded through so although Hendry won as WN 23 in 1987 he wasent a qualifier.

Trevor said...

Jamie for a start mark allen is a much better player than hamilton and he has never won a ranking event either.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave is there a list of all ranking event winners say from the seventies till now???I would say martin gould may win one.mark allan, jamie cope certainly as the game..id love to see mark king win a ranking..but overall I want hendry to win another ranking title or the masters like davis did in 1997.

Dave H said...

Claus, there's a glitch in the stats at the moment

Anonymous said...

Higgins and Spencer won the WC as qualifiers.

147 said...

I dont care what the stats say Dave your blog is one of the best out there, if not the best.Numbers do not tell the full truth.

PaulG said...

Wild where did you get that list from ? Good work by the way.

tatannes XI said...

yep, many people can read your articles directly on the snooker forum.

Anonymous said...

Did they even have qualifiers back in Higgins/Spencer's day? I thought they just paid their entry fee and that as it.

Anonymous said...

The obvious candidate is Mark Allen. My dark horse would probably be Jamie Cope. Better all rounder than Liang.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,

It certainly has been an interesting couple of seasons under the Hearn regime.

Well done Bingham for finally winning one for the journeyman player. I would say, that the PTC's have been most helpful to this group of players, rather than the elite. And I always throw in the theory that if this new ranking system was in place a few year's back, more journeyman player's would've definitely had the chance of doing what Bingham has done. The driftwood of King/Day/Perry et al hung around the top 16 because of the system. These guys may have a good run again, but I think really a PTC (as indicated by Perry's final apperance last month,) is where they will be better placed.

Cope is another player who doesn't quite have the game to take a plethora of tournaments, but would like to see him win at least one, as I could Stephen Lee.

I would like to think Mark Allen will win a few rankers. Regardless of his war-of-words with Bingham, he will have a far better career than the Basildon cueist. He has time on his hand's and I can see him landing a big one, providing his health stays ok!

I would eventually like a see an invitational tournament for the elite 8. Because looking at the top 16 now it will be interchangable outside the 8 - who look very tight and deserve another innovative tournament.

Thanks, Joe

BTW, Shed Seven??! Forget that, what about the Spinto Band!

Anonymous said...

Alan McManus to win a big tournament if he can keep focussed in the qualifiers.

Anonymous said...

To suggest that Anthony Hamilton is the best player never to have won a ranking event is to romantically look at the past decade with rose tinted spectacles.
Hamilton is a nice guy but is manufactured as a player and lacking in true gumption as an individual.
He never ruffled any feathers and never harmed anyone but that in itself was his problem.

Trevor said...

Wild marco fu was not a qualifier when he won the grand prix.infact the top 32 and 16 qualifiers took part in the tournament.fu was 27th in the world so did not need to qualify.dave what is the amount of qualifiers to win rankers.

wild said...


your right Grand Prix was last 64 start that year.


Greg P said...

"Hopefully this will help him make some progress now, although I think sometimes Jamie’s head drops a little too early in matches when things are going wrong and this is perhaps another issue he needs to address."

I'm not so sure if we can judge his attitude problem the same way if he had an undiagnosed condition holding him back. If you have that much natural talent but haven't had any success you can kind of understand becoming petulant the way he has.

Anyway that's good news and I hope he can really take off from here.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget Neil Robertson and the World Open. He was a qualifier when he won that.

Anonymous said...

The best player never to win a ranking event is Joe Swail. No question. What a talent that guy is, he delighted us at the Crucible so many times just an entertainer and a great guy. I will never forget his performances against John Parrott and Mark Williams in the last 16 at the Crucible to come from behind to win on a decider over 25 frames.

Andrew B. said...

Higgins was certainly a qualifier in the 1972 World Championship (8 players played 2 qualifying rounds). Don't think they had qualifying rounds in 1969 when Spencer won it.

wild said...

Neil Robertson hasent won any tournament as a Qualifier Lowest Rank hes been in winning tournament is no 13th

and the 1972 World Championship was not a Ranking Event which the Question was referring to.

Anonymous said...

Yes he has Wild. He won the World Open last year as a qualifier. His match was held over to TV but it was still a qualifier.

wild said...

no other way round the first round was played in the academy because they could not play all the matches at the venue they only played 11 first rounders(last 64) at the venue.

Anonymous said...


neil wasnt the qualifier!

Anonymous said...

11.17, Neil Robertson won the world open as world champion and no. 2 seed.
His first round match was held over,

Anonymous said...

If he wasn't a qualifier why was he first match included on the qualifiers draw sheet on the World Snooker site then? Robertson and O'Sullivan were heldover but were still qualifiers.

wild said...

Strictly Speaking i guess your right but in reality top seeds dont qualify so really naming a World Champion as a qualifying winner of the World Open is a bit silly.

the structure of the event was wrong that its even a issue.

Trevor said...

Anon 5.35 robertson Was the number 1 seed for the world open as reigning world champion.the way the seedings work for a world ranking event are as follows.no 1 seed is the defending champion,no 2 seed is world champion.since the world open was a new event the world champion was number 1 seed simple as that.

Anonymous said...

I think you'll find the World Open wasn't seeded. It was randomly drawn from all the qualifiers.

Anonymous said...


there was qualifying rounds that was drawn then they reached the last 64 round thats when the top 32 entered the event.