Michael Wasley is a talented young snooker player from Gloucester who deserves additional respect for being able to solve the Rubik's cube in a matter of seconds (and not, as I used to in my youth, by taking it apart and then reassembling it).

Wasley’s ability to untangle a great enigma may stand him in good stead for when he plays one next week in the first round of the Wuxi Classic.

Ronnie O’Sullivan, who sat out almost all of last season, has entered not only Wuxi but also the European Tour event next month in Bulgaria.

Whether this is because he needs more money for school fees, he missed snooker and wants to make up for lost time or has contractual obligations to fulfil is anyone’s guess, but O’Sullivan’s presence at the SWSA in Gloucester next week will bring interest at a time of year when snooker has traditionally been in hibernation.

He’s playing Wasley because the system has changed. For all ranking events barring Australia, Shanghai and the World Championship, all 128 main tour members start from the beginning.

In this bright, shiny new era of ‘fairness’ this means that Ding Junhui, who is from Wuxi, has had to come back to Britain to qualify for...Wuxi.

He faces Aditya Mehta, who reached the last 16 of last season’s International Championship. The other Indian professional, Pankaj Advani, a quarter-finalist in the Welsh Open a few months back, will provide the first round opposition for Ricky Walden, the defending Wuxi Classic champion.

Steve Davis, having seen off his old foe Stephen Hendry, will play Hendry’s nephew, James Cahill.

The first round winners will all progress to the final stages next month.

I suspect many top 16 players need this like the proverbial hole in the head. It will be interesting to see who has practised and who will be winging it. And despite what they may say, organisers want the top players to qualify.

It’s a great chance for the lower ranked players. For many of them, if they’re going to beat a top player it’ll be in the more prosaic qualifying environment than the big arenas.

However, some of them may in time come to reflect that this new system is not quite the leveller they thought. The previous system was labyrinthine, tough and seemingly endless but playing, for instance, the reigning world champion in round one is going to be a lot tougher than playing someone of a similar ranking.

Still, it’s an exciting time for the new professionals and if I had a hat I would tip it to those who have come through Q School, including Alexander Ursenbacher, from Switzerland, and Ahmed Saif, a Qatari.

In my experience new pros couldn’t care less about whichever system is in place (and there have been a few down the years). They just want to play, and there will be much to play in this coming season.


Anonymous said...

Viewing figures for the BBCs coverage of the Worlds were really good - one session of the final was BBC2s top rated programme of the week.

Anonymous said...

If I was a betting woman, I'd have a fiver on Ronnie pulling out of stuff at the last minute.

Anonymous said...

Is there not an argument for a 128 draw but, like tennis, have seedings? It seems that in this open draw that RO'S could meet, for example, Judd Trump in the 1st Round. That's surely the last thing that both World Snooker and the Sponsors want.
Fair play if RO'S is beaten by the no. 128 in the world then they deserve their place in the limelight but at least it gives the tournament a story to hang its hat on in its early stages.

Anonymous said...

Does Ronnie realise that Wixu isn't Gaelic for 'Welsh'?

Dave H said...

It is seeded

Anonymous said...

Come on ronnie !!!

Anonymous said...

Dave I know your on your holidays but could I ask a question of you. Why Dave are players seeded out of position for the Wuxi Classic

R S Player

1 5 Neil Robertson
2 3 Mark Selby
3 22 Judd Trump
4 4 Shaun Murphy
5 No player playing @ the Wuxi Classic
6 7 Mark Allen
7 1 Ricky Walden
8 20 Barry Hawkins

Anonymous said...

If I was a betting man, I think I would have a fiver on Ronnie pulling out of Wuxi sooner rather than later.

Anonymous said...

It's the start of the open era of snooker, the top players will have to work harder than ever before . No more relying on their experience in front of cameras against a qualifier frightened in the headlights .
And no more qualifying for the masters after winning 2 first round matches in a season.
Most importantly , will accelerate the growth of the game too.

Dave H said...

As far as I can tell the players are seeded correctly for Wuxi. Walden is 1st as defending champion, O'Sullivan second as world champion and then based on ranking position.

Daniel said...

It would appear the seedings are 1-64 ranked players playing any "non seeded player" first round.

Thoughts - Good. The real lower ranked 100+ players will have half a chance of a win with a kind draw against a non top 16 player.

Second round conintues the theme of a 'loose seeded' draw, with the seeds being split into quarters it would appear.

1-16 V 47-64
17-32 V 33-48

It would seem the system has been designed in such a way to try and avoid repeat matchups throughout the season. A common problem of the 'old' system.

jamie brannon said...

The viewing figures for the Crucible were more than solid, and it proved a good boost for BBC2's general ratings, particularly in the daytime.

However, I was hoping the final, given O'Sullivan's presence, might peak higher than 3.1million. It was lower than last year's mediocre final. It's still a good audience for snooker, BBC2, and compares well to many sports, but did feel a five million peak could have been achieved. The nice weather didn't help though, and do wonder if starting early meant Eastenders/Corrie had an affect too.

Anonymous said...

there were less viewers due to burnout of the snooker fans.

last season, this curious thing also prevented some players to miss a final black on 140.

Anonymous said...

I have to be honest, if I were a rookie I would rather play someone ranked 64-96 than someone in the top 8 for my first game. A few bad draws and it could be tough staying on the tour. Also, in the case of Ding, couldn't they have made an exception and made him play one of the wildcards in Wuxi for his "first" match? Seems a bit much making him return just for a single qualifying match.

Anonymous said...

t that's the biggest load of rubbish I've ever heard just because he's from china he should get an east way into the tournament that's like saying jimmy white should have a bye into the world champs because the fans love him.

wild said...

10:57 pm

equality means just that making an exception for Ding isn't equality

Ray said...

In this new age of fairness an unjust anomaly sticks out a mile.I'm referring to the wild card given to Luca Brecel.He should earn his place the hard way by getting through 5 rounds of Q School,the same as everyone else.
I will never understand why he was given a 2 year exemption and is he the only one or have other wild cards also been issued?
It's either fair for all or it's not - you can't be a little bit pregnant.
I would value your take on this issue Dave.

Dave H said...

I think it's pretty clear that if you have wildcards then you can't claim 'fairness'

However, I think wildcards for young talents is a good thing: Ding got one, Robertson got one and they proved their worth and eventually earned their place in the top ranks

JIMO96 said...

It's not just unfair to Ding Junhui in 2013.....it's been unfair to Liang Wenbo, Xiao Guodong, Yu Delu etc etc for too many seasons to count.

Making the Chinese come to England to qualify for their own events.....just read that statement back to yourselves and tell me it's fair(!)

Are people only just noticing this embarrassing snooker anomaly this season, because Ding Junhui is affected?? Seriously?

(Fast forward 10 years) Next week: UK Championship qualifiers....in Zhangjiagang.

Terry Oblong said...

Ray, many players have had National Governing body Nominations, this year there are only 3 places for this (African, Oceania and American) but in the past it has been more including European nominations. Luca deserves to be on the tour, we want the best young talent as well as deserving journey men.

Anonymous said...

equality means just that making an exception for Ding isn't equality

Except no doubt he'll still be expected to promote it, or do you advocate the PR work being shared around the rookies too, wild?

wildey said...

in recent years Tony Drago and James Wattana got wild cards that cant be right and when Jimmy White or Steve Davis drops off tour they cant have wild cards suerly but if they fancy their chances then Q School it should be.

kildare cueman said...

The new system is going to be good for the viewer. Even if the top seeds keep coming through, it'll make the qualifiers more interesting.

Places 60-68 in the rankings will be the pressure spot at cut offs now. Finish inside the 64 and your playing a qualifier with every chance of shooting up.

Finish outside the 64 and your up against a seed, possibly starting a downward course that sees a player fall off the tour.

Dont think WS should have done away with holding games over though. I know it gives a slight advantage, but the difference it could make, having Mehta and Advani in India or Brecel in Belgium, could make a huge difference in a new territory.

It also guarantees that the likes of Ronnie and Judd, who lets face it, are players with huge interest from the public, can be seen in growth areas.

Anonymous said...

10:21pm - nice line!

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave don't suppose you no when the Stephen lee case will be Finsh not nice for snooker to have this cloud over it still ps blogs are great

wildey said...

"Except no doubt he'll still be expected to promote it, or do you advocate the PR work being shared around the rookies too, wild?"
he will be promoting the sport to give himself a better future that is separate to a individual tournament it should always be all or nothing regarding rounds of a tournament.

PrestatynFan said...

World Snooker are still holding games over till the final rounds.
The schedule for the UK at York, just out, shows 4 x L128 games held over till first tv day on the Saturday. This is slightly different in that the qualifiers are also at York for the previous 4 days but these are definitely held over as there is space in the schedule to play them in these 4 qualifying days.
So, a precedent for tv has been set, so no reason why Ding, say, should not be held over till China!

Anonymous said...

he will be promoting the sport to give himself a better future

That's not the point being argued wildey, and you know it! Traditionally the top 16 have undertaken promotional duties, which was a more productive use of their time if you ask me. My question, is that now they have to play just as many matches as any other pro should they still be expected to be undertake more promotional work than a rookie?

wildey said...

That's not the point being argued wildey, and you know it! Traditionally the top 16 have undertaken promotional duties, which was a more productive use of their time if you ask me. My question, is that now they have to play just as many matches as any other pro should they still be expected to be undertake more promotional work than a rookie?

they or any other player should be used to promote when World snooker or sponsor tells them to be there.

Anonymous said...

let the snooker do the talking

Anonymous said...

For all those that qualify for the main tour this season, through whatever chanel (Q School, nominations etc) what determines their starting ranking position? And where can the finalised 2013/4 ranking list be found?

Peter Norrie said...

Regarding the Qualifying School, from snooker.org, this has to be the statement of the year:

C Wakelin 4-2 A Wicheard

Wakelin earns a spot on the 2013/2014 and 2014/2015 Main Tour.
Wicheard lost the sixth frame after his cue snapped in half.

Don't you hate when that happens?!

Terry Oblong said...

All players outside of the top 64 are drawn randomly for the flat draws so ranking is not so important, new players start on 0 points and will be ranked alphabetically until points are scored.

Check this for a reasonably accurate list and ranking of all the players:


I assume this list has the adjustments backdated made to it to account for the new scoring system where by for the 3 events that use the old system (Worlds, Aussie and Shanghai), first match seeded losers only get half the ranking points, I assume this explains why Robo is now No1.

Interesting to see quite a few top players are skipping the Aussie open and a few missing the Wuxi Classic.

To top up to 128 players they offer places to the highest ranked Q school players who did not win a tour card. Renne Evans has a place in Wuxi.

Roll on Tuesday, new tour setup looks very exciting.

Terry Oblong said...


Think the bit I wrote about the points adjustments is wrong....

Anonymous said...

So it would appear there will be 131 on tour. If none of the 128 don't compete in an event, are the available spaces offered to those currently ranked 129-131, and then those that finished highest in the Q School Order of Merit?

Anonymous said...

The new flat structure is not bad in my opinion. But I would like to see the defender seeded through to the venue at least. For Wuxi this would be Ricky Walden who faces with Pankaj Advani a really strong player and could go out immediatelly.