Tony Drago is on the verge of securing a return to the main tour after reaching the final of the European play-offs in Belgium.

Drago, Malta's best known sportsman, was relegated from the professional circuit last year.

He needs to beat Yvan Van Velthoven or Roy Stolk in the final to book his return.

There have been few players as entertaining as this one time world no.10 and it would be good to have him back on the circuit.

Like James Wattana's return through his Asian Championship victory, it proves these former leading lights still love playing and can still play to a high enough standard to earn their places on the pro tour.


Anonymous said...

come on tony

Matt said...

Looks like he'll face Stolk in the final...

Greg said...

Great news

Anonymous said...

ohhhhh goody more failure on theire way back.

it isnt good for the future having people going in going out like a yoyo.

where are the young players ?

Janie Watkins said...

It is Roy Stolk in the final and the final will be at 8.45pm Belgium time (7.30BST)

Stolk won this event a couple of years ago. He's been solid throughout again and he clinically pounced on some errors from Yvan today, although I must say, despite being 3-0 up he looked decidedly twitchy on some shots and I would take Tony to win the final fairly comfortably.

Tony is very relaxed - in fact he's gone back to the hotel to have a sleep for a while!

He told me it's obviously his dream to return to the main tour, but that even if it didn't happen he's got his love of snooker back again and is just enjoying practicing, playing and competing and being amongst friends at events.

Of course here in Duffel he's surrounded by a huge support club from Malta, with players, officials and supporters out in force.

He has credited the re-awakening of his snooker enthusiasm to Jimmy White, with whom he's spent many hours practicing over the past several weeks.

it goes without saying that we have full and live coverage of this and the European Championships on www.global-snooker.com

For those wondering what happened to Robin Hull. Literally an hour before he was getting on the plane, a crisis came up at his business and he was unable to come and play.

To anon at 5.06 there are several young Malta players. Two of whom are here also and it's great for them to play alongside and learn from their heroes like Tony Drago and Alex Borg.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,

The point made by 5.06 is what you've been talking about.

We go on with this 'new guard' taking over, but it hasn't and I don't think it will.

Its purely a case of cycles, like music, when one comes to an end - as you've said with Higgins/O'Sullivan feature - another group takes over.

But that may happen in the top 25 players. After that, I still believe that its a brilliant sport for all ages. What are the combined ages of Wattana and Drago? And they could well be back qualifying for Sheffield next season. Remarkable...

Thanks, Joe

Dave H said...

It will happen but not for a few years. It's inconceivable that there isn't a teenager in the whole of mainland Europe not good enough to develop into a world class player.

I've written a feature in the new issue of Snooker Scene about Luca Brecel. He's one to watch I would suggest.

Anonymous said...


Luca is 14 lets hope he dont discover Drink and Women until he is in his 30s atleast lol

Anonymous said...

Dave, just read your feat on Brecel in Snooker Scene and it's great, thanks fot that!

Sorry for an off-topic question: do you know whether the CueSport magazine is still alive? They stopped sending me issues in February, don't reply on e-mails, and haven't updated their website since Ali Carter won the Welsh Open...

Eric, Austria

Dave H said...

Eric: Cuesport has apparently gone out of business, despite its big monthly subsidy from the WPBSA

Anonymous said...

i used to have cuesport and snookerscene .

i canceled cuesport, snookerscene is far better.

Anonymous said...

It's difficult times in the magazine publishing world at the moment. Even the likes of EMAP and Wm Reed are shedding staff by the bus-load.

I'm glad I'm not working on a minority sport title such as snooker. Staff must be browning themselves worrying if they're going to be in work from week-to-week.

Thankfully, my titles are booming at the moment and I've managed to pick up some decent staff who've been unemployed for some time.


Anonymous said...

i used to prefer cuesport..

Anonymous said...

Is snooker scene going bust? This is bad news, not just for the people who work there, but also for coverage of our great game. Maybe it can continue as a quarterly publication?

Anonymous said...

go on the tornado!!

would love to see him back on the main tour....

Mr D

Anonymous said...

Niche market magazine publishers can't go quarterly with their titles as they need monthly revenue to pay monthly staff, rent, etc. Monthly income is critical for the day-to-day running of a title.

An annual yearbook however could be done by one punter sitting at home in front of an Apple Mac. The printer would probably want his dosh up-front if it was a new customer. Not an easy outlay for a sole trader to find.

Anonymous said...

Drago wins 5-4 after needing a snooker in the penultimate frame.

John A

wildJONESEYE said...

it's grate news to have drago back watching him play fast is terific.

Dave H said...

Snooker Scene is doing pretty well at the moment. We are getting a lot of subscriptions from outside the UK.

RichP said...

I used to like Pot Black as a teenager, I think it was more reader friendly, design etc was better. Did it get bought out by snooker scene in the end?

Dave H said...

It got bought by the WPBSA who then libelled Clive in it

He successfully sued and used part of the money to buy it and incorporate it into Snooker Scene

I agree it was a good magazine when Terry Smith was the editor

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,

Didn't John Dee have something to do with Pot Black as well? And does he still freelance for The Telegraph and, er, Cuesport?

Actually, some magazine sector's are picking up. The currently defunct music/fashion bible - The Face - is being brought back to our newstands.

And the free weekly sport magazine entitled, er, 'Sport' that went out of business last year, is coming back.

Didn't you work on a daily, Dave, The Sportsmen(?) that went bust, didn't it?

BTW, how are Cuesport entitled to funding by the WPBSA and you're not? Or is this to do with Clive again?

And, is Clive's latest book coming out in paperback?

Thanks, Joe

Dave H said...

John is basically retired now, although he did write for Cuesport.

Despite what was said earlier, niche magazines have a better chance of survival in these times because they have a loyal readership interested in one particular subject.

World Snooker are of course free to advertise their tournaments in Snooker Scene. I think some of their execs thought Cuesport would be some sort of mouthpiece but, credit to the magazine, it never was.

I did work for the Sportsman, yes, and it did go bust, yes. I've written for most of the UK papers at one time or another and thankfully most of them are still going.

Clive is waiting a while for the paperback as he has a few more chapters he'd like to write!

Anonymous said...


has it been a case the WSA has been trying to get rid of clive for years from the BBC Com box.

Anonymous said...

It was many years ago, but I got a sizeable sponsorship deal for a snooker magazine that were based in Kentish Town (crap offices above a garage).

The deal was worth £12k and I took 30% up-front. As it happened, they pissed of the client who withdrew the adverts after 3 months.

Janie Watkins said...

Maybe time in your Where are they now column, for a run down of the great and the good of the SWA - and all those old publications bring back some memories

Does anyone remember Pot Gold which ran for a few issue - with their Cuetie of the month!! I, of course was devasted (not!) to never have been selected as one of their Cueties!!

RichP said...

What happened to Terry Smith?

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,

Thanks for that information. I think there should be a future podcast on this issue of snooker magazines doing well/going bust.

And past failures.

How can the snooker media make money in years to come?

BTW - how did PA/WSA deal go down with the writers at the world championships?

Thanks, Joe