And so it begins.

80 players join battle for the 16 qualifying places in next month’s Shanghai Masters. Among them are new faces, old faces, legendary faces and faces even diehard snooker fans would struggle to recognise.

The qualifiers take place in virtual obscurity. Alas, there won’t be much in the papers about the events at Pontin’s in Prestatyn over the next four days but, for the first time, there will be some streaming of matches through the new 110sport.tv venture.

Old snooker players don’t die, they go to the qualifiers.

They all have done in their time: Ray Reardon, Fred Davis, John Spencer, Alex Higgins, Joe Johnson, Dennis Taylor and now Jimmy White, John Parrott, Ken Doherty and Steve Davis.

It’s hard to give up when snooker has been your life, even when you know your best days are behind you.

In the back of your mind is the thought that maybe, just maybe, you will rediscover some of that golden form.

It’s the mindset that sees James Wattana and Tony Drago return this season to give the professional circuit another go.

The only legend who called it a day when he dropped out of the top 16 was Terry Griffiths so there’s a certain irony that he will be 110sport’s lead commentator today.

But Terry, of course, carried on in the game through coaching when he finally hung his cue up and, in some ways, his playing career has been extended through following the fortunes of those he coaches.

All the players starting out this week will be flush full of hope that, whatever has happened in the past, this will be their season.

That hope will be eroded for many by close defeats, disappointing performances and the realities of life on tour in a sport not in the best of health, with two ranking events axed and sponsorship hard to come by.

Players in the first two rounds will not earn a single penny, despite being professional sportsmen.

There will be plenty of time during the season to become disenchanted, frustrated and plain fed up. But, today, hope is in the ascendancy.

Good luck to all those involved.


Anonymous said...

good luck to 110

i wont be tuning in. too costly!

i will just wait for updates

mathsisfun said...

You can still use the livescoring on the worldsnooker website.

Eric said...

I am actually watching now on 110sport.tv though there seems only 1 match on instead of the promised 2. (Or, at least, one cannot find out how to switch to the other table...)

Quality of the livestream is excellent and they did some interviews (James Wattana, Tony Drago) in the midsession interval. However, commentator Terry Griffiths is talking a bit too much during play, leaving hardly any moment of silence...

Anonymous said...

guess its Visa issues that have accounted for Mei Xiwen and Li Hang

Anonymous said...

i reckon they have been aproached for wild cards in shanghai and they accepted the chance.

Goudong on the other hand has real ambition and he played for the ranking points.

Anonymous said...

It's a shame about the Chinese boys and the visas, especially Hang who worked his socks off last year to stay on the tour. It will take some doing now with only 5 events left. It's time for WORLD SNOOKER to re invent the qualifying school or make the game open(with regional qualifying) so these boys can do it in their own country. WORLD SNOOKER? They should call themselves BRITISH SNOOKER


jamie brannon said...

Off topic Dave but I wondered what you thought briefly of Alex Higgins as a person? I have just been reading some of Clive's book from 2007 and he seems to imply how nasty he was but he does seem to be liked by some players like Jimmy White. Did he have a good side?

Janie said...

Visa issue have accounted for Li Hang, Mei Xiwen and I'm being told Wenbo has a problem too.

Bjorn Haneveer managed to win despite a broken shoulder that has metal plates in it, after falling off his bike in the summer.

Ian Preece didn't win despite illness. He has a mystery stomach complaint, has lost two stone in weight and waiting for an operation.. two stone off Ian is a lot, he was only 7 stone wringing wet before.

I'll update illness and accident reports as I hear about them!

ddrIII said...

Now Liang Wenbo's match is finally held over to the venue.

Anonymous said...


theres an email for contacting David.

Dave H said...

Jamie, I didn't really know him

However, my encounters with him have not exactly gone well

Anonymous said...


what you got to remember with Alex is people took advantage of him over many years and made him bitter towards people to the point if he didnt know you he was on the atack or defensive straight away.

people who he trusted and have known him a long time knows how he is and the likes of jimmy and john Virgo has been true friends to him and he can trust them so he is ok with them.

lets just say getting to know the man behind the myth is impossible these days and the likes of dave that came in to the sport in the 90s hasent got a chance to get to know him.

Anonymous said...

I knew Higgins, great player with a massive chip on his shoulder.
To suggest people took advantage of him is to suggest this is possible of any sportsman, snooker players included and not all others were as rude and offensive.
He idi a lot for the growth of the sport by being a bad boy but nobody owes him a living as I believe he always thought.

Anonymous said...

I met Alex twice. Once in Preston when he was playing in the UK (great venue the Guild Hall by the way). He was charming and signed autographs, had photos taken and was nothing like I'd expected him to be. The second time was at the Crucible, when I say I met him, that's not quite true - he barged past my dad and pushed him to the floor and I shouted to him 'who do think you are?' to which he replied 'F**k Off'. Charming.

jamie brannon said...

I only asked as I believe you helped write his autobiography, so I thought you would have spent some time bonding!

Dave H said...

I was only responsible for checking some facts

Anonymous said...

Good Luck to all participated for this tournamnet


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