It’s been an exciting season full of snooker with new formats and innovations but there is still one tournament that stands head and shoulders above the rest – and it starts tomorrow.

The qualifiers for this year’s Betfred.com World Championship begin at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield where the hopefuls will be attempting to join the top 16 at the Crucible Theatre next month.

And however much drama there will be at the Crucible in front of the TV cameras, the qualifiers produces immeasurable tension and intrigue of their own.

They start with a round featuring WPBSA members and coaches not on the main tour – a day giving plucky outsiders a chance to play in the World Championship or a monumental waste of everybody’s time, depending on your point of view.

Among the former Crucible performers on show will be Tony Knowles, a three times semi-finalist, David Gray, Les Dodd and Paul Cavney.

But the qualifiers start in earnest on Saturday when the action moves to the Badminton Hall, which is open to the paying public.

Legends such as Jimmy White and Steve Davis will rub shoulders with rookies such as Jack Lisowski and Anthony McGill. The qualifiers are a great leveller: everyone is desperate to get through, the standard of play is not always high – it’s all about getting the result.

Trudging away after defeat is hard, doubly so for those who don’t have the China Open to look forward to.

The knowledge that the World Championship is on TV and you’re not in it is hard to swallow and there is also the small matter of the qualifying deciding who remains on the tour and who will have to go through Q School in May.

It’s a horribly nervy time for the players: the Crucible is just a few miles down the road but probably feels light years away. Only 16 places are available so there will be far more disappointment than joy.

If you are able to go along and watch any of the action then I thoroughly recommend it. The drama and excitement on offer is in keeping with the best that the World Championship can offer.


MattWilson said...

What are your thoughts on opening the pre-qualifying round up to amateurs?


Dave H said...

I think that's better than the current set-up - indeed it's what they used to do

Anonymous said...

One of the best players in the Newcastle league used to play in the amateur qualifiers. To watch him practice you'd wonder how he'd EVER get beat but he annihilated 4-0 every time in the first round!!! The standards are of course, astronomical!


Anonymous said...

Why not intergrate the PTC in to Amataur Qualifying for the World Championship.

Top 32 on the PTC Order of merit thats not on the Main Tour plays in Stage 1

Round 1 Stage 1
16 v 16

Round 2 Stage 1
8 v 8

Round 1 Stage 2
89-96 v 8 Qualifiers

Round 2 Stage 2
65-80 v 81-96

Janie Watkins said...

I think they should open it up to all comers in those pre-tour player rounds.

Half of this year's entrants at that stage have contrived to play in amateur events this season anyway so why shouldn't the amateurs play in the worlds.

I'm quite surprised Barry Hearn didn't re-introduce the Amateur round - could have been a bit of a money spinner for the ws coffers!

Betty Logan said...

This will end up being a non-issue won't it? Players used to have to resign their membership to enter PIOS if they wanted to qualify for the tour again, is this going to be the case for the qualifying school? It wouldn't seem to be, if players who drop off the tour can immediately enter. Thanks to the PTC there are plenty of events for players to compete in if they don't resign their membership, which only cuts off a few qualification routes like the IBSF world amateur and so forth, so the professional ranks may swell rapidly since I don't see much point in resigning professional membership anymore, unless you're a foreign national chasing a "soft" place.

Also, can someone clarify if the 8 PTC places are by ranking points or the order of merit?

John F said...

I asked this on Pro Snooker Blog - It's by order of merit. If a PTC survivor drops out the top 64, Igor Figueiredo (currently 8th best in PTC ranks not in top 64) will drop off the tour.

TazMania said...

betty logan if you want to see the eight who will survive the top 64 chop go to:


The players that are surviving are highlited in yellow

Hope this helps

Matt said...

They are definitely by the order of merit Betty. I made that mistake earlier this season and was hastily corrected by one nameless pro!

Anonymous said...

order of merit

Anonymous said...

Dave - what do you think the chances of Hendry getting a run in the Championship this year are? Do you think if he pulls it together he could beat Selby over best of 25 in the second round?

Dave H said...

Unlikely based on recent evidence, although without a decent performance he'll probably be out of the top 16.