To get to Oz, Dorothy and pals had to follow the yellow brick road. In retrospect this was a doddle compared to the minefield that is the qualifying event for the Australian Goldfields Open.

The Dorothy entourage variously required a brain, a heart and the nerve as they went on their way. Snooker players will need all three and even that might not be enough in the carnage about to ensue in Sheffield.

It was clear from the first PTC that not all players have been locked indoors practising during the close season.

But the Australian Open is a fully fledged ranking tournament and competition for the 16 qualifying places in Bendigo will be fierce.

There are 99 players on the main tour as it stands but neither Marco Fu nor Igor Figueiredo have entered this tournament so there is only one extra match to play tonight before the last 96 begins tomorrow.

At least the qualifiers are properly broken up these days rather than being played in blocks as used to happen.

The qualifying system has a factory feel to it, supplying players for the final stages on a production line. But how else is it supposed to be played?

You occasionally hear the odd lunatic suggestion, such as every player on the tour should start in the first qualifying round (as happens in the PTCs).

Well, they have done. And the ones who were good enough rose up the rankings and joined the top 16 to earn their exemptions into the final stages, which guarantees the broadcasters who pump fortunes into the game the star names on screen. Every player on the circuit has the same chance to do this, more so now with the extra tournaments and more fluid ranking system.

Meanwhile, Steve and James Mifsud, who are brothers, have been awarded wildcards for the final stages in Bendigo, although the worth of these is questionable bearing in mind their matches will not be televised and will be played at 10am local time on the Monday morning.

If Steve Mifsud and Neil Robertson reach the World Cup final for Australia in Bangkok the previous day there will obviously have to be some rescheduling.

Good luck to all involved in Sheffield. With Glastonbury and Wimbledon in full flow it doesn’t feel like the snooker season but this is just as important a time in the calendar as the cold, dark winter months to come.


Betty Logan said...

It is the cold, dark, winter months in Australia.

Question: What do Stephen Hendry and Dave Hendon have in common?

Answer: A plummeting ranking!


Snooker Scene blog was ranked in the 20s a couple of years ago :(

kildare cueman said...

Dodgy decision by Fu. If results conspire against him he could find himself out of the top 32, or on the precipice, going into the next tournament.

Trevor said...

I thought there was 100 pros this season after 4 wildcards were given out.is there one gone already ?

Dave H said...

World Snooker declined to give European amateur runner-up Vinnie Muldoon a ticket, the winner Daniel Wells having already qualified.

Anonymous said...

Betty - I think they are struggling to keep everything up to date on the website - they still haven't updated the rankings after PTC1 when last season rankings were always updated within 48 hours of an event

Anonymous said...

Betty a few years ago there was'nt that many blogs about snooker, fast forward a few years and there's many more blogs that have arrived on the scene. This is probably the reason for Dave's great blog dropping down. you should try getting a life an stop trolling at every opportunity you get!!

Janie Watkins said...

Weather seems appropriate for Australian Qualifier.

It's hotter in the UK than it will be for the final stages in the depths of the Australian winter!

Good luck to everyone. Should be a great season.

Anonymous said...

barbecue in sheffield and a few kangaroos is all thats needed tomorrow haha