There could be as many as 30 titles big and small to be contested this season so it’s reasonable to imagine there will be a fair few players collecting silverware (or glassware for that matter).

The usual suspects will surely feature strongly but who else could break through the pack and win something big or small?

When it comes to the PTCs, the answer is anything up to half of the tour, maybe more. On their day, and in the less forbidding environment of a cubicle in Sheffield, players down the list are capable of excellent performances.

Last season, the PTCs played a vital role in building confidence. This was certainly true for Jack Lisowski, who lost his first three matches on the tour and then reached a PTC final. After that, he had a really good campaign, reaching three venues and joining the top 64.

Lisowski shares a house with Judd Trump. My advice is that if they invite you round to dinner, suggest a takeaway as, judging from their tweets, they are still grappling with cooking.

Snooker, though, is no problem for either and Lisowski, voted rookie of the year at the World Snooker awards, is clearly one to watch.

Anthony McGill is another young player who made a good start to his career and will now be looking to press on.

Mark Allen, hopefully now in a better frame of mind after treatment for depression and making a fresh start by signing to OnQ Promotions, is a player who will surely land a significant title soon.

Matthew Stevens is back in the top 16 after a great finish to last season. Can he keep that form going?

Can players such as Pink Ribbon winner Mark Joyce make an impact?

How will the non-British contingent, particularly those new to the circuit like Luca Brecel, fare?

Other questions are to be answered. Can Jamie Cope make that next step and win a tournament? Cope revealed to worldsnooker.com yesterday that he has been receiving treatment for an hereditary shake. It shows that you never really know what lies behind a player's lack of form. Cope is a terrific talent, his commitment has been questioned but his thinking must have been affected by the condition.

What else? Can Stuart Bingham finally join the top 16? Can the likes of Ken Doherty and Jimmy White stave off decline? Can any of the Q School qualifiers make an impact?

One player less likely to feature in any prominent way is Steve Davis, but I couldn’t let this series of pieces on the new season end without mentioning the great man.

Steve is now 44th in the rankings but though his passion for snooker remains undimmed, getting himself up for soulless qualifiers, of which there will be many this season, is going to be difficult.

It seems the Davis career doesn’t have long to run, though he will be on our screens at the Brazilian Masters because the organisers well remember an exhibition he gave in Brazil in the 1980s and want him there.

If this is to be Davis’s last season he can be proud of playing such a key role in getting his best mate Barry Hearn involved again.

In some ways this has hastened the end of his own playing career but it has also created the exciting campaign that lies before us.

It all starts tomorrow with the amateur qualifying rounds of the first PTC and goes pretty much full pelt all the way to the world final next May.

So strap yourselves in for what’s bound to be a rollercoaster season of snooker.


Anonymous said...

The ptcs need to be televised and then we can have a rollercoaster ride.

Anonymous said...

Mark Allen suffering from depression? How old is he? What is causing this depression, some kind of snookeritis? Come on, maybe he would prefer a 9-6 desk job for a couple of years, then tell me about depression.

Davis still has the technique and is still fit enough to play and get thru the qualifiers, but its all about practising which he may not be willing to do.

Unlucky for Cope, sounds like a similar problem to Bill Werbeniuk. Maybe he can start drinking lagers during the game?

Of the new crop, well there are no O'Sullivans, so I suppose we'll have to make do with whoever makes it onto the screens.

jamie brannon said...

Surprised you didn't feature Shaun Murphy in your player profiles. He is more likely than Hendry to be a factor this season, but guess Hendry's reputation demanded a profile.

jamie brannon said...

I only say that as got the impression you were featuring players most likely to win tournaments. It has to be said Maguire hasn't won anything of note for three tears so not sure if he has not slipped out of this bracket, but Murphy won a ranking event last season.

Maximum Snooker said...

I think Steve Davis will probably further drop down the rankings this season but he will probably stay in the top 64 and if that happens he will definitely will be back next season.

Interesting with Jimmy White though, we saw last season that all the extra playing chances and the legends tour made him sharper and he could climb higher than his ranking of 55 this year with very few points to defend from two years ago.

Anonymous said...

1.51,What an ignorant comment. There is more to depression than feeling a bit down about your lifestyle. It is a medical condition and all the luxury in the world wont take it away.

Anonymous said...

In my experience depression is more to do with lifestyle than anything else. I can only assume in Allen's case it is disillusionment with making snooker one's sole contribution to society. Ryan Day recently said that he wouldn't have gone through the hard work if he could see where it would get him. O'Sullivan seems to have the same 'fallen out of love with the game' condition. So based on the evidence I would presume all this depression is to do with making snooker ones life vocation. I had the chance to do the same and even played Day during pro qualifiers 12-13 yrs ago, but didn't fancy the grind myself so carried on working. I can understand boredom and despondency setting in. I don't think these are medical conditions. At the end of the day, these players have put in years of hard effort to get where they are and now with snooker expanding its the time to cash in, and if they could see the tedium of a regular job they wouldn't hesistate to choose snooker. The kudos you get from being a televised professional sportsman is something u can never get from a 9-6 job and should be highly valued.