Jason Francis, Chairmam of WSS shared this on Facebook today:
ANNOUNCEMENT – LEEDS 24TH-26TH JULY
Dear ROKiT World Seniors Tour Players,
I hope this finds you all safe and well, we know we are in unprecedented times not knowing when our clubs can open, if our clubs and open but not play snooker and also when we can stage Senior Events.
We’ve been waiting on clarification from the Government and been in constant contact with the Northern Snooker Centre about the last qualifier of the season 24th – 26th July. Sadly after discussions with them, and the viability of being able to stage an event which adheres to the strict covid policies, it is with regret we are forced to cancel.
We understand players may see clubs open, and professional snooker on the television but the sheer amount of work and testing that has been involved in that, not to mention the costs of testing, make an amateur qualifying event at this stage not possible.
Everyone who has entered will be offered a refund of course and I will write to you separately.
The Seniors Board are working hard to try and make sure our World Championships go ahead in August at the crucible, we’re also already planning as to how next season could look with restrictions still likely to be in place.
We hope it won’t be too long before you are able to visit your clubs to play again, and you supporting those clubs is now more important than ever. As soon as we have more news we will update you,
There is no doubt that Jason does everything he can to get the players playing, but it’s not in his hands, and the health and safety of everyone involved – players, referees, club staff – are the most important things to consider. We are going through uncertain times and, hopefully, when this is over, the WSS tour can resume with every single member safe, healthy and eager to play. Take good care of yourselves.
The snooker family lost one oh their great characters today: Willie Thorne has left us, he lost his battle against leukaemia in the early hours of this morning.
Willie was a great player, an excellent commentator and a lovely man. No matter his personal issues and concerns, he was always friendly.
He was a prolific breakbuilder, whose style was well ahead of his time.
Willie and his brother Malcolm were well respected and loved by all involved in the amateur game. They helped and supported countless budding players, amongst them, the young Mark Selby.
Willie Thorne: From Mr Maximum to Snooker Loopy – remembering one of the game’s great characters
By Frank Keogh
Willie Thorne (left) with Chas and Dave (centre) and his Matchroom Mob colleagues Tony Meo, Terry Griffiths, Dennis Taylor and Steve Davis
Mr Maximum. Snooker Loopy. The Great Willie Thorne.
He was all of these. One of snooker’s most popular players, a respected television commentator and a much-loved figure, although he had a gambling addiction which left him heavily in debt.
Thorne, who has died aged 66, was perhaps recognised for his premature bald head and manicured moustache as much as his break-building prowess.
His soothing tones endeared him to a generation of TV viewers, and he was a popular contestant on Strictly Come Dancing.
In a career that spanned snooker’s boom in the 1980s, he was part of the Matchroom Mob that featured in the surprise 1986 chart hit Snooker Loopy.
Thorne went from top of the pots to Top of the Pops as he played up to Chas and Dave’s line of “Old Willie Thorne, his hair’s all gorn” with the reply: “Perhaps I ought to chalk it!”
Born in Leicester, where he later formed a close friendship with football star and snooker fan Gary Lineker, he was a talented player who reached number seven in the world, although a major title eluded him.
Thorne was haunted by his error in the 1985 UK Championship final against Steve Davis, when 13-8 ahead and on the verge of extending his lead to within two of victory, he missed the simplest of blues off its spot.
He later admitted: “I went back to my seat and the doubts kicked in straight away. I was still 13-9 in front, but all I could think about was the way I’d failed in big games in the past.”
Archive interview: I’d much rather play the attractive game – Willie Thorne
His rise through the snooker ranks was rapid. Having only started playing the game aged 14, within two years he was crowned national under-16 champion.
Swiftly turning professional, he came to be regarded as one of the sport’s finest break builders, earning the nickname Mr Maximum as he became only the third player to secure 100 competitive centuries.
Thorne reached his first of two World Championship quarter-finals in 1982, where he pushed the eventual champion Alex Higgins.
Three years later, just three months before his painful loss to Davis, he won his first and only world ranking title, beating Canadian Cliff Thorburn to lift the Mercantile Credit Classic.
But Thorne was already struggling with a gambling addiction, and journey to the UK semi-finals in 1987 – where he was beaten 9-2 by Davis – represented the last big tournament run.
Thorne revealed the extent of his gambling issues in an interview with the Guardian in 2004,external-link recalling an incident in which he placed a bet of £38,000 on John Parrott losing a game, because he had lost his cue.
He was commentating on the game for the BBC, and said: “I put £38,000 on Parrott to lose because he didn’t have his cue, but he ended up winning the bloody game.
“I’m having to close the commentary by saying it’s unbelievable, spewing up as I say it.”
Thorne twice reached the quarter-finals of the World Championship
Thorne, who worked as a BBC commentator for 30 years, later revealed he lost £1m to gambling in his career. He was declared bankrupt in 2016.
He remained a familiar figure within the sport and competed in the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing in 2007 with partner Erin Boag, being voted out in 12th place.
He was married to ex-Miss Great Britain winner Jill Saxby, but they split up after 24 years as his gambling troubles escalated.
Thorne announced he was beginning treatment for leukaemia in March 2020.
He died on Wednesday at the age of 66, having being placed into an induced coma in hospital in Spain after suffering respiratory failure.
The tributes tell their own story – former world heavyweight boxing champion Frank Bruno and darts legend Phil Taylor demonstrating how his popularity transcended snooker.
“Willie was one of my favourite people in snooker,” said seven-time world snooker champion Stephen Hendry.”I know he had faults and weaknesses (we all do) but he was one of the game’s greatest ever characters.”
Dennis Taylor, who famously beat Davis to win the world title in 1985, said: “Devastating news about Willie Thorne. We laughed our way around the world for 45 years.
“RIP Great One. That was my name for him. The Great WT.”
There were far too many tributes on social media to cite them all, but here are a few notable ones:
Cliff Thorburn on Twitter:
Very sad to hear of my great friend Willie Thorne’s passing. O the memories, the happiness and the laughter ❤️Condolences and deepest sympathies to his family Cliff and Barbara Thorburn xxx
Ronnie O’Sullivan on Twitter and Facebook:
Just want to say what a beautiful man, big heart great company. Had a week in ireland with him I’ll never forget. Will be missed by a lot of people in the Snooker world. RIP WT
World Seniors Snooker on their official FB page
Everyone at World Seniors Snooker is devastated to learn of the passing of the great WT. After 27 years of not playing Willie Thorne picked up his cue again on the seniors tour and got to walk out at the Crucible Theatre last August which we know meant a lot to him. RIP Mr Maximum.
Farewell Willie … we are missing you already.
Jason Francis, chairman of World Seniors Snooker and “inventor “of the Snooker Legends is passionate about snooker, caring about people, extremely dynamic, has a background in the world theatre, panto and shows … and a creative mind.
Since the lockdown, he has come up with a number of initiatives aiming at keeping people busy and positive whilst gathering money to support the NHS, and its equivalent organisations in other countries.
The first one was the blue ball challenge.
Players who have a table at home were invited to attempt to pot the blue – on its spot – playing from the D. There were given 10 attempts and were invited either to do it “live” on facebook or to record their performance to be shown later on social media. Everyone interested in supporting them, were invited to have a guess about how many they would get, just for fun, to watch and, if possible, to make a donation to support a health service, NHS, or a local hospital, a charity or the player’s national health service if they aren’t British.
Players from all abilities and background took the challenge: seniors, juniors, main tour, men and women, ablebodied and disabled. Players came from Britain, Ireland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Canada, Bermuda, Thailand … and I’m sure I’m missing quite a few.
On May 4, this was proudly published
Polo shirts are now available, featuring the players name and their score. They are availbale for £20, of wich £10 goes to the cause.
Here is the “Dylan Smith” one … Dylan is only 12 years old and scored 8 out of 10!
If you are interested in getting a polo, and support the cause, here is the link allowing you to order one by email
The blue ball challenge was a great success but, as not every player has access to a table at home, the cause is currently running out of blue ball challengers…
So Jason is now coming up with a different challenge: the first poke.
Here is Jason explaining what it’s all about:
And that’s not all … the snooker family got together to produce this 🎤:
Here is what was shared by Jason on the World Seniors Snooker official Facebook page, regarding the song and rights attached to it:
The Snooker Family have come together to continue our fundraising for Health Workers. If you enjoy this please consider donating to our cause at
This recording is a cover performed with permission of the owner of the backing track. Karaoke. Co. Uk Original Song written by Sting (c) A&M records ltd. We do not own the copyright or any rights to the song
So, if you want to help and support your health services, there are plenty of ways you can do just that AND have fun at the same time! THANK YOU!
Jason Francis has today announced that the Seniors Irish Masters 2020, already postponed from March 2020 to July 2020, has now been posponed again and will be played in March 2021.
Here is Jason’s message on social media:
Following discussions with Goffs, and taking into account the current Irish Government advice and projections around events and social distancing we have decided to postpone the Senior Irish Masters due to be played in July 2020 until March 2021. We believe placing the event back in its original slot, albeit one year later, is the most sensible decision at this time . The event will be played with the same field and draw, the new dates are slightly changed now being played over Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th, with two sessions each day. All tickets remain valid to the corresponding session you booked for. We look forward to the Kildare roar in March 21 when we crown our champion with the Alex Higgins trophy.
Also the WSS ROKiT Phones World Championship 2020, has been posponed by one week, starting now on August 19, 2020.
The Betfred World Snooker Championship has been rescheduled, subject to government policy, to run from July 31st to August 16th at the Crucible Theatre.
Snooker’s biggest tournament was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic but following discussions with key stakeholders including Sheffield City Council, the BBC, Eurosport and Sheffield Theatres, new dates for the World Snooker Championship have been agreed.
The dates for the qualifying rounds have yet to be confirmed.
WST’s preference is to stage the event with a full crowd inside the iconic Crucible Theatre, which seats an audience of just under 1,000 spectators. If that is not possible, based on government advice at the time, WST will consider the following options:
Playing the event with a reduced crowd.
Playing the event behind closed doors.
Postponing the event to a later date again.
WST Chairman Barry Hearn said: “We are delighted to confirm new dates for this huge global sporting event which has an international television audience of 500 million people. The world is going through a very challenging period but live sport can be a massive inspiration for the public and can boost morale. This gives fans of top class sport something on their calendar to look ahead to and enjoy for 17 days.
“It is crucial for our 128 tour players to know that we are doing everything we can to get our circuit going again as soon as it is considered safe to do so by the government. The players are self-employed and they need opportunities to earn, while we keep the health and safety of everyone involved in an event of this scale as a priority.
“In recent weeks we have had intricate negotiations with our key broadcasters including the BBC and Eurosport as well as the Crucible itself and Sheffield City Council. I would like to express my gratitude to all of them as we have progressed to a solution.
“Our sincere hope is that we are able to play the tournament with a full crowd as usual. This event means so much to the fans who have a golden ticket for the Crucible experience, and to the people of Sheffield. The players will desperately want to compete in the atmosphere that only a packed Crucible can generate.
“However if that is not possible then we will give careful consideration to each scenario.”
Councillor Mary Lea, Cabinet Member for Culture Parks and Leisure at Sheffield City Council, added: “The World Snooker Championship is one of Sheffield’s annual highlights, something the city looks forward to and is immensely proud of. Although it is disappointing that so many of our events have been cancelled or postponed it is also essential while we meet the current challenges.
“I’m pleased that the Championship has been rescheduled and I really hope that it can be celebrated at the Crucible Theatre in true Sheffield style, when it is safe to do so. We will continue to work with WST and support all decisions taken, to help them deliver the competition whilst keeping everyone safe.”
The top 16 seeds earn an automatic place at the Crucible, and they will be joined by the 16 players who come through the qualifying rounds.
Tickets for the final stages will be automatically transferred to the new dates. The policy for refunds will be announced separately. All ticket holders will be contacted directly by the Box Office in due course.
The Rokit World Seniors Snooker Championship, originally planned for the August 12th to 15th, will now be played between the 19th and 22nd August. All tickets will be transferred to that same corresponding session already booked for.
Snooker Stars Potting for the NHS
3rd April 2020
Leading snooker stars including 2015 world champion Stuart Bingham have taken part in the Blue Ball Snooker Challenge during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to raise money for the National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom.
The initiative was the brainchild of World Seniors Snooker Chairman Jason Francis who challenged any players with snooker tables at home to try and pot ten difficult blue balls with people predicting how many they would get and donating to the NHS.
“It started as a bit of fun but its gone viral now with players having a go and raising money for our national health service in the UK,” said Francis. “This week alone we have had Stuart Bingham, Joe Perry and Kyren Wilson take part and our regular Facebook live videos have proved very popular with the snooker community.”
The initial goal was to raise £1,470 for a local NHS trust as a reference to snooker’s maximum 147 break – a target which was soon met within four days. Further targets have since been met for bodies including the London North West NHS Trust and Barts NHS Trust, with a Sheffield-based Trust set to be the next beneficiary in recognition of the city’s status as the home of snooker having hosted the professional World Snooker Championship since 1977.
Overseas players in Ireland have also taken up the challenge with €1,000 having been raised for its Health Service Executive.
“For as long as we remain in isolation, and players want to continue supporting this, we will continue,” added Francis. “It would be incredible if we could top £10,000 by the time we finish.”
For more information and to view the attempts so far visit the ROKit Phones World Seniors Snooker Facebook page.
The first to take the Challenge was our very own Gary Filtness who, remarkably, potted ten blues out of ten!
Since then the challenge has been taken by a lot of players, pros and amateurs, juniors and seniors, male and female, WSS, WDBS, WWS and main tour …
On Easter Day over £7000 had been raised for the NHS.
Also #blueballchallenge shirts have been created, featuring the name of the participating players and their score. Buying them is another way to support the health services. They are also available for kids. You will find more information by following this link ROKit Phones World Seniors Snooker Facebook page.
This is how they look like
STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF ABSC AUSTRALIA
ROKIT PHONES REVENTON QUALIFIER MAY 24-26 ADELAIDE CANCELLED
In light of recent developments in respect of the COVID-19 virus, the Board of the ABSC has resolved to cancel all national and open tournaments presently scheduled in the period up to 30 June 2020. Ultimately the health, safety and welfare of the players, officials and the community generally has to take precedence. The Board expects that its decision will be mirrored at a State & Territory level by its various Member States.
Any entry fees paid to date for any ABSC events will be refunded in full. We suggest you seek to obtain a refund or insurance payment for any travel expenses already incurred or defer and reuse the airfares in the future.
This decision also extends to players who are eligible to compete in tournaments overseas. At this time the ABSC will not support any player who wishes to travel internationally to play in tournaments.
The Board will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and will advise of any change to its position as and when necessary.
The qualifying event for the WSS 6-reds World Championship
Sheffield Star Academy – 13-15 March, 2020
Six-reds rules apply:
This is the draw:
First round (Last 48)
- Wayne Townsend 4-0 Chris Clarkson
- Ian Spawton 4-1 Andy Battams
- Markus Lord 1-4 Nickolas Neale
- James Ricardson 2-4 Philip Blackburn
- Mark Gray 4-1 Darren Barton
- Andy Papaiacovou – Mike Gillespie W/O
- Gary Skipworth W/0 – Simon Keenan
- Mark White 4-0 Adrain Atkins
- Ray Grail W/O – Ali Anwar
- Neil Carroll W/O – Dean Venables
- Anthony Massey W/O – Simone Zappi
- Johnny Stevens 1-4 Steve Bird
- Andrew Greaves W/O – Paul Stoves
- Steve Evans W/O – George Apperley
- Richard Wykes 4-0 David Gosling
- Dharmendra Patel 0-4 Adam Clarke
Rodney Goggins – Wayne Townsend W/O
Ian Spawton 0-4 Michael Wrigley
Richard Emery 3-4 Nickolas Neale
Gary Filtness – Philip Blackburn W/O
Wayne Copper 3-4 Mark Gray
Cary Kikis – Mike Gillespie W//O
Lee S. Martin 4-1 Gary Skipworth
Mark White W/O – Lee Richardson
Michael Judge 4-0 Ray Grail
Neil Carroll 4-1 Dean Sycamore
Anthony Massey 3-4 Stuart Watson
Sean Lanigan 4-2 Steve Bird
Jonathan Bagley 4-2 Andrew Greaves
Jon Charlton 2-4 Steve Evans
Stephen Campbell 4-1 Richard Wykes
Adam Clarke 3-4
Wayne Thownsend 4-1 Michael Wrigley
Nickolas Neale 4-0 Philip Blackburn
Mark Gray 4-2 Mike Gillespie
Lee S. Martin 2-4 Mark White
Michael Judge 4-1 Neil Caroll
Stuart Watson 4-2 Sean Lanigan
Jonathan Bagley 4-2 Steve Evans
Stephen Campbell 2-4 Patick Wallace
Wayne Townsend 3-4 Nickolas Neale
Mark Gray 4-3 Mark White
Michael Judge 4-2 Stuart Watson
Jonathan Bagley 4-1 Patrick Wallace
Nickolas Neale 0-4 Mark Gray
Michael Judge 4-2 Jonathan Bagley
Mark Gray 1-4 Michael Judge
Congratulations Michael Judge!
Seniors n°1 and truly dominant at the moment!
If you run a company, and you care about quality of life, community spirit and solidarity with less fortunate, isolated persons, please read this and help if you can.
This statement has been issued today by Jason Francis:
In light of the recent Corona-virus situation the Rokit World Seniors Snooker Tour and Goffs Bloodstock regretfully announce the postponement of the upcoming Senior Irish Masters Snooker. The event, due to take place on Friday 27th and Saturday 28th March will now take place on Friday 31st July and Saturday 1st August. All purchased tickets remain valid for the corresponding session, anyone wishing a refund should contact ticketmaster.ie
Player line up and match schedule to remain the same, subject to player availability