WSS ROKIT 2021 UK Championship Qualifiers 2 – Phase 1 results

The second batch of qualifiers for the 2021 Seniors UK Championship is underway in Reading. The first Q-School event of the week as well as the first Super Senior event concluded yesterday.

Congratulations to Rod Lawler and Wayne Cooper the Event 1 finalists.

They will play in Hull next month.

You will find everything you need to know about this event – draw, matches results and scores – by following this link.

Congratulations also to Darren Morgan who won the Super Seniors Event 1

Dareen Morgan - 2021 UK Champs Qualifiers - 2 - Super Seniors 1 Winner

Everything about that event can be found here.

The second phase of these qualifiers starts today.

You can follow the scores and find the results here for the qualifying event 2 and here for the Super Seniors 2

Good luck to all involved!

The coming UK Championship Q-School Events Draws and Schedule

The following information was shared by Jason Francis on Facebook.

Those events take place next week

The Draw for the Rokitofficial Uk Seniors event 1 is as follows…

Patrick Wallace V Chris Taylor
Garry Coulson V Adrian Morrissey
Lee Martin V David Brock
Johnathan Bagley V Gary Widdecombe
Jamie Brown V Richard Wykes
Neil Craycraft V Richard Jones
Patsy Fagan V James Burrett
Rod Lawler V Alfie Burden

Stuart Watson V Mukesh Parmar
Adam Denham V Seamus Smith
Dean Sycamore V Tony Corrigan or Colin Bark
Lee Richardson V Minesh Doshi
Wayne Townsend V Andy Battams
Steve Crowley V Gareth Edwards
Darren Morgan V John Parr
Mark Ganderton V Dean Reynolds or John Snape

Aaron Canavan V Igor Figueiredo
Kevin Palmer V Sean Vaz or Chris Cookson
Gary Filtness V Peter O’Malley
Lee Walker V Shaf Hussain
Peter Lines V John Welsh or Les Dodd
Mark Ball V Jonathan Sumner
Rory McLeod V Stuart Reardon
Andrew Greaves V Darren Bradstock

Tony Knowles V Darryl James
Gerard Greene V Darren Mills
Matt Ford V MarkBell
Steve Bird V Lee Cromie
Richard Emery V James Butterworth or James McGouran
John Hunter V David McDonnell
Simon Chandler V Mike Lucas or John Palmer
Wayne Cooper V Danny Crawford

The Draw for the Rokitofficial Uk Seniors event 2 is as follows…

Patrick Wallace V Keith Thomas
Kevin Palmer V Nigel Philips
Johnathan Bagley V Simon Chandler
Richard Emery V Sean Vaz
Jamie Brown V Alfie Burden
Karl Townsend V Danny Crawford
Patsy Fagan V David McDonnell
Steve Bird V Peter O’Malley

Stuart Watson V Dennis Tristram
Andrew Greaves V Garry Coulson or Minesh Doshi
Gary Filtness V David Brock
Rhydian Richards V Ian Whiting
Wayne Townsend V Igor Figueiredo
Dharminder Lilly V Dean Reynolds
Darren Morgan V Luke Simmonds
Gerard Greene V Chris Taylor or Andy Battams

Aaron Canavan V Gary Widdecombe
Mark Ganderton V Colin Bark
John Hunter V Stuart Reardon
Leo Fernandez V Les Dodd
Peter Lines V John Palmer
Lee Richardson V Adrian Morrissey
Rory McLeod V Chris Cookson
Rod Lawler V Tam Mustafa or James Burrett

Tony Knowles V Richard Wykes
Neil Craycraft V Tony Chappel
Matt Ford V Lee Cromie or Tony Corrigan
Steve Crowley V Shaf Hussain
Lee Walker V Andy Milliard
Lee Martin V John Welsh
Adam Denham V Gareth Edwards
Wayne Cooper V Ray Grall

The Super Seniors over 55 drew out two events to support the main qualifiers.

Event 1
Gary Filtness V Darren Morgan
Richard Wykes V Karl Townsend
Ray Grall V Les Dodd
Andy Milliard V Mike Lucas
Chris Cookson V Stuart Almond
Richard Emery V John Hunter
Dennis Tristram V John Welsh
Mukesh Parmar V David Brock

Event 2
Gary Filtness V Andrew Darken
Richard Wykes V Keith Thomas
Richard Emery V Les Dodd
Ray Grall V Karl Townsend
Andy Milliard V John Hunter
Patsy Fagan V John Welsh
Dennis Tristram V David Brock
Ashley Beal V Darren Morgan

In addition here is the schedule:

EVENT 1 AND Super Seniors 1 FORMAT.
TIME Tuesday 20th
9am Match Pre-Lims
PL1 Tony Corrigan V Colin Bark
PL2 Dean Reynolds V John Snape
PL3 John Welsh V Les Dodd
PL4 James Butterworth V James McGouran
PL5 Mike Lucas V John Palmer
10am
9 Stuart Watson V Mukesh Parmar
10 Adam Denham V Seamus Smith
12 Lee Richardson V Minesh Doshi
NB 11.30am
13 Wayne Townsend V Andy Battams
14 Steve Crowley V Gareth Edwards
15 Darren Morgan V John Parr
30 John Hunter V David McDonnell
32 Wayne Cooper V Danny Crawford
NB 1pm
11 Dean Sycamore V Winner of PL1
16 Mark Ganderton V Winner of PL2
21 Peter Lines V Winner of PL 3
29 Richard Emery V Winner of PL4
31 Simon Chandler V Winne of PL5
NB 2.30PM
22 Mark Ball V Jonathan Sumner
23 Rory McLeod V Stuart Reardon
24 Andrew Greaves V Darren Bradstock
NB 4PM Match
37 Winner Match 9 v Winner Match 10
38 Winner Match 11 Winner Match 12
39 Winner Match 13 Winner Match 14
40 Winner Match 15 Winner Match 16
NB 5.30PM
43 Winner Match 21 Winner Match 22
44 Winner Match 23 Winner Match 24
47 Winner Match 29 Winner Match 30
48 Winner Match 31 Winner Match 32
NB 7.30
51 Winner Match 37 Winner Match 38
52 Winner Match 39 Winner Match 40
54 Winner Match 43 Winner Match 44
56 Winner Match 47 Winner Match 48

DAY 2
TIME Wednesday 21st
9am Match Pre-Lims
PL6 Sean Vaz v Chris Cookson
10am
17 Aaron Canavan V Igor Figueiredo
19 Gary Filtness V Peter O’Malley
20 Lee Walker V Shaf Hussain
5 Jamie Brown V Richard Wykes
6 Neil Craycraft V Richard Jones
NB 11am
25 Tony Knowles V Darryl James
26 Gerard Greene V Darren Mills
NB1pm
27 Matt Ford V MarkBell
28 Steve Bird V Lee Cromie
1 Patrick Wallace V Chris Taylor
2 Garry Coulson V Adrian Morrissey
18 Kevin Palmer V Winner of PL6
NB 2.30PM
3 Lee Martin V David Brock
4 Johnathan Bagley V Gary Widdecombe
7 Patsy Fagan V James Burrett
8 Rod Lawler V Alfie Burden
NB 4.30
35 Winner Match 5 V Winner Match 6
41 Winner Match 17 V Winner Match 18
42 Winner Match 19 V Winner Match 20
45 Winner Match 25 V Winner Match 26
46 Winner Match 27 V Winner Match 28
NB 6PM
33 Winner Match 1 V Winner Match 2
34 Winner Match 3 V Winner Match 4
36 Winner Match 7 V Winner Match 8
NB 8PM
53 Winner Match 41 V Winner Match 42
55 Winner Match 45 V Winner Match 46
49 Winner Match 33 V Winner Match 34
50 Winner Match 35 V Winner Match 36

DAY 3
Time Thursday 22nd
Match
9am SS1 Gary Filtness V Darren Morgan
SS2 Richard Wykes V Karl Townsend
SS3 Ray Grall V Les Dodd
SS4 Andy Milliard V Mike Lucas
SS5 Chris Cookson V Stuart Almond
SS6 Richard Emery V John Hunter
SS7 Dennis Tristram V John Welsh
SS8 Mukesh Parmar V David Brock
11AM
57 Winner Match 49 V Winner Match 50
58 Winner Match 51 V Winner Match 52
59 Winner Match 53 V Winner Match 54
60 Winner Match 55 V Winner Match 56
NB 1.30
SS9 Winner Match SS1 V Winner Match SS2
SS10 Winner Match SS3 V Winner Match SS4
SS11 Winner Match SS5 V Winner Match SS6
SS12 Winner Match SS7 V Winner Match SS8
NB 3PM
SS13 Winner Match SS9 V Winner Match SS10
SS14 Winner Match ss11 V Winner Match ss12
NB 4PM
61 Winner Match 57 V Winner Match 58
62 Winner Match 59 V Winner Match 60
NB 5PM
SS15 Winner Match SS13 V Winner Match SS14

EVENT 2 AND SUPER SENIORS 2
TIME Friday 23rd
9am Match Pre-Lims
PL1 Garry Coulson v Minesh Doshi
PL2 Chris Taylor v Andy Battams
10am
1 Patrick Wallace V Keith Thomas
2 Kevin Palmer V Nigel Philips
3 Johnathan Bagley V Simon Chandler
4 Richard Emery V Sean Vaz
5 Jamie Brown V Alfie Burden
6 Karl Townsend V Danny Crawford
NB 11.30am
7 Patsy Fagan V David McDonnell
8 Steve Bird V Peter O’Malley
NB1.30pm
9 Stuart Watson V Dennis Tristram
10 Andrew Greaves V Winner oF PL1
11 Gary Filtness V David Brock
12 Rhydian Richards V Ian Whiting
13 Wayne Townsend V Igor Figueiredo
14 Dharminder Lilly V Dean Reynolds
15 Darren Morgan V Luke Simmonds
16 Gerard Greene V Winner of PL2
NB 3.30pm
33 Winner Match 1 V Winner Match 2
34 Winner Match 3 V Winner Match 4
35 Winner Match 5 V Winner Match 5
36 Winner Match 7 V Winner Match 8
NB 5PM Match
37 Winner Match 9 V Winner Match 10
38 Winner Match 11 V Winner Match 12
39 Winner Match 13 V Winner Match 14
40 Winner Match 15 V Winner Match 16
NB 7.00PM
49 Winner Match 33 V Winner Match 34
50 Winner Match 35 V Winner Match 36
51 Winner Match 37 V Winner Match 38
52 Winner Match 39 V Winner Match 40

DAY 2
TIME Saturday 24th
9am Match Pre-Lims
PL3 Tam Mustafa v James Burrett
PL4 Lee Cromie V Tony Corrigan
10am
17 Aaron Canavan V Gary Widdecombe
18 Mark Ganderton V Colin Bark
19 John Hunter V Stuart Reardon
20 Leo Fernandez V Les Dodd
21 Peter Lines V John Palmer
22 Lee Richardson V Adrian Morrissey
NB 12 noon
23 Rory McLeod V Chris Cookson
24 Rod Lawler V Winner of PL3
NB1pm
25 Tony Knowles V Richard Wykes
26 Neil Craycraft V Tony Chappel
27 Matt Ford V Winner of PL4
28 Steve Crowley V Shaf Hussain
29 Lee Walker V Andy Milliard
30 Lee Martin V John Welsh
NB 2.30PM
31 Adam Denham V Gareth Edwards
32 Wayne Cooper V Ray Grall
NB 4.30
41 Winner of Match 17 Winner of Match 18
42 Winner of Match 19 Winner of Match 20
43 Winner of Match 21 Winner of Match 22
44 Winner of Match 23 Winner of Match 24
NB 6PM
45 Winner of Match 25 Winner of Match 26
46 Winner of Match 27 Winner of Match 28
47 Winner of Match 29 Winner of Match 30
48 Winner of Match 31 Winner of Match 32
NB 8PM
53 Winner of Match 41 Winner of Match 42
54 Winner of Match 43 Winner of Match 44
55 Winner of Match 45 Winner of Match 46
56 Winner of Match 47 Winner of Match 48

DAY 3
Time Sunday 25th
Match
9am SS1 Gary Filtness V Andrew Darken
SS2 Richard Wykes V Keith Thomas
SS3 Richard Emery V Les Dodd
SS4 Ray Grall V Karl Townsend
SS5 Andy Milliard V John Hunter
SS6 Patsy Fagan V John Welsh
SS7 Dennis Tristram V David Brock
SS8 Ashley Beal V Darren Morgan
11AM
57 Winner Match 49 V Winner Match 50
58 Winner Match 51 V Winner Match 52
59 Winner Match 53 V Winner Match 54
60 Winner Match 55 V Winner Match 56
NB 1.30
SS9 Winner Match SS1 V Winner Match SS2
SS10 Winner Match SS3 V Winner Match SS4
SS11 Winner Match SS5 V Winner Match SS6
SS12 Winner Match SS7 V Winner Match SS8
NB 3PM
SS13 Winner Match SS9 V Winner Match SS10
SS14 Winner Match SS11 V Winner Match SS12
NB 4PM
61 Winner Match 57 V Winner Match 58
62 Winner Match 59 V Winner Match 60
NB 5PM
SS15 Winner Match SS13 V Winner Match SS14

The 50 For Fifty Scheme – snooker against loneliness

The Lord Mayor of Hull and the World Seniors Tour are teaming to help ageing persons who suffer from isolation and loneliness. Isolation is an important issue and now more relevant than ever as the covid-19 crisis and the lockdowns have certainly exacerbated the issues.

This is the announcement in the local news

50 For Fifty Scheme encourages businesses to help socially isolated residents attend Seniors Snooker tournament

The UK Seniors Snooker Championship returns to the Bonus Arena, Hull in August and together with the Lord Mayor and World Seniors Snooker they are launching a new initiative called 50 FOR FIFTY.

The initiative is designed to assist the ageing population of the City currently living in isolation, residential care or suffering from any Mental Health issues.

The event will feature icons of the sport including Jimmy White, Stephen Hendry, Dennis Taylor, John Parrott and Ken Doherty and the scheme gives the opportunity to use these Snooker greats to enhance the life of those people over 50 who for one of many reasons may now find themselves lonely and missing the interaction of others.

Businesses in the city can be part of the scheme by purchasing 50 discounted tickets for the event which will go directly to local organisations to distribute to residents affected who can attend the tournament and watch their heroes live in action.

The Bonus Arena – the host venue for the tournament in August – is the first company to sign up to the scheme and will donate 50 tickets for the first session on 12 August.

Promoter Jason Francis said: “Our research shows that loneliness is likely to increase your risk of death by 29%, and half a million older people go at least five or six days a week without seeing or speaking to anyone at all.

“By partnering with the Lord Mayor and Hull City Council we want to reach out to businesses in the city and work with them to bring in 50 people for a day out at the snooker where they can meet our stars but more importantly each other. These businesses will join our heroes wall and receive promotion of their company and their involvement in the scheme during the tournament which will be broadcast live on television.”

Lord Mayor, Councillor Lynn Petrini said: “It’s great to see live sports like this brought to the city and hosted at Hull’s Bonus Arena. The event has proved to be very popular in Hull, and this new scheme offers a fantastic opportunity for people who are currently vulnerable or living in isolation to see live competition. I would encourage any local business to get involved if they can and play their part.”

Dan Harris said: “The UK Seniors Snooker is one of my favourite events in the diary and it really is a wonderful experience to see real sporting icons here in Hull.

“The 50 For Fifty scheme will give residents of Hull the opportunity to see these legends in the flesh and we look forward to engaging with local businesses who wish to join us in supporting this fantastic initiative.”

The event plays from the 12-15 August with two sessions a day. Any companies who wish to take part in the 50 FOR FIFTY scheme can contact the Bonus Arena team by email at hull@eu.asmglobal.com 

Hopefully, this will be a success and many local businesses will respond and participate massively. It’s a great initiative, it’s particularly relevant under the current circumstances, and it projects a very positive image of the city of Hull, it’s people and it’s entrepreneurs. 

It may be just a ticket, just a day out, but it may well change someone’s life, maybe even save it … just because it got them out of the house, offered them a good day out, because they got to meet others, had a cup of tea and a conversation, shared an interest, felt accepted and valued.

Sometimes the smallest and simplest things have a huge impact. 

Good News about the 2021 UK Seniors Snooker Championship

The Bonus Arena in Hull has announced that the 2021 UK Seniors Snooker Championship will be their first event since the start of the covid-19 crisis.

Here is what the put on twitter:

We are over the moon to confirm the UK Seniors Snooker Championship will be the first event at the Bonus Arena, #Hull in 17 months when it takes place between 12 &
15 August
Smiling face with heart-shaped eyes
Single session tickets and day passes available now from -> bonusarenahull.com/whats-on/uk-se

Image

Wilst ROKIT World Seniors Snooker tweeted this 

Yes we know you may not have seen her for a while but SHE IS BACK!

will be taking charge of the first live event, snooker or otherwise, at the @bonusarenahull in August

UKSenior2021HullMichaelaRef

It will be a great event, no doubts! 

 

Delayed UK Champs Q-School – all you need to know

This newsletter was sent by Jason Francis on Wednesday, 16 June 2021

Q-School 2 - UK 2021 Champs

Entries for the UK Seniors Q School open at 12 noon BST TODAY!

Enter here https://www.snookerlegends.co.uk/RWSS21_registration.html

Main Event details

Dates
Event 1 Tuesday 20th July to Thursday 22nd July 2021
Event 2 Friday 23rd July to Sunday 25th July 2021

Venue The Crucible Sports and Social Club, Reading, RG1 8EQ Crucible Sports & Social Club Reading

Entry Fee £100 payable by online entry system for each event.

Will include your 2021/22 Tour registration.

Number of Frames All matches to Quarter Finals Best of 5

Knockout, Roll on Roll off format.

Quarter Finals onwards Best of 7 Knockout.

Prize money
The two qualifiers each event will progress to the UK Seniors Championship which will be played from the 12th – 15th August 2021 at the Bonus Arena Hull.

They will be on a minimum £1000 prize money for that event.

Losing Semi-finalists in each event £400

Losing Quarter Finalists in each event £150

Players 128 places open for entry in this order

1, Current WST Tour players over 40 ranked 65-128 who have not already qualified for the final stages.

2, Current WSS tour players who entered qualifying School 1 or 2 in January or March 2022

3, WSS Ranked Tour Players

4, New tour players.

All must be over 40 on or before 20th July 2021

Draw To be conducted no later than 16th July 2021

Seeding Based on 128 entries.

The top 32 players who enter from the official WSS Ranking list will be seeded into position. Should the event not achieve 128 entries the higher ranked seeds will be placed automatically into the last 64 round and receive a bye in the last 128 round of matches.

Players
Players will need to agree to the terms and condition on entry.

Dress Code
Full match attire with a bow tie or lounge tie. Collared shirt, tailored trousers with shoes.

Broadcasting
Match table may be streamed live on the World Seniors Facebook page

COVID
The plan is to run the event without the requirement for COVID Testing. Should by the time of the event Government determine testing should be required this will be provided at no cost to the player. Players will be required to adhere to any venue policies in place at the time. 

The decision to delay the event was made so that the event can be run “covid restrictions and testing free”. Hopefully this will possible.

There will be  a Super Seniors event going on as well but the entries for this one are already closed.

Awsome Seniors

The 2021 Q-School finished last Sunday and it’s time to take stock of what happened over the 18 days of competion at the EIS. There were certainly plenty of positives for the Seniors players.

Four of the Seniors players who competed in WSS events over the last months managed to regain their professional status: Mick Judge, the reigning WSS UK Champion, Barry Pinches, Peter Lines and Alfie Burden. Alfie had lost his professional status at the end of the 2019/20 season and, at the time, his mindset was that he was finished with snooker and was to put his cue away for good. However, after a few months, he decided to to give the Seniors Q-School a go and he enjoyed playing and competing again. Fast forward and after success in the Professional Q-Scholl event, he’s back on the main tour.

Tony Knowles, aged 65, also entered the Q-School. He didn’t qualify for the main tour, but he certainly showed that he still can play! He finished ranked 46th out of 184 in the Order of Merit, having won five matches in the process. David Lilley, the reigning WSS World Champion, also did well at the Q-School: he did not qualify either but finished 8th in the Order of Merit. This means that he has a good chance to be invited to play in many of the Main Tour events this season.

Another Senior – Super Senior actually – made it into the WST News. Indeed Gary Filtness was credited by Stuart Bingham for a return to form and confidence that lead to a great semi-final run at the Crucible last April. Here is what Stuart had to say:

Over the last year I’ve been working with my new coach Gary Filtness and I’m now seeing the benefits. Getting back in that environment and only being beaten by the odd frame makes me definitely think I can win the World Championship again. I have that belief now. Looking forward to next season I know what I have to do. I’m trying to get myself a little bit fitter. I’m playing lots of golf and watching what I eat at the moment. I’m looking for a season where I win a tournament or two.

More than ever …

Dare to Dream !

The Reigning Seniors World Champion is looking forward to the Q-School

David Lilley has been talking to WST about his Q-school hopes and what it means to be the Seniors World Champion.

Lilley Determined To Build On Seniors Success

World Seniors champion David Lilley has set his sights on making it through Q School and proving that he belongs on the World Snooker Tour, after a demoralising two-year spell on the circuit.

Lilley turned pro for the first time in 2019 at the age of 43. His first few months on tour were ruined by a shoulder injury, and he was eventually relegated at the end of the 2020/21 season. But an “overwhelming” triumph at the World Seniors earlier this month has given Lilley the motivation to make a fresh start.

The 45-year-old from Tyne & Wear worked as an insurance claims controller, playing snooker on the amateur circuit, before deciding to make the leap to the pro game after qualifying through Q School two years ago.

In my first season on tour I started getting pain in my shoulder,” he said. “It would only come on certain shots and I would get a shooting pain through my neck. Then I was quitting on those shots to avoid the pain. I spent fortunes with physiotherapists and chiropractors trying to solve the problem but nothing worked. That led to anxiety. Mentally I was gone, ruined. I would go into matches very apprehensive, then get embarrassed when I played badly.

The first lockdown was a blessing because I stopped playing snooker, and with rest my shoulder got better. I think it was a repetitive strain injury as I had gone from playing eight hours a week to eight hours a day. Luckily it doesn’t bother me any more.

Lilley won just five matches in his first season on tour, and though he improved in his second year – notably beating Shaun Murphy on his way to the last 32 of the English Open – it was not enough to keep his card.

“It was only when I got to the final weekend of the seniors event that I decided to enter Q School again and try to get my place back,” he said. “I feel I have unfinished business. I know how well I can play, but I can count the number of times I have done that on the tour on the fingers of one hand. I called my wife and she agreed, she said I need to get it out of my system. I am fully focussed on Q School now, hopefully I can get through and give it a proper two years on the tour, injury free.

Lilley earned a place in the Seniors event by coming through the qualifying rounds. “I arrived at the Crucible with no expectations and no targets other than to play well,” he reflects. “I found the television lights hard to adjust to at first, then started to get on a roll. It all just came out of the blue.”

After knocking out Philip Williams, Ken Doherty and Patrick Wallace to reach the final, Lilley scored a 5-3 victory over Jimmy White, sealing the £15,000 top prize with a break of 69.

It was a massive high, overwhelming,” he said. “The most pleasing thing was to finish the match in one visit rather than crawling over the line. The money is nice, but I’m just glad to have showed what I can do when it mattered.

Lilley’s one regret was that he wasn’t able to share his triumph with a man who had a huge influence on his career. Stan Chambers was a widely respected coach in the North East, having helped countless juniors learn the game over more than 50 years. He sadly passed away earlier this month.

“When I started playing, my dad was tough on me, he would shout at me if I missed an easy ball. Stan was the one who would stick up for me. And he was my coach for many years,” recalls Lilley. “He was always the main man around the North East and he will be massively missed. I was at his funeral on Thursday and it was great to see so many faces there, old and new.”

Good Luck David!

Alfie Burden credits WSS Tour for renewed motivation ahead of Q-School

Alfie Burden has entered the 2021 Q-School. He was interviewed by WST:

Burden – I’ve Missed The Buzz

Alife Burden admits he has had some “dark spells” during his time away from the World Snooker Tour and that nothing can replace the thrill of competition and sense of camaraderie on the circuit.

Burden was relegated from the tour at the end of the 2019/20 season and narrowly missed out on an immediate return via Q School, losing to Steven Hallworth in the final round of event three. After nine months away from competition, the 44-year-old Londoner is ready to return and has entered 2021 Q School, which starts next week.

Last year I said I had retired and I had no intention of coming back,” said Burden, whose career highlights include winning the World Amateur title in 2009 and making a 147 at the English Open in 2016. “I could have played in a few ranking events last season as a top-up amateur, but pride in my own performance stopped me, I didn’t want to just turn up having not played for months.

Then Jason Francis, who runs the World Seniors events, talked me into playing in one of their qualifying tournaments, and I really enjoyed it. That led me to decide to give Q School another crack, and I have been practising for the last three weeks. I have no match sharpness of course but mentally I am fresh and I still think I’m good enough to be on the tour. If I get my game together than not many players would want to draw me at Q School. It’s a tough event and I might not get through, I realise that.

The main thing I have missed is the competitive side. The butterflies in the stomach when you go to play in a tournament. I know a lot of footballers who have found it very difficult when they stop playing, having been competitive for most of their lives. The adrenaline rush that you get during a match can’t be replaced with anything else, and that’s something that people outside sport don’t understand. I have had a few dark spells where I have wondered what to do with myself.

I have also missed the friendships with the lads on tour as I tend to get on with most of them. I still speak to them of course and over the past year I have watched more snooker on TV than I had ever done in my life, which has also helped restore my appetite for the game. The pandemic has made everyone realise how lucky we used to be. I used to moan about the trips to China, but now I see those events as great experiences and the chance to travel with my friends on the circuit – I would love to go back there now. At the time I took it for granted.

Burden became a friend of David Beckham when their sons played together at Arsenal

Away from snooker, Burden is dedicated to his son Lene’s fledgling football career, and has spent much of the past year helping the 16-year-old to make key decisions about his future.

Lene was at Arsenal for ten years, then we recently took the decision for him to move on,” Burden explains. “I had several very honest conversations with Per Mertesacker, the academy manager. Arsenal wanted Lene to stay at the club, but it was clear that the competition was very tough and there were other junior players in his position who were ahead of him. We felt that in terms of his career pathway, it would be better for Lene to move to a club where he has a better chance of competing for the first team. It was a brave decision, but the right one.

We looked at eight different clubs. Lene spent a week at Liverpool which was a great experience, and also went to see Spurs, Watford, Bournemouth and a few others. We went to Bristol Rovers and Lene immediately felt they were right for him, in terms of the coaching staff and the football philosophy, so he has decided to sign for them. It’s a great move for him and I believe he will be pushing for the first team before long, he is good enough for the top level.

It has been a difficult time for him, he has experienced rejection from certain clubs, there have been tears. But all of that is character-building. He has had to fight for what he wants, and that will stand him in good stead. I’m planning to move to Bristol to support him there.

Having regained his lust for life in recent months, Burden has helped set up a dairy company which delivers goods to hundreds of homes around North London, and is also considering options for deeper involvement in football as a coach or an agent.

But snooker – for now – is top of his priorities. “I’ve got the hunger back,” added the former world number 38. “While I was a pro I got a bit fed up with practice, but I am enjoying it now. If I get back on the tour that will be great, if not I may finish high enough to get some events as a top-up, or I could play in some seniors events.

I’m glad that I have more options away from snooker now. Even if I get back on the tour, at my age it might only be for a few more years. There will come a time when I stop playing for good.

Q School starts on May 27 in Sheffield – Click here for the draws

It’s great to read how the WSS Tour is actually helping older players and ex-players by offering them opportunities to compete, stay motivated and stay in touch with their “colleagues” and friends. There was a real need and appetite for this and the WSS tour is fulfilling it.

Tony Knowles Q-School Ambitions

Tony Knowles is most famous – at the table – for inflicting the Crucible curse on Steve Davis in 1982. He beat the defending champion by 10-1 on the first day of the World Championship. He won two ranking events – the 1982 International Open and 1983 Professional Players Tournament – and was ranked as high as number 2 in the World.

At 65, he still loves the game and has regularly been competing on the WSS Tour.

Tony has entered the 2021 Q-School and has been speaking to WST about his expectations and ambitions:

Knowles – Tour Place Is My Goal

Veteran Tony Knowles believes he has a “realistic chance” of making it through Q School and achieving his ambition of regaining a place on the World Snooker Tour at the age of 65.

The former world number two has entered Q School for the first time in four years, having rekindled his enthusiasm for practice. When the event at Ponds Forge in Sheffield starts next week, he’ll line up against some 200 other players, all hoping to land one of 14 golden tickets to the pro circuit. Knowles will face Bradley Cowdroy in the opening round of the first of three events.

Click here for the draws and format

“I played ok against Jimmy White in the recent World Seniors Championship and it made me want to test out what I’m doing in other tournaments, to find out whether I’m good enough now to win matches” said Knowles. “The adrenaline was flowing and I was nervous when I played Jimmy at the Crucible, perhaps because I expected too much. I may have lost 3-0 but I felt I hadn’t made many mistakes, Jimmy just punished my bad shots.

“I have been practising more than at any time in the last 20 years and I have really got the love of the game back. I have a table at home and I’m using some of the practice methods I used many years ago, working on my long potting and cue action. And I haven’t lost the thrill that comes with playing in tournaments.”

Knowles was one of snooker’s biggest stars of the 1980s, winning the International Open, Professional Players Tournament and Australian Masters. He was ranked among the top 16 for most of that decade and reached three Crucible semi-finals. Perhaps his greatest moment was beating defending champion Steve Davis 10-1 in the first round in Sheffield in 1982.

He last played on the tour in 2001 and was unable to progress beyond the last 64 at his most recent attempt at Q School in 2017, but Knowles remains optimistic.

“I’ve got a realistic chance this time because of the time I have put into practice,” he said. “I have still got the knowledge of the game. Snooker changed in my era when the balls and cloth changed. But everything comes full circle and you saw at the World Championship this year a very controlled style of play from the likes of Mark Selby and Stuart Bingham. That knowledge remains very important and that’s why you see a lot of the older players on the circuit still doing well.

“What I need is more matches against other players on the Star tables, if I can get that under my belt then my consistency will improve, I’ll cut out the mistakes and the break-building will come back. My goal is to get back on to the tour and show what can be achieved at my age.”

How well Tony will do remains to be seen of course, and, should he succeed, the hectic Main Tour schedule might prove difficult to cope with for a 65 years old.

One thing however is certain: snooker is in his blood. The Seniors Tour has offered him playing opportunities as well as a renewed appetite for competition. He will give it his best shot.

Tony is one of the many WSS players who will compete in Ponds Forge in the coming weeks. He is the oldest in the draw. Amongst them, David Lilley the reigning Seniors World Champion will also be there, trying to regain his tour card. 

Good luck and, above all, enjoy it guys!