A threat to Stephen Hendry?

News has filtered – via WPBSA website – that Mark Johnston-Allen is eager to join the World Seniors Tour as he has unfinished business.


Johnston-Allen to Return for “Unfinished Business”

29th July 2018

Former world number 31 Mark Johnston-Allen is the latest player who will dare to dream on the World Seniors Snooker Tour (WSST) having entered a qualifying event for the 2019 World Seniors Snooker Championship.

A two-time ranking event finalist, Johnston-Allen is perhaps best remembered for his perfect 3-0 record against seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry, who he could yet meet once again on the WSST. His best performance at the World Championship came in 1992 when he qualified for the Crucible for the only time, losing to Tony Knowles in the opening round.

In recent years the Bristolian has also become a familiar face as both a commentator and Master of Ceremonies at several events.

“This is unfinished business for me!” said Johnston-Allen, “I haven’t played for 15 years but I am looking forward to catching up with my old sparring partners once again.”

The WPBSA World Seniors Snooker Tour is open to any player over 40. Enter a qualifying event online.

So here is the man about whom Hendry once said “I keep losing to people who shouldn’t be in the same room as me”. Come on Jason, you’ll need two players lounges! (just kidding!).

You can read about the incident and other snooker bust-ups in this typical David Hendon piece.

World Seniors UK Championship 2018 news and schedule

The schedule for the Seniors UK Championship 2018 in Hull has been published and here it is:

UKChampsSchedule

The event is played end October 2018 and, as you can see above, on Wednesday 24 October six of the Legends involved in the tournament will be in action. Not to be missed. On the next morning, the Seniors reigning Champion, Aaron Canavan and Ken Doherty will enter the fray.

Someone else who will be in Hull, is the inaugural World Snooker Federation Masters Champion in Malta, Igor Figuereido from Brazil, pictured here with Jason Ferguson.

Igor Figuereido WSF Masters Champion 2018

Igor is a larger than life cheerful character, with a broad infectious smile. But make no mistake, at the table, he’s there to win and he’s seriously good! He will definitely be a contender in Hull!

Sean Lanigan wins the Seniors European Masters Qualifier 1

EuroQ1Poster

There were only had 24 entries so there was no play on Friday.

The event did not reach 32 entries therefore  top 8 seeded players from the Seniors World Ranking list have been placed into the draw with the other 16 drawn randomly to play a match to face a seed in the Last 16.

The format of the European Open is best of 5 with no deciding frame respot.

Here are day 1 – July 21 2018 – results

Left Half

Round 1

Paul Currie 1-3 Aidan Devenney
Paul Donaghy  NS – Rodney Goggins WO
Owen Toland NS  – Tony Bullimer WO
Tom O’Driscoll 2-3 Sean Gray

Round 2

Aidan Devenney 0-3 Jonathan Bagley
Rodney Goggins 3-1 Robert Marshall
Tony Bullimer 1-3 Dermot McGlinchey
Sean Gray 1-3 Michael Judge

QF

Rodney Goggins 3-1 Jonathan Bagley
Michael Judge 3-0 Dermot McGlinchey

SF

Rodney Goggins 2-3 Michael Judge

Right Half

Round 1

Joe Sims 0-3 Tommy Murphy
Paul TheCannon Canavan 1-3 Tony Corrigan
Hughie O’Donnell WO – Mark Davies NS
Pat Bonnar WO – James Flaherty NS

Round 2

Tommy Murphy 0-3 Lee Richardson
Tony Corrigan 0-3 Anthony Bonnar
Hughie O’Donnell 2-3 Joe Delaney
Pat Bonnar 0-3 Sean Lanigan

QF

Lee Richardson 3-1 Anthony Bonnar
Joe Delaney 2-3 Sean Lanigan

SF

Sean Lanigan 3-0 Lee Richarson

The Final

Sean Lanigan 3-1 Michael Judge

50+ breaks

Rodney Goggins 121, 62
Michael Judge 104 (attempted maximum), 97, 95, 57, 52, 51
Sean Lanigan 79,75,54
Tony Corrigan 78
Joe Delaney 74, 58
Lee Richardson 81
Jonathan Bagley 66
Dermot McGlinchey 66
Hughie O’Donnell 64
Aidan Devenney 60
Sean Gray 50

 

From Snooker Legends to World Seniors Tour – Jason’s journey

JasonBookCover2018

Jason Francis, creator of Snooker Legends, chairman of the World Seniors Snooker Tour and the man who has been at Ronnie’s side for about five years, tells us about his snooker and business journey since the creation of Snooker Legends in 2010 until today and the building of a viable, well organised and international Seniors Tour.

This is the “second edition” of Jason’s story, but even if you did read the first one, you will find plenty more interesting  stuff in this one.

Jason here is the narrator of his own story, and the whole book takes us through his dreams, his endeavours, his experiences – good and lesss good – and his emotions, from the day he thought about creating snookers shows featuring Legends of the game, and Alex Higgins in particular, to the idea of a proper Seniors Tour giving a future in the sport to those who have given so much to it, still love it with a passion, but aren’t quite good or strong enough anymore for the very competitive main Tour and its hectic schedule.

Along the way, Jason tells us about the players he’s been working with. Jason is a positive person and, clearly, he focuses on the good in people rather than their weaknesses. He’s telling us about the real persons, not the stereotyped images crafted by the media in order to create stories featuring villains and good guys. There are many players you will look at differently next time you see them on TV!

Jason also tells us about his sometimes difficult relationship with World Snooker and Barry Hearn. But then again his focus is on “making things work” rather than “starting a war” although, at a time, that scenario was a real possibility. There were issues, hurdles, misconceptions and, at times distrust and envy. But there were also people really wanting to overcome those and build something for the better of the sport they love.  Ultimately, now they are working together: the WPBSA Seniors Tour is reality.

Jason has been at Ronnie’s side from mid 2012 until end 2017. He tells us about their relationship, building trust and friendship, the highs and lows, the successes and the crises, the laughter and the tears and, finally, where they stand today. By the way, Ronnie wrote the foreword of this book.

I really enjoyed the book. Just one regret: the editorial work could have been better, there are a few glitches here and there and it’s a pity.

The book is available on Amazon

And here, for those who missed my previous post, is David Hendon, assistant editor at Snooker Scene and Eurosport commentator chatting with Jason about his book:

New Ambassadors for the World Seniors Tour

This was shared today by WPBSA and it’s great news.

New Ambassadors for World Seniors Snooker

19th July 2018

World Seniors Snooker (WSS) is today proud to announce that Dennis Taylor, Cliff Thorburn and John Virgo will all represent the World Seniors Snooker Tour as global ambassadors and help to develop opportunities worldwide.

Jason Francis, WSS chairman said: “John, Dennis and Cliff are icons of the sport, known worldwide and respected by everyone. All three have been with us since the start and it’s important we recognise not only the part they have played in the formation of the World Seniors Snooker Tour, but we ensure they remain a key part of it as we continue to grow over the coming years.”

Jason Ferguson, WPBSA chairman said: “Through WSS we are delighted to be able to officially recognise some of our sporting greats. The WPBSA is honoured that that these stars are able to give something back to our sport in this way.”

Learn more about the World Seniors Snooker Tour here.

Congratulations and all the best to Dennis, John and Cliff in their new role. 

The King returns to the Crucible

Following the announcements made yesterday regarding Stephen Hendry’s commitment to play in the Seniors tour, here is what the Yorkshire Evening Post wrote about it:

Crucible legend Hendry will make playing return in Sheffield as he joins Seniors

Henfry, King of the Crucible

Tour Stephen Hendry who dominated snooker in the Nineties.

RICHARD HERCOCK  Published: 22:27 Thursday 12 July 2018

Stephen Hendry is set for an emotional playing return at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre. The 49-year-old retired from snooker in 2012 after a glittering career, which included a record seven World Championship titles and 27 consecutive appearances in Sheffield. But the Scot has signed up to play on this season’s World Seniors Tour.

Hendry will compete at the UK Championship, at Hull’s Bonus Arena, on October 24-25 before travelling to Belfast for the World Seniors Six Reds event in March. But it is his return to the Crucible – for the Sheffield Masters next April – that will evoke memories of his golden years at the home of snooker.

Hendry dominated the snooker circuit in the Nineties, and admitted: “There’s no venue where I love playing snooker more than the Crucible. “We have done exhibitions there over the years, and to still walk down those stairs into that arena to play snooker is still something special. That’s something that will never leave me.”

Hendry, who will also compete at the World Seniors Championships and European Seniors Open, is excited at the new Seniors Tour. “I want to improve on my general standards of play, from the events that I played last year,” he said. “It’s more official this year, with the backing of World Snooker and a calendar of events to look forward to. “I will treat it a bit more seriously, put a bit more practice in. As for my own expectations, I just want to play some good snooker.”

The Tour has £200k in prize money this season, six ranking events and 15 qualifying events where anyone over 40 can win a spot to take on the legends in the final stages. qualifying events will be held in Hong Kong, Toronto, Houston, Brugge and China.

First up for Hendry is a trip to Hull, which will also include a launch dinner and golf day, alongside fellow stars Ken Doherty, Dennis Taylor, John Parrott and Yorkshire’s Joe Johnson. Up for grabs is a £10,000 winner’s prize plus a place in the World Professional Championship Qualifiers. “The new Bonus Arena in Hull looks amazing,” said Hendry. “This year the Seniors Tour feels more serious and I’m looking forward to competing again against the other legends.”

And you can also listen to the interview I did with Stephen yesterday. Thanks to him for taking the time to answer my questions, and thanks to Jason Francis who relayed them to him and recorder the interview.