Five WSS players are involved in the event, and need to win three matches to earn a spot at the Crucible in less than two weeks time.
Jimmy’s first match will see him play Ross Bulman from Ireland, 17 years old and European Championship under 21 finalist. Ross is clearly a good prospect but will have to overcome a number of hurdles: he’s not used to the professional environment, he may not be used to play on Star tables and, he’s probably rarely played a multi-session match if ever, and, of course, he will be aware that he’s playing a legend of the sport. It’s certainly intimidating. For those reasons I make Jimmy a heavy favourite to win his first match in Sheffield. That match is scheduled on Friday 12 April, and Saturday 13 April 2019, at 2pm.
Here is Ross in action during the last European under-21 championship, against another good prospect, Julien Leclercq from Belgium:
Should Jimmy win this match, he will face the winner of Ali Carter v Paul Davison. That’s a very hard one! If he gets through that, waiting for him is the man who will emerge from this group of four: Michael White, Andy Hicks, Yuan Sijun and John Astley.
David has been playing in everything: the WSS tour, the Challenge tour, and as a top up, in the Main Tour as well. His first opponent will be Eden Sharav and this match will be played to completion on April 11, 10 am and 7 pm. Should David win, he will be up against the winner of Ricky Walden and Alfie Burden. Then, wating for him could be Zhou Yuelong, Robin Hull, Liam Highfield or Hammad Miah.
Jonathan will need to brace himself for the fast and furious as he has been drawn against the Shoot Out 2019 champion, Thepchaya Un-Nooh. That match is scheduled fo Wednesday, April 10, 2019, 10 am and 7 pm. This means that Jonathan will probably miss the ROKiT WSS Masters Gala Dinner which is a shame, although “Theppy” is not known for detaining his opponents for unduly long times, win or lose! Jonathan may still be able to join us, to celebrate or to find solace in great company. To be honest, I don’t rate Jonathan’s chances too high. I’m afraid that Thepchaya might have too much potting power for him … well, for most actually. He’s one I fancy to make it to the television stage at the Crucible. But should Jonathan survive the blitz, his next opponent would be Mark Joyce or Billy Joe Castle, with one of Billy O’Connor, Joe Swail, Jimmy Robertson (reigning European Masters champion) or Chen Feilong waiting next. Tell me about a tough group!
“El Tigre”, the reigning Pan American Champion, is set to play Mark King first. That match will be played on Friday 13 April and Saturday 14 April, 2pm. It’s a clash of styles. Igor is flamboyant and, when on song a very heavy scorer, Mark King is a hard match player. I believe that Igor has a real chance here but he will have to work very hard for it and be patient too. Should he win Igor would play Lu Ning or Alan Taylor next. And, then, should he get past Lu or Alan, he may face another WSS player in ….
Ken’s first match will be against Andy Lee. That match is scheduled on Saturday 13 April, 10 am and 7 pm. It is, in my opinion a very winnable match, and it would probably be enough for Ken to regain his professional status. However, Ken’s next opponent would be either Scott Donaldson or Craig Steadman and both have shown very good form last week in Beijing, with Scott reaching the semi finals, whilst Craig sent the defending champion, Mark Selby, home.
Good luck guys!