WSS ROKiT 2019 World Championship Build-up – Tony Knowles v Chen Gang

This is the first of a series of posts, in the build-up of the 2019 WSS ROKiT World Championship, starting at the Crucible on August 15.

The opening match of the competition, played at 10 am on August 15, 2019 will see Tony Knowles do battle with Chen Gang.

Tony Knowles came to fame when he beat Steve Davis by 10-1 in the first round of the 1982 World Championship at the Crucible. Steve Davis was the defending champion, and the pre-tournament favourite for the title. Tony Knowles was an un-heralded outsider. That he beat Steve was a huge surprise, that he beat him by 10-1 was a seismic shock. He went on to reach the quarter-finals in the tournament. In the next two seasons he managed to win two ranking tournaments.

If you speak to Tony nowadays, he will probbably tell you how himself and his contemporaries traveled Europe and the world promoting snooker everywhere. Those memories are dear to him. And he’s right. How many remember that snooker was popular outside the UK/Ireland at the time? Yes, it was. Eurosport started covering snooker as early as the late 1980 th and lots clubs opened in western mainland Europe.

You can read Tony’s profile on this blog here

And Tony’s profile by Elliott West here

Chen Gang is a bit of an unknown quantity, to us Europeans at least. He’s 42 and from Anhui, a Chinese Province, west of Shanghai. He runs a club there, and is a respected coach. He also regularly competes, with success, in China national competitions. Chen Gang was considered to be the best player in Anhui – “Anhui first cue” – until recently, when Niu Zhuang, a 25 years old former professional raised the bar. Chen Gang was runner-up in the Chinese Qualifying Event and was afterwards chosen to be CBSA nominee for the 2019 WSS ROKiT World Championship.

Match mini preview

I would have liked to find some footage of Chen Gang in action in order to know a bit more about his game … but I failed. Therefore I have no idea about the type of player he is. However he’s relatively young, 42, and, more importantly, he is an active player who still competes regularly, as opposed to Tony Knowles who is retired and will probably lack any form of match sharpness. Therefore I make him favourite to win this match, despite the possibly intimidating surroundings and the China-UK  time difference.

Prediction: Chen Gang to win.

Happy Birthday Joe Johnson

 

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Happy Birthday Joe Johnson!

Our reigning WSS ROKiT Masters Champion turn 67 today.

Joe became famous by winning the 1886 World Championship, beating Steve Davis by 18-12 in the Final. He was a 150-1 outsider and had never won a match at the Crucible before. He came as close as possible to beat the Crucible Curse the next year, reaching the final, but this time losing by 18-14 … to Steve Davis.

Joe will play at the Cucible again on August 15, 2019 in the evening. He is amongst the twenty players who will do battle to be the 2019 WSS ROKiT World Champion. His opponent will be either Wael Talaat from Egypt or James Wattana from Thailand. Can he lift the trophy again?

If you wish to know more about Joe …

Here you’ll find his profile on this blog

and here you will find his profile by Elliott West

 

Alex Crisan’s Crucible Dream comes true

Alrex Crisan

This was shared on Facebook three days ago . I’m late but, hey, I was a bit busy in Gloucester …

The number of countries involved in the ROKiT World Seniors Snooker Championship has just grown with the news today that Alex Crisan will become the first Romanian to officiate at the home of snooker.

Alex, 34 and from Bucharest, became a qualified referee in 2006 and has played a major role in the training of officials for the EBSA since 2014.

He started with World Snooker in 2011 at the Paul Hunter Classic in Furth. Last year he officiated the Romanian Masters Final between Ryan Day and Stuart Bingham.

He said “I like to dream big and Crucible is definitely the place to be for snooker. For me to get there, to have a chance to be the man in the middle, to be the first Romanian referee in the “Theatre of Dreams” and all that alongside snooker legends I’ve grown up with…it’s like living that dream!

Outside of Snooker Alex works as a sales agent for construction materials (bricks, concrete, cement etc), something completely opposite to the white gloves.

Alex will join Michaela Tabb and Leo Scullion. Tickets for the event can be found here… https://www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk/events/snooker-seniors

Alex is a great addition to the WSS ROKiT Tour. His success as a snooker referee has been a major booster for snooker in Romania. Good luck and enjoy Alex!

50 years of Pot Black

Two days ago, it was exactly 50 years that BBC first aired the iconic Pot Black.

Here is Ray Reardon recalling that “legendary” program

Reardon recalls ‘Pot Black’ – 50 years on (BBC)

Next January the WSS ROKiT Tour will remember it, and somehow recreate it in Liverpool, at St Georges Hall, the venue where John Pullman became World Champion in 1966.

St George Hall

The picture above dates back from 1952, and features a match between Fred and Joe Davis.

WSS ROKiT World Championship 2019 – The Schedule

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Session 1
10am Thursday 15th Aug
Tony Knowles v Chen Gang
Tony Drago v Dene O’Kane

Session 2
2pm Thursday 15th Aug
James Wattana v Wael Talaat
Willie Thorne v Darren Morgan

Session 3
7pm Thursday 15th Aug
Joe Johnson v Wattana/Talaat
Cliff Thorburn v Knowles/Gang

Session 4
10am Friday 16th Aug
Aaron Canavan v Au Chi Wai
John Parrott v Thorne/Morgan

Session 5
2pm Friday 16th Aug
Leo Fernandez v Joris Maas
Stephen Hendry v Drago/O’Kane

Session 6
7pm Friday 16th Aug
Dennis Taylor v Stuart Watson
Jimmy White v Rhydian Richards

Session 8
2pm Saturday 17th Aug
Quarter Final 1 Canavan/Wai v Fernandez/Maas
Quarter Final 2 White/Richards v Taylor/Watson

Session 9
7pm Saturday 17th Aug
Quarter Final 3 Parrott/Thorne/Morgan v Hendry/Drago/O’Kane
Quarter Final 4 Johnson/Wattana/Talaat v Thorburn/Knowles/Gang

Session 11
2pm Sunday 18th August
Semi Final 1 Winner QF1 V Winner QF 3
Semi Final 2 Winner QF 2 V Winner QF 4

Session 12
7pm Sunday 18th August
The Final
Ticket link here.
https://www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk/events/snooker-seniors