2022 WSS Seniors Ways Facilities Management UK Championship Update and Preview

This was announced today by Jason Francis on social media 

We are sorry to announce that Tony Drago has been identified as a close contact of someone who has contracted COVID and his enforced period of quarantine means he cannot travel to the UK for next weeks event. Tony will be replaced in the event by Patrick Wallace who is the current World Number 1 ranked Seniors Player. Patrick will face Jimmy White in the Last 16 Bonus Arena, Hull WAYS Facilities Management

Of course, we wish Tony the best. Hopefully he won’t develop any (severe) symptoms.

This is the updated first round draw:

WSSSEniorsUK2022UpdatedDraw

We have some interesting matches in prospect!

Michael Judge v Peter Lines.

This is a hard one to call. Both Michael and Peter have loads of experience, a good tactical nous and a vast knowledge of the game. This should be good and it should be close. Peter is playing on the main tour, he should be sharp. How much and how well pthe epared Michael will be is the unknown factor. I’m certain though that he will do everything in his power to be ready: He’s the defending Champion. I can’t pick a winner.

Ken Doherty v Lee Walker.

Expect hard match play. Expect grit and patience. Expect fancy socks… 🧦. I will go with Ken for this one, but only just. Ken  is very shrewd and has more experience of the “main table situation”. Lee though is a very solid player: if he manages to dictate the pace and style of the match, he will definitely give Ken a serious challenge.

Jimmy White v Patrick Wallace.

Patrick is the number one Senior player for a reason. In the past however he has struggled with nerves in the big matches, on the main table. Jimmy on the other hand loves such situations, he thrives on them. He’s a showman. Because of these differences in personality, and because these are short matches, I fancy Jimmy to win, but not by much.

John Parrott v Wayne Cooper

John Parrott has very rarely performed convincingly since the Seniors Tour started. I’m not sure why. I must admit that I don’t know much about Wayne’s game, but he has come through the qualifiers which isn’t easy. Wayne Cooper to win.

Joe Johnson v Rod Lawler

Joe Johnson’s cue action is all over the place these days, but he still relishes the battle, and still pots some very good balls. The competitive animal has not been tamed. Rod Lawler is someone I fully respect because he always tries 100%, but I’m not a fan of his pace and he has struggled in recent years. I can’t call this one. I have a feeling that it will just depend on either player’s form on the day.

Cliff Thorburn v Kuldesh Johal

Cliff is 73, getting down of the shot is a struggle, the shot-clock a nightmare. He is however a great champion, and still has the heart of a great champion. Will it be enough to beat Kuldesh? I’m not sure. I would absolutely love to see Cliff do well but I think that Kuldesh will have too much for him.

David Lilley v Philip Williams

Philip Williams has been a strong presence in qualifiers on the WSS tour those last years. He sure can play. David Lilley is the Seniors reigning World Champion and he plays on the main tour. This should be a quality match but, ultimately, I expect David to win it.

Stephen Hendry v Barry Pinches

Now this is an interesting one. Stephen Hendry has hinted that he is playing well in practice. Every time he plays on the main tour he has lots of expectations to cope with and, because of his ranking, he usually faces a “current” top player. This will be a different proposition and an interesting “test” for Stephen. Barry Pinches had a very decent career, he is/was very solid but never really classed as a “top” player. I will go with Stephen here, mainly because, given the opportunity, he still has the scoring power. However, if Stephen goes for too much and gives Barry a lot of opportunities, he will probably pay the price.

 

 

World Seniors Snooker and BBC Sport agree new broadcast deal

This Press release was shared by Jason Francis on social media

PRESS RELEASE

World Seniors Snooker and BBC Sport agree new broadcast deal

The World Seniors Snooker Tour is delighted to announce a new deal with BBC Sport which will see the 2022 UK and World Seniors Snooker Championships shown live across the BBC’s digital platforms.

The UK Seniors Snooker Championship runs from the 3rd–7thJanuary at the Bonus Arena in Hull.

The World Seniors Snooker Championship returns to the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield between the 4th–8th May.

All the games will be available on BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website and app, giving snooker fans free-to-air coverage for those in the UK.

The events will feature the likes of Jimmy White, Stephen Hendry and Ken Doherty as well as Qualifiers from Asia, Pan America, Europe, Oceania and Africa.

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Seniors 2022 World Championship Qualifiers – Event 2

This is the draw for the Seniors World Championship Qualifiers, Event 2.

The event will be played in Reading, from the 17th to the 19th of December 2021.

This is the draw (I know, it’s very hard to read, but I can’t help that)

Seniors Event2 draw

And this is the format:

Seniors Event2 format

These are the “last 64” matches, with  original numbers

1. Stuart Watson BYE
2. Ray Grail 1-3 Dennis Tristram
3. Stuart Reardon 3-2 Paul Burrell
4. Richard Emery 1-3 Andy Booker
5. Ant Parsons 3-0 Darren Bradstock
6. Gaurang Vyas 0-3 Kark Townsend
7. Kevin Palmer 0-3 Tony Chappel
8. Adrian Atkins 0-3 John Hunter
Wayne Townsend BYE
9. Peter O’Malley 2-3 David Taylor
10. Ashley Beal 3-1 Richard Pipe
11. Sanjay Maghani W/O Rod Lawler
12. Mukesh Parmar 0-3 Gareth Coppack
13. John Snape 3-1 Darren Millard
David Brock W/O Simone Zappi
14. Dharminder Singh Lilly 3-1 Jonathan Bagley
—————————————————–
15. Tony Knowles 2-3 Adrian Morrissey
16. John Palmer 3-0 Minesh Doshi
17. Adam Denham v Nigel Philips W/O
18. Justin Eggins W/O Kuldesh Johal
19. Patsy Fagan 3-0 Falsai Majid
20. Andy Lavin 3-2 Anthony Massey
21. Gareth Edwards 2-3 James Heigth
22. Gary Britton v Aaron Canavan W/O
23. Matt Ford 3-0 Andy Battams
24. David McDonnell v Richard Beckham
25. Gary Coulson 3-0 Ian Whiting
26. Tony Corrigan 3-1 Steve Crowley
27. Mark Ganderton 3-1 Richard Somauroo
28. Mark Bell W/O Darryl James
29. Simon Chandler 0-3 Brian Morgan
30. Phil Williams – Anthony Bonnar W/O

These are the last 32 matches

Stuart Watson 3-0 Dennis Tristram
Stuart Reardon 0-3 Andy Booker
Ant Parsons 3-2 Karl Towsend
Tony Chappel 3-2 John Hunter
Wayne Townsend 3-0 David Taylor
Ashley Beal 3-1 Sanjay Maghani
Gareth Coppack 3-1 John Spane
David Brock 0-3 Dharminder Sihgh Lilly
—————————————————–
Adrian Morrissey 3-1 John Palmer
Nigel Philips 3-1 Justin Eggins
Patsy Fagan 1-3 Andy Lavin
James Heigth 3-0 Aaron Canavan
Matt Ford 3-2 Richard Beckham
Gary Coulson 1-3 Tony Corrigan
Mark Ganderton 2-3 Mark Bell
Brian Morgan 3-0 Anthony Bonnar

These are the last 16 matches

Stuart Watson 3-0 Andy Booker
Ant Parsons 2-3 Tony Chappel
Wayne Townsend 0-3 Ashley Beal
Gareth Coppack 0-3 Dharminder Singh Lilly
—————————————————–
Adrian Morrisey – Nigel Philips W/O
Andy Lavin 3-2 James Heigth
Matt Ford 1-3 Tony Corrigan
Mark Bell 1-3 Brian Morgan

Quarter-Finals

Stuart Watson 4-1 Tony Chappell
Ashley Beal 0-4 Dharminder Singh Lilly
—————————————————–
Nigel Philips 3-4 Andy Lavin
Tony Corrigan 1-4 Brian Morgan

Semi-Finals

Stuart Watson 4-3 Dharminder Singh Lilly

Andy Lavin 2-4 Brian Morgan

The Final

Stuart Watson 4-3 Brian Morgan

StuartWatson

During the event, you will be able to follow the scores/results on this page

The results and the draw for the next rounds will also be added here.

Seniors 2022 World Championship Qualifiers – Event 1

This is the draw for the Seniors World Championship Qualifiers, Event 1.

The event will be played in Reading, from the 14th to the 16th of December 2021.

This is the draw (I know, it’s very hard to read, but I can’t help that)

Seniors Event1 draw

And this is the format:

seniors-event1-format.jpeg

These are the “last 64” matches, with numbers

1. Stuart Watson 2-3 Dharminder Singh Lilly
2. Adrian Morrissey 3-1 Richard Pipe
3. Kuldesh Johal BYE
4. Shaf Hussain 3-1 Dean Sycamore
Ant Parsons BYE
– Andy Lavin BYE + No Show/Withdrawal
Gary Coulson BYE
5. Richard Beckham 3-0 John Hunter
6. Wayne Townsend 2-3 Tony Corrigan
7. Andy Milliard 0-3 James Richardson
8. Mark Bell W/O Gary Britton
Rod Lawler BYE
9. Leo Fernandez 3-0 Chris Jones
10. Stuart Reardon 3-0 Ian Desmer
11. David Brock 0-3 Neal Jones
12. Paul Burrell 0-3 Jonathan Bagley
—————————————————
13. Tony Knowles 3-2 Sean Vaz
John Palmer BYE
14. Richard Emery 3-2 Anthony Bonnar
Dave Finbow BYE
15. Patsy Fagan 1-3 Anthony Massey
Adam Denham BYE
16. Gareth Edwards 2-3 David Taylor
17. Tony Edwards 0-3 Aaron Canavan
18. Matt Ford 3-0 John Evans
19. David McDonnell 3-0 Faisal Majid
20. John Snape 3-0 Minesh Doshi
Steve Crawley BYE
21. Mukesh Parmar 3-0 Andy Booker
22. Mark Ganderton 3-2 Darryl James
23. James Heigth 3-0 Sanjay Meghani
24. Philip Williams W/O Simone Zappi

Last 32 matches

25. Dharminder Singh Lilly 3-2 Adrian Morrissey
26. Kuldesh Johal 3-0 Shaf Hussain
27. Ant Parsons W/O Andy Lavin
28. Gary Coulson 0-3 Richard Beckham
29. Tony Corrigan 3-1 James Richardson
30. Mark Bell 3-2 Rod Lawler
31. Leo Frenandez 2-3 Stuart Reardon
32. Neal Jones 3-2 Jonathan Bagley
—————————————————
33. Tony Knowles 3-0 John Palmer
34. Richard Emery 3-1 Dave Finbow
35. Anthony Massey – Adam Denham W/O
36. David Taylor 1-3 Aaron Canavan
37. Matt Ford 3-2 David McDonnell
38. John Snape 1-3 Steve Crowley
39. Mukesh Parmar 3-2 Mark Ganderton
40. James Heigth 0-3 Philip Williams

The last 16 matches

41. Dahrminder Singh Lilly 3-1 Kuldesh Johal
42. Ant Parsons 1-3 Richard Beckham
43. Tony Corrigan 1-3 Mark Bell
44. Stuart Reardon 2-3 Neal Jones
—————————————————
45. Tony Knowles 3-2 Richard Emery
46. Adam Denham 2-3 Aaron Canavan 
47. Matt Ford  1-3 Steve Crowley
48. Mukesh Parmar 2-3 Philip Williams

The Quarter-finals

49. Dharminder Singh Lilly 4-0 Richard Beckham
50. Mark Bell 4-3 Neal Jones
—————————————————
51. Tony Knowles 2-4 Aaron Canavan
52. Steve Crowley 2-4 Philip Williams

The Semi-finals

53. Dharminder Singh Lily 4-1 Mark Bell
54. Aaron Canavan 0-4 Philip Williams

The Final

55. Dharminder Sigh Lilly 2-4 Philip Williams

Congratulations Philip

Philip Williams

and you can hear Philip’s reaction here

Our Seniors Snooker World Champion wins Q-Tour event One

David Lilley won the first Q-Tour event of this season. There are four such events sheduled this season, with the player topping the order of merit getting a two year professional tour card.

Here is the report by WPBSA

Lilley Crowned King of the Castle at Q Tour

England’s David Lilley has claimed the inaugural WPBSA Q Tour title following a 5-1 final defeat of China’s Si Jiahui at the Castle Snooker & Sports Bar in Brighton.

The WPBSA Q Tour is an official pathway to the World Snooker Tour with two professional places to be won across the season from four tournaments. The events are open to all players, with 48 players automatically qualified for the last 64 stage through their position on the 2021 Q School Order of Merit.

Reigning World Seniors Snooker champion Lilley was one of eight players competing on the final day having seen the field reduced from 107 since the start of the tournament and was impressed throughout, compiling 14 breaks of 50, including three centuries during his six matches played.

Having already dispatched English trio Hamim Hussain, Daniel Womersley and John Astley, his closest match came at the quarter-finals stage where he won the final two frames to edge out Welshman Daniel Wells 4-3, before dominating Alex Millington to reach the title match.

There he would face fellow former professional Si, who himself had seen off Lee Shanker, Soheil Vahedi and Alfie Lee to reach the final day, before toppling Keishin Kamihashi and Simon Bedford to earn the right to face Lilley.

The 19-year-old would have no answer in the decisive match, however, as he quickly fell 4-0 behind – potting just five balls prior to the mid-session interval – leaving Lilley just one frame from the title. Although Si would claim the first frame upon their resumption with a cool clearance of 84, Lilley would not be denied and took out the decider with a break of 76 to become the first Q Tour champion of the season.

The victory puts Lilley in pole position for the first World Snooker Tour card available from the new Q Tour series, with the top ranked player following this season’s four scheduled events set to qualify. A further 16 players will contest a play-off tournament for the second card.

The WPBSA would like to thank all of the players, officials and in particular the Castle Snooker Club and its staff, who helped to ensure the success of the first Q Tour event – which saw an impressive 28 century breaks compiled across three days.

The WPBSA Q Tour will return with Event Two from 10-12 December at the Terry Griffiths Matchroom, Llanelli. The closing date for entries for the event is 4:30pm on Friday 26 November 2021

 

 

Ahmed Aly Elsayed books his spot at the Crucible

We will see an American Senior at the Crucible next May

Congratulations Aly and best of luck at the Theatre of Dreams

Aly Wins Pan American Seniors Snooker Title

Ahmed Aly Elsayed is set to realise a dream and appear at the Crucible Theatre next May after winning the 2021 Pan American Seniors Snooker Championship in Canada.

The American – who last month won a record-breaking sixth national championship title – claimed the continental accolade at the Corner Bank venue in Toronto. The triumph means he earns a coveted berth at the 2022 World Seniors Snooker Championship in Sheffield.

Organised by the Pan American Billiards and Snooker Association (PABSA), a total of 48 players representing Brazil, Canada and the United States of America took part in the competition that initially featured an eight-group round robin phase which was followed by knockout rounds.

New York cueist Aly qualified from his group and then defeated Alan Whitefield 3-1, Ali Baba 4-3 and Eddie Galati 4-1 before denying Levi Meiller 4-1 in the final.

Aly will now turn his attention to the Pan American Snooker Championship which takes place at the same venue over the next few days. The winner of this premier continental event for the Americas will secure a two-year World Snooker Tour card.

Article by Michael Day.

Changes to the qualifying process for upcoming events

This press release was shared by the Seniors World Tour on social media

PRESS RELEASE
Today the World Seniors Snooker Tour announces some changes to the Qualifying criteria for the upcoming events in December 2021 and February 2022.
These changes are immediate and follow lengthy consultations with the players commissions of both the WPBSA and World Seniors and the WPBSA Board. These changes apply to this season only at this stage as a trial, a decision on whether to adopt them for the tour will be taken after the conclusion of the 2022 World Seniors Snooker Championship.
The changes are:
  • For the World Seniors Qualifier in December (14-19) no current professional players will be eligible for entry which means that two Amateur players will progress from that event to the 2022 World Seniors Snooker Championship which will be held at the Crucible Theatre between the 4-8th May 2022.
  • For the World Seniors Qualifier in February (8-13) no amateur players will be eligible for entry which means that two Professional players will progress from that event to the 2022 World Seniors Snooker Championship.
The following amateur players have already secured their places in the final event and so will also not be eligible to enter the December Event. Those players are Patrick Wallace, Michael Judge, Gary Filtness, Wayne Cooper, Bob Chaperon, Frank Sarsfield and Darren Morgan.
Jason Francis, Chairman of World Seniors said, “We must listen to our players and never be afraid to make bold decisions when needed. Its important the tour provides opportunities for both professional and amateur senior players.
With some of the very best over 40 Amateur players in the world already in Sheffield Decembers event represents a fantastic opportunity for any snooker player over 40 to walk out at the Crucible live on TV”

Personally I think that those changes are good as they guarantee that both older professionals and amateurs will be present at those important events.

Seniors snooker news – 18.10.2021

The draw for the 2022 UK Seniors Championship first round has been made.

2021SeniorsUKDrraw

Darren Morgan has won the Seniors 2021 EBSA (European) Championship in Portugal last week. Congratulations Darren.

This EBSA championship carried a spot into the 2022 Seniors World Championship. Because Darren is already in the draw, this spot will be given to the runner-up, Frank Sarsfield.

FrankSarfield

Here is the Press released as shared on World Seniors Snooker Facebook page.

PRESS RELEASE- FRANK SARSFIELD
Following his run to the final in the EBSA European Seniors Championship World Seniors Snooker is delighted to announce that Frank Sarsfield from Ireland gets a place in our 2022 World Seniors Championship which will be played at the Crucible Theatre in May.

With the current EBSA Seniors Champion already qualified, Darren Morgan, the federation has decided to use their nomination for the runner up from that event.
The news was broken to Frank by EBSA Chairman Maxim Cassis who has been overseeing a tremendous event in Portugal of over 500 personnel. With Darren and Frank in the field the EBSA is well represented.

Jason Francis, Chairman of World Seniors, said “To play snooker at the Crucible Theatre is the pinnacle for any snooker player, it’s the dream we all have when we first pick up a cue. We are delighted to accept the EBSA nomination of Frank Sarsfield from Ireland who will join fellow Irishmen Michael Judge and Ken Doherty in the field next May”

Maxime Cassis said “The EBSA is delighted to nominate Frank Sarsfield to take part into this year’s World Seniors Snooker Championship.

The standard of this year’s European Championships was very high with many top senior players competing and Darren Morgan retaining his title.

To play in the Crucible is the dream of all snooker players and I’m sure Frank and Darren will enjoy it”

The World Seniors Championship plays from the 4th to the 8th May 2022.

Good luck and enjoy the Crucible Frank!

Some information about next season

WPBSA has today published the following announcement:

New Qualifying Dates Announced for 2022 World Seniors Championship

World Seniors Snooker (WSS) has today announced the dates for two new qualifying tournaments which will provide all players over-40 with the opportunity to earn a place at the Crucible Theatre next spring.

Held at the Crucible Theatre since 2019, the World Seniors Snooker Championship is set to return to the home of snooker in 2022 with an all-new 24 player format aimed at providing more senior players with the opportunity to compete at the iconic venue than ever before.

To complete the field, qualifying tournaments will be held from 14-19 December 2021 and 8-13 February 2022, each with two prized places on offer to compete in Sheffield. The four successful qualifiers will join an all-star field which is set to include the likes of defending champion David Lilley, four-time world seniors champion Jimmy White and former UK Seniors champion Ken Doherty.

Both qualifying tournaments will be held at the Crucible Sports and Social Club in Reading, which is a recognised EPSB 147 Club and will be the official qualifying venue for the WSS Tour this season.

It has today also been announced that the scheduled Seniors Masters and Irish Masters events will now not take place in 2022. Although it is recognised that this decision will come as a disappointment to fans in Ireland and London, during what remains a challenging climate to stage events of this size, the Board has taken the responsible decision to focus on successfully delivering both the World and UK Championship tournaments at this time.

The news does mean that all players who had previously qualified for either the Masters or Irish Masters tournaments will now be invited to the Crucible to compete at next year’s World Seniors Championship. These players are: Patrick Wallace, Michael Judge, Wayne Cooper, Gary Filtness, Darren Morgan, Bob Chaperon and Rory McLeod.

Further information regarding the qualifying tournaments for the World Seniors Championship qualifiers, including how to enter, will be released soon.

We are going through difficult times and there are still a lot of uncertainties regarding the coming months. The governing body is doing its best to deliver quality events whilst keeping everyone safe.

 

And a great interview with Tony Drago

Tony Drago will play in the UK Championship in Hull come January and here is a great interview where he tells us about his childhood in Malta, his career and his advice to aspiring players

50 Shades of Greats: ‘Follow your heart not your head’ – Tony Drago

The Malta Independent on Sunday meets Tony Drago, he speaks about being considered a talent, turning pro, missing Malta, his Snooker and pool career and players for the future

Tony Drago was born in Malta’s capital city on the 27th September, 1965.  

Nicknamed the Tornado, there are few more entertaining sights in snooker than an on-form Tony Drago whose speed around the table can be summed up by the fact that he is the holder of the record for the fast century break in a ranking event tournament, timed at a ridiculous three minutes and 31 seconds back in 1996.  

‘It was a normal upbringing for me in Valletta. We used to play together as kids in the streets especially football which I used to love and still do. It was football and snooker. But from a tender age I think I was born to be a cueist since my orientation drove me always to the green table.’

‘As regards my educational background I attended St Albert College, Valletta and The Lyceum in Hamrun but school was not my forte since I was fully focused on snooker from a very young age.’

How did Tony’s interest in snooker begin? Was it a first love sport? ‘I used to play football because of my friends. But snooker was something different since everyone used to tell me that I will be a great player. My first touch of a cue was at the famous Pawlu Curmi, il-Pampalun who is a Carnival legend. But I also played at Fossa and Mandragg and obviously my childhood club Anglo Maltese in Merchant Street. I was there at the age of eleven but three years later I started competing and the promise was there to see.’

His local competitive career started with success in the Boys Championships. ‘Yes I won against Arthur Cachia way back in 1980. Arthur is still a good friend of mine. When I won the Boys event I was already a promising player. The association decided to put me straight into the Second Division rather than play in the Third since I would have been too superior to my opponents. In the first year I won the Second and thus was promoted to the First Division. When the draws were made I was drawn in the group of Pawlu Mifsud and was so excited about it. Unfortunately Mifsud had an accident which left him away from playing for a number of months. So I won in 1983 against Alfred Micallef and lost the famous final played at De La Salle College against Pawlu Mifsud a year later. In 1985 it was time to turn professional.

‘I was accepted as a pro in 1984 but they wanted me to play in the World Amateur. I didn’t succeed and lost in the quarter-final and then I turned pro the following year.’

Turning from an amateur to a professional meant a cultural shock which needed time to adjust. ‘Yes for the first couple of years I struggled with results. But in the second year I made it to the Quarter Final of the UK Open against Steve Davis losing by a 9-8 score. But there was a mix of results during my career. I did well and have been in the top 10 and been top 16 for five years. But I did reach a couple of massive finals, the Scottish International 1997, losing to Hendry, and I lost in 1991 Mita World Masters which at the time was the biggest tournament ever. I have won small invitations, I beat Steve Davis in a final in China and I did win a ranking event, a Strachan. It was a minor ranking event but there was only 5 or 6 who didn’t enter it and I beat Ken Doherty in the final. But I did underachieve because in the first five or six years as a pro I got homesick after every week. So that affected my game.’

But who is the toughest opponent that Tony has played against? ‘Well the hardest player I have ever played is Steve Davis. But the most talented player I have ever played against is Ronnie O’Sullivan. But the best, the greatest player all round with the pressure, the nitty-gritty and everything is John Higgins.’

Tony also found time to compare his days with today. ‘Today there are better players as a whole crop. But when one looks more into detail you find that when I was number 10, John Higgins was number 1 in the world, Ronnie O’Sullivan was third ranked player and number 5 was Mark Williams. And twenty five years past the line and they are still three of the best players.’

Drago won the Sportsman of the year award twice in 1991 and 1996 but though a much appreciated award he also looks back at his local participation when ranking tournaments were held yearly on the island. ‘For me it was always a nightmare. The pressure of the Maltese was felt not only on the table but even before. People calling me and requesting tickets and all kinds of things which didn’t leave me much time for maximum concentration. Once I made it to the semi-final losing to Jimmy White and I still can’t believe how I made it to the last four. Obviously I wanted to win it in front and for the Maltese public but I wasn’t able to handle the pressure.’

But how did Tony turn his attention to pool and what attracted him to this game? ‘To be honest I always used to watch it on Eurosport and I always used to say I’d try it someday. Then I got a letter from Matchroom and I spoke to Barry Hearn on the phone and asked him about it and he said the invitation is there for you to play in the World Championship in Cardiff. So I started to play and I got to like the game.’

Drago’s first major Pool win was the 2003 World Pool Masters, which came just a few weeks after a run to the semi-finals of that year’s World Pool Championship. ‘I was a member of the winning European team at the 2007 and 2008 Mosconi Cup. In 2007 in Las Vegas, I won all of my single matches which earned me the Most Valuable Player Award. And a year later I also won the Predator International 10-ball Championship, beating Francisco Bustamante 13–10.’

And for Tony what is the difference between snooker and pool. Which is the most difficult to play? In snooker you play a lot of the same types of shots and you have situations occurring frequently such as in and around the black, but in 9 or 10-ball each game is more different. In pool you always play for one ball but in snooker we all play for 2 or 3 reds so if you’re not on this one you’re on this one. In pool you can’t do that, if you’re not on the next ball in pool you’re in trouble.’

And what about billiards? ‘I didn’t play it so much. And to be honest I didn’t play it badly. Once I even made it to the Final losing it to my great friend Guzi Grech who has just passed away in the past days. Some say that it helps to have a good background of Billiards when playing Snooker but let’s face it the top players don’t even know what this game is.’

How does Tony see the future of the game on our island? ‘Alex Borg is still playing and he is now in his fifties. He is not one for the future like me. Duncan Bezzina is now in his forties. There are Aaron Busuttil and Brian Cini. I personally think that Cini is the only present hope for Malta to have a professional player. But if he doesn’t go and live in the UK it’s useless.  He has to train against the best to reach the top. Here it’s difficult since me and Alex don’t play a lot. But the level is good, Brian and Aaron are good. Chris Peplow is also coming up.’

Sport Malta recently invested in a Snooker Academy which is located at the ex-Maria Assunta School, in Hamrun. The Academy boasts 7 professional heated snooker tables as well as 5 small tables for children. ‘Yes surely the Academy is a step in the right direction. It will help in producing more top level players.’

In this last part of this interview with one of the giants both locally and internationally Tony talked about the other side of his life, the personal one. ‘A normal day for me is playing some Pool and Snooker, chatting with my friends and watch sport especially football and tennis. Obviously my love for Valletta which I go and watch them in every game and Juventus is there but I like all kinds of sport.’

His favourite food is by far Chinese but he has also got his chosen chef. ‘My mum Sina is the best. Her food is second to none.’ And what about favourite destination?

‘The United States is the best place to be.  A lot of people say that they are boasters but they have got all the ingredients to boast of. For me they are a complete country. I also love London a lot, it is like my second home.’

When he has time on his hands Tony enjoys a bus ride since he doesn’t drive. He used to go as far as Mellieha and Bugibba but when Covid took over he didn’t feel that safe anymore.

Tornado Drago wanted to send one final message to the sporting public. ‘Always give your hundred per cent. Follow your heart not your head. Train as much as you can and set a goal in order to succeed.’

Good luck in Hull Tony!