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.”
The Rokitofficial UK SENIOR CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFERS
Sunday 11th to Friday 16th July 2022
2 x 128 player events, straight knockout. Finalists from both events qualify for Hull in August #Daretodream
Entries open Monday 14th June. More details soon.
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.”
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 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.
Knowles – Tour Place Is My Goal
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.
“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.
“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!
David Lilley beat Jimmy White by 5-3 to become the 2021 WSS ROKIT World Champion.
Here is how we got there as reported by WST/WPBSA
White To Face Lilley In Final
Jimmy White will face David Lilley in the final of the 2021 ROKiT World Seniors Snooker Championship at the Crucible Theatre on Sunday evening.
The duo both came through semi-final tests during an intriguing afternoon session in Sheffield.
The prospect of a third consecutive world seniors championship title is now just a win away for the evergreen White, who ended the campaign of Brazil’s Igor Figueiredo.
A break of 60 helped White take the opener, before a couple of small contributions allowed him to move 2-0 up.
Figueiredo – the first South American to play a competitive match at the Crucible – registered runs of 36 and 44 to get on the board, but White chalked up an important frame four and then finished with a 47 clearance in the fifth to record a 4-1 victory.
Since the championship moved here in 2019, the popular Londoner has not lost a match in it. Should he win the title match, it would be his fourth triumph in the event overall.
Lilley showed no ill effects from his dramatic late-night victory over Ken Doherty as he strung together four consecutive frames to defeat Patrick Wallace 4-1 in the other last four tie.
It was record eight-time Northern Irish national champion Wallace who opened his account first, as he emerged from a scrappy opening frame, although Lilley levelled it with the help of runs of 65 and 34.
A pivotal moment in the contest came in the third frame. Wallace was on the cusp of retaking the lead but broke down on a break of 56. Lilley stayed in, and later pinched the frame on the final black.
The man from Washington near Newcastle didn’t look back, constructing breaks of 89 and 69 in the next two frames to seal a 4-1 success.
Lilley was a qualifier for this event having come through the first Q-School held in Reading at the start of the year. In total, he has won eight matches to reach the final where he will attempt to halt White, who himself is on an 11-match winning streak.
Lilley Is World Seniors Champion
David Lilley claimed the biggest title of his career as he dethroned defending champion Jimmy White 5-3 in the final at the Crucible Theatre to win the 2021 ROKiT World Seniors Snooker Championship.
Playing in the final stages of this event for the first time, Lilley’s title journey began in January when he entered the initial Q-School qualifying competition in Reading. Nine match wins and four months later, he was lifting the trophy at the sport’s most iconic venue.
The 45-year-old from Washington – who was making his competitive debut at the Crucible – had eliminated Philip Williams, Ken Doherty and Patrick Wallace to reach the title match. During his late-night quarter-final clash with Doherty the day before he produced a steely effort of 69 in a deciding frame to win 4-3.
Lilley settled his nerves in the final with a 74 break to claim the opener, before pinching a close second frame with a break of 35 to win on the pink. He then chalked up the third to put himself in firm control at 3-0.
Aiming for his third successive world seniors title – and fourth overall – White had done little wrong. He eventually managed to get a foothold in the tie, constructing a classy run of 85 to go into the mid-session interval on a positive note.
The Whirlwind continued to gain momentum on resumption, racking up contributions of 42, 63 and 56 in the following two frames for parity at 3-3 and to threaten another epic recovery, after coming back from 4-0 down to beat Doherty 5-4 in last year’s final.
A nervy seventh frame ensued, with White squandering a glorious chance on the colours to take the front. Lilley leaped on his unexpected opportunity to retake the lead at 4-3, before keeping his cool with a tournament winning break of 69 in frame eight.
Speaking to Rob Walker after his triumph, Lilley said: “I’m a bit speechless, I didn’t think I’d get this emotional. Jimmy is my hero – he’s everyone’s hero. I really don’t know what to say; I’m just so happy.”
As well as the title and trophy, Lilley banks £15,000 and is in position to claim a place at the prestigious Champion of Champions later this year in Bolton.
Igor Figueired won the “Shot of the Championship” prize for his fantastic “plant double”
And this conclude a fantastic event. It was very enjoyable. All commentators and pundits did a great job: thank you Dennis Taylor, John Virgo, Mike Dunn, Patsy Fagan and Rob Walker.
Congratulations to the four referees as well
And of course to the man who started it all Jason Francis!
See you next year at the Crucible … hopefully with a crowd!
All pictures shared on social media by the WSS ROKIT Snooker Tour
All quarter-finals wre played yesterday and here are the reports by WPBSA as posted on WST website:
Figueirdo And Wallace Into Semis
Igor Figueiredo and Patrick Wallace are both through to Finals Day at the 2021 ROKiT World Seniors Snooker Championship after they won their quarter-final matches at the Crucible Theatre this afternoon.
In a clash of current main tour players, Brazilian Figueiredo reproduced the impressive form that saw him nearly qualify for the world professional championship here last month, as he eliminated Stephen Hendry 4-1 with a string of breaks.
It was King of the Crucible Hendry who held the upper hand early on in the contest, after registering a run of 76 to claim the opening frame.
However, that was as good as it got for the Scot as the South American levelled up with the help of 31 and 41 breaks, before really finding his scoring groove and taking the lead with an effort of 100 – the third century of this year’s competition so far.
Figueiredo broke down on a break of 30 in frame four, but his opponent failed to capitalise and a returning contribution of 61 put him one away from victory at 3-1.
With his back against the wall, a determined Hendry looked like reducing his arrears in the fifth, but ran out of position on 62 and went in-off when attempting a tricky red. A clinical Figueiredo subsequently fashioned the perfect counter-attack, clearing up to and including the black for 68 to claim a 4-1 victory.
The 43-year-old is now just one match away from his second final on the world seniors circuit having been runner-up to Ken Doherty in the 2018 UK Seniors Championship in Hull.
Twenty years on from losing a tight quarter-final at the Crucible Theatre in the world professional championship, Wallace this time finished on the correct side of a close last eight affair at the venue after ousting Barry Pinches 4-2.
The Northern Irishman took a protracted opening frame on the pink, and was set fare to extend his lead in frame two whilst on a break of 43, before missing and having to watch Pinches reply with a classy 83 clearance which made it 1-1.
Wallace produced efforts of 55 and 59 to retake the lead with frame three, although Norwich cueman Pinches squared it again after a fragmented fourth frame.
For the third time in the match Wallace went in front with the aid of a crucial break of 31, before getting over the line in a nervy sixth frame.
Igor Figueiredo played really well in his quarter-final against Stephen Hendry. Stephen’s attacking approach suits him to the core. Stephen Hendry is still a long way to get his game back where he needs to be.
The Patrick Wallace v Barry Piches affair was painful to watch in the early stages. Both improved afterwards … fortunately.
White And Lilley Set For Final Day
Jimmy White and David Lilley completed the semi-finals line-up for the 2021 ROKiT World Seniors Snooker Championship with victories in Sheffield on Saturday night.
White stretched his undefeated run in this event at the Crucible Theatre to 10 matches, after a 4-1 triumph over former winner Darren Morgan.
In a rerun of the title match here in 2019, Londoner White racked up runs of 46 and 41 in taking the first frame, but Morgan lit up the stage in the next with an amazing total clearance of 134 – bettering the previous tournament high break of 112 that he crafted in round one. It is the highest break in this championship since 2015.
Welshman Morgan continued his fine scoring into the third frame, although he missed on 52. He later had another chance, but it was White who finished the frame with a smile on his face as he cleared up with 36 to pinch it by a single point.
The Whirlwind would deal another body blow to his opponent in frame four. Morgan was on the cusp of levelling the match when on a break of 49 but a miss on a difficult red allowed White to clear with 40 and win on the black ball again for 3-1.
Frame five was a scrappy affair but the defending champion held the advantage almost throughout, later claiming it to set up an intriguing last four tie with Brazil’s Igor Figueiredo.
Lilley produced a steely clearance in the deciding frame to resist a comeback from Ken Doherty and arrange a semi-final date with Patrick Wallace on Sunday afternoon.
The tone for a topsy-turvy encounter was set in frame one when Lilley cleared up with 31 to swipe it on the black. He then doubled his advantage in a low-scoring second frame.
With his opponent struggling to settle, Lilley looked like making it 3-0 when on a break of 41 and nearing the snookers required stage before an unexpected miss let the 1997 world professional champion in. It was an opportunity Doherty grasped, constructing a morale-boosting clearance of 63 to halve his deficit.
The next frame saw Irishman Doherty heading towards parity on an effort of 57 – but when he jawed a red – roles were reversed from the previous frame and three-time English Amateur Champion Lilley mopped up with 55 to chalk up his second black ball success in the match.
Momentum would shift again, though, as Doherty bounced back with the aid of 34 to pocket frame five, before forcing it all the way come the conclusion of frame six.
The six-time ranking event winner edged closer to completing the turnaround before a pink went awry on a run of 40. In what was the final swing of the pendulum, Lilley seized his chance, compiling a cool break of 69 to go through in dramatic circumstances.
Darren Morgan scored the highest break of the tournament so far in the only frame he won but didn’t otherwiseimpress me. He looked frustrated. Jimmy White was solid.
It was a disappointing evening and a disappointing performance from Ken Doherty. He fought hard but it was not enough. David Lilley played well, especially considering that he had issues with his tip.
Ronnie was around all day, watching and supporting the tournament and the sponsor
And Andy Chubb took this wonderful photograph of this wonderful arena. Shot of the tournament for me that!
The last 16 round at the WSS ROKIT 2021 World Championship was plaeyd over the last two days. This is the outcome:
So here is what happened over the last three days.
Wednesday was media day. Rob Walker who works as MC, pundit, commentator and journalist recorded interviews with the players. Those interviews were shown as part of the last round coverage.
Four matches were played on Thursday
Afternoon session results:
Darren Morgan 3-2 Lee Walker – David Lilley 3-1 Philip Williams
Darren Morgan v Lee Walker was an excellent match. Darren played really well and, if he can keep this level, he is definitely one of the favourites for the title.
Evening session results:
Stephen Hendry 3-0 Patsy Fagan – Patrick Wallace 3-2 Michael Judge
Stephen Hendry didn’t convince me despite the 3-0 victory. Patrick Wallace and Michael Judge served us an excellent match. It’s a shame that one of them had to go out in the first round really.
And four matches were played on Friday
Afternoon session results:
Ken Doherty 3-0 Joe Johnson – Barry Pinches 3-0 Dennis Taylor
Both Ken and Barry played well but weren’t actually put under any pressure by their opponents.
Right after the match Dennis Taylor announced that he is retiring from competitive snooker but will continue to do exhibitions and play in Legends events. Everyone present at the venue paid tribute to the 1985 World Champion.
All the Best Dennis!
Evening session results:
Jimmy White 3-0 Tony Knowles – Igor Figueiredo 3-0 John Parrott
Jimmy White looked extremely nervous at the start of the match but started to play better towards the end. Igor Figueiredo becamethe first South American to play at the Crucible and he played really well. He’s definitely a contender for the title. John Parrott played decent and came up with some great shots as well. This was an entertaining match.
Ronnie who is of course a ROKIT embassador popped in…
It was an entertaining couple of days at the Crucible and the coverage is excellent.
All images above were shared on the WSS ROKIT Seniors Tour twitter …
ROKiT World Seniors Championship 2021 – Tournament Preview
Defending champion Jimmy White will go for a third successive crown at the 2021 ROKiT World Seniors Snooker Championship that gets underway at the Crucible Theatre on Thursday.
Last year, White produced a sensational comeback against Ken Doherty in the final, recovering from 0-4 down to oust his opponent 5-4 in a dramatic climax. Once again, The Whirlwind is top seed in a field of 16 players consisting of former major professional title winners and competitors who emerged from world seniors tour qualifying events.
The four-day event will be behind closed doors in Sheffield but will be shown live on various BBC platforms. The victor come Sunday evening will also gain a place in the lucrative Champion of Champions later this year.
In 2020, White became the first person in the event’s history to retain the title and he begins his bid for a fourth world seniors championship overall when he faces former world number two Tony Knowles on Friday evening.
It will be the third time that they have met at the Crucible after world professional quarter-final clashes in 1985 and 1988; Knowles winning the first and White the second.
An all-Welsh affair will break the tournament off on Thursday afternoon with two qualifiers from the recent Q-School in Reading drawn against each other – Lee Walker and Darren Morgan.
Current main tour exponent Walker will make his debut in the final stages of this event while Morgan will look to swell his impressive record in it having been champion in 2011 and a finalist on two other occasions in 2016 and 2019.
Igor Figueiredo was one qualifying win away from appearing at the Crucible last month in the professional championship, but the Brazilian will get his opportunity to play on snooker’s grandest stage for the first time when he crosses cues with John Parrott.
Figueiredo has already enjoyed success on the world seniors circuit; he was runner-up at the 2018 UK Seniors Championship in Hull, and he qualified for the 2019 edition of this tournament following an event win in the USA before later being ineligible. The 43-year-old also won the 2018 World Snooker Federation Seniors Championship in Malta. Fresh from his punditry duties with the BBC, Parrott was a world seniors finalist in 2017.
A world professional champion seven times, Stephen Hendry has yet to reach the world seniors final during his four previous outings, although his most promising showing was a last four run here last year that perhaps prompted his subsequent return to the main tour.
‘The King of the Crucible’ has yet to make the final of any world seniors event but this time surely arrives better equipped than ever before. Hendry plays 70-year-old Irishman Patsy Fagan, the 1977 UK Champion who last graced the Crucible over 36 years ago.
In a meeting of cueists from both sides of the Irish border, former professionals Michael Judge and Patrick Wallace look to secure a last eight berth.
Judge is still the reigning UK Seniors champion having won that title in 2019, while Wallace will be trying to go one further than his finish in this event in 2018 when he lost to Aaron Canavan in the final.
Barry Pinches came through the opening seniors Q School in January to book a Sheffield return where he will face Dennis Taylor.
Pinches – a qualifier for the professional championship three times – came close to winning the Seniors Masters title here in 2019 but lost on a black ball tiebreaker to Joe Johnson in the final. Aged 72, Taylor is the oldest contestant in the line-up, and he will try to draw on inspiration from when he landed the sport’s biggest accolade in 1985.
David Lilley and Philip Williams will realise career ambitions when they play at the Crucible Theatre for the first time during the event’s opening session on Thursday afternoon. The second all-qualifier tie of the round, both graduated from Q School events this year.
Completing the draw is a match between former world champions Ken Doherty and Joe Johnson – the only two players who have reached the world professional final the year after they won the title for the first time.
Doherty will try to bounce back from last summer’s disappointment here and become the first player in the sport’s history to have claimed world junior, amateur, professional and seniors championships. Yorkshireman Johnson is looking for his second title on the circuit after his triumph in the aforementioned Masters a couple of years ago.
Follow tournament updates online via WPBSA SnookerScores.
Article by Michael Day.
And here are my predictions regarding the matches’ outcomes:
- I expect Jimmy White to get the better of Tony Knowles quite comfortably. Jimmy still plays regularly on the main and seniors tours and I’m not sure how well Tony was able to prepare with the covid-19 crisis limiting access to sports facilities.
- I will sit on the fence regarding the outcome of the Lee Walker v Darren Morgan match. Both are very capable. Lee played in the main tour World qualifiers, Darren always plays and has his own club.
- Igor Figueiredo is my pick over John Parrott. Igor reached Judgement Day at the EIS last month and scored heavily. John Parroot has failed to impress in any of the WSS events so far.
- Stephen Hendry should beat Patsy Fagan comfortably. He did beat Jimmy White at the EIS and will want to do well here.
- Michael Judge v Patrick Wallace should be a good match, and played in good spirit as well. Both will have prepared the best they can for this. I expect this one to go to the wire, and if so, I fancy Mick to win it because he’s probably the most solid of the two under pressure.
- Barry Pinches should have too much for Dennis Taylor. Dennis still loves the game, and is still capable of great pots, but he moves a lot on the shots and lack of consistency could prove fatal.
- Having never watched Philip Williams at the table, I can’t form an opinion on this one. He came through the Reading test, so he certainly can play. David Lilley has been solid playing on the main tour. It should be a good match
- Ken Doherty is expected to beat Joe Johnson. Joe though, provided he has access to a table, will have prepared very seriously. He’s still extremely competitive and still plays aggressive snooker. He will not roll over.
Now we have an interesting situation in the top half: Jimmy White and Stephen Hendry could meet in the semi-finals again. Last year Jimmy was the winner. This year however, Stephen has been back on the main tour (eventually) and has beaten Jimmy in the first round of the World qualifiers. Both will be highly motivated, and both will be under pressure if they get that far.
Jimmy White is the defending champion but has been handed a very tough draw. He could meet Darren Morgan in the QF, in a repeat of the 2019 WSS World final. Stephen Hendry or Igor Figueiredo could be next for him. Stephen has beaten him recently as mentioned above. If it were to be Igor, Jimmy will have to make the most of his opportunities because Igor is a heavy scorer and very adept at clearing when in. Should Jimmy get to the Final again, I expect him to face either Ken Doherty or Mick Judge. Ken will be out for revenge after last year’s defeat and Mick has beaten Jimmy in the final of the 2019 WSS UK Championship.
If Jimmy was to defend his title come Sunday it would be a remarkable achievement indeed.
Leo Scullion will be the “Head referee” when the tournament on Thursday.
To The Crucible! EPSB Officials to Make Mark at World Seniors
A trio of English Partnership for Snooker and Billiards referees will officiate during the 2021 ROKiT World Seniors Snooker Championship at the Crucible Theatre later this week.
David Brown, James Chambers and Rod Eaton will all realise a dream and take charge of matches at the iconic venue for the first time in their careers.
The four-day event will be behind closed doors due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic but will be watched live by thousands of fans across the world on various viewing platforms, including the BBC Red Button and website.
All three were selected by the World Seniors Snooker Tour for their hard work and dedication at the recent Seniors Q-School events in Reading and they are understandably excited at the prospect of being big components in this year’s championship which features several of the sport’s all-time greats.
“The Home of Snooker”
Chambers is a familiar face to many on the EPSB circuit as a tournament director for several competitions, including the EPSB Amateur Tour. A referee at last year’s WST Q-School too, he has previously lived in Sheffield, currently works in the city and is the General Secretary for the snooker league there.
A qualified referee since 2002, Chambers is delighted to officiate in the hallowed arena: “It means the world to referee at the spiritual Home of Snooker.
As I am from Sheffield, I think a few friends and family would have come to the Crucible, but I know they will be watching on TV along with viewers all over the world. I looked at last year’s figures; 1.1 million logged onto the BBC website and 1.6 million watched on the Red Button, not to mention those watching in China, too.
No one can ever take away the fact that we’ll have refereed on the one-table set-up at the Crucible.”
Eaton will also feel at home as he too comes from the ‘Steel City’. Despite having played and officiated for several years at local league level, it has been a rapid few years for him and his white gloves as he only took the plunge to formally qualify in 2018.
Since then, he was also part of the team at the English Institute of Sport last summer for the Q-School and has recently tasted his first action on the sport’s professional circuit when he refereed at this season’s Welsh and Gibraltar Opens.
“Coming from Sheffield it is a dream to referee at the Home of Snooker and it means a great deal to me. I have mixed feelings of nerves and excitement. It is a shame that there will be no crowd in the venue but I am still thrilled and excited to be refereeing these legends of snooker.” said Eaton.
Brown is no stranger to officiating the sport’s biggest names having refereed several exhibitions with world champions in the north east.
He has six years of experience being in the middle with his journey beginning when he spoke to former world women’s champion Vera Selby who was an examiner at the time.
“It is every referee’s dream to officiate at the Crucible; I can’t explain how good it feels. It’s an honour and privilege to represent the World Seniors Snooker Tour and the EPSB.
I’m sure it will be a great week once again for snooker. We have a great team of officials who all get along which will make it even better.” said Brown.
All three will be under the wing of head tournament referee Leo Scullion who officiated the world professional championship final in 2019.
Everyone at the EPSB congratulates David, James and Rod, and wishes them well for the championship.
Good luck guys and enjoy!