WSS ROKiT 2019 World Championship Buid-up – Willie Thorne v Darren Morgan

The second match of the afternoon session on August 15, 2019 at the WSS ROKiT 2019 World Championship will see Willie Thorne take on Darren Morgan.

Willie Thorne nowadays is probably best known as a snooker commentator and pundit, but during his professional days, between 1975 and 2001, he was one of the best players in the World. He won seven professional titles, including one raking event, the 1985 Classic. However what made Willie stand out at the time was his attacking style and his exceptional break building. He made 126 centuries – only the third player to pass the 100 mark back then – including a 147.

You will find Willie Thorne profile on this blog here

And Willie’s profile by Elliott West here

Willie’s opponent is Darren Morgan from Wales. Darren is the reigning Welsh Amateur Champion, as well as the currently European and World Masters Champion. He competed professionally from 1988 to 2007. He was part of the top eight in the world. His best achievement as a professional was to beat Steve Davis by 9-8 to win the 1996 Irish Masters in the iconic Goffs; he also reached three other major finals. Since retiring, Darren Morgan continues to play at a very high level: he has accumulated no less than 20 Amateur titles since 2007!

You will find Darren Morgan’s profile on this blog here

Mini Preview

Willie Thorne hasn’t played much in recent years, having suffred a number of health issues. Amongst other things, Willie’s eyesight became problematic. Last year he underwent a surgery, in the hope to improve the situation. It has helped but it’s still not perfect. Darren Morgan on the contrary is still playing regularly and at a very high standard. Testimony of that is his recent Welsh Amateur Champion title. Therefore I can see only one winner here. Prediction: Darren Morgan to win.

WSS ROKiT 2019 World Championship Build-up – James Wattana v Wael Talaat

The second session of the  WSS ROKiT 2019 World Championship at the Crucible will start on August 15, 2919 at 2pm, and first at the table will be James Wattana from Thailand and Wael Talaat from Egypt.

James Wattana of course is a legend of the game. James first came to prominence when, in 1886, aged only 16, he won the Thailand Masters as an amateur, beating Terry Griffiths in the final. Three years later, he turned proffessional. He went on to win three ranking events, to climb as high as number three in the world and to make three 147.

The second of those maximum breaks came at the 1992 British Open, and lasted just over 7 minutes, a record at the time. The funny thing is that his opponent was Tony Drago, probably the fasted player on the tour. You can watch it here:

James also had a maximum against Ronnie O’Sullivan 😉

James Wattana was the first Asian player to reach the top levels in snooker and inspired a generation of aspiring players in Asia. He is a God in his country.

At 49, James is still competing on the Main Tour, under an invitational card. On form he remains a beautiful player to watch.

You can read James Wattana profile on this blog here.

Wael Talaat on the other hand is not really well known. He’s from Egypt and lives in Caïro. In his country, he is hugely respected as a player and as a coach. He was African Champion on three occasions – in 2007, 2009 and 2011 – and was runner-up four times as well in 2002, 2010, 2016 and 2017.

Wael had a short spell on the Main tour. In 1998 he played nine matches as a professional, but failed to win a single one of them.  (source cuetracker)

In 2015, he requalified for the Main Tour, as Runner-up in the African Championship. However he only played in one event, the 2015 Six Reds World Championship, losing all five matches he played. (source cuetracker)

That doesn’t look very promising, but bear in mind that African players probably don’t have the kind of opportunities to play, nor the conditions and opposition they would need to reach their full potential.

Wael does not have a profile on wikipedia.

Mini Preview

Based on the players respective records, and considering that James Wattana is still playing on the professional circuit, and is familiar with the Crucible surroundings, I have to make the Thai legend a strong favourite. Whatever happens though, I hope that Wael Talaat will have the opportunity to show what he can do, and more importantly will enjoy the occasion. Prediction: James Wattana to win.

WSS ROKiT 2019 World Championship Build-up – Tony Drago v Dene O’Kane

The second match of the first session of the championship, stating at 10 am on 15 August 2019, opposes Tony Drago from Malta to Dene O’Kane from New-Zealand

Tony Drago, nicknamed “The Tornado” is fast, furious, emotional and larger than life.

Nothing will tell you more or better about Tony than this documentary he filmed with Snooker Legends.

 

At the snooker table, Tony is best known for his extremely fast play. Ronnie O’Sullivan is a snail in comparison…. there is never a dull moment when he plays.

Tony played a lot on the Snooker Legends circuit, and notably was a member of the winning “rest of the World” team at the 2013 Legends Cup!

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In 2017, Tony suffered a very serious health scare. Fortunately he’s recovered now albeit a light lighter than he used to be. How godd is his form though remains to be seen.

You can read about Tony’s carreer in his profile on this blog

And more about Tony in his profile by Elliott West

Dene O’Kane was born in 1963, in New Zealand. He first qualified as a professional snooker player in 1984, and played on the snooker Main Tour until 2001. He then requalified in 2006 but was immediately relegated at the end of the 2006/2007 season. His highest ranking was 18, and his highest break a 140, which he made at the 1990 World Championship. His best result on the main tour was a final – which he lost by 9-8 to Mike Hallett – at the 1989 Hong Kong Open, back then a ranking event.

After being relegated in 2001, Dene continued to play as an amateur with considerable success: he won the BSF World Masters Championship three times (2004, 2005 and 2008) and he was Oceania Champions three times as well (2005, 2006, 2007).

More recently he played in the 2012 Seniors World Championship organised at the time by Worldsnooker. Dene was seeded in the last 16 and beat Barry West and Jimmy White before losing in the semi finals to Tony Chappel. Here is this SF match, refereed by the legendary John Williams, who also refereed the famous 1985 World final:

Mini (non-) preview

I have to admit that I have absolutely no clue about how this match will pan out. Dene played really well in 2012, but that was 7 years ago, Tony hasn’t played much over the last two years due to health issues. Therefore I honestly can’t predict anything at all.

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

 

Dene O’Kane will represent Oceania at the WSS ROKiT World Championship 2019

Deane O'Kane

This was announced today by Jason Francis on social media:

LINE UP COMPLETE!
The Continent of Oceania will provide the final player in tomorrow’s draw for the 2019 ROKiT World Seniors Snooker Championship with the announcement today that Former Professional Dene O’Kane from New Zealand is coming back to the Crucible.
Dene is no stranger to the hallowed home of snooker having reached the quarter-finals of the World Professional Championships in 1987 and 1992. He appeared in the world championships six times, but never in consecutive years. He first reached the top 32 in the world rankings for the 1985/1986 season, returning 3 years later. In 1991/1992 he reached his career high of 18. He remained in the top 32 until 1996/1997.
He said “I am delighted to be a part of the new ROKiT World Seniors Snooker Tour. I must say a tour like this is long overdue and will be the perfect platform for many ex-professional players to compete again together with new opportunities for amateur players in participating countries. To be going back to the Crucible in little over a month is a dream come true”
Dene completes a field of 20 players from 13 countries across 5 continents and goes into tomorrow’s draw which is coming live from the Crucible Theatre at 11am. Matches start at 10am on Thursday 15th August with the Champion be crowned on the evening of Sunday 18th.

To watch tomorrow draw live from 11am click on to
https://www.facebook.com/WorldSeniorsSnooker/

For tickets to see Dene play alongside legends such as Stephen Hendry, Jimmy White, Dennis Taylor and many more go to
https://www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk/events/snooker-seniors

#DaretoDream

The draw will indeed be made tomorrow in Sheffield at 11 am. People who want to attend it life can come to the Crucible Corner on Tudor Square. There will be a press conference and opportunities for photographs. Amongst those present will be Joe Johnson (1986 World Champion), Reanne Evans (12 times and reigning Women World Champion and Daniel Blunn (winner of multiple WDBS events).

Chen Gang is the CBSA nominee for the WSS ROKiT World Championship 2019

This has been announced today on social media:

The ROKiT World Seniors Championships welcomes CHEN GANG from China. Chen is the nomination of the Chinese Billiard and Snooker Association. CBSA

Chen Gang

Chen owns a snooker club in Hefei Anhui province and coaches in the club.

Chen was asked what it means to him to play in the ROKiT World Seniors Championship? He said…

The Crucible Theatre is such a holy place for every snooker player. We have more and more players to play the professional snooker but not all of them has the opportunity to play at the Crucible, I never thought I would have this opportunity in my life, now I’m 42 years to get this opportunity, it’s more like a great encouragement for me after playing snooker over 20 years. I feel dreams can come true, I have no regrets for my persistence in this game these years. A great honour to show up in Crucible as a player. I will prepare for it, start to do exercises and adjust my daily schedule- get up early and go to bed early, and practice.

Chen joins the likes of Stephen Hendry, Jimmy White and James Wattana in the quest for the title and £25,000 winners cheque. The Event runs from 15th-18th August and you can get your tickets here.
https://www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk/events/snooker-seniors

Congratulations Chen Gang!

Stephen Hendry confirmed for the WSS ROKiT UK Championship 2019 in Hull

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Stephen Hendry has been confirmed as a player in the UK Seniors Snooker Championship in October.

Follow this link and scroll to 36.31 to hear what he has to say 

Also, following this interview Stephen has committed to more events:

Stephen Hendry – New Season, fresh start.

Last night, in an exclusive interview with BBC Radio Humberside Stephen Hendry confirmed his participation into the ROKiT UK Seniors Snooker Championship which will take place at the Bonus Arena in Hull on Thursday 24th and Friday 25th October.

By his own admission the games most decorated World Champion hasn’t done himself justice on the ROKiT World Seniors Snooker Tour but today he has announced his participation for next season with a renewed focus to get back to winning ways. Following on from last night’s announcement on BBC Radio Humberside of his participation in the ROKiT Uk Seniors Championships in Hull, the King of the Crucible, has confirmed he will be competing in the One Frame Challenge in Liverpool in January, The Senior Masters in March, The British Open in Plymouth, the 6 Reds in Coleraine and the 2020 World Seniors Championship. If his Chinese Pool commitments allow he is also keen to line up in Goffs for the Senior Irish Masters, also in January.

The full interview with Sports Talk can be found here by scrolling to 36.31

www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p07bmbz

Stephen said
“I am really looking forward to committing to more events this year on the World Seniors Tour. It’s great to see the growth in the number of tournaments and I’m excited to get back on the table and compete again. I certainly haven’t performed to my best over the last few events, so I am keen to get some practice in this year and being competitive.”

Jason Francis, Chairman of the ROKiT World Seniors Snooker Tour, said “I’m delighted we’re going to see Stephen on the tour again this season. Any line-up that includes his name excites snooker fans all over the world. He epitomises the description of a Snooker Legend”

For more details of where the tour is going click here
https://www.wpbsa.com/rokit-world-seniors-snooker-2019-20-…/

Stephens first appearance will be at this year’s ROKiT World Seniors World Championship which is being staged at the iconic Crucible Theatre in Sheffield. Stephen plays his first round at 2pm on Friday 16th August with tickets being made available here
https://www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk/events/snooker-seniors

For tickets to see him play in Hull click this link
https://www.bonusarenahull.com/…/the-rokit-uk-seniors-snoo…/

For Liverpool its here
https://www.ticketquarter.co.uk/Online/world-seniors-snooker

For the 6 reds in Northern Ireland here
https://www.riversidetheatre.org.uk/…/rokit-6-red-world-sen…

and for Plymouth here
https://www.theticketstore.co.uk/online/default.asp…

#DaretoDream

As an appetizer, you will find the images of last season event here

Ken Doherty is the defending Champion, will not get the opportunity to defend his title as he regained his full professional status this season.

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Credit Risks Solutions World Seniors UK Championship 2018

WSS ROKiT 2019 World Championship – Hendry, White and Canavan first matches schedule

Although the line-up isn’t complete, and the draw hasn’t yet been made, the schedule for the first matches involving Stephen Hendry, Jimmy White and the defending champion Aaron Canavan has been announced:

Stephen Hendry, The King of the Crucible, will start his campaign in the World Seniors Crown on Friday 16th August at 2pm.

Jimmy ‘Whirlwind’ White will begin at 7pm on the very same day, Friday 16th August.

This promises to give fans the chance to see two legends of the game on the same day in the Crucible Theatre.

Defending Champion Aaron Canavan from Jersey starts his defence on Thursday 15th August at 7pm.

Tickets for all sessions can be secured here
https://www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk/events/snooker-seniors

For some sessions the Crucible is filling very quickly, and for all sessions the first rows have already been booked completely. If you are interested don’t leave it too late!

Goodbye and good luck Barry Pinches, good luck Peter Lines

The WSS says goodbye to Barry Pinches, who graduated through the Q-School 2019, event 3 and is returning to the Main Tour for at least two more seasons. Despite countless “teasing” posts on social media, make no mistake, Barry will be missed on the WSS ROKiT Tour.

Congratulations, Barry and good luck!

Barry last played at the Crucible … last April, when he made the Final of the 2019 WSS ROKiT Masters, beating Stephen Hendry, and the reigning World Champion Aaron Canavan before losing on the re-spotted black to Joe Johnson. The way Barry played in that event was impressive and he took that form to the Q-school apparently!

Another graduate, is no other than Peter Lines, the first WSS World Champion, who having lost his tour card after the World Championship 2019, immediately returns, thanks to a very consistent campaign in the Q-School. Peter graduated through the Order of Merit.

Congratulations Peter and good luck!