Rory McLeod joins the WSS ROKiT Tour

As announced today on social media, Rory McLeod has decided to join the WSS ROKiT tour, following his recent relegation of the Main Tour.

Here is the announcement:

Today former World number 32, and the 2017 Ruhr Open Champion Rory McLeod has announced his decision to participate on the ROKiT World Seniors Snooker Tour next season. Rory first turned pro in 1991 and was one of the longest serving professionals on tour prior to his recent relegation. in 2009 he became the first Black player to qualify for the World Professional Championship, he also qualified in 2011 and 2017, the 2017 being particularly memorable as he defeated the current World Snooker Champion Judd Trump in round 1.

Rory MdLeod

Despite a recent failed attempt at Q School to regain his card, Rory had no thoughts of retirement and says he will embrace the challenge and opportunities that the ROKiT World Seniors Snooker Tour will give him, and look to regain his professional card status at Q School in 2020.Jason Francis, Chairman of the ROKiT World Seniors Snooker Tour said “Following on from Joe Swail’s decision to play on our tour we are delighted to welcome another great servant of the game who is embracing something we’ve created with the WPBSA that was never there before for players over 40 dropping off the main tour. Rory will prove to be a fierce competitor”Any player over 40 who is interested in getting their cue out and entering one of our qualifiers can do so by clicking here: https://www.snookerlegends.co.uk/rokit_ws_registration.html

Welcome Rory !

Disability Snooker to be Showcased at Crucible Theatre next August

When the announcement was made that the WSS ROKiT World Championship would be held at the Crucible next August, it was announced at the same time that both Disability Snooker and Women Snooker would be showcased during the event.

WDBS has now announced who the WDBS players will be, who will play at the Crucible

Disability Snooker to be Showcased at Crucible Theatre

Four leading players from the 360Fizz World Disability Billiards and Snooker Tour have earned the opportunity to compete at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield this August for the first time.

To be staged as part of the 2019 ROKiT World Seniors Snooker Championship, the session will take place on the morning of 18 August from 10:00am and feature four highly decorated players who compete regularly on the WDBS circuit.

Among those in action will be Daniel Lee, who plays in the Group 2 wheelchair category and earlier this year was named as the Vic Hartley Player of the Season in recognition of his success during the 2018/19 campaign.

He will be joined by Daniel Blunn, who was born with cerebral palsy and competes as a Group 4 player. Blunn has been a part of the WDBS family since our first event in November 2015 and has to date claimed an incredible eight events, including three during the current campaign.

Representing sensory disabilities are Coventry’s Nick Neale, a six-time winner of competitions for players with visual impairments and deaf player Shabir Ahmed, who has established himself as the dominant player in his category with six titles and was last year recognised at the Deaf Sports Personality of the Year Awards by finishing in third place in the overall voting.

The event will be the first as part of a three-year agreement which will also see disability snooker return to Sheffield in 2020 and 2021.

Nigel Mawer, WDBS Chairman said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for our players to be able to play at the home of snooker and from speaking to them already I know just how excited they are to be able to live their dream and walk out on the same stage as their heroes.

“The event is going to be a real celebration of disability snooker and I would like to encourage all of our players to come along and support those competing and make it a day to remember!”

Tickets are already on sale at the price of just £1.47 when purchased with a full-price ticket to any other session at the ROKiT World Seniors Snooker Championship, so book now to avoid disappointment, by phone 0114 249 600 or online HERE.

The ROKiT World Seniors Snooker Championship will run across four days from 15-18 August 2019 and feature several all-time greats of the game including ‘King of the Crucible’ Stephen Hendry and 10-time ranking event winner Jimmy White.

There will also be a session on the morning of Saturday 17th August held to showcase the talent on the World Women’s Snooker Tour.

All four players selected totally deserve the honour to be there. Actually there are so many deserving WBDS players that it must have been very hard to select only four. Those guys – and gals – are true everyday’s heroes, not allowing their disabilities to stop them achieving their dreams. Not just those four, but all of them at WDBS. Daniel Blunn is also a referee, in addition to be a player. Some of those players are coaches as well. They are a credit to the sport we love. Come and support them!

WSS Tour – End of season Top 32 Week-end in Newbury – 7-9 June 2019

At the end of the season, the Top 32 on the ROKiT World Seniors Snooker Tour get together for a final weekend at Crucible Sports & Social Club Newbury 7-9th June. Everyone is welcome for a great weekend to celebrate our season.

Dare to dream
A player from each seeds group will be randomly drawn into their playing group for the weekend, top 2 progress to the quarters. Over £3000 up for grabs, and we are supporting a fantastic charity over the weekend. Our competitors are…

Seeds 1-8
Johnathan Bagley, Aaron Canavan, Lee Richardson, Barry Pinches, Rodney Goggins, Leo Fernandez, Stuart Watson, Richard Emery.

Seeds 9-16
Gary Britton, Lee Martin, Sean Lanigan, Gary Filtness, Rhydian Richards, Garoid O’Connor, Mark White, Jonathan Charlton

Seeds 17-24
Sanjay Meghani, Tony Corrigan, Nick Spelman, Karl Townsend, Les Dodd, Simon Dent, Aidan Owens, Neil Craycraft

Seeds 25-32
Stephen Campbell, James O’Sullivan, Dean Venables, Johnny Stevens, Steve Evans, Marcus Lord, Andy Milliard, Levi Meiller

As well as the group event, which already has 3k in the pot, on Saturday at 5pm there will do a random draw for the SHOOTOUT. 10 Minutes per frame of madness and abusing everyone who is playing, with forfeits for in offs…

And remember the event charity is nominated by our good friend Ian Spawton which is snowdrop so everyone will be donating via the raffles and for every foul made in the shootout.

Jason Francis is looking for some raffle prizes and also anyone who wants to add to the prize fund.

Currently it is:

£1000 winner
£500 runner up
£250 semis
£100 quarters
£40 for second in your group
£30 for third in your group
£20 for the wooden spoon in your group

Shootout is £250 winner and £100 runner up.

High break over the weekend is £100.

Donations are welcome…
Money to go into the prize fund…
Prizes for the raffle (dig out some crap) ALL income to snowdrop charity.

The good news is all the action will be free to watch on www.snookertv.net

snowdrop

The SnowDrop Trust

When a child has been diagnosed with a life-threatening condition, it is devastating news and all too often parents don’t know where to turn to get the extra information, help and nursing support at home, they so desperately need. The Sussex Snowdrop Trust was founded 26 years ago to bridge the gap – and the services we provide for children and their families are even more in demand today than they were then. Nowadays children are at home very quickly after operations, travel daily to hospital for radiotherapy treatment and children with complex needs are at home and cared for by their parents. They need the vital support of a qualified children’s nurse to enable them to cope with the day to day demands of looking after a very sick child. The Snowdrop Care at Home Team of Paediatric nurses and our counselors are the professional friends that our Snowdrop families depend on – day by day – throughout their child’s illness.
The Snowdrop nurses also provide end of life care within the comfort, reassurance, and familiarity of home. Since Snowdrop was founded, nearly all children in our area, who have become terminally ill, have been at home during this very sad time. Parents say that being able to be at home with their child, gives them such precious time together.

 

No WSS players at the Crucible … except in the studios

Eventually none of Michael Judge, Ken Doherty or Jimmy White managed to qualify for the World Championship at the Crucible.

Michael’s conqueror in the last round of the qualifiers, James Cahill, though made the healines on his Crucible débuts: he knocked out the World n°1, Ronnie O’Sullivan out of the tournament with a 10-8 win. Ok, Ronnie was unwell, but it still had to be done!

Ken Doherty is working for the BBC as commentator and pundit, whilst Jimmy White is in the Eurosport studio.

Dine with the Champions … and help children with encephalitis

ROKiT Masters 2019 Gala Dinner

On the eve of the WSS ROKiT Masters 2019, the defending champion, Cliff Thorburn is inviting you to a Canadian themed night.

It will take place at the Mercure Kenwood Hall Hotel and Spa on Wednesday 10th April 2019. The Full address is: Mercure Kenwood Hall Hotel and Spa, Kenwood Road, Sheffield, S7 1NQ

Arrival is for 7pm, but if you want to come a bit earlier you may catch a legend warming up on our practice table. The hotel does a fantastic afternoon tea as well and a stunning lake to sit out and enjoy.

Dress for the dinner is smart casual, suggest jacket and open shirt for the gentlemen but of course you are welcome to wear a tie, no jeans or trainers please. Ladies …  we know better than to give you any advice on how to dress for an event.

The dinner menu has been designed by the defending Champion Cliff Thorburn so expect a night of Canadian cuisine.

Dinner Schedule

7pm – meet and greet with pre dinner drinks – sponsored by ABK Beer  and Whitney Neill G&T

7.30 – sit for dinner.

Canadian Themed Menu with main course specially designed by Barbara Thorburn.

Starter

Smoked salmon rosettes with caper and dill dressing accompanied with a maple and berry coulis OR Montreal caramelised onion chowder

Main

Barb’s maple and pineapple glazed ham OR Asparagus and onion quiche

Served with roast potatoes, glazed carrots and green beans

Dessert

Canadian strawberry shortcake with Tuile ice hockey stick

The cut off  is  5th April to finalize numbers in case you want to tell any of your friends who may want to join.

In-between main and dessert we will some opening speeches and honour our defending champion.

We will also host our raffle and auction draw.

All money raised from the raffle and the auction on the night will be going to our nominated charity, the Eden Dora Trust, which is a Sheffield based Charity for Children with Encephalitis. The Eden Dora Trust provides support for children and their families affected by Childhood Encephalitis and the subsequent lifelong acquired brain injury.

The will be some fantastic items to bid for including a package to see Cher in concert, a rare England shirt from 2011 signed by all the squad, with a recently signed shirt from Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher, a signed and mounted cue from Stephen Hendry as well as overnight spa packages and the chance to cook your own feast in the kitchens at wagamamas… Oh, and the small matter of a 9 carat gold necklace with a beautiful diamond, valued at £995

In the vases on your table will be snooker balls which we will encourage you to get your legends to sign and for you to keep as a memento of the night, in return we’d ask for a donation in the charity pot on your table.

After Dessert we will move to the practice table where John Virgo will do a short trick shot cabaret, be ready to get involved! If you have not seen his comedy impressions you are in for a treat.

Following that its Karaoke and music till late. We do take requests and competition is fierce!

We hope this will be a fantastic night in a fantastic location.

For those of you who want to make a real night of it we have a fantastic ROKiT World Seniors rate of £85 b&b with the hotel and during the snooker on the Thursday the partners could enjoy the brilliant spa and pool while you take a trip to the crucible? Just a thought!

And then …

on the Thursday 11th the serious snooker takes place in the Crucible. Just look at these round one match ups

From 2pm

Cliff Thorburn  v Stephen Hendry
Ken Doherty  v Barry Pinches
Jimmy White  v Joe Johnson
Aaron Canavan v John Parrott.

If you fancy coming, it’s not too late. Tickets can be booked at the crucible box office 01142496000 or at https://www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk/events/snooker-legends/dates

Remembering Alex Higgins ahead of the battle for the Dennis Taylor Trophy.

Today in Belfast, eight men will do battle for this:

The Dennis Taylor Trophy

The Dennis Taylor Trophy. 

And, yesterday, the Belfast Telegraph has published this good article, interviewed some of the players involved in today’s ROKiT Six Reds championship about Northern Ireland most iconic snooker son, Alex Higgins.

‘I became the Hurricane’s No.1 hate figure. Towards the end of his life I made a point of going to see him and I’m so glad I did’

Legend Stephen Hendry on his relationship with Alex Higgins and relishing playing in Belfast again

By Frank Brownlow

When Stephen Hendry strides to the table at the Waterfront Hall tomorrow in the Senior Six Reds World Championship, he will receive the warmest of Belfast welcomes.

And that’s just what you’d expect for the finest player ever to pick up a snooker cue who won a record seven world titles in his 1990s heyday.

But there was a time when Hendry’s reception here would have been at best lukewarm, given that he had become the bête noire of Belfast’s favourite snooker son, Alex ‘Hurricane’ Higgins, who died in 2010.

Hendry recalls: “I turned pro at 16 and Alex was brilliant with me. He always had time for a word of encouragement. I used to practice with him and that was amazing.

“But as I became more successful and started winning a lot of tournaments things changed between us – I suppose we simply became rivals.

“I seemed to replace Steve Davis as his No.1 hate figure!

“It was sad really because Alex had been my hero when I was growing up.

“But towards the end of his life when he was very ill I made a point of going to see him and I’m so glad that I did because he was brilliant with me and that meant so much.

“Snooker wouldn’t be the success story it is today without Alex Higgins. He helped transform it into a big television hit and that brought in big prize money.”

Hendry was the new star who freshened up the game in the 1990s.

Hendry, like over 20 million others, had watched his television set enthralled as Dennis Taylor and Steve Davis slugged it out in the famous 1985 World Championship final at the Crucible, the Ulsterman winning the ultimate thriller on the very last black well after midnight.

That was the game’s golden era when the likes of Davis, Higgins and Jimmy White – who will also compete at the Waterfront Hall tomorrow – where some of the most famous faces on television.

But then along came Scottish young gun Hendry, taking the game by the scruff of the neck and winning the first of his record seven world titles in 1990 at the tender age of 21, the youngest player to wear the crown.

If Davis was the man of the 1980s, the 90s was Hendry’s decade.

His ice-cool demeanour didn’t always endear him to the public with the likes of Higgins and White – the Hurricane and the Whirlwind – blasting their way to the top of the popularity polls.

But Hendry was the man, inflicting heartbreak after heartbreak upon White in particular, highlighted by four World Championship final successes against the Whirlwind, who was to endure a record six in all.

White is still battling away on the main tour but Hendry hung up his cue in 2012 and currently works as a pundit for both BBC and ITV.

And the Scot admits he can’t wait to get back into action in Belfast tomorrow in a quick-fire eight-player tournament that will be played in one day – with a £20,000 winner-takes-all prize.

Legends Hendry and White will be joined by 1997 World champion Ken Doherty, surprise ’86 champion Joe Johnson, Tony Drago, Jonathan Bagley, Aaron Canavan and Dungannon professional Patrick Wallace.

Four quarter-finals will be played in the afternoon (from 1pm) with the tournament played to a finish tomorrow night (from 7pm).

Hendry says: “I have played at the Waterfront Hall before and it’s a great venue.

“I remember playing Ronnie O’Sullivan there once and the place was packed, the atmosphere was electric.

“It should be a great day. Hopefully there will be a big crowd and I’m sure we will put on a good show for them.

“I haven’t played all that much of the Six Reds format but I know it will be fast and furious. It’s a big prize on offer so I’m sure the competition will be fierce.

“I’m sure that the Belfast public will create a great atmosphere.

“It’s great to be going to a city where the people love their snooker and that’s down to the likes of Alex Higgins, Dennis Taylor and these days Mark Allen,” he adds. “When I won my first ranking tournament, the Grand Prix in 1987, I beat Dennis Taylor in the final so I have great memories of that. Dennis was another top player.”

And with the World Championship starting next month, Hendry feels Antrim cueman Allen – who made his triple crown breakthrough last year by winning the Masters – is among the big hopes.

“Mark Allen has everything,” he says.

“He has a different style than most other players. He is very exciting to watch.

“His cueball control is superb and that enables him to score heavily when he gets in which is what sets the top players apart.

“I’m surprised he hasn’t won the world title already.

“The World Championship is a very different tournament to the rest. The Crucible is a unique venue. Some players don’t like the long matches which demand hours of concentration.

“But Mark certainly has the bottle to do it and he has the game to go with it. I’d be surprised if he doesn’t win it at some point.

“This time around I would be looking at Ronnie, Neil Robertson or Judd Trump. If Mark Selby can get his match head on he can challenge for the title.”

Hendry – now 50 – regularly plays in seniors tournaments.

“I enjoy playing in the seniors events, it’s great catching up with the other players again. I also love playing golf,” he says.

“I do miss playing in the big tournaments on the big occasions, playing at the Crucible, but I don’t miss the seven or eight hours per day of practice.

“Punditry work keeps me involved in the game. It’s not as good as playing but it’s the next best thing.

“I do four tournaments for ITV and the three triple crown events on the BBC and I really enjoy it.

“Snooker is all I have known from a young age – I started out on a small table at home – so I will always be involved in the game in some way.”

White, too, cannot wait to get on the baize tomorrow.

“It’s a fantastic format. I am not at the end of my career but I would say I am in the twilight of my career,” the Whirlwind says.

“I am playing okay – my game is in good shape.

“It will be a brilliant tournament and what an incentive – £20,000 for the winner.

“I know I will have to be at my best with the likes of Stephen Hendry and Ken Doherty in the mix.

“I would say that Ken and myself are the sharpest players in the field, simply due to the fact that we still play on the main tour. But the competition will be fierce.

“Six reds on the table, best of seven frames – it will be very intense. It’s a short format that I really enjoy.

“The Waterfront Hall is a brilliant venue, one of the best around.

“Northern Ireland is a real snooker hotbed because of Alex Higgins and Dennis Taylor.

“Joe Swail followed them and now you have Mark Allen who is one of the top players in the world. The game is in great nick in Northern Ireland and should be for a long time to come.

“Barry Hearn is doing a brilliant job running snooker. If you are a young, talented snooker player today, you are going to make a lot of money – millions.

“You used to hear players saying there weren’t enough tournaments. Now some of them are saying there are too many. If you don’t like it, take a holiday. No one is forced to play.

“It’s great that people still cheer for me after all these years. People have always liked the way I attack, the way I go for my shots and take risks.

“Ronnie O’Sullivan has a similar style and people love watching him as well.

“I think the seniors tour will be massive in three or four years, just like golf.”

Also competing tomorrow will be the popular Drago from Malta.

Drago, famed for his fast-paced play, reached the World Championship quarter-finals in 1988 and was previously ranked in the world’s top 10.

This will be Drago’s first tournament since spending a month in hospital last year with a heart complaint.

He says: “I’m fit and well and really looking forward to playing in Belfast – the Six Reds format will produce some exciting snooker.”

• FOR tickets telephone the box office on 90334455 or visit http://www.waterfront.co.uk

Belfast Telegraph

Former World Seniors Champion Charity Exhibition!

Mark Williams, who won the World Seniors Championship in 2015, at only 39 – and has been teased for it endlessly since – is doing a charity exhibition in Cleethorpes, on April 12, 2019. This was brought to my attention by Nigel Coton, a player competing on both the Disability Snooker Tour and the Seniors Snooker Tour. Thank you Nigel!

Here is the information available in the press

Mark Williams at Beachcomber, Cleethorpes

April 12 @ 7:30 pm

£25 – £45

Poster for Mark Williams at Beechcomber Cleethorpes

Food available on the night and a great selection of beers, wines and soft drinks.

All proceeds go to health tree foundation trust and special baby care unit.

Mark will play 12 frames on the night. (Local players.)

Snooker competition will be held at Ray Edmonds snooker centre on dates to be arranged. £10 entry. Winners will play a frame on the night.

Raffles
Name cards on going to raise funds.

Details

Date: April 12
Time: 7:30 pm
Cost: £25 – £45

Venue

Beechcomber, Cleethorpes

208 North Sea Lane
Cleethorpes, DN36 4ET United Kingdom
Get Directions
Phone: 01472 812666

Nigel was able to give me a bit more information.

As mentioned, the exhibition is in support of the Health Tree Foundation . It is  organised by Jamie Barrett, a former pro, who sadly lost his wife 3 years ago far too young. Jamie is from Grimsby, only a couple of miles away from Cleethorpes.

Here is an interview with Jamie, ahead of the 2016 UK Championship

As explained above, “Willo” will take on 12 “local” players, including Nigel Coton himself. Nigel can only play with one hand and will (try to) challenge Mark Williams to play him one-handed as well. This is something Mark occasionally does even in ranking events, although only for the odd shot. Here is a recent example.

Hopefully Willo will accept the challenge. Should be great!!!

If you have the opportunity, get yourself there, have fun and support a good cause!