2021 Seniors World Championship – Preview

The always excellent Michael Day has written this preview of the tournament that starts tomorrow:

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.

Top Half

Jimmy White v Tony Knowles
Lee Walker v Darren Morgan
Igor Figueiredo v John Parrott
Stephen Hendry v Patsy Fagan

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.

Bottom Half

Michael Judge v Patrick Wallace
Barry Pinches v Dennis Taylor
David Lilley v Philip Williams
Ken Doherty v Joe Johnson

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.

 

Meet the 2021 WSS World Championship Referees

Leo Scullion will be the “Head referee” when the tournament on Thursday.

He will be joined by three EPSB experienced officiels

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!

Reflecting on a wonderful January 2021 Q-School

After the conclusion of the Q-School on Sunday night, WPBSA published this report about the event:

The ROKiT Phones World Seniors Q School event reached its conclusion yesterday (Sunday) in Reading with eight places at the venue stages of upcoming major tournaments decided.

The event, which represented the first open-entry competition organised by the WPBSA following the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, ran across seven days at the Crucible Sports and Social Club in Reading. Eight places at four tournaments were to be won, with a mix of current professionals and amateur players taking part.

WORLD SENIORS CHAMPIONSHIP

Barry Pinches and David Lilley both successfully came through an 86-player draw to secure their places at the venue stages of the World Seniors Championship this May.

Pinches secured his place at the Crucible following a dramatic 4-3 victory against former World Seniors champion Darren Morgan in his final qualifying match. Welshman Morgan had led 2-0 and 3-2, but it was Pinches who claimed the last two frames to secure his return to a venue at which he competed three times as a professional, memorably reaching the last 16 in 2004.

Three-time English Amateur Championship winner Lilley meanwhile produced a high-quality performance to defeat Wayne Townsend 4-2. Breaks of 72, 63, 60 and 60 were enough to see the 45-year-old prevail and earn a debut at snooker’s most famous venue in just a few months time.

UK SENIORS CHAMPIONSHIP

Four places at the UK Seniors Championship in Hull were decided with Barry Pinches, David Lilley, Phil Williams and Kuldesh Johal all making it through to the final four of this week’s qualifying tournament.

For Pinches and Lilley their victories ensured that it was a near-perfect week of snooker as the pair qualified for two of the three available events, with 4-1 victories against Stuart Watson and Mark Gray respectively enough to secure their places at the Bonus Arena.

Both Williams and Johal however were pushed all the way, Williams defeating former world number 42 Andrew Norman in a deciding-frame, while Johal was also a 4-3 winner against Wayne Cooper.

SENIORS MASTERS

Also up for grabs last week were two places at the upcoming Seniors Masters tournament, scheduled to be held at the Alexandra Palace.

The first was claimed by Darren Morgan, who won seven matches, including four against current professional players to win the Masters qualifying tournament. Having defeated Peter Lines, Nigel Bond and Andy Hicks to reach the final, he would deny David Lilley a qualification hat-trick by coming through a deciding-frame to claim the place.

He will be joined there by Gary Filtness, who overcame recent back problems in recent weeks to defeat Ashley Beal 4-0 in the final of the Super Seniors tournament for players aged 55 or over.

FURTHER INFORMATION

For further information on the ROKiT World Seniors Snooker Tour please visit the official Facebook page. You can also view the latest WPBSA Group Events Calendar at this website.

The WPBSA and World Seniors Snooker would like to thank everyone who contributed to the success of this week’s tournament during these most challenging of times, including the players, officials and venue staff, without the cooperation of which the event would not have been possible.

There were 21 centuries made during the week:

Gerard Greene 141
Barry Pinches 134
Mark Gray 131
David Lilley 131
Barry Pinches 131
Andrew Norman 130
Barry Pinches 129
Dave Finbow 126
Barry Pinches 117
Nigel Bond 117
Rhydian Richards 115
David Lilley 115
Kuldesh Johal 114
Andy Hicks 109
Wayne Cooper 106
Wayne Cooper 104
Leo Fernandez 103
Andrew Norman 102
Wayne Cooper 102
Jonathan Bagley 101
Wayne Cooper 100
Barry Pinches was the main contributor with 4 pieces!
if you are an SOS – Silence Of Suicide – Angel, or want to become one and donate to the WSS Official Charity please follow this link 
118 Covid tests were conducted, and ALL came negative. Well done the Seniors! Nobody’s gone to Dubai over Christmas to sing “Gigi l’Amoroso” in the bars then … 😇
But maybe the most impressive aspect of the event was the level of engagement it triggered on social media.
Honestly, I’ ve never seen anything like this before. It was just overwhelming. So many players, and fans, contributing to the event by their comments, and following the matches on Facebook, during the event.
And so many, thanking Jason Francis, Paul Tett, Ian Wagstaff (TD), the club, the players and the referees for a great event that has really lifted their spirits during these very difficult times.
I picked just  one example, but there were/are dozens of similar posts on the Seniors Tour page and the Seniors Players forum.
Screenshot 2021-01-12 at 14.34.06

Stephen Hendry decision to return to pro competition illustrates why the WSS tour is important

Jason Ferguson reckons that playing on the WSS Tour has been a big factor in Stephen Hendry decision to return to the Main Tour competition as it has helped him to rediscover his love for the game.

Here is WPBSA article:

The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) has welcomed the decision of World Snooker Tour to award seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry an Invitational Tour Card from the start of the 2020/21 season.

The decision follows a successful run at the recent World Seniors Snooker Championship which saw the 51-year-old defeat current tour player Nigel Bond and 2018 Seniors champion Aaron Canavan to reach the semi-finals, before losing 4-2 to old rival Jimmy White at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.

Despite his defeat, both those within the game and fans at home were impressed by the form of the Scot – who hit seven breaks over 50 during the tournament – and Hendry himself has said that he “really enjoyed” competing again at the tournament.

WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson believes that the rekindling of Hendry’s competitive spirit at the tournament underlines the importance of the World Seniors Tour as part of the WPBSA’s Sport Development structure.

“I am delighted to see that Stephen has decided that now is the time to compete once again at the highest level of our sport,” said Ferguson. “Few players have contributed to the success of our sport as Stephen Hendry during the modern era and it is with open arms that we welcome this great champion to the World Snooker Tour once again.”

“It is also important to acknowledge the role that the World Seniors Snooker Tour, a project instigated by the WPBSA prior to its launch at the 2018 World Championship, has played in his decision. During the years following his retirement in 2012 there were few opportunities for players like him to continue playing competitively following life on the professional circuit.

“With many older professionals either having fallen off the main tour, or approaching that stage of their careers, it was vital that we provided them with another means by which they can continue to play the game they love competitively. In Stephen’s case, his enjoyment gained by returning to the baize has led to his return to the WST circuit and I have no doubt that the World Seniors Tour will continue to provide a springboard for more of our sport’s former champions to bounce back on the professional tour.”

We all wish Stephen the very best.

One-off opportunity for Super Seniors in Jersey

Jason Francis just shared this on social media:

SUPER SENIORS!

Super Seniors
We are offering single one off entry to the Super Seniors Event in Jersey as the field was not filled from yesterdays main event entry. If you are over 55 on or before 2nd November you can come to Jersey from Thursday 5th – 8th to play in that one event. its £50 entry and the winner will get a place at the Senior Masters and is guaranteed £1000 at that event. Entries open from Noon here: follow this link

The WSS ROKiT Phones.com 2020 World Championship starts today – here is all you need to know

We are back at the Crucible … and Jimmy White will be looking to defend his title. Will he be the first to break the “Curse”? We will find out in the coming days.

Here is the draw, and the schedule for round one:

World Seniors Draw ChartSeniorsWorldR1

If you are in the UK, you will be able to watch on BBC. All you need to know is here.

The event will be covered in China as well on the usual streaming channels.

Everywhere else in the world, you will be able to watch the action on the Matchroom.live  platform. You’ll need to subscribe but it’s free.

A preview of the event is available here.

The players have access to the brand new Ding Junhui Snooker Academy in Sheffield for practice. Thank you Ding!

SeniorsPracticeInColors

There was a pre-revent party yesterday, outdoors and duly “social distanced”.

Here are the best pictures by Andy Chubb

Andy will be the only photographer in the “bubble”. I have asked, and kindly be granted, permission to use the pictures shared by WSS on social media on this blog. Thank you!

The Snooker Family comes together, plays and sings to support Health Services.

Jason Francis, chairman of  World Seniors Snooker and “inventor “of the Snooker Legends is passionate about snooker, caring about people, extremely dynamic, has a background in the world theatre, panto and shows … and a creative mind.

Since the lockdown, he has come up with a number of initiatives aiming at keeping people busy and positive whilst gathering money to support the NHS, and its equivalent organisations in other countries. 

The first one was the blue ball challenge. 

Players who have a table at home were invited to attempt to pot the blue – on its spot – playing from the D. There were given 10 attempts and were invited either to do it “live” on facebook or to record their performance to be shown later on social media. Everyone interested in supporting them, were invited to have a guess about how many they would get, just for fun, to watch and, if possible, to make a donation to support a health service, NHS, or a local hospital, a charity or the player’s national health service if they aren’t British.

Players from all abilities and background took the challenge: seniors, juniors, main tour, men and women, ablebodied and disabled. Players came from Britain, Ireland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Canada, Bermuda, Thailand … and I’m sure I’m missing quite a few.

On May 4, this was proudly published

Blue Ball Challenge

Polo shirts are now available, featuring the players name and their score. They are availbale for £20, of wich £10 goes to the cause.

Here is the “Dylan Smith” one … Dylan is only 12 years old and scored 8 out of 10!

Dylan Smith Polo

If you are interested in getting a polo, and support the cause, here is the link allowing you to order one by email

The blue ball challenge was a great success but, as not every player has access to a table at home, the cause is currently running out of blue ball challengers…

So Jason is now coming up with a different challenge: the first poke.

Here is Jason explaining what it’s all about:

And that’s not all … the snooker family got together to produce this 🎤:

Here is what was shared by Jason on the World Seniors Snooker official Facebook page, regarding the song and rights attached to it:

The Snooker Family have come together to continue our fundraising for Health Workers. If you enjoy this please consider donating to our cause at

www.justgiving.com/fundraising/snookerfamily

This recording is a cover performed with permission of the owner of the backing track. Karaoke. Co. Uk Original Song written by Sting (c) A&M records ltd. We do not own the copyright or any rights to the song

So, if you want to help and support your health services, there are plenty of ways you can do just that AND have fun at the same time! THANK YOU!

ROKIT PHONES REVENTON QUALIFIER MAY 24-26 ADELAIDE CANCELLED

This was shared to day by World Seniors Snooker on social media

STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF ABSC AUSTRALIA
ROKIT PHONES REVENTON QUALIFIER MAY 24-26 ADELAIDE CANCELLED

In light of recent developments in respect of the COVID-19 virus, the Board of the ABSC has resolved to cancel all national and open tournaments presently scheduled in the period up to 30 June 2020. Ultimately the health, safety and welfare of the players, officials and the community generally has to take precedence. The Board expects that its decision will be mirrored at a State & Territory level by its various Member States.
Any entry fees paid to date for any ABSC events will be refunded in full. We suggest you seek to obtain a refund or insurance payment for any travel expenses already incurred or defer and reuse the airfares in the future.
This decision also extends to players who are eligible to compete in tournaments overseas. At this time the ABSC will not support any player who wishes to travel internationally to play in tournaments.
The Board will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and will advise of any change to its position as and when necessary.

Australia

 

Seniors Irish Masters 2020 – Draw and Format

SeniorsIrishMastersPoster-2

Followowing the Liverpool event last week, the draw is now complete

Here are the draw and format:

Friday 27th March 2020

Session 1 – 7pm

Jimmy White v Tony Drago
Michael Judge v Dennis Taylor

Saturday 28th March 2020

Session 2 – 10am

John Parrott v Rory McLeod
Stephen Hendry v Cliff Thorburn

Session 3 – 2pm

Winner Match 1 v Winner Match 3
Winner Match 2 v Winner Match 4

The Final – 7.30pm

All matches to the final are best of 5, the final is best of 7.
Roll on roll off format.

Get your tickets here.

Launch of the WSS ROKiT UK Championship 2019 in Hull

A special event will be held in Hull on September 17, 2019 to launch the WSS ROKiT UK Championship 2019. This is the announcement:

SENIOR SNOOKER CHAMPIONSHIP AT PQ

snooker-championship

Snooker Legend ‘The Whirlwind’ to launch Senior Snooker Championship at Princes Quay   

Fans will get the chance to meet Jimmy White at this year’s official Launch Event 

When: 17th September, 11am-1:15pm 

Where: PQ, Quayside Level 1  

 Ahead of the ROKiT UK Seniors Snooker Championship, which returns to the Bonus Arena on the 24th and 25th October, Princes Quay shopping centre will be host to a special event which sees Snooker Legend Jimmy White and snooker pundits come together for an exclusive launch.  

 The event will consist of opening statements and reviews, with expert knowledge from Jason Francis and ‘The Whirlwind’ himself, Jimmy White. The pinnacle of event will be the live draw, deciding which players will be drawn against one another, giving fans the opportunity to plan which matches they’ll be attending.  

 Fans will get the chance to meet The Whirlwind with photo opportunities and autographs available. There will also be chance for visitors to brush up on their snooker skills FREE of charge at the two tables installed for the event, courtesy of Tradewell Snooker Club 

 Sarah Smith, Marketing Manager said:  

“We’ve been working closely with the Bonus Arena to plan the Launch Event and we can’t wait to welcome Jimmy White to Princes Quay. It will be a great chance for fans to meet their snooker hero and come and revel in the excitement as the draw is announced. 

It’s another great event on the PQ calendar and with lots of others in the pipeline, we urge our customers to keep their eyes peeled on the Princes Quay website for all the latest news and events.”  

Wrecking Ball Music and Books will be hosting a stall where fans can get their hands on The Whirlwind’s 2015 hit autobiography ‘Second Wind’ as well as previous titles such as ‘Behind the White Ball’ and ‘Jimmy White’s Snooker Masterclass’. The snooker super star, famous for his fluid attacking style of play, has won two of snooker’s three majors and is currently tenth on the all-time list of ranking event winners.  

In the upcoming qualifier competition at the end of September, it will be decided who will face the likes of Jimmy and other big names such as Cliff Thorburn and Patrick Wallace, in the final at The Bonus Arena in Hull.  

Dan Harris, General Manager of the Bonus Arena, said:  

“Hull is fast becoming a snooker city and last year the reaction to the legends was fantastic. Jimmy White is truly a legend of the game and we are delighted he will be joining us next Tuesday for the tournament draw. Fans will get the chance to meet Jimmy as we launch this year’s event.”   

The event will be live streamed across the PQ and Snooker Legends’ Facebook pages.  

Should be fun!