Please make sure to read everything carefully and agree with the terms and conditions
Good luck everyone!
The news was aired by Jason Francis during the MSI of the Final two days ago.
The ROKiT Phones World Seniors Snooker Tour has announced the launch of World Seniors Qualification School from which eight places at major Seniors tournaments in 2021 will be won.
To be held in Jersey from 2-8 November 2020, the event will be open to a maximum of 96 players, including both amateurs aged over 40 and for the first-time current World Snooker Tour professionals ranked 65-128 at the start of the 2020/2021 season.
Places in the following competitions will be contested over the course of the event:
- 2021 UK Seniors Championship (4 places)
- 2021 World Seniors Championship – (2 places)
- 2021 Masters – (1 Place in the 2021 Masters)
- 2021 Super Seniors over 55s – (1 place in the 2021 Masters)
Each of the eight qualifying players will be guaranteed to win a minimum of £1,000 at the final stages of the event.
All players will undergo a COVID-19 test upon arrival (at no cost to them) and will be responsible for booking and paying for their own travel and accommodation.
Jason Francis, Chairman of World Seniors Snooker said: “We are delighted to be able to launch our new World Seniors Qualification School which I am sure will prove to be a fantastic week of snooker with big prizes on offer.
“Only this week we have seen the likes of Gary Filtness and Wayne Cooper overwhelmed by the chance to play at the iconic Crucible Theatre for the first time and through Qualification School even more opportunities will be created for players of all levels of experience to achieve their dreams.
“We also hope that by holding these qualification tournaments together, rather than over the course of several individual qualifying events, this will help to reduce travel and accommodation costs for our loyal players over the course of the season.”
Further information will be released by World Seniors Snooker in due course.
There are still many uncertainties linked to the covid-19 crisis and the 20/21 season calendar is not yet available at the time of writing.
It was an extrordinary day at the Crucible as the ROKiT Phones.com 2020 World Seniors Snooker Championship concluded.
Here are the reports by WPBSA:
Defending champion Jimmy White and Ken Doherty will contest the final of the 2020 ROKiT Phones World Seniors Snooker Championship at the Crucible Theatre this evening.
The pair will meet over the best of nine frames for the £15,000 first prize and a lucrative spot at the Champion of Champions after coming through their respective semi-finals during this afternoon’s session.
Over 32 years on since their first meeting here, White and Stephen Hendry added a new chapter to their legendary Crucible rivalry, and for the first time it was the Englishman that bested his nemesis at the one-table set-up in Sheffield.
After an edgy start White took the opener on the colours but a 64 break from Hendry – consisting of eight reds and blacks at the start of the second frame – helped him settle down and level.
The ever-popular Londoner then compiled efforts of 37 and 39 to move back ahead before a scintillating contribution of 130 – the highest of this year’s tournament so far – in the fourth frame put him one away from progression.
White looked like getting the job done in the next when on a break of 52, but after misjudging a tight pot on a red, Hendry later pounced with a typical match-saving 43. However, this would only prove to be a stay of execution for the seven-times world professional champion as runs of 36 and 55 got White over the line as a 4-2 winner.
“I played really well. It’s great to see Stephen practising and playing well again; he will be a big part of the seniors in the next five or six years. He’ll be back for revenge, no doubt.” White said after the game.
‘The Whirlwind’ is looking to become the first player in history to retain this title and win it for a third time in total.
Doherty is also on course to create a piece of snooker history as he aims to become a world champion in four different categories throughout his illustrious career.
In all-Irish affair between two practice partners, ‘The Darling of Dublin’ also put in a classy performance, producing a string of breaks as he overcame UK Seniors champion Michael Judge 4-1.
The 1997 world professional champion made breaks of 46 and 47 to go one up, but the former world number 24 squared it with the aid of a 49 in the next.
However, Doherty largely froze out his opponent for the remainder of the match, racking up further runs of 60, 80 and 57 to triumph with change to spare.
Speaking after the game Doherty said “I’m delighted to get through. I was delighted with how I played when I was in and amongst the balls. I scored pretty good, I felt very calm.”
“I’m just so excited to be in the final; Jimmy is a hero of mine, he’s a great mate of mine, it will be a pleasure and an honour to play him in the final of a world seniors here at the Crucible. It doesn’t get much better than that. It’s a dream come true.”
Stephen Hendry didn’t play quite as well as he did yesterday, but he will have a lot of positives to take from this event. He’s still got it.
Jimmy White became the first player in history to successfully defend the ROKiT Phones World Seniors Snooker Championship after he conjured up an astonishing comeback to oust Ken Doherty 5-4 in an epic final at the Crucible Theatre.
‘The Whirlwind’ pockets a £15,000 first prize and a coveted place in the Champion of Champions later this year. Having initially won the title in 2010, this is a record-extending third time he has captured the ultimate prize on the seniors circuit.
Hopes of retaining the trophy looked all but over for White and his adoring legion of fans during the first half of what would be an unforgettable night of action in Sheffield.
Aiming to create history himself by adding a seniors crown to the junior, amateur and professional world championships he has collected during his illustrious career, Doherty appeared to be coasting to victory before the mid-session interval.
It was one-way traffic from the Irishman, who capitalised on his opponent’s inability to settle down by compiling breaks of 93, 46, 44 and 56 to take a 4-0 lead into the break and move just one away from glory. However, as is so often the case, the interval swung the match dramatically.
White refused to relinquish his title; a run of 42 in frame five got him on the board, and he continued to grow in confidence as he halved the original deficit with a decisive 44 in the next.
Momentum had visibly shifted and the unlikely recovery continued in a dramatic seventh frame. Both players had glorious opportunities to claim it on the colours – White missed a blue into the corner pocket, whereas Doherty failed to pot a tricky match ball pink with the rest after he misjudged his position from the blue. The reigning champion subsequently kept his nerve to sink the remaining two balls and get back within one.
With the tension rising, an unsteady Doherty broke down from a good position on a break of 32 in frame seven and White punished with a counter-attacking effort of 79 to force it all the way. The Englishman – who has painful memories of deciding frame defeats at the Crucible Theatre – then completed the seismic recovery in style with a break of 85.
Speaking after the match to BBC Sport’s Rob Walker, White said: “Once I got that frame [fifth] I settled a bit. I didn’t really get going but towards the end I felt really good because I’m playing well in practice so I know that my form’s there.”
“Luckily enough for me Ken missed a couple of balls which would have wrapped the match up. It’s a fantastic win; I’m a bit gutted for Ken because I’ve been here miles in front and got beat. This is a great win for me being 4-0 down.”
Contemplating what might have been, Doherty graciously said: “It completely changed after the interval. I missed a good few chances and Jimmy started to comeback, he played really well.”
“It’s a bit heartbreaking because it would have been nice to get my hands on the trophy but that’s snooker – it can be a great sport; it can be very cruel at times.”
Ken came on twitter later admitting that he felt devastated and that it will take some time for him to get over what happened there.
It was a fantastic event. Jason Francis and the team behind him deserve immense credit, not just for this event, but for how well they managed to develop the Seniors snooker tour and to give it real credibility. The quality was there for all to see – and enjoy – this week. This tour is not about a bunch of retired snooker players knocking a few balls around, it a real Tour, and it means an awful lot for the players involved in it.
In general the BBC coverage was excellent, Rob Walker in particular was fantastic … BUT they did it AGAIN (*): they pulled the snooker off just as the Final’s decider was to start, to show highlights of women golf. One event was happening LIVE and heading to a dramatic conclusion, the other was “past” and watching those highlights half an hour later wouldn’t have changed much for anyone interested in it.
all images by Andy Chubb
It was another fantastic day at the Crucible yesterday as the four seeds duly emerged from the QF round.
Here are yesterday’s results
And the updated draw
Those are the reports by WPBSA
Stephen Hendry and Michael Judge are the first two winners to emerge from a bumper quarter-finals Friday at the 2020 ROKiT Phones World Seniors Snooker Championship.
Seven-time world professional champion Hendry continues to roll back the years in Sheffield. Fresh from a brilliant recovery against Nigel Bond on Thursday night, the Scot produced another eye-catching display to defeat Aaron Canavan 4-1 in the afternoon session’s first match.
Hendry did have to bounce back from an early setback, though. On a break of 60 in the opening frame he missed a straightforward red and was made to sit as 2018 winner Canavan pounced with efforts of 39 and a 32 clearance to steal it.
However, ‘The King of the Crucible’ quickly rediscovered his stride, looking more like his old-self here as he registered runs of 75, 81 and 53 to claim four consecutive frames and seal a 4-1 victory with a near 95% pot success rate.
“There was some good stuff in there. I’m lacking match composure, but I’ve been working on some good stuff and my long game was great today. I am happy to still be in.” Hendry said to Rob Walker after the match.
Hendry would face career rival Jimmy White in a romantic semi-final clash should ‘The Whirlwind’ defeat Peter Lines later today. Asked about the prospect Hendry added “Magnificent. It would be amazing to play Jimmy out here again”.
Later in the afternoon session reigning UK Seniors champion Judge stayed on course for a unique seniors circuit double after dispatching Wayne Cooper 4-1.
Both players struggled to settle early on, but it was Dubliner Judge who adapted best in establishing a 3-0 advantage. Yorkshireman Cooper managed to avoid the whitewash with a swift effort of 59 in frame four, but Judge decided the outcome in the next – a break of 48 helping him get across the line.
Speaking after the result the former world number 24 said “I kind of put a bit of pressure on my myself because I really didn’t want to miss out on the semi-finals. I felt good coming in, but as I went on even though I was ahead, I started feeling more and more nervous so I was just glad to get over the line and hopefully I can relax tomorrow and play a bit better. I have nothing to lose.”
If Ken Doherty can overcome Darren Morgan later there would be an all-Irish last four affair on Saturday afternoon. Judge practices with Doherty on his table in Dublin and thinking about a potential meeting said “It would be great to play Ken here at the Crucible. It would be an honour, but I think Darren will have something to say about that first.”
The last four line-up for the 2020 ROKiT Phones World Seniors Snooker Championship is now complete after Jimmy White and Ken Doherty claimed the final two spots during Friday night’s quarter-final session at the Crucible Theatre.
Reigning champion White set up a mouthwatering semi-final clash with career-long rival Stephen Hendry after defeating fellow main tour professional and 2017 winner Peter Lines 4-1 with a trio of sixty-plus breaks.
‘The Whirlwind’ lost a scrappy opening frame but responded with a well-constructed contribution of 79 to square it before a 62 helped him move 2-1 in front.
White continued to look determined, and with a gutsy run of 41 from the last two reds – including a glorious green down the side cushion with the extended rest – he went one away from progression. The ever popular and evergreen Londoner then finished the job with a 66 in frame five to keep at bay ‘The Crucible Curse’ and keep alive hopes of a third World Seniors Championship title.
The Hendry-White rivalry is the stuff of sporting legend. The pair famously contested four World Championship finals here at the Crucible Theatre in the 1990s with Hendry winning all four, although White did overcome his nemesis during their first and last meetings at the iconic venue.
There will be plenty of reminiscing, but plenty at stake when the two cross cues here once again tomorrow afternoon for a place in the final.
After his win, White spoke to Rob Walker; “When I got in the balls I felt really good. I’m getting more confidence in my cue action and I’m going for my shots. I’m back attacking.”
Looking ahead to his blockbuster tie with the Scot, White added “I can’t wait. I’m looking forward to it. I understand three million people will be watching on primetime in China tomorrow, but I love all that.”
Earlier in the evening – thirty years on from their first meeting as professionals – Doherty eliminated 2011 winner Darren Morgan in a quality encounter.
‘The Darling of Dublin’ set his stall out with a classy 67 clearance to deposit the opening frame but Morgan retaliated with a frame-winning 30 finish in the next. Further breaks were traded in the following two frames as Doherty made a 72 to move back in front before Morgan levelled once more with the help of a 66.
World professional champion here in 1997, Doherty inched ahead again before shutting the door on the Welshman as he compiled a decisive effort of 80 in the sixth frame to triumph 4-2 with a 91% pot success rate.
Doherty will meet fellow Dubliner and practice partner Michael Judge in an intriguing semi-final with both still hoping to create first-time history later in this tournament. Judge is aiming to hold the World and UK Seniors titles at the same time, whereas Doherty is trying to add this crown to his junior, amateur and professional world titles.
“I’m delighted to get through, it was a tough game; Darren played some really good stuff there. It’s nice to play and get a few breaks – I was delighted to get a break at the end there. I’m looking forward to the all-Irish clash for sure.” Doherty said after the game.
The semi-finals – which feature the tournament’s four seeded players – will take place from 12 noon with the White v Hendry showdown first up and Judge v Doherty to follow. The winners will then meet on Saturday evening for a best-of-nine finale to determine the destiny of the championship.
So that’s our “program” for this afternoon and it’s not to be missed!
This has so far been an awesome tournament!
Excellent commentary has been provided by Mike Dunn, Dennis Taylor, Ken Doherty, Peter Lines, Patrick Wallace, Tony Knowles, Rodney Goggins and of course this man
Rob Walker has been everywhere except at the table playing. His formidable enthusiasm and his energy have brought something very special to the event. Thanks Rob!
The theatre of dreams is waiting …
who will be crowned Seniors World Snooker Champion tonight?
The first round at the WSS ROKiT Phones.com World Snooker Championship concluded yesterday.
Here are the results …
And what we have in store for today …
Those match-ups promise to deliver of an excellent day of snooker!
The last eight line-up at the 2020 ROKiT Phones World Seniors Snooker Championship is now complete following another action-packed day at the Crucible Theatre that saw seven-times world professional champion Stephen Hendry produce a vintage comeback win.
A quarter of a century on from their world final meeting here, Hendry and Nigel Bond dished up an entertaining first round encounter that went all the way.
It was 1996 British Open champion Bond who started the better as he established a 2-0 lead before the Scot responded with a classy 71 break to cut the deficit in half. Hendry then looked like levelling the match up, but a 37 clearance from Bond – featuring a fluke on the pink – put him one away from victory.
The Englishman was in the ascendancy, but an unexpected missed red with the rest when only a few pots away from progression proved to be the start of a momentum shift.
At a venue he made his own throughout his illustrious career, ‘The King of the Crucible’ crafted a determined clearance of 45 to save the match and begin his recovery. With further glimpses of his heyday attributes, Hendry then constructed a run of 77 to force a decider which he came through to set up a date with the 2018 winner of this title, Aaron Canavan.
In an interview with Rob Walker after the match, Hendry admitted to thinking about quitting the tour following a defeat at the UK Seniors Championship in Hull last year. However, he will be encouraged by his performance against Bond, which was arguably his best on the World Seniors circuit to date.
Later in the evening session, one of the pre-tournament favourites Peter Lines comfortably dispatched former world number two Tony Knowles 4-0 to stay on course for a second world seniors crown.
Lines won this competition in 2017 without dropping a single frame and he continued that remarkable sequence here as an effort of 85 helped him book a eye-catching all-professional clash with defending champion Jimmy White.
Earlier in the day reigning UK Seniors champion Michael Judge top scored with 60 as he overcame 1985 world professional champion Dennis Taylor 4-1.
Despite some courageous potting from Taylor – including a fantastic blue that aided him in taking frame four – former world number 24 Judge was relatively untroubled as he kept alive hopes of a unique world and UK double.
Previously in the afternoon session Wayne Cooper made the most of his late call-up to the event as he eventually toppled this season’s Super Seniors number one ranked player Gary Filtness in a meeting of two Crucible debutants.
Playing in his home county, Yorkshireman Cooper registered a high break of 53 and claimed the final two frames to emerge a 4-2 victor. He will face Judge for a place in the final four.
All four quarter-finals will be played on Friday at the Crucible, with the subsequent semis and final bringing the championship to a close on Saturday.
If anyone doubts how much it means for the players to play in this competition, at the Crucible, they should watch the match between Wayne Cooper and Gary Filtness. Both fought with all they had. Wayne is from Yorkshire and this match meant the world to him, Gary had never played at the Crucible and he is one of those players who wear their heart on their sleeve and take you with them on their “journey” through the highs and lows of the match. In the last frame, Gary had battled and battled and had eventually given himself a chance to force a decider… With just four balls still on the table, he was very unlucky to snooker himself on the brown. Of all places on the table, the cue ball stopped behind the blue (that wasn’t on its spot). A couple of rolls more, or less, he was on the brown with a good chance to clear. It was too much for “the Blade” … who ended the match in tears.
Stephen Hendry played as well as he has played for years. He didn’t start well though, and trailed by 3-1. Then something clicked, he started to play faster, the mannerisms of the past were back, the balls were going in. All of a sudden, the dispirited, disgruntled Stephen Hendry we had seen on the WSS tour over the last years, transformed himself under our very eyes into the Stephen Hendry of the past, the King of the Crucible. It was fascinating to watch. From that moment he always looked the winner of this match and he duly took the three frames he needed. The only thing still missing was a century.
“The Door” opened to welcome the senior players at the theatre of dreams
It was a very long day at the Crucible … and it produced this:
Jimmy White, Ken Doherty, Darren Morgan and Aaron Canavan all advanced to the quarter-finals of the 2020 ROKiT Phones World Seniors Snooker Championship during the tournament’s opening day at the Crucible Theatre.
Reigning champion White began his title defence with a 4-1 victory over 1986 world professional champion Joe Johnson in the evening session.
Johnson defeated White here on his way to winning last year’s Seniors Masters, and the Yorkshireman briefly threatened a replay when he claimed a scrappy first frame of the match on the pink. However, ‘The Whirlwind’ managed to relax, making a 90 break to get on the board himself before racking up further contributions of 73, 41 and 71 to run out a 4-1 victor with an impressive 92% pot success rate.
In the competition’s curtain-raiser, 1997 world professional champion Ken Doherty survived a mid-match blip and a deciding frame climax to oust fellow Irishman Rodney Goggins 4-3.
‘The Darling of Dublin’ pounced on his opponent’s nervy start to take a 2-0 lead, but looking like going one frame away from progression, an unexpected miss from Doherty seemed to turn the match. Crucible debutant Goggins – who started the frame with a 41 – finished it with a 58 clearance to open his account and settle down. The former professional from Wexford continued to grow in confidence, winning the next two frames to go one away from producing an upset.
Well known for his determination when behind – especially at this venue – Doherty bounced back with a 68 to force a decider and then crafted a gutsy match-clinching break of 48 to ultimately go through.
“For a couple of frames there I was gone. I just tried to dig myself out of it and I was delighted with the 60 break in frame six and some of the pots at the end.” said Doherty to Rob Walker after the match.
Doherty is seeking to create history later this week by becoming the first person to win the world junior, amateur, professional and seniors championships.
After enduring a slow start to his match with Northern Ireland’s Patrick Wallace, 2011 winner and a further two-time finalist Darren Morgan found his groove with a string of soul boosting breaks to come through 4-2.
The former world number eight fashioned efforts of 73, 75 (twice) and a 70 in a frame that the Welshman lost on the black despite his opponent needing penalty points. Morgan – who will face Doherty in the quarter-finals – said “from nowhere it clicked”.
The final player to book a last eight berth was 2018 winner Canavan, who once again showed his baize battling qualities to overcome Leo Fernandez in a post-midnight finish.
Having started in the afternoon but pushed into an unscheduled second session, Fernandez led the match on three occasions but the Jersey cueist pegged him back each time, assisted by breaks of 69, 53 and a match-saving break of 30 to pink in frame six to take it all the way.
Canavan then scored first in the decider with a 48, and after his rival missed a routine red later on, he held his nerve to complete a dramatic recovery and avenge his loss to Fernandez here last year.
The commentary was provided by Dennis Taylor, Mike Dunn, Peter Lines, Tony Knowles and … Rob Walker. It was the first time I heard Mike and Tony in commentary. Mike was excellent, particularly when it came to analyse the players’ shot choices. Tony has a vast knowledge of the game. Rob was everywhere with infectious enthusisasm and great professionalism.
Regarding the matches …
I really enjoyed the opening match between Ken Doherty and Rodney Goggins. It’s a cliché, but it’s a shame that there had to be a loser. Rodney’s game perfectly illustrates what the players who grew up playing on the very competitive amateur scene some 25-35 years ago have got that is lacking to most of the young players armoury nowadays: that tactical awareness and the mindset that makes a “hard match player”. It’s easy to forget that the game was only “opened” in 1991. Up to that year you had the likes of Ken Doherty and Peter Ebdon playing as “amateurs” despite being better than the vast majority of pros at the time. Nowadays, the amateur scene has shrinked. Also, the constant media focus on “centuries” isn’t helping. There is more to snooker than just potting.
Jimmy White looked very nervous at the start. It’s obvious that he badly wants to defend his crown here. Will he beat the curse? He will probably need to improve to “beat” the snooker gods.
There is one thing that bitterly disappointed me: outside UK and China, the event is available via Matchroom.live, but contrary to what I expected, and to what was done for the CLS in Milton Keynes, it’s not free. Come on, Barry Hearn! The Seniors’ snooker needs and deserves to be further promoted. In the UK, it’s available to watch on the BBC. In mainland Europe there are many fans who didn’t really “live” through the 80th and early 90th of snooker and who are keen to watch and learn. Many, like me, pay to for the right to watch the BBC – via a third party – but still don’t have access to the BBC “digital plaform” nor to the BBC player. We also pay for Eurosport and its player, and now we should pay for this as well? I have seen the reactions online from fellow mainland European and they won’t.
Also well worth reading: here is the link to Nigel Slater’s interview with Jason Francis
World Seniors Snooker Championship 2020: BBC Coverage and schedule
2020 World Seniors Snooker Championship Venue: Crucible Theatre, Sheffield Dates: 19-22 August Coverage: Watch live coverage on BBC TV, Red Button, Connected TVs, the BBC Sport website and app from 19 August.
The 2020 World Seniors Snooker Championship takes place from 19-22 August, with coverage of the action broadcast live on the BBC.
Defending champion Jimmy White and Stephen Hendry will headline this year’s tournament, which is being held at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre.
White, seven-time world champion Hendry, 1997 world champion Ken Doherty and UK Seniors champion Michael Judge are the four seeded players. Notable names including 1985 world champion Dennis Taylor, 1986 winner Joe Johnson and Malta’s Tony Drago are also in the draw.
Wednesday, 19 August
Ken Doherty (Ire) v Rodney Goggins (Ire)
Aaron Canavan (Jer) v Leo Fernandez (Eng)
Jimmy White (Eng) v Joe Johnson (Eng)
Patrick Wallace (Jer) v Darren Morgan (Wal)
Thursday, 20 August
Wayne Cooper (Eng) v Gary Filtness (Eng)
Michael Judge (Ire) v Dennis Taylor (Jer)
Stephen Hendry (Sco) v Nigel Bond (Eng)
Tony Knowles (Eng) v Peter Lines (Eng)
Friday, 21 August
Stephen Hendry (Sco)/Nigel Bond (Eng) v Aaron Canavan (Jer)/Leo Fernandez (Eng)
Wayne Cooper (Eng)/Gary Filtness (Eng) v Michael Judge (Ire)/Dennis Taylor (Jer)
Ken Doherty (Ire)/Rodney Goggins (Ire) v Patrick Wallace (Jer)/Darren Morgan (Wal)
Jimmy White (Eng)/Joe Johnson (Eng) v Tony Knowles (Eng)/Peter Lines (Eng)
Saturday, 22 August
Wednesday, 19 August
13:00-16:00 & 19:00-22:00 – BBC Red Button, BBC Sport online, BBC iPlayer
Thursday, 20 August
13:00-16:00 & 19:00-22:00 – BBC Red Button, BBC Sport online, BBC iPlayer
Friday, 21 August
13:00-16:00 & 19:00-22:00 – BBC Red Button, BBC Sport online, BBC iPlayer
Saturday, 22 August
12:00-15:00 & 19:00-22:00 – BBC Red Button, BBC Sport online, BBC iPlayer
National and regional variations
National and regional variations have been included in this list where possible, but please check your local listings for more detailed information.
The fitters are at work at the Crucible, preparing the arena for the WSS ROKiT Phones 2020 World Championship.
It will start in just two days.
Players will be tested for covid-19 prior of the tournament. Should one of them fail the test – which of course nobody wishes to any of them – they will be replaced in the draw by Ronnie O’Sullivan, the new reigning snooker World Champion.
Well, that’s what Jason Francis announced on twitter anyway …
Several of the sport’s all-time greats will be aiming to make more memories at the Crucible Theatre at the 2020 ROKiT Phones World Seniors Snooker Championship which gets underway on Wednesday.
Played behind closed doors, for the first time the 16-player event will be broadcast live on BBC digital platforms with selected matches available on the ‘Red Button’. Coverage in China will be shown on major digital TV platforms and across the USA via the Matchroom.Live network.
The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on major sporting schedules all over the globe and although the World Seniors Snooker Tour (WSST) has not been immune either, it is able to stage its annual flagship tournament, building on the success of recent editions.
With certain international competitors unable to travel and qualifying events cancelled, this year’s qualification process has changed, but there is no substitute for the drama, entertainment and quality we expect throughout the four days in Sheffield.
THE TOP HALF
Defending champion Jimmy White has been the dominant force on the seniors scene in recent years having collected several titles including the big one last summer at the Crucible after a tense 5-3 victory over Darren Morgan in the final. Aiming for a hat-trick of world seniors crowns – he also won it in 2010 – White begins against fellow Eurosport colleague Joe Johnson.
The pair last met here in 2019 during the Seniors Masters where Johnson won via a black ball tiebreaker. Like his 1986 world professional triumph, the Yorkshireman went on to defy the odds by lifting the trophy on that occasion too.
Former world number two Tony Knowles will strut his stuff on snooker’s grandest stage again when he faces Peter Lines. In a recent change to tour eligibility, world number 120 Lines earns his spot here by virtue of claiming this accolade in Scunthorpe in 2017 when he didn’t drop a frame en route.
Aaron Canavan was the somewhat unexpected victor in 2018 following a memorable comeback in the final. The Jersey cueist will be out for revenge when he faces Leo Fernandez in the first round. Attempting to retain the title here 12 months ago, Canavan was dethroned by former professional and English amateur champion Fernandez in the last eight.
Another duo with Crucible history are seven-time world professional champion Stephen Hendry and Nigel Bond, who is the fourth person in this half to have this title already on his resume.
Known as the ‘King of the Crucible’, Hendry owned this venue in the 1990s, denying Bond in the 1995 final and also getting the better of him in the semi-finals the subsequent year. Despite being a WSST regular, Hendry has yet to reach a final on it and there would be no better time to end that run than here.
World Seniors champion in 2012, 54-year-old Bond is still enjoying the sport’s top tier – an unbroken 31 years on since his debut debut – and will have fond memories of their last Crucible clash in 2006 when he memorably won 10-9 on a dramatic re-spotted black.
THE BOTTOM HALF
The first match in a distinctly Irish themed bottom half of the draw is an all-Republic clash between Ken Doherty and former main tour exponent Rodney Goggins.
Doherty – winner of the UK Seniors Championship in 2018 – will be looking to add a fourth segment to his world junior, amateur and professional championships portfolio. Second in the world seniors rankings, Goggins will be making his Crucible debut.
In yet another hard-to-call opening round affair, Wales’ 2011 champion and last year’s runner-up Darren Morgan will be seeking to go one further here but first has to negotiate 2018 defeated finalist Patrick Wallace. The Northern Irishman will be setting foot back in the arena for the first time since his run to the world professional quarter-finals over 19 years ago – his only previous appearance.
Two players ready for a big opportunity and their maiden Crucible berths are this season’s Super Seniors number one ranked player Gary Filtness and Sheffield’s own Wayne Cooper, who recently replaced Tony Drago after the Maltese legend made the difficult decision not to travel on health grounds.
Number two seed for this event, but number one in the world seniors rankings, Michael Judge will be a serious contender for this crown having won the UK Seniors Championship at the Bonus Arena in Hull back in October. Judge’s bid to complete a unique world and UK double starts with a meeting against 1985 world professional champion Dennis Taylor.
All matches throughout the championship are the best of seven frames, except for the final which will be the best of nine.
Follow updates here at wpbsa.com, or view tournament information online via WPBSA SnookerScores.
Article by Michael Day.
Unfortunately, Tony Drago, following his doctor advice, had to withdraw from the WSS ROKiT Phones.com World Championship. He is replaced by Sheffield’s very own Wayne Cooper.
Here is the announcement that was published on social media by Jason Francis:
YORKSHIRES WAYNE COOPER GET CRUCIBLE CHANCE…Following a consultation in Malta with his doctor, and with the current COVID situation, the Tornado Tony Drago has made the heartbreaking decision to withdraw from the ROKiT World Seniors Snooker Championship.Former Professional Wayne Cooper who is next highest placed on the World Seniors Ranking list will replace him. Cooper was due to attend the testing next Tuesday in case any positive tests were returned, he will now take Tony’s place in the event and plays Gary Filtness next Thursday at 1pm in the Last 16 of the EventWayne said “I feel terribly sorry for Tony but one phone call last night has changed my life, its up to me now to make the most of it”Tony said “Nobody is more disappointed than me. I love playing seniors events but my health have to come first. I’m healthy again thank god but because of Covid 19 I decide to pull out thank you all for your understanding”The ROKiT World Seniors Snooker Championship begins on Wednesday 19th and will be shown across the BBC Digital Platforms.
This message was share by Jason on Facebook yesterday. It explains how the line-up for the 2020 Seniors World Championship was decided.
As I did read some criticisms about this line-up myself, I thought it’s important to share Jason’s explanation on this blog as well.
Dear all,I was made aware of a thread started on Facebook last night around the validity of the 16 players who received invitations to the Rokit world seniors snooker championship and although no one has asked me directly, choosing rather to jump to incorrect conclusions, I am happy to explain the rationale.I don’t expect everyone to agree, the game is all about opinions, but to claim any personal friendships played any part in selections is quite frankly very disappointing to see.The criteria of our world championship has always been very transparent. A minimum 25% of the field to come from qualifiers, 50% to come from invited legends of the game who bring Commercial value to the event (this ensuring ticket sales and broadcast interest, and 25% to be used by the WSF to extend continental invitations to the senior champions of the continents.Of course if this season had been fully played there would of been 6 spots for qualifiers, exceeding our pledge, as we all know covid has wrecked our season as well as much of many other sports.It would have been very easy to cancel the world seniors championships, with no audience the tour is deprived of its major income stream of course. But we didn’t give up and we not only decided to stage an event but also secured the BBC as our broadcast partner.These two important victories came as a result of brilliant work by the new additions to the board. These people were put in place by Jason Ferguson and I to ensure the tour is able to be sustainable in years to come.I am disappointed to still see this referred to as the legends tour or snooker legends tour, it’s quite clearly the WPBSA World Seniors Tour so that’s very misleading.Also misleading is that only one player qualified by right, our event in Toronto was won by bob chaperon who because of covid travel restrictions was unable to take up his place. People seem to have forgotten that.Again because of Covid the WSF were unable to extend continental invitations this year, denying the champions of other continents the chance to send their nominationsSo in a landmark deal, which helps secure the future sustainability of the tour, current professionals over 40 ranked 65-128 can choose to enter qualifying events from next season.This season the continental places have been awarded to 4 Former world seniors champions. No member of our tour has lost out because of this.Some players won their right to a final stage TV event in Coleraine to see it cancelled. They earn their right and are rewarded with their place.8 spots are taken by the commercially selected legends, all multiple ranking event winners or former world professional champions. Without these, with all due respect to the rest of the tour there would be no TV, no crucible and no prize money.None of these invited legends have taken a place of a tour player.The last three places were made up from our official ranking list, top ups in exactly the same way world snooker do. Complete transparency. We put emphasis on our ranking list and if we had ignored it that would have been an insult to those who had consistently performed to get where they are.If after Reading this then you still think the board have made mistakes then that’s a personal opinion but to start a thread full of inaccuracies is quite frankly disrespectful to those who have been invited on merit.So in conclusion1, it’s not a legends tour2, the selection criteria given the position covid put us in is transparent even if you don’t personally agree with it3, no one person is making these decisions4, all those selected will do our event proud.So can I ask the tour as a whole now gets behind the event and uses social media to promote it rather than criticise the 16 who in my opinion are the deserving ones on MeritAnd spare a thought for bob chaperonThanksJason