WSS ROKiT Phones.com 2019 World Championship Press Day in picture

Following this morning rebranding announcement, the Crucible today welcomed a press day, with all the players, the sponsor, WPBSA Jason Ferguson and Jason Francis.

There were photo shooting, filming, doing interviews and signing goods. The new trophy was presented by the reigning World Champion Aaron Canavan.

Tomorrow morning action starts in earnest at the table. Bring it on!

WSS ROKiT 2019 World Championship Build-up – Jimmy White v Rhydian Richards

The last match at the ROKit 2019 World Championship on August 16, 2019 will oppose Jimmy White to Rhydian Richards.

Jimmy White of course doesn’t need any introduction. He’s won everything – or about – as a professional except the World Championship and he has been a prolific winner on the WSS tour as well. He is extremely popular with the fans and his love for the game is immense.

I’m not going to repeat all I wrote in his profile on this blog, you will find it here.

You will also find his profile by Elliott West here.

Rhydian Richard, on the other hand, has never been a professional. He qualified for the WSS ROKiT 2019 World Championship by winning the first qualifying event.  He had already qualified for the Seniors World Championship in the previous season, and had beaten Joe Johnson in the first round. Rhydian has also beaten Darren Morgan in the 2018 Welsh Open – a main Tour event – and in the Final of the 2017 Welsh Amateur Championship. In 2016 he reached the semi-finals of the European Men Championship. All this is telling you one thing for certain: he’s a very capable player!

This is the last frame of the match between Darren Morgan and Rhydian at the Welsh Open 2018

For what I have been able to find, Rhydian and Jimmy have never played each other.

Mini Preview. I have to make Jimmy favourite, not just because of his record, but also because Rhydian has never before played at the Crucible. It’s a very special experiance and it can be intimidating. However, I expect a hard fought match.
Prediction: Jimmy White to win.

WSS ROKiT 2019 World Championship Build-up – Dennis Taylor v Stuart Watson

The evening session on 16 August 2019 will start with the match between Dennis Taylor and Stuart Watson.

Dennis Taylor of course will forever be associated with that “famous black” and the 1985 Final when he became World Champion, beating Steve Davis 18-17 in the early hours of the Tuesday morning , with over 18 Millions watching on BBC. Here you go…

But there is much more to Dennis than this match and this black. Dennis was ranked as high as n°2 in the World and won 19 professional titles, including the Masters and – of course – the World Championship.

Dennis loves to crack a joke … or many, but don’t be fooled: at the table he wants to win, badly and very seriously!

You will find Dennis profile on this blog here

And his profile by Elliott West here

Dennis opponent, Stuart Watson, has never been a pro. He earned his spot at the Crucible by beating Patrick Wallace by 3-0 in the final of the qualifying event 2, in Jersey.

Stuart has played a lot of snooker on the WSS tour over the last two seasons and earned the “most improved player award” at the “end-of-season” week-end in Newbury last June. 

More recently Stuart played at the Pink Ribbon 2019, a charity event organised for ten years at the South West Snooker Academy by Paul Mount and his team. There were nearly 400 entries this time. Amateurs competed over two days for the privilege to get to the “pro stage” and play some of the top professionals. Mind you … the final was played between Mark Allen and Stuart Bingham. Well, Stuart was one of those top amateurs who did reach the pro stage. He’s a seriously good player!

Mini Preview. Although Dennis Taylor still can play a a high level on his day, he tends to be a bit inconsistent nowadays. Dennis of course is used to the surroundings and that may be in his favour. Stuart Watson on the other hand has never played at the Crucible, it will be all new and maybe, intimidating. But I’m sure that he will relish the challenge, and he’s very solid. Prediction: Stuart Watson to prevail in a decider (and, why not? on the final black … )

My advice to Stuart … don’t listen to Dennis quips 😉 he will try every trick that old fox!

 

 

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

The second match on the afternoon of August 16, 2019 at the WSS ROKiT 2019 World Championship will see the “King of the Crucible”, Stephen Hendry take on either Tony Drago or Dene O’Kane.

WSSMasters2019GThorburnvHendryQF-6372

Stephen Hendry made the Crucible Theatre is own place during the nineties, winning the World Championship at the iconic arena a record seven times: in 1990, 1992-96 and 1999. He remains the youngest ever Snooker World Champion. He also changed the way snooker is played forever. He used to claim the “safety is over-rated”. He was all-out attack, and never changed that approach even when his form dipped and wins eluded him. He won 75 titles in total, 36 ranking events, including 18 “Triple Crown” events. He made 775 competitive centuries as a pro, including 11 maximum breaks. In May 2012, after featuring in his 27th consecutive World Championship, he announced his retirement from the game. He had spent 23 consecutive seasons in the top 16 of the world rankings.

In the first round of his very last World Championship he made this maximum break…

You will find Stephen Hendry profile on this blog here

And Stephen’s profile by Elliott West here

Reading the above you would be entitled to think that his opponent – Tony Drago or Dene O’Kane – stands no chance. Actually, after retiring Stephen really walked away from snooker for a long while, in part because he couldn’ accept to play at a lesser standard, in part because of his commitments in China where he was appointed to promote Chinese Pool, in part because of major changes in his private life.

He opened up about his career, its highs and its lows in his autobiography

Since he came back to play on the Seniors Tour, two years ago, he has struggled and he hasn’t won an event yet. Could it happen this week? It’s hard to tell.

Only one way to find out: come and watch! I won’t make any prediction …

Mohammed Abdelkader to replace Wael Talaat at the 2019 WSS ROKiT World Championship

The news was shared yesterday by World Seniors Snooker and Jason Francis:

Mohammed AbdelkaderMohammed Abdelkader to replace Wael Talaat in ROKiT World Seniors Snooker Championship.

We are very sorry to learn that Wael Talaat from Egypt, the African Nations representative has not been able to receive his passport in order to travel into Sheffield. Mohammed Kammah has named Mohammed Abdelkader as their federations replacement and he will line up in the first round against James Wattana on Thursday.

Jason Francis said, “We are sorry for Wael who we know has been practising hard for this event, he is devastated at not getting his passport in time for travel to represent Africa. We welcome Mohammed and know he will do his continent proud”

Mohammed Abdelkader is from Cairo where he works in real estate, he is a current World Seniors Tour Player.

To see Mohammed play James, or any of the other matches please click this link https://www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk/events/snooker-seniors

 

WSS ROKiT 2019 World Championship Build-up – Joris Maas v Leo Fernandez

The second session on August 16, 2019, will feature two players who are probably little known by the general public or the casual snooker fan: Joris Maas will play Leo Fernandez.

Joris qualified for this event by winning the qualifying leg in Toronto.

Joris Maas is the reigning National Champion in his country, The Netherlands, a title he won last June. Actually Joris has been in the final of The Netherlands Snooker Championship all of the last three times it was played.

Joris has never been a professional, however he is playing quite a lot of snooker at amateur level and with considerable success. The best source for those interested in knowing Joris a bit better as a player is probably his profile on Cuetracker. As you will see Joris has been very active, and won a lot of matches, since 2011.

I fully expect to see some big orange patches in the Crucible crowd for this session!

Leo qualified for this event by winning the fourth qualifying leg in Couldston

Leo Fernandez has been on and off the main tour: 1995–1997, 1998–2001, 2002–2006, 2007/2008, 2016–2018 … that’s 12 seasons in total; his highest ranking was 67. He’s never gone past the last 16 in a ranking event, but, make no mistake, he’s a very capable player on his day. His highest break in professional competition is 140.

In 2017, he knocked Ding Junhui out of the UK Championship in the first round …

You will find more about Leo in his profile on Cuetracker

Off the table, Leo is a warm, smiling character. The love of his life is his family, his partner and his “little princess”. To say that he is a doting father is the mother of all understatements!

This match may not immediately attract the casual fan, but I believe that it is probably one of the most interesting games of the first rounds.

Why? Because Joris and Leo are evenly matched, and both of them play on a regular basis. This should be very good snooker, close and extremely competitive.

Leo may have a mini advantage as he has played at the crucible before, in 1999, where he had the misfortune to meet a certain Ronnie O’Sullivan in the last 32. Leo had won five matches to qualify, Ronnie went on to reach the semi finals.