A very important message from Jason Francis regarding the Seniors World Championship line-up

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 nominations
So 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 conclusion
1, it’s not a legends tour
2, the selection criteria given the position covid put us in is transparent even if you don’t personally agree with it
3, no one person is making these decisions
4, 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 Merit
And spare a thought for bob chaperon
Thanks
Jason

The 2020 Seniors World Championship – first round format and schedule

The schedule and format for the 2020 WSS ROKiT Phones.com World Championship is now available. The matches will be best of 7. The setup is just one table.

Jimmy White is the defending Champion.

Wednesday 19th of August – 1pm

Ken Doherty v Rodney Goggins

Aaron Canavan v Leo Frenandez

Wednesday 19th of August – 7pm

Jimmy White v Joe Johnson

Patrick Wallace v Darren Morgan

Thursday 20th of August – 1pm

Tony Drago  v Gary Filtness

Michael Judge v Dennis Taylor

Thursday 20th of August – 7pm

Stephen Hendry v Nigel Bond

Tony Knowles v Peter Lines

 

The 2020 ROKiT Phones World Seniors Snooker Championship is ON !!!

This was announced today by WPBSA

ROKiT Phones World Seniors Snooker (WSS) is today delighted to announce that the 2020 ROKiT Phones World Seniors Snooker Championship will once again be held at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre from 19-22 August.

Won a year ago by the ever-popular ‘People’s Champion’ Jimmy White, the tournament will see a distinguished line-up of 16 players including ‘King of the Crucible’ Stephen Hendry and 1997 champion of the world Ken Doherty, battle it out to lift the trophy at the home of snooker.

For the first time the tournament 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.

ROKiT Phones – pioneers of the glasses-free 3D phone with onboard Value Added Services – will once again be the title sponsor to the event, continuing a partnership which saw the telecommunications company become the naming rights partner of the WSS Tour in 2019.

The event will be held behind closed doors with no tickets available for spectators due to the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

ALL-STAR LINE-UP

An international field of 16 players will be led by defending champion Jimmy White, who will be joined by seven-time world professional champion Stephen Hendry, the ‘Darlin of Dublin’ Ken Doherty and reigning UK Seniors champion Michael Judge as the four seeded players kept apart until the semi-finals

The remaining 12 players will be randomly placed in the draw, including former world champions Dennis Taylor and Joe Johnson, as well as former top 10 duo Tony Knowles and Tony Drago. Also set to compete at the Crucible are former World Seniors Snooker champions Peter Lines, Nigel Bond, Aaron Canavan and Darren Morgan.

The draw will be completed by WSS Tour players Leo Fernandez, Patrick Wallace, Rodney Goggins and Gary Filtness.

The inclusion of current professional players has been made possible following a landmark new agreement between WSS and World Snooker Tour which will now allow lower ranked tour players over 40 to compete at WSS eventsPlayers not automatically invited to tournaments will be eligible to enter future qualifying events.

Jason Francis, WSS Chairman said: “The ROKiT Phones World Seniors Snooker Tour has gone from strength to strength and despite these difficult times globally we are delighted to be able to deliver a truly world class event live on the BBC and around the world. I would like to thank our title sponsor ROKiT Phones for their continued support and look forward to seeing some fantastic snooker played later this month.”

Jason Ferguson, WPBSA Chairman said: “It is always such a treat to see snooker’s grand masters reappear at the Crucible Theatre. Few could forget the great sporting moments and entertainment   these former champions have given us.

“The WPBSA strategy is to grow a sport for all, from aspiring juniors, elite amateurs, professional tour players through to the incredible entertainment of the ROKiT World Seniors Tour. Snooker is a sport for life, and I would like to thank ROKiT Phones, our broadcasters, and partners for the opportunity to add this great event and tour to our group.”

Michael Coombes, ROKiT Phones CEO UK said: “We are delighted to continue our sponsorship to play a part in the Championship, and what will be without doubt, tension filled matches between prestigious players. To celebrate, all our viewers will also be able to benefit from an exclusive offer that will be shared on our website Partners page.”

Jonathan Kendrick, ROKiT Chairman said: “We are delighted to continue our partnership with World Seniors Snooker, its great fans will be able to enjoy the action live on their ROKiT Phones for the very first time.”

The 2020 ROKIT Phones World Seniors Snooker Championship takes place from 19-22 August at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, England.

This is absolutely fantastic news!

The bold highlight has been added by me.

Note that “lower ranked players” mean “not in the top 64”. This is also great news and only right, allowing players reaching the end of their career to smoothly make the transition to the seniors circuit.

 

The reigning WSS World Champion, Jimmy White reaches round 3 at the Main Tour 2020 World Championship Qualifiers

The WSS reigning World Champion, Jimmy White, is playing in his 40th professional snooker World Championship. He needs to win four matches to reach the Crucible stage. The last time he reached that stage was in 2006.

Here are the reports by Eurosport on those two matches:

Round 1: Jimmy White 6-3 Ivan Kakovskii

World Snooker Championship: Jimmy White makes winning start to qualifying

Jimmy White - R1 of the 2020 WC quals

Jimmy White made a highest break of only 58, but was still good enough to complete a 6-3 win over Russian amateur Ivan Kakovskii in his opening qualifier in Sheffield.

The six-times world finalist – runner-up in 1984, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993 and 1994 – last played at the Crucible Theatre in 2006, but has not given up hope of returning to the sport’s biggest stage by coming through four qualifying rounds.

“My focus was in and out. I was expecting great things, but it didn’t happen. I’ve been practising hard and producing good stuff, but when you come to a tournament you want to win so bad and make so many unforced errors, it’s mind-blowing sometimes.

“But that’s why the game is so exciting. I’ve got a bit of conjunctivitis and I think that’s because I’m revved up and ready to go.”

White’s 21-year-old opponent was not even born when he lost 18-17 to Stephen Hendry in his last world final appearance 26 years ago, but he still had too much for his young rival at the English Institute of Sport.

Kakovskii made a break of 60 to level at 1-1 and a 76 to close to 4-3 behind, but the 1992 UK champion finished strongly with runs of 54 and 58 seeing him progress to a match with former Shoot-Out champion Michael Georgiou on Thursday afternoon.

“From 4-2 up, I stole a couple of frames, but when it went 4-3 I felt okay then and it is nice to know I have it in the armoury when I’m under pressure to feel okay,” added White.

“I’ve got to stay focused against Michael and can’t get too ahead of myself. Everybody wants to get to the World Championship and show your class over the longer distance.”

This is Jimmy speaking to WST after his first round win:

Round 2: Jimmy White 6-4 Michael Georgiou

World Snooker Championship: Jimmy White keeps dream alive with tense win over Michael Georgiou.

Jimmy White - R2 of the 2020 WC Quals

Jimmy White fought back from trailing 3-1 to complete a 6-4 qualifying victory over world number 62 Michael Georgiou, who is set to lose his tour card after a tense defeat.

The six-times world finalist – runner-up in 1984, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993 and 1994 – used all his matchplay skills to progress to the third qualifying round despite struggling for any fluency in a nervy and often scrappy encounter at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield.

At the age of 58, White, the oldest player on the professional tour who competes via an invitational tour card, dominated the final frame of the match to secure a meeting with Robert Milkins in the penultimate round of qualifying, but will know he will have to score heavier with a 54 in the fifth frame his best contribution of the day.

“I was in out and out of focus. At 3-1 behind, I was dead and buried the way I played,” said White.

“In the fifth frame, Michael let me off a couple of times. I thought, ‘I’m going to have to make him win this’ and when it went to 3-3 I really fancied the job.

“During lockdown, it’s been really strange times, but about 10 weeks ago I was lucky enough to get into my club and I just practised solid.

“The last two weeks, I’ve played some good players and was competing against them so my game is there.

“Hopefully, I can gain a bit of confidence and get out the traps quickly against Rob Milkins because the standard is getting better and you have to win a lot more frames at one visit.

“I’m very confident in my game. I know it’s there, it is just finding it. When you are younger, it is easy to switch into the zone. I’ve got through today so I’ll kick on from there.”

‘The Whirlwind’ is only two wins away from his first visit to the Crucible Theatre for the first round of the sport’s biggest tournament since 2006 in what is astonishingly his 40th appearance at the World Championship.

It is a bitter pill to swallow for former Shoot Out winner Georgiou, who enjoyed breaks of 70, 53 and 121 yet still fell to defeat as he faces up returning to qualifying school to win back his tour card a year after himself reaching the Crucible.

Here is Jimmy’s interview after beating Michael Georgiou:

Tomorrow, next up for Jimmy is Robert Milkins.

 

Important message from Jason Francis regarding the next scheduled events

Jason Francis, Chairmam of WSS shared this on Facebook today:

ANNOUNCEMENT – LEEDS 24TH-26TH JULY

Dear ROKiT World Seniors Tour Players,

I hope this finds you all safe and well, we know we are in unprecedented times not knowing when our clubs can open, if our clubs and open but not play snooker and also when we can stage Senior Events.

We’ve been waiting on clarification from the Government and been in constant contact with the Northern Snooker Centre about the last qualifier of the season 24th – 26th July. Sadly after discussions with them, and the viability of being able to stage an event which adheres to the strict covid policies, it is with regret we are forced to cancel.

We understand players may see clubs open, and professional snooker on the television but the sheer amount of work and testing that has been involved in that, not to mention the costs of testing, make an amateur qualifying event at this stage not possible.

Everyone who has entered will be offered a refund of course and I will write to you separately.

The Seniors Board are working hard to try and make sure our World Championships go ahead in August at the crucible, we’re also already planning as to how next season could look with restrictions still likely to be in place.

We hope it won’t be too long before you are able to visit your clubs to play again, and you supporting those clubs is now more important than ever. As soon as we have more news we will update you,

Kind regards

EmptyClub

Jason

There is no doubt that Jason does everything he can to get the players playing, but it’s not in his hands, and the health and safety of everyone involved – players, referees, club staff – are the most important things to consider. We are going through uncertain times and, hopefully, when this is over, the WSS tour can resume with every single member safe, healthy and eager to play. Take good care of yourselves.

Coronavirus causes more calendar changes…

Jason Francis has today announced that the Seniors Irish Masters 2020, already postponed from March 2020 to July 2020, has now been posponed again and will be played in March 2021.

Here is Jason’s message on social media:

Following discussions with Goffs, and taking into account the current Irish Government advice and projections around events and social distancing we have decided to postpone the Senior Irish Masters due to be played in July 2020 until March 2021. We believe placing the event back in its original slot, albeit one year later, is the most sensible decision at this time . The event will be played with the same field and draw, the new dates are slightly changed now being played over Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th, with two sessions each day. All tickets remain valid to the corresponding session you booked for. We look forward to the Kildare roar in March 21 when we crown our champion with the Alex Higgins trophy.

Postponed2020IrishMastersPoster(now 2021).jpg

Also the WSS ROKiT Phones World Championship 2020, has been posponed by one week, starting now on August 19, 2020.

Crucible Legends Cup 2020 postponed.

Seniors WC 2020 posponed new poster

And here is why

The Betfred World Snooker Championship has been rescheduled, subject to government policy, to run from July 31st to August 16th at the Crucible Theatre.

Snooker’s biggest tournament was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic but following discussions with key stakeholders including Sheffield City Council, the BBC, Eurosport and Sheffield Theatres, new dates for the World Snooker Championship have been agreed.

The dates for the qualifying rounds have yet to be confirmed.

WST’s preference is to stage the event with a full crowd inside the iconic Crucible Theatre, which seats an audience of just under 1,000 spectators. If that is not possible, based on government advice at the time, WST will consider the following options:

Playing the event with a reduced crowd.

Playing the event behind closed doors.

Postponing the event to a later date again.

WST Chairman Barry Hearn said: “We are delighted to confirm new dates for this huge global sporting event which has an international television audience of 500 million people. The world is going through a very challenging period but live sport can be a massive inspiration for the public and can boost morale. This gives fans of top class sport something on their calendar to look ahead to and enjoy for 17 days.

“It is crucial for our 128 tour players to know that we are doing everything we can to get our circuit going again as soon as it is considered safe to do so by the government. The players are self-employed and they need opportunities to earn, while we keep the health and safety of everyone involved in an event of this scale as a priority.

“In recent weeks we have had intricate negotiations with our key broadcasters including the BBC and Eurosport as well as the Crucible itself and Sheffield City Council. I would like to express my gratitude to all of them as we have progressed to a solution.

“Our sincere hope is that we are able to play the tournament with a full crowd as usual. This event means so much to the fans who have a golden ticket for the Crucible experience, and to the people of Sheffield. The players will desperately want to compete in the atmosphere that only a packed Crucible can generate.

“However if that is not possible then we will give careful consideration to each scenario.”

Councillor Mary Lea, Cabinet Member for Culture Parks and Leisure at Sheffield City Council, added: “The World Snooker Championship is one of Sheffield’s annual highlights, something the city looks forward to and is immensely proud of. Although it is disappointing that so many of our events have been cancelled or postponed it is also essential while we meet the current challenges.

“I’m pleased that the Championship has been rescheduled and I really hope that it can be celebrated at the Crucible Theatre in true Sheffield style, when it is safe to do so. We will continue to work with WST and support all decisions taken, to help them deliver the competition whilst keeping everyone safe.”

The top 16 seeds earn an automatic place at the Crucible, and they will be joined by the 16 players who come through the qualifying rounds.

Tickets for the final stages will be automatically transferred to the new dates. The policy for refunds will be announced separately. All ticket holders will be contacted directly by the Box Office in due course.

The Rokit World Seniors Snooker Championship, originally planned for the August 12th to 15th, will now be played between the 19th and 22nd August. All tickets will be transferred to that same corresponding session already booked for.

ROKiT phones.com World Seniors 6 Reds Qualifying Event – Sheffield

The qualifying event for the WSS 6-reds World Championship

Sheffield Star Academy – 13-15 March, 2020

Six-reds rules apply:

sixredsrules.jpg

You can follow the event here

This is the draw:

First round (Last 48)

  1. Wayne Townsend 4-0 Chris Clarkson
  2. Ian Spawton 4-1 Andy Battams
  3. Markus Lord 1-4 Nickolas Neale
  4. James Ricardson 2-4 Philip Blackburn
  5. Mark Gray 4-1 Darren Barton
  6. Andy Papaiacovou – Mike Gillespie W/O
  7. Gary Skipworth W/0 – Simon Keenan
  8. Mark White 4-0 Adrain Atkins
  9. Ray Grail W/O – Ali Anwar
  10. Neil Carroll W/O – Dean Venables
  11. Anthony Massey W/O – Simone Zappi
  12. Johnny Stevens 1-4 Steve Bird
  13. Andrew Greaves W/O – Paul Stoves
  14. Steve Evans W/O – George Apperley
  15. Richard Wykes 4-0 David Gosling
  16. Dharmendra Patel 0-4 Adam Clarke

Last 32

Rodney Goggins – Wayne Townsend W/O
Ian Spawton 0-4 Michael Wrigley
Richard Emery 3-4 Nickolas Neale
Gary Filtness – Philip Blackburn W/O
Wayne Copper 3-4 Mark Gray
Cary Kikis – Mike Gillespie W//O
Lee S. Martin 4-1 Gary Skipworth
Mark White W/O – Lee Richardson
Michael Judge 4-0 Ray Grail
Neil Carroll 4-1 Dean Sycamore
Anthony Massey 3-4 Stuart Watson
Sean Lanigan 4-2 Steve Bird
Jonathan Bagley 4-2 Andrew Greaves
Jon Charlton 2-4 Steve Evans
Stephen Campbell 4-1 Richard Wykes
Adam Clarke 3-4

Last 16

Wayne Thownsend 4-1 Michael Wrigley
Nickolas Neale 4-0 Philip Blackburn
Mark Gray 4-2 Mike Gillespie
Lee S. Martin 2-4 Mark White
Michael Judge 4-1 Neil Caroll
Stuart Watson 4-2 Sean Lanigan
Jonathan Bagley 4-2 Steve Evans
Stephen Campbell 2-4 Patick Wallace

QFs

Wayne Townsend 3-4 Nickolas Neale
Mark Gray 4-3 Mark White
Michael Judge 4-2 Stuart Watson
Jonathan Bagley 4-1 Patrick Wallace

SFs

Nickolas Neale 0-4 Mark Gray
Michael Judge 4-2 Jonathan Bagley

The Final

Mark Gray 1-4 Michael Judge

Sniors6-redsQualSheffildFinalists.jpg

Congratulations Michael Judge!

Seniors n°1 and truly dominant at the moment!

The WSS ROKiT Phones.com 2020 Irish Masters is postponed.

SeniorsIrishMastersPoster-2

This statement has been issued today by Jason Francis:

STATEMENT
In light of the recent Corona-virus situation the Rokit World Seniors Snooker Tour and Goffs Bloodstock regretfully announce the postponement of the upcoming Senior Irish Masters Snooker. The event, due to take place on Friday 27th and Saturday 28th March will now take place on Friday 31st July and Saturday 1st August. All purchased tickets remain valid for the corresponding session, anyone wishing a refund should contact ticketmaster.ie
Player line up and match schedule to remain the same, subject to player availability