Category Archives: Snooker

Snooker Ace O’Sullivan To Play On Opening Night In Cheltenham

Snooker’s leading players will be in Cheltenham next month for the Coral World Grand Prix, with crowd favourite Ronnie O’Sullivan to play on the opening night.

Staged at the Centaur arena, it’s the first ever professional snooker event to be held at Cheltenham Racecourse. The world ranking event runs from February 4 to 10 with a top prize of £100,000 up for grabs.

The leading 32 players on snooker’s one-year ranking list qualify for the event. The field is not yet confirmed as there is still one more counting event, the German Masters which finishes on February 3.

However many top stars are already guaranteed a place in the draw. The following first round matches, for the current top eight players on the one-year list, have been scheduled:

Ronnie O’Sullivan

Monday February 4

7pm
Five-time World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan v opponent
2018 Masters champion Mark Allen v opponent

Tuesday February 5

1pm
Current World Champion Mark Williams v opponent
Triple Crown winner Neil Robertson v opponent

7pm
Northern Ireland Open champion Judd Trump v opponent
Cheltenham’s rising star Jack Lisowski v opponent

Wednesday February 6

1pm
World number one Mark Selby v opponent
World Open finalist David Gilbert v opponent

Ronnie O’Sullivan
Ronnie O’Sullivan won the world grand prix last year

Other top stars currently in line to qualify include John Higgins, Shaun Murphy, Stuart Bingham, Kyren Wilson, Barry Hawkins and Ding Junhui. The full draw and format will be announced as soon as it is available.

A spokesman for World Snooker said: “It’s looking like an incredibly strong field for Cheltenham, we’re delighted to see a superb line up building. This is going to be a great opportunity for the local fans to see the very best players on the planet and experience the unique thrill of live snooker.

“We have scheduled matches for the top eight so that fans know when their favourites will be in action. We expect tickets to sell extremely fast for those sessions so they must be booked quickly.

“There is a great sense of anticipation among the players to compete at the world famous Cheltenham Racecourse for the first time and we have no doubt that this will be a wonderful week of top class sporting action.”

Televised by ITV, the Coral World Grand Prix is the first in the Coral series, to be followed by the Coral Players Championship in Preston and new Coral Tour Championship in Llandudno.

Tickets for Cheltenham are now on sale and start at just £15, tremendous value for money.

For an extra special experience there are also amazing hospitality packages available for all sessions, for up to 18 people in a private box.

For details visit http://www.worldsnooker.com/tickets

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I’ll Handle Masters Pressure – Allen

Mark Allen believes he will cope with the challenge of defending the title when he heads to the Dafabet Masters next week.

Allen won the title for the first time a year ago, beating Kyren Wilson in the final. He went on to have the best year of his career in 2018, winning the International Championship and Scottish Open ranking events as well as reaching the final of the UK Championship.

The 32-year-old from Antrim has been drawn against Luca Brecel in the opening match at Alexandra Palace in London on January 13 at 1pm.

“I’ve got to deal with the tag of being defending champion and whenever I have had it before I have done reasonably well,” said Allen. “I don’t see why it should be different this time just because it is the Masters. There is a lot of pressure with the Masters because it is an elite tournament, but I am looking forward to it.

“Everyone in the top 16 can play to a really high level. Ronnie O’Sullivan aside – because he is so talented – the difference is mental. They can all beat each other on any given day. Players like Mark Selby and Mark Williams do it more consistently because they are so strong mentally. The mind is so important in elite sport.”

World number six Allen feels that, given his recent success, he deserves to be considered among the best ever players from his homeland.

“I don’t want to speak out of turn, but I feel like I am the best snooker player that has ever come from Northern Ireland, although perhaps not the best winner yet,” he said. “Obviously Alex Higgins and Dennis Taylor have won three world titles between them. In my mind, if I want to get in the conversation, I have to win the World Championship. If I do that, then perhaps I will deserve to be talked about in the same league as them.”

Mark Allen

Other top stars in the field at the Dafabet Masters, which runs from January 13 to 20, include Ronnie O’Sullivan, Mark Selby, Mark Williams, John Higgins and Judd Trump.

It’s snooker’s biggest invitation event and one of the Triple Crown tournaments alongside the World and UK Championships. An elite field of the world’s top 16 players are chasing the £200,000 top prize and famous Paul Hunter Trophy.

Tickets for most sessions are still available but BOOK NOW because they will sell out fast. VIP and corporate packages are also available for an extra special experience.

For details call 0871 620 7052 (calls cost 13p plus network access charges) or visit http://www.worldsnooker.com/tickets

BetVictor Sponsors World Snooker’s 2019 Shoot Out

BetVictor, one of Europe’s leading online gaming companies, is sponsoring the iconic World Snooker Shoot Out event for the first time.

Running from February 21-24 at the Watford Colosseum, the BetVictor Shoot Out features a fast and furious format. All matches are a single frame played over a maximum of ten minutes, with a shot clock of 15 seconds for the first five minutes and ten seconds for the last five.

The world ranking event, which will be televised by Eurosport and Quest, will see 128 players battling for the trophy, with non-strop drama creating a tremendous atmosphere for fans. Last season, Michael Georgiou won the title by beating Graeme Dott in the final.

BetVictor has been backing the sport in recent years, having sponsored the Welsh Open from 2013 for four consecutive years, and three of the Home Nations tournaments this season.

World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn said: “We have built a tremendous partnership with BetVictor in recent years as they have sponsored a wide range of tournaments. And we’re delighted to join forces with them on the Shoot Out for the first time. It is one of the most keenly anticipated events of the season due to its distinctive and exciting format. This appeals to new fans and helps us reach out to a different audience.

“The BetVictor Shoot Out is the final event before the cut off for the Players Championship so it comes at a crucial time of the season. I expect to see a strong field packed with many of the world’s top stars. For the fans in the arena and the millions watching on broadcasters including Eurosport and Quest it will be four days of thrilling action.

“We look forward to working with our colleagues at BetVictor and continuing to build a long-term partnership.”

Director of Sportsbook at BetVictor Matt Scarrott commented: “Snooker’s global relevance is rapidly growing, and as big supporters of the sport we’re thrilled to be working with World Snooker once again.”

“Snooker is one of the favourite sports among our customers and we’re excited to be sponsoring the 2019 BetVictor Shoot Out, which is set to be an exciting tournament.”

Tickets for the BetVictor Shoot Out are on sale now and start at just £15. For details visit http://www.worldsnooker.com/tickets

Snooker Supports Paris 2024 Olympic Bid

Billiard sports launched its bid to become part of the Paris 2024 Olympic Sports programme today at a special ceremony at the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

Hosted by the Billiards 2024 Committee and supported by the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) and World Snooker, the event represents a significant milestone billiard sports’ bid for inclusion at the Paris 2024 Games.

Among those present were WPBSA Vice Chairman Nigel Mawer QPM and former world professional snooker champion Shaun Murphy, who joined senior representatives from the Fédération Française de Billard (FFB) and other international organisations to support the bid.

Billiard sports previously applied to join the Olympic programme for the Tokyo 2020 Games and three years on is in a significantly stronger position to be successful as cuesports continue to grow globally.

The first step to securing Olympic status for 2024 was taken earlier this year by the World Confederation of Billiard Sports (WCBS), the umbrella organisation representing snooker, billiards and carom, when the formal submission for billiard sports to be included as an additional sport at the Paris Games was made with the full cooperation of the FFB.

A sport for all

Snooker in particular has a proven track record of staging high-quality international events with the World Snooker Tour now comprising 27 major tournaments around the world, with a television reach of 1.6 billion homes. The sport is played in approximately 100 countries with players from across the globe regularly participating.

The sport is strongly represented at both professional and amateur levels and under the guidance of former WCBS President Jason Ferguson and former General Secretary Maxime Cassis, was successfully included at the 2017 World Games in Wroclaw at which leading professional Kyren Wilson of England won the prestigious gold medal.

Snooker’s International Federation the World Snooker Federation (WSF) has since brought together professional and amateur bodies, including women’s and disability organisations, providing opportunities for all to compete on the same field of play.

WSF President Jason Ferguson said: “Today represents an important landmark in what is a serious bid for the inclusion of billiard sports at the Paris 2024 Games. With the levels of participation in our great sport consistently increasing and new opportunities being created by the WSF and its partners for people across the globe to be able to pick up a cue, the sport has never been in a stronger position to take its rightful place on the Olympic programme.”

Following today’s announcement of the bid, next year will see a further demonstration event staged in Paris which will showcase the Olympic values of billiard sports.

Betway Hoping For 147 Or 100 Centuries To Trigger Charity Donation

UK Championship title sponsor Betway are hoping for a centuries blitz or a maximum break at this year’s tournament, with a £10,000 donation to Jessie May Children’s Hospice At Home on the line.

The tournament at the York Barbican starts today and runs until December 9th, with 128 players battling for one of snooker’s Triple Crown titles.

Star names in the field include Judd Trump, Mark Selby, Mark Williams, John Higgins, Shaun Murphy, Neil Robertson, Ding Junhui and defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan.

And a 147 maximum break OR a total of 100 centuries in the whole tournament would trigger the £10,000 donation to World Snooker’s official charity Jessie May.

Since 2015, Betway has donated a total of £48,788 to World Snooker’s charity partners.

Alan Alger, PR Manager at Betway, said: “We’re looking forward to a fantastic two weeks of action in York. The best 128 players in the world are in the field and so there is no doubt the standard of play will be incredibly high.

“There have been five 147s made in the UK Championship since 2012 so there’s a good chance of another this year. And on the century count, last year there were 99 and in each of the previous two years there were 105 so we’re confident the players we’ll get to 100 this time.

“We’d love to make this donation to a wonderful cause in Jessie May so it’s over to the players to show their skills on the table!”

Jessie May Children’s Hospice at Home, based in Bristol, provides a hospice at home service for terminally ill children, offering care to families in the Bristol area.

Lindsey Horton, Corporate Partnerships Officer for Jessie May, added: “We can’t believe this amazing and generous offer from Betway and on behalf of all our families and Nurses we send a HUGE thank you for your ongoing support. We’re always cheering on the players and we know that they’ll do us proud! Bring on the centuries.”

Coral To Sponsor New Snooker Series

This season’s World Grand Prix, Players Championship and Tour Championship will now be sponsored by leading betting operator Coral, with snooker’s top players also set to battle for the newly created Coral Cup.

These tournaments were previously sponsored by Ladbrokes but the Ladbrokes Coral Group has taken a strategic decision to change the three title sponsorships to the Coral brand.

The Coral World Grand Prix will run from February 4-10 at Cheltenham Racecourse, with the top 32 players from the one-year ranking list to earn a place.

The top 16 on the one-year list will go on to the Coral Players Championship at the Guild Hall in Preston from March 4-10.

And only the top eight will make it to the Coral Tour Championship at Venue Cymru in Llandudno from March 19 to 24.

The top prizes at the three Coral Series events will be £100,000, £125,000 and £150,000 respectively, and any player taking all three titles will have his total rounded up from £375,000 to £500,000.

The player earning the most overall prize money across the three events will receive the inaugural Coral Cup.

All three events will receive extensive television coverage from ITV4.

Barry Hearn

World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn said: “The race is on to qualify for the Coral World Grand Prix with only three counting events to go, the UK Championship, Scottish Open and German Masters, before the cut off point falls. Only the best 32 players of the season will make it to Cheltenham, and then the field becomes more and more elite for the events in Preston and Llandudno.

“Every pound counts over the coming weeks and it is a huge incentive for players to qualify for the Coral Series events because they have a high level of prestige and a fantastic level of prize money. Those who make it have the chance to push further ahead in the world rankings.

“We are thrilled to be working with the Coral team on what will be an outstanding trip of tournaments which will be watched by many millions of fans across the world.”

Higgins and McManus met in the World Championship quarter-finals last year.

Simon Clare, Ladbrokes Coral PR Director said: “We are delighted to be partnering with World Snooker to launch such an exciting, new snooker series. Coral has a long history of sponsorship in snooker, but this decision to sponsor three such prestigious events and the inaugural Coral Cup is the biggest commitment we have ever made to the sport and one we are very proud to make. We can’t wait to get started.”

Tickets for all three Coral Series events are on sale now, for details visit http://www.worldsnooker.com/tickets

Currently among the top 32 of the one-year list are the likes of Mark Allen, Mark Selby, Judd Trump, Mark Williams, Ronnie O’Sullivan, Neil Robertson and John Higgins.

Hearn – Snooker Is The Land Of Opportunity

This week’s BetVictor Northern Ireland Open in Belfast has seen more than half of the top-16 ranked players crash out in the opening round, underlining the strength in depth of players throughout the World Snooker Tour.

The tournament started on Monday with 15 of the world’s top 16 among the field, and eight of those lost their opening match. Seven of those defeats came against players ranked outside the top 60, with John Higgins (4) losing to Rory McLeod (61), Barry Hawkins (6) beaten by Chen Zifan (89), Mark Allen (7) losing to Niu Zhuang (90), Kyren Wilson (9) beaten by Lee Walker (95), Shaun Murphy (10) losing to Sam Baird (110), Stuart Bingham (12) beaten by Peter Lines (73) and Marco Fu (16) losing to Chen Feilong (126).

World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn said: “This amazing set of results justifies the format for this event and highlights the unprecedented quality of players throughout our tour. The players ranked among the top 16 are rewarded in the fact that they are seeded in the draw so that they can’t meet another top-16 player until the third round, but it’s a level playing field which is what top level sport should be. And they are vulnerable in the first round because there are so many good players throughout the rankings. The standard this season and the number of centuries and 147s being made has never been higher.

Barry Hearn

“Snooker is a land of opportunity and only the cream will rise to the top. All sport is about chasing dreams, but new players need the opportunity to chase that dream, and we have that now. We have a progressive system which is based on talent rather than reputation. The top 16 have huge benefits because they are invited to the Masters, the Shanghai Masters, the Championship League, seeded into the final stages of the World Championship, and seeded in the draw for every tournament. But in most ranking events they start in the same round as all 128 players and that is a fair system.

“Our overall prize money has grown from £3.5 million to £15 million within the past decade, and there are more and more players earning a good wage. In our current rankings there are 56 players who have earned £100,000 or more from ranking events within the past two years, whereas at the end of the 2015/16 season that figure was just 33. We are extremely ambitious in our plans to grow the sport further and create more opportunities for every player on our tour.”