The most depressing month of the year is nearly over and as the very early signs of spring start sprouting in the garden it’s time to look ahead to February and a jam packed month on the snooker calendar.
In fact, this is so jam-packed that you could possibly put it in a little jar, tightly squeeze the lid, label it up and sell it at the village fair. There are no fewer than 2 main ranking events, 2 lots of qualifiers for main ranking events, the annual jaunt to Poland, a bit of Crondon Park and even some SB Classic action wedged in there. In all, once we kick off on the 4th in Berlin there are only 2 days in the month with no snooker happening.
First up, regulars will know that the German Masters is a big favourite of mine. I made the trip a couple of years back to this fabulous city and venue and saw The Captain winning it, it’s a great event but I do wish they would give it a full week rather than the condensed few days it has. The crowds are immense and I’d hope that soon it will be lengthened and enhanced to a status more befitting of it’s popularity.
Following this are the final stages of the Championship League before going back to Barnsley for the qualifying for the Indian and China Opens. I’ll be interested in particular to see who chooses to dodge these two events, particularly China, given that it finishes just 3 days before the World Championship qualifiers begin.
Only 16 players won’t be affected by this and with everyone else having to win through to The Crucible from Round 1 this year, there could be some who’d rather spend that week on the practice table than on the other side of the world waiting for a flight home once they are beaten. In terms of India, it’s more a question of who fancies the trip and the risk of the Bombay Trots to play a best of 7 comp.
Then we come to the Welsh Open, at it’s new home in Cardiff. What used to be a really entertaining event has been ruined in recent years since the matches were shortened and again, best of 7 is the order of the day, giving it a distinctly PTC-like feel.
The Snookerbacker Classic resumes in Gloucester after a three month break and the 21st and 22nd will see a further 3 players join Jamie Clarke, Martin O’Donnell, Eden Sharav, Syd Wilson, James Brown, Ant Parsons and Sean O’Sullivan at Grand Finals Day in April. There are still a couple of places left on the Sunday, click here for details.
We end the month, and indeed start the next one, with the annual trip to Gdynia in Poland for the EPTC there. No doubt the ‘I love Gdynia’ tweets and imagery will start surfacing soon enough, but let’s hope we don’t have any more of the player promotional videos from a couple of season’s back which saw even the most hardened snooker nut racing behind the sofa in cringeworthy embarrassment.
Here’s February in a nutshell, or should I say jampot?
Tempodrom, Berlin, Germany
Indian Open/China Open Qualifiers
BetVictor Welsh Open
Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff
Snookerbacker Classic Qualifying Events
South West Snooker Academy Gloucester
Kreativ Dental European Tour 6 (pre qualifier)
Kreativ Dental European Tour 6 (Last 128)