It’s once again time to take a look at what the coming month has in store for us and the striking thing about March is that it is something of a rarity, in that there is not a lot of snooker going on.
Yes, it’s like the good old days of Sir Rodney Effing himself as the baize boys find themselves with very little to occupy their time for most of the month, heaven forbid some of them might even have to spend time with their families!
I printed out a full calendar at the start of the year and for a moment I thought I was going stark raving mad as the original calendar has the qualifiers for the World Championship listed from 1st-11th of March.
Because of the late inclusion of the World Open to the calendar this has now been shifted back to 4th-15th of April, with the draw for the main event itself taking place on the following day, the 16th, just 5 days before it all starts at the Crucible.
What this means is that following the conclusion of the World Open there is nothing on until the 14th, when the PTC Finals are staged over in Galway. The likes of Ronnie, John Higgins, Robbo, Mark Selby, Ding and Judd compete against some of the less familiar names that made it through to the Finals following the 12 qualifying events. The full draw for the PTC Finals can be found here.
Another series of events nearing a conclusion is the Championship League and on the 19th and 20th the final qualifying group takes place to decide who joins Mark Allen, Barry Hawkins, Dark Mavis, Neil Robertson, Shaun Murphy and Judd Trump in the winners group which is played on the 21st and 22nd. The winner of course gets an automatic place in next year’s lucrative Premier League.
It’s then back on the plane over to China for the China Open from Beijing which is played between 26th March and the 1st April before all eyes descend on Sheffield.
So a quiet month all in all and a chance to take stock of what has been a hectic season. I don’t think it’s any bad thing to have this mini-gap in things. By the time the China Open starts we should be really in World Championship mode and this of course remains easily the best event on the calendar.
And that’s March.
Bailey Allen Hall, National University of Ireland, Galway
Championship League Group 7 and Winners Group
26 March – 1 April