May 10, 2013

Q’s at the Ready and a sneak SB Classic preview

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:09 am
David hopes to keep the 100% record in tact.

David hopes to keep the 100% record in tact.

Tomorrow sees the start of two more weeks of snooker as the amateurs play in their very own World Championship in pursuit of 12 more main tour places for next season at the Q-School. It is being played at the World Snooker Academy in Sheffield and will be covered on the World Snooker scoreboard, but unfortunately not live streamed.

Among the hopefuls lining up is the 2013 Snookerbacker Classic Champion David Gray who hopes to keep the 100% strike rate of champions going following 2012 champion Martin O’Donnell’s success in Q-School 1 last season. So the very best of luck to this year’s champ who is aiming at a return to the professional ranks after a few years away, a bit like a phoenix from the flames.

There are many more familiar names from the SB Classic competing, the likes of past finalists Oliver Lines, Jamie Clarke, Sydney Wilson (who faces David Gray in Q-School 1), Adam Wicheard, Zak Surety, Ant Parsons and Sanderson Lam are all in the mix along with SB Classic stalwarts like Ben Harrison, Ryan Causton, Elliot Slessor, Gaz Allen, Jack Bradford and Alex Taubman. So with such a high number of SB Classic boys and girls (I can’t leave out Reanne after all), we are surely going to be seeing a few familiar names lining up next year against the big names.

For those unfamiliar with the format, there are 3 seperate events, each in effect comprising of 4 knockout competitions all played over 7 frames. From each of the 3 Q-School events there are 4 qualifiers making a total of 12 at the end, with qualifiers from earlier events dropping out of the draw in later ones. All 12 receive a two-year tour card.

The draw for all 3 Q-School events can be found here along with the schedule of play.

The preparations for next season’s Snookerbacker Classic are well underway and most of the dates and venues are now confirmed. I’m in the process of getting some promotional things sorted out and this year will see two big new initiatives. The first will be an Order of Merit list which will run alongside the main event and determine two finalists (Finals Day will now involve 16 rather than 8 players) and the second is Ref School, more details on that exciting initiative to follow for budding referees.

The Classic will also be upping the game when it comes to prize money, with prizes extended to the Last 16 and a total prize fund increase of a massive 50% to over £6000. This makes the Snookerbacker Classic the most financially lucrative event for amateurs in the UK.

In short, the SB Classic (adopts X-Factor style booming voice…..JUST GOT BIGGER)

As well as the two Q-School places up for grabs for the winner and runner-up, there is also the chance for those who do well to attract the interest of sponsors. Indeed Sanderson Lam did just that with his run to the semi-finals last season where he was narrowly pipped by the eventual winner Gray, he was actually spotted by a sponsor interested in putting a player through Q-School and as a result lines up in Sheffield from tomorrow.

Sandi said ‘All amateurs wanting to do well in snooker need to enter the Snookerbacker Classic. It is a great tournament and is run as a tournament should be. It is the best amateur competition there is and it brings out the best in you and gives you the exposure to attract sponsors like I did, without the SB Classic I might not be in Q-School this year and I didn’t even win it!’

But for now it’s just left to wish all the players the best of luck, especially those that I have had the pleasure of meeting these past two seasons.

Hopefully I won’t be seeing too many of you again next time.

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