May 26, 2015

The Q-Schoolers

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:12 am
Syd Wilson came through the first Q-School

Syd Wilson came through the first Q-School

The official end of the season came yesterday as four more players were initiated into the professional ranks via the Q-School, the event as ever throwing up some unexpected names making it through.

This year’s crop is different in character to last season. The eight graduates last year were all returning professionals but this year we have 5 tour debutants, 2 returning after a short time in the amateur ranks and the other, Jason Weston, returning to the tour after over a decade, so those expecting an immediate bounce back, amongst them the likes of Marcus Campbell and Alex Davies, left disappointed. In the case of Campbell, the loss leading to him indicating that it’s time for him to hang up his cue on a long professional career.

It is also telling that all the qualifiers this year are from the UK. Paul Davison, Syd Wilson and Jason Weston from England, Dan Wells, Duane Jones and Gareth Allen from Wales and Eden Sharav and Rhys Clark from Scotland. This is despite the multitude of nationalities on show in Burton and again this indicates that as far as grass roots is concerned, the UK still has the edge.

As well as the qualifiers, such is the professional game these days that those who narrowly missed out, particularly the top 4 or 5, are professional in all but status. We are bound to see Luke Simmonds, Zhao Xintong, Adam Duffy, Alexander Ursenbacher and Andy Hicks involved in many of the main ranking events as some higher up the rankings choose not to enter and there will be a lot more down this list who will be getting calls to play in the likes of the Australian and Indian Open events, so that’s some consolation for those who left Burton feeling a little dejected.

As ever there has been a lot of talk about the fairness of this format. It is highly debatable whether the 8 players who made it are the 8 best from the Q-School field and the draw obviously plays a great part in where people finish. I’d say there are a few further down the list wondering how they finished so low, but the truth is that the players that came through were the best over the two events, so there’s not much you can do about that really.

To me, it’s more unfair that these international nominations continue to be handed out rather than every player on the tour getting there on merit, whether this be through another Q-School event overseas or some other system which rewards those who win something in a highly competitive environment.

Some of the players chosen from overseas are clearly not in the same league as their peers and the farcical way in which some of the World Championship wildcards were handed out by Jason ‘Willy Wonka’ Ferguson does nothing to improve the overall quality of the sport.

Surely we should be aiming to have the best 128 (or preferably less) players on the planet competing as professionals, not a tour held up by some players who really should get another job and leave it to those who can play a bit to compete?

Anyway, whatever the weather, very well done to the 8 who proved themselves in Burton. Despite the fact that most of them are SB Classic regulars and therefore won’t be adding their entry to the prize pot next season I wish them all well. I suppose……

The Australian Open Qualifiers start next week so some on the Order of Merit List may be getting their cues out again sooner than they might have expected judging by the number of ‘Top Ups’ in the qualifying draw.


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