The World Championship may be over but for amateur snooker players, the biggest event of the season is nearly upon us as we head to Wigan for this season’s Q School. The four semi-finalists from each of the 3 multi-player events will earn a place on the World Snooker Tour for 2019/20 and 2020/21, with a further 4 players also receiving tour cards, presumably from the Order of Merit list that runs over the three events.
It’s the usual mix of players, from those fresh from dropping off the main tour last season, to those who’ve been ploughing the amateur and senior tours in preparation, to the rookies to the no-hopers, it really is a real mish-mash of standards here and always makes for a very competitive couple of weeks.
This year a few bookmakers have priced up qualification from Event 1 which starts on Saturday, whilst Ladbrokes/Corals have also come up with a wider ‘to qualify at any point’ market.
There are some very familiar names there looking to bounce straight back on to the tour including the likes of Allan Taylor, Peter Lines, Sean O’Sullivan, Robin Hull, Ross Muir, Rory McLeod and Sandi Lam alongside a few Chinese players who are looking to re-enrol like Xu Si and Zhang Yong and European players Alexander Ursenbacher and Lukas Kleckers.
There are also familiar names to snooker fans who are also throwing their cue back into the ring after a spell away from the main tour like Jamie Cope, Barry Pinches and Andrew Pagget. We also have Reanne Evens, Rebecca Kenna and Ng On Yee in there flying the flag for the Women’s Tour as well as a smattering of players that hardened snooker fans might remember from back in the day who also fancy their chances of one last stab at the main tour.
I’ve had a few bets here and there but have avoided the favourites and looked at the capable players further down the list who are more than capable on their day of defying big odds, in Event 1 I’ve had a stab at Ben Hancorn at 80/1 and Wu Yize (who I have heard good things about) at 40/1.
I’ve had a daft multiple at Black Type which will probably bankrupt them if it wins on Sandi Lam (8/1), Barry Pinches (14/1), Leo Fernandez (25/1) and Billy Joe Castle at 12/1, all to qualify from the first event. Wish me luck with that as I’ll need it.
In terms of three lively outsiders in the ‘Qualify at any time’ market I’ve gone with Peter Devlin (15/1), Shane Castle (11/1) and a lad called Riley Parsons at 33/1, who I remember playing in my tournament a few years back and who looked very talented, he’s recently won a qualification event in Gloucester so has clearly kept it up.
The draws for all three 2019 Q School events, and the format of play are detailed on the links below. The events run from May 18 to June 4 at Robin Park Leisure Centre in Wigan.