Crucible Race 2017: Two to Go

Following Shaun Murphy’s seventh ranking event victory at the Gibraltar Open yesterday, today sees the start of the Ladbrokes Players Championship from Llandudno, the penultimate event before the final seeding list is decided for this year’s World Championship.

Following this event and the subsequent China Open at the end of the month, the top 16 players on the world ranking list as of 3 April 2017 will automatically qualify to play at the Crucible Theatre next month as seeded players. For those ranked 17th and below however, they will each have to come through three best of 19 qualifying matches at Ponds Forge in April, if they are to take their places at the biggest tournament in snooker this year.

Top 16 edge clear

With the field for the Players Championship comprising the top 16 players on the one-year ranking list as of today, it is immediately notable that 14 of those players currently positioned within the top 16 in the Race to the Crucible. With the players in action guaranteed to add at least £10,000 to their totals therefore (already included within the table), this is a significant boost to their positions, as for example 16th placed Ryan Day will virtually triple his advantage to closest chaser Joe Perry from £5,387 to £15,387.

Of the players to miss out on a place in Llandudno, Mark Allen is in no danger of missing out on the Crucible in 10th position, while the man who defeated the Northern Irishman last year in Sheffield Kyren Wilson lies in 15th place, albeit with a cushion of £53,725 to Perry in 17th position.

The chasing pack

So what of the chasing pack? For Joe Perry he must now reach at least the semi-finals of the China Open if he is to threaten Ryan Day’s position, while any wins for the Welshman this week would need Perry needing to reach at least the final in Beijing.

Interestingly however, Day has not qualified for the final stages of the China Open, meaning that if he were to lose early in Llandudno then he would be vulnerable to a deep run at the final event prior to the cut-off, from players such as Perry, Martin Gould and David Gilbert. 20th placed Mark King meanwhile is also in action at the Players Championship this week, so could still boost his position further heading into Beijing with a few wins this week.

The situation will become clearer over the coming days and a full breakdown of all of the potential climbers in Beijing will follow next week here at WPBSA.com.