Tour Survival 2016/17: January Update

As the start of the new year approaches, today I take an updated look at the latest in the battle for tour survival with eight ranking events still to be completed during the 2016/17 season.

For the first time since the introduction of two-year tour cards, the qualification system has in fact been subject to something a shake-up, following the end of the European and Asian Tours which had previously offered up to 12 places.

Below I explain just how the places will be determined this season, before looking at each of the players currently in the danger zone, on an individual basis.

The Links

  • View the latest provisional end of season ranking list
  • View the latest one-year ranking list
  • View the prize money schedule for 2016/17
  • View my previous tour survival update (November 2016)

Who Stays on Tour?

This is explained in some detail on my previous article here, but in summary, the following players will retain their professional places for 2017/18:

  • All players ranked inside the top 64 on the two-year ranking list following the 2017 World Championship
  • All players ranked outside of the top 64 on the two-year ranking list, who have joined the tour for 2016/17 on the first year of a two-year tour card.
  • The top eight players ranked on the one-year ranking list, not already qualified as above.

Who will finish in the top 64?

Though it remains impossible to say with certainty what the final amount of money required to stay inside the top 64 will be, in 2014 we saw Jimmy White take the 64th and final spot with total prize money of £48,692 across the previous two seasons, while in 2015 the bar rose to £54,582. Last season the bar dipped again to £49,431, which was enough to see Stuart Carrington retain his top 64 place.

This season it is perhaps even more difficult to predict as the calendar has seen a significant change with the introduction of events such as the Home Nations Series, World Open and Indian Open (not to mention the Shoot Out), replacing the Australian Goldfields Open and European Tour events. With prize money continually on the rise however, I would be surprised if anything less than £50,000 proves to be sufficient to remain inside the top 64.

Importantly, these players will all earn a one-year tour card for the following season, but will retain their prize money earned, rather than start again from zero, as those qualifying on a two-year card by any other means will have to.

What would be sufficient on the one-year list? During the past two years, approximately £13,000 and £17,000 would have been enough, but with prize money on the rise it could be that as much as £20,000 could be needed to earn one of the eight additional spaces.

These players would earn a new two-year card, but see their total reduced to zero at the start of the 2017/18 season.

Who is on the first year of a two-year card?

Simply put, those players who are safe due to being on the first year of a two-year tour card, are those highlighted in green on the latest provisional end of season rankings page.

For the avoidance of doubt, those 34 players are:

  • John Astley, Anthony Hamilton, Yan Bingtao, Jak Jones, Scott Donaldson, Zhang Anda, Zhao Xintong, Mei Xiwen, Lee Walker, Thor Chuan Leong, Sam Craigie, Hammad Miah, Wang Yuchen, Liam Highfield, Aditya Mehta, Ian Preece, Elliot Slessor, Michael Georgiou, Kritsanut Lertsattayathorn, Adam Duffy, Cao Yupeng, Craig Steadman, Fang Xiongman, Mitchell Mann, David John, Josh Boileau, Christopher Keogan, Kurt Dunham, Chen Zhe, Jamie Barrett, Rouzi Maimaiti, Leo Fernandez, Alex Borg, Boonyarit Keattikun

What about the rest?

For everybody else, I will consider their prospects individually below, highlighting where they currently stand on the two respective lists i.e. provisional end of season ranking list and the one-year list, before trying to summarise how they stand overall.

In the circumstances, while players above could still fall back into the danger zone with a bad run over the coming months, for the purposes of this article I am going to look at this those currently 58th and below in the latest provisional end of season list.

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Gary Wilson

Provisional EOS ranking list: 62nd – £45,837 (+5,400)

One-year ranking list: 53rd – £26,362 (+13,337)

Summary: As was the case at the time of my previous look at the tour survival situation prior to the Northern Ireland Open last month, Gary Wilson’s top 64 position remains precarious as he sits in 62nd position on the provisional end of season list.

That said, by earning £10,000 from his last four events, he has boosted his position on both the two-year and one-year ranking lists and extended his advantage to the chasing pack. While a top 64 place at the end of the season is not guaranteed, with over £26,000 won this season alone so far, his tour position should be safe barring some surprising results among the chasing pack.

Daniel Wells

Provisional EOS ranking list: 63rd – £45,612 (+5,175)

One-year ranking list: 44th – £31,312 (+18,287)

Summary: In a similar position to Wilson above on the two-year list, Daniel Wells has the added advantage that more of his total prize money has been earned during the current season, all but ensuring that he will at least secure a fresh two-year tour card from the start of the 2017/18 campaign.

Currently enjoying by far the strongest season of his career to date however, he will not want to see his ranking total reset to zero once again and will be hoping to finish the season strongly to claim a top 64 position for the first time.

Dechawat Poomjaeng

Provisional EOS ranking list: 64th – £43,275 (+2,838)

One-year ranking list: 111th – £5,050 (-8,450)

Summary: Just a couple of months ago I did not see fit to include Thailand’s Dechawat Poomjaeng in the tour survival race, but following a run of first-round defeats that now stretches back to the Shanghai Masters his position is now very much in doubt.

Down to 64th on the provisional end of season list all is not lost, but over £8,000 behind on the one-year list, he must remain among the top 64 as it stands to safeguard his position.

Lawler

Rod Lawler

Provisional EOS ranking list: 65th – £40,437 (-2,838)

One-year ranking list: 65th – £19,712 (+6,687)

Summary: Despite having added £5,000 to his tally at the UK Championship, Rod Lawler has seen his position weaken slightly as those around him have earned even more since the start of November.

Due to the likes of Yu Delu and Robin Hull enjoying strong performances, Lawler has dropped just outside of the provisional top 64, but remains within touching distance of those above him and is also well-placed on the one-year list.

Joe Swail

Provisional EOS ranking list: 66th – £40,387 (-2,888)

One-year ranking list: 89th – £12,362 (-1,138)

Summary: Like Lawler above, Northern Ireland’s Joe Swail has dropped back relative to those around him during the past two months, meaning that he now stands just outside of where he needs to be on both lists, rather than being just inside.

Despite that, he played as well as he had all season at the recent Scottish Open in winning two matches and will be hoping to continue that form in 2017 to secure his position.

Ross Muir

Provisional EOS ranking list: 68th – £37,650 (-5,625)

One-year ranking list: 82nd – £13,500 (+475)

Summary: It has been a good couple of months for Scotland’s Muir, who has earned £6,500 over the past four events to keep pace with those around him on both lists.

At this stage it is perhaps too early to draw many firm conclusions, as he remains 68th on the two-year list and is currently in play to take the final tour card available through the one-year list, but knows that there is more work to do if he is to secure his position.

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Ken Doherty

Provisional EOS ranking list: 69th – £37,400 (-5,875)

One-year ranking list: 98th – £8,750 (-4,750)

Summary: Former world champion Ken Doherty remains in trouble, having earned just £2,500 since my previous assessment of the tour survival battle.

His fate remains in his own hands, with the gaps to those above him on both lists being far from insurmountable, but he needs to find form sooner rather than later as the season builds towards the pressure cooker of the World Championship qualifiers at Ponds Forge, Sheffield.

Noppon Saengkham

Provisional EOS ranking list: 70th – £36,525 (-6,750)

One-year ranking list: 85th – £13,025 (-475)

Summary: Although he has not gained ground on the top 64, it has been a good few weeks for Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham, who has earned £10,000 to get his season up and running.

Now just £475 behind Ross Muir on the one-year list, Saengkham has brought himself into the mix and will be hoping to maintain his form to at least break into the top eight for the season, if not the top 64.

Nigel Bond

Provisional EOS ranking list: 71st – £35,275 (-8,000)

One-year ranking list: 85th – £16,500 (+3,475)

Summary: Having failed to add to his total during the past two months, veteran Nigel Bond has gone from being just inside of the provisional top 64, to a significant £8,000 behind as he looks to extend his distinguished career.

Importantly, he does remain inside of the top eight players on the one-year list thanks to his early season exploits, but must start to win matches again this season if he is to stay there.

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Jamie Cope

Provisional EOS ranking list: 73rd – £32,625 (-10,650)

One-year ranking list: 103rd – £7,525 (-5,975)

Summary: As with the likes of Swail and Lawler as above, Jamie Cope has fallen back on both qualification routes during recent events and requires a strong second half of the season if he is to bring himself back into contention.

Martin O’Donnell

Provisional EOS ranking list: 74th – £31,925 (-11,350)

One-year ranking list: 111th – £5,050 (-8,450)

Summary: Without a victory since the Shanghai Masters, Martin O’Donnell is another player who can only improve during the second half of the campaign as he looks to close the gap to those ahead of him.

Rhys Clark

Provisional EOS ranking list: 75th – £28,850 (-14,425)

One-year ranking list: 69th – £19,025 (+6,000)

Summary: Although he remains some distance from the world’s top 64 on the two-year list, having earned £7,500 in recent weeks, Rhys Clark has strengthened his grip upon one of the eight tour cards available via the one-year ranking list.

Again, the Scot can not yet be certain of a new two-year card, but is well positioned (currently third of those not inside of the top 64) and will be looking for at least a couple of more match wins to make absolutely certain.

clark

Hossein Vafaei Ayouri

Provisional EOS ranking list: 80th – £26,125 (-17,150)

One-year ranking list: 88th – £12,500 (-1,000)

Summary: With no prize money to his name at the time of my previous update, the outlook appeared bleak for Iran’s only professional Hossein Vafaei Ayouri. Since then however he has earned £12,500 during the previous two months to bring himself right into contention for one of the tour cards available via the one-year list.

Further wins will be required, but crucially he has given himself a chance as we enter the business end of the season.

Jamie Burnett

Provisional EOS ranking list: 81st – £26,025 (-17,250)

One-year ranking list: 130th – £2,000 (-11,500)

Summary: Having not entered an event since the 2016 Indian Open, it now appears almost certain that long-time professional Jamie Burnett will be relegated from the main tour at the end of the current season.

Akani Songsermsawad

Provisional EOS ranking list: 82nd – £25,000 (-18,275)

One-year ranking list: 53rd – £25,000 (+11,500)

Summary: One of the most exciting young talents on the professional circuit, Thailand’s Akani Songsermsawad has continued to add to his ranking total throughout the course of the season and looks almost certain to earn a fresh two-year card via the one-year list.

In fact no player currently outside of the top 64 has earned more so far this season and it would be interesting to know how high he would now have been ranked, had he been able to compete fully during the 2015/16 season.

sos

Sean O’Sullivan

Provisional EOS ranking list: 86th – £20,800 (-22,475)

One-year ranking list: 102nd – £7,550 (-5,950)

Summary: It has been a difficult season for O’Sullivan, but there was a silver lining in Scotland recently as he reached the last 16 of a ranking event for the first time in his career.

He remains adrift on the two-year ranking list, but has at least kept himself just about within range on the one-year list and with a realistic chance of breaking into the top eight during the second half of the campaign.

Zhang Yong

Provisional EOS ranking list: 87th – £18,025 (-25,250)

One-year ranking list: 92nd – £10,025 (-3,475)

Summary: Having added £3,000 to his total since the previous event, China’s Zhang Yong has drifted from the qualifying positions on both the one and two-year lists.

As with all of the players now at this stage of my analysis, his best chance to survive will be via the one-year list, on which he does still remain within range of those above him.

Duane Jones

Provisional EOS ranking list: 90th – £17,087 (-26,188)

One-year ranking list: 77th – £16,312 (+2,812)

Summary: His results have perhaps gone a little under the radar this season, but Duane Jones has enjoyed a much-improved second season on tour and having added £5,000 to his total in recent weeks, remains in position to earn a fresh card via the one-year list.

Despite that, his advantage has still been eroded slightly by those behind him and he will know that more is needed between now and the end of the campaign.

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Allan Taylor

Provisional EOS ranking list: 92nd – £15,837 (-27,438)

One-year ranking list: 90th – £12,337 (+1,163)

Summary: Having added £4,000 to his total in recent weeks, Allan Taylor remains in more or less the same position as he was at the time of my previous update, narrowly in qualifying position on the one-year list.

As with Jones above, further wins will be needed, but his destiny remains firmly within his own hands.

Paul Davison

Provisional EOS ranking list: 93rd – £15,750 (-27,525)

One-year ranking list: 100th – £8,000 (-5,500)

Summary: The experienced Paul Davison finds himself in a similar position to Sean O’Sullivan, outside of qualifying position but just about within range following a strong showing at the UK Championship a month ago.

Jimmy White

Provisional EOS ranking list: 95th – £14,500 (-28,775)

One-year ranking list: 81st – £14,000 (+500)

Summary: Having added £9,000 to his ranking since my previous analysis back in November, Jimmy White has surged up the one-year list by 20 positions, meaning that he currently holds onto the seventh of the eight tour cards available via that route.

Again, plenty of work still to be done if he is to make certain of being among that top eight by the end of the season, but he looks to be playing well enough to do so at this stage.

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James Cahill

Provisional EOS ranking list: 98th – £13,125 (-30,150)

One-year ranking list: 93rd – £9,425 (-4,075)

Summary: One of the players to have lost out following the performances from the likes of Jimmy White in recent months, James Cahill has dropped from being £900 within the top eight on the one-year list, to over £4,000 outside, despite having won his opening match at the German Masters qualifiers this month.

Sanderson Lam

Provisional EOS ranking list: 100th – £12,725 (-30,550)

One-year ranking list: 117th – £4,025 (-9,475)

Summary: A confidence boosting run for Lam at the Northern Ireland Open has got his season off the ground, but as with Cahill above, he has nevertheless lost further ground to those above him on the one-year list in recent weeks.

Eden Sharav

Provisional EOS ranking list: 101st – £11,700 (-31,575)

One-year ranking list: 91st – £9,000 (-4,500)

Summary: As with Lam above, Eden Sharav has slipped further adrift of the top eight on the one-year list, although is in a better position with almost £5,000 extra on his total this season.

Darryl Hill

Provisional EOS ranking list: 102nd – £11,550 (-31,725)

One-year ranking list: 157th – £0 (-13,500)

Summary: Without a victory so far this season, Darryl Hill must start to win matches during the second half of the season if the Isle of Man is to enjoy continued representation on the World Snooker Tour in 2017/18.

Hamza Akbar

Provisional EOS ranking list: 103rd – £9,600 (-33,675)

One-year ranking list: 121st – £3,000 (-10,500)

Summary: Requires a strong second half of the season.

Fraser Patrick

Provisional EOS ranking list: 104th – £9,575 (-33,700)

One-year ranking list: 103rd – £7,525 (-5,975)

Summary: Requires a strong second half of the season.

Sydney Wilson

Provisional EOS ranking list: 106th – £9,250 (-34,025)

One-year ranking list: 127th – £2,500 (-11,000)

Summary: Requires a strong second half of the season.

Gareth Allen

Provisional EOS ranking list: 110th – £7,800 (-35,475)

One-year ranking list: 113rd – £5,025 (8,475)

Summary: Requires a strong second half of the season.

Michael Wild

Provisional EOS ranking list: 112th – £6,625 (-36,650)

One-year ranking list: 124th – £2,625 (-10,875)

Summary: Requires a strong second half of the season.

Igor Figueiredo

Provisional EOS ranking list: 118th – £4,000 (-39,275)

One-year ranking list: 118th – £4,000 (-9,500)

Summary: Requires a strong second half of the season, but has got off the mark following victories at each of the past two events.

Jason Weston

Provisional EOS ranking list: 123rd – £2,100 (-41,175)

One-year ranking list: 157th – £0 (-13,500)

Summary: Requires a strong second half of the season.

Hatem Yassen

Provisional EOS ranking list: 126th – £0 (-43,275)

One-year ranking list: 157th – £0 (-13,500)

Summary: Requires a strong second half of the season. Has not played since the Shanghai Masters.

Itaro Santos

Provisional EOS ranking list: 126th – £0 (-43,275)

One-year ranking list: 157th – £0 (-13,500)

Summary: Requires a strong second half of the season.