World Championship 2017: Tour Survival Blog

With just one day to go until the start of the 2017 Betfred World Championship qualifiers it is time for my annual live blog, which will track all of the key movements in the race for tour survival as the tournament progresses.

For those who can finish up inside of the top 64, or in the top eight of the one-year ranking list, not including those players, they will remain on tour. For the others however, they will need to come through Q School next month if they are to retain professional status.

Last weekend I explained in depth how the system works and who is in danger of dropping off, a post which you can read here, but below are the latest tables, updated every day during the action in Sheffield…

  • Click here to view the draw for the World Championship qualifiers (pdf)
  • Click here to view the format
  • Click here to view the draw (snookerorg)
  • Click here to view the latest provisional end of season rankings
  • Click here to view the prize money tariffs for this season
  • Click here to read my pre-tournament blog

Live Standings

The full two year breakdown can be found here, however below I have reproduced a simplified list to show only the players fighting for their main tour status, which will be updated with players being ‘struck out’ as the tournament progresses to show the current live position.

  • Players in dark green are currently inside the top 64 provisionally and as it stands will remain on tour
  • Players in blue are currently set to qualify through the one-year list
  • Players in red are currently set to be relegated from the tour
  • Players in purple are on the first-year of a two-year card
  • Players with their names struck through are out of the Betfred World Championship

Latest in-running tour survival battle (two-year ranking list):

56th – Yan Bingtao – 71,125 (r32)

57th– Gary Wilson – 68,862 (r32)

58th – Li Hang – 68,075 (r48)

59th – Hossein Vafaei Ayouri – 65,625 (r48)

60th – Oliver Lines – 64,787 (r80)

61st – Alfie Burden – 64,350 (r80)

62nd – Daniel Wells – 63,512 (r80)

63rd – Chris Wakelin – 61,275 (r80)

64th – Noppon Saengkham – 60,050 (r32)

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65th – Scott Donaldson – 59,525 (r80)

66th – Ian Burns – 57,812 (r144)

67th – Ross Muir – 55,150 (r80)

68th – Rod Lawler – 52,437 (r48)

69th – Robin Hull – 52,375 (r144)

70th – Dechawat Poomjaeng – 51,275 (r80)

71st – Joe Swail – 49,387 (r80)

72nd – Nigel Bond – 48,275 (r80)

73rd – Ken Doherty – 47,400 (r80)

74th – Martin O’Donnell – 46,950 (r80)

75th – Rhys Clark – 42,250 (r80)

77th – Jamie Cope – 39,125 (r144)

79th – Akani Songsermsawad – 37,500 (r48)

83rd – Eden Sharav – 30,225 (r80)

84th – Jamie Burnett – 26,025 (N/A)

86th – Allan Taylor – 23,737 (r144)

88th – Sean O’Sullivan – 23,300 (r144)

90th – Paul Davison – 22,250 (r144)

92nd – Sanderson Lam – 20,950 (r144)

93rd – Jimmy White – 20,025 (r144)

94th – Zhang Yong – 19,550 (r144)

97th – Duane Jones – 17,612 (r144)

99th – Sydney Wilson – 17,250 (r80)

103rd – Darryl Hill – 15,050 (r144)

104th – Fraser Patrick – 14,600 (r144)

105th – James Cahill – 14,125 (r144)

109th – Gareth Allen – 11,800 (r144)

110th – Igor Figueiredo – 11,725 (r144)

111th – Hamza Akbar – 10,100 (r144)

116th – Michael Wild – 6,625 (r144)

123rd – Jason Weston – 2,600 (r144)

125th – Itaro Santos – 0 (r144)

125th – Hatem Yassen – 0 (r144)

Latest in-running tour survival battle (one-year ranking list):

1 – Akani Songsermsawad – 37,500

2 – Rhys Clark – 32,425

3 – Robin Hull – 32,375

4 – Rod Lawler – 31,712

5 – Ross Muir – 31,000

6 – Nigel Bond – 29,500

7 – Eden Sharav – 27,525

8 – Ian Burns – 23,862

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10 – Peter Lines (A) – 22,712

11 – Joe Swail – 21,362

12 – Allan Taylor – 20,237

13 – Martin O’Donnell – 20,075

14 – Jimmy White – 19,525

15 – Ken Doherty – 18,750

16 – Duane Jones – 16,837

17 – Andy Hicks (A) – 16,050

18 – Paul Davison – 14,500

19 – Jamie Cope – 14,025

20 – Dechawat Poomjaeng -13,050

21 – Fraser Patrick – 12,550

22 – Sanderson Lam – 12,250

23 – Igor Figueiredo – 11,725

24 – Zhang Yong – 11,550

25 – Syd Wilson – 10,500

Wednesday Blog

Heading into the final qualifying round of this year’s World Championship qualifiers, the key matter to be resolved in respect of the tour survival battle was as to whether Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham could qualify for the Crucible – in the process earning Ian Burns a tour card reprieve.

With Saengkham trailing Welsh veteran Lee Walker 6-3 overnight, the situation looked bleak for Burns, but tonight saw a key turnaround as the Thai turned the match around with top breaks of 134 and 122 to secure a 10-8 victory.

The result lifts the Thai player two places the provisional end of season list, meaning that he now retains his tour card (and crucially his prize money) as a top 64 player. This means that the place that he previously occupied on the one-year list now becomes free and goes to the next player on that list, which despite his first round exit last week is Ian Burns.

In fact nobody loses out in this instance, as Scott Donaldson, who now drops out of the top 64, is on the first year of his current two-year card and so is already safe for another season regardless.

With all of the players outside of the provisional top 64 now out of the tournament, nothing else can change during the venue stage of the World Championship and so the tour survival battle is concluded for another year!

Monday Blog

Monday proved to be a decisive day for many players in the battle for tour survival, as 21 second round matches were played to their conclusion.

Defeats for 1997 world champion Ken Doherty, two-time Crucible semi-finalist Joe Swail, Dechawat Poomjaeng and Syd Wilson confirmed their relegations from the tour, while amateur Peter Lines fell short of regaining a tour card by losing out to Gary Wilson. For Lines however, he does have this week’s EBSA play-offs to look forward to on Wednesday as another opportunity to regain his professional status.

It was a better day however for both Noppon Saengkham and Rod Lawler, for whom victories cement their positions inside of the top eight on the one-year list, Saengkham now within one match of breaking into the top 64 on the two-year list if he can defeat Lee Walker.

So what can still change? Ultimately the remaining interet centres upon whether Saengkham (last 32), Lawler (last 16) or Songsermsawad (QF), can break into the top 64 on the two-year list at the expense of Scott Donaldson. While this would not particularly affect Donaldson, it would effectively open up an extra place on the one-year list, which in turn would earn Ian Burns a reprieve in respect of his tour card.

Sunday Blog

With just one session of matches to a finish on Sunday, there were relatively few key matches concluded in respect of the tour survival battle as the second round got underway.

An excellent win for 17-year-old Yan Bingtao took him up to 56th position in the provisional list, all but confirming that the Chinese rookie will finish his first season inside of the top 64.

Defeat for Scott Donaldson on the other hand means that he must now wait on other results to see if he will also break into the 64 after the first season of his two-year card. His defeat however does leave Ian Burns with a glimmer of hope of a top eight spot, if somebody behind can go on a run this week and displace Donaldson. Burns is currently one place outside of where he needs to be on the one-year list to earn a new card, but this could still change.

Holding on to the final tour card via the one-year list at present is Eden Sharav, who following defeat to Michael Holt last night must now hope that the likes of Peter Lines and Joe Swail cannot qualify for the Crucible to displace him.

The action continues on Monday with players including Ken Doherty, Swail, Nigel Bond, Rod Lawler, Ross Muir and Dechawat Poomjaeng looking to preserve their tour status.

Saturday Blog

23:29 – Victory for Hossein Vafaei this evening moves him back into the top 64 where he began the week following his semi-final run at last week’s China Open.

The result now pushes Ian Burns, who began the week provisionally in 56th position, outside of the top 64 and as it stands now also outside of the top eight qualifiers on the one-year ranking list who will earn a tour card. The only realistic hope for Burns is that Ross Muir can qualify for the Crucible, which would push Scott Donaldson outside of the top 64 potentially, freeing up a place on the one-year list.

Also this evening, victories for Ken Doherty, Noppon Saengkham and Syd Wilson kept their hopes of tour survival alive, especially for Saengkham as the Thai player surged into eighth position on the one-year list of players not already inside of the top 64.

19:55 – The final day of the first round qualifiers at Ponds Forge and important wins so far for Dechawat Poomjaeng, Rod Lawler and Joe Swail, who all kept their hopes of tour survival alive going into the second round.

Best placed is Lawler, who now moves into seventh place on the one-year list of players not already inside the top 64, with the top eight to earn fresh tour cards at the expense of Peter Lines. For Swail and Poomjaeng, further wins are needed if they are to be in with a chance of retaining their pro places.

Elsewhere, an important win for Oliver Lines, who moves from 64th provisionally up to 56th, safeguarding his position inside of the world’s top 64.

For Allan Taylor, Zhang Yong, Sanderson Lam and Duane Jones however it is the end of the road, afternoon defeats knocking them off the tour.

Friday Blog

2:51 – A huge story tonight at Ponds Forge as a 10-7 defeat for Jimmy White at the hands of Jack Lisowski means that the Whirlwind, an ever-present on the tour since 1980, looks set to drop off the professional circuit at the end of the season.

Outside of both the top 64 on the two-year ranking list, as well as the top eight non-qualified on the one-year list, White must now come through Q School next month if he is to remain a part of the top 128.

Elsewhere in the top 64 race, victory for Scott Donaldson this evening saw him break into provisional top 64 in 62nd place, at the time knocking China’s Yan Bingtao out of position. The talented youngster however hit back from 8-4 down to Sam Craigie, winning the final six frames to seal victory and surely a top 64 place following his incredible rookie season, now up to 59th.

Their victories mean that dropping out of the top 64 as it stands is Scotland’s Ross Muir (who moved into that bracket earlier in the week), however he would move into position to claim one of the eight available cards by virtue of his position on the one-year list. Dropping down to 63rd is Oliver Lines, who is level at 4-4 with Duane Jones overnight, while the already defeated Ian Burns will now be sweating on other results in 63rd.

On the one-year list there have also been key movements, with victory for Eden Sharav against Jamie Cope seeing the Scot move into position for one of the eight available tour cards as it stands. Together with Ross Muir taking another of these spots thanks to Donaldson’s win, this means that both Noppon Saengkham and Allan Taylor fall out of qualification position, although both will be in first round action tomorrow.

As well as Jimmy White, there have also been tour relegations confirmed today for Jamie Cope, James Cahill, Igor Figueiredo, Michael Wild and Itaro Santos.

16:33 – Day three in Sheffield and today sees perhaps more matches that will directly affect the tour survival than any day previously, with no fewer than 12 of the relevant players in action.

Among them, six-time World Championship finalist Jimmy White is taking on Jack Lisowski, trailing 5-4 after the opening session of what was an intriguing contest. both Eden Sharav and Jamie Cope find themselves in the drop zone, Sharav leading by a frame after their first session, while Brazilian duo Igor Figueiredo and Itaro Santos trail 5-4 and 9-0 respectively.

Thursday Blog

0:27 – Another big evening in the battle for tour survival as a 10-7 defeat for Ian Burns leaves him relying on other results if he is to remain inside the world’s top 64. Having started the week provisionally 56th, he is now down to 61st and must hope that others behind him cannot overtake him between now and the end of the tournament.

Among those to overtake him today were Alfie Burden, Daniel Wells and Gary Wilson, who all emerged victorious to consolidate their positions inside the world’s top 64.

Breaking into the top 64 for the first time meanwhile was Scotland’s Ross Muir, who moves in at 63, displacing Iranian’s Hossein Vafaei. Although Hossein is still to play his opening match in Sheffield, he would still be in a position to comfortably earn a fresh card via the one-year list, but will of course be hoping to reclaim a place inside of the top 64.

There was another key movement on the one-year list as amateur Peter Lines defeated Thepchaiya Un-Nooh to break into the top eight in sixth position of those not inside of the top eight. He displaces fellow veteran Rod Lawler, who now looks likely to need to win his first round match against Xu Si later this week if he is to remain on tour.

Martin O’Donnell meanwhile has also brought himself into contention with a dramatic first round win tonight, but must still win another match this week if he is to stand a chance of earning a fresh card via the one-year list.

16:46 –  Two important results are in from the afternoon session as both Rhys Clark and Nigel Bond have strengthened their positions on the one-year ranking list with victories against Wayne Townsend and Ng On Yee respectively.

First through was Clark with a comprehensive 10-1 win which moves him into first position on the one-year list, from which he is now a near-certainty to earn a fresh two-year card.

For Bond, his 10-1 success against world women’s champion On Yee lifts him up from sixth to third position on the list, significantly boosting his prospects of extending his unbroken spell on tour dating back to 1989.

Wednesday Blog

01:05 – An incredible 10-8 victory for 11-time world women’s champion Reanne Evans means that Robin Hull will now definitely drop out of the world’s top 64 at the end of the season. Although he remains well-placed to earn one of the eight available tour cards via the one-year ranking list, he will now see his ranking total reset to zero at the start of his new two-year card.

Elsewhere, defeats for Paul Davison and Fraser Patrick effectively end their hopes of avoiding Q School if they are to remain on tour.

Victories for Li Hang and Chris Wakelin however have significantly boosted their hopes of remaining inside the top 64, as they climb to 56th and 57th positions respectively on the two-year list.

17:29 – Of the players in action on day one at Ponds Forge, Finland’s Robin Hull is perhaps the most notable and is currently in a tight battle with 11-time world women’s champion Reanne Evans following their opening session. Hull got off to a fast start to lead 2-0, but back came Evans to stay close in the match at just 4-5 behind heading into tonight’s final session.

As historic as a potential victory for Evans might be, in respect of Hull’s tour position it would also be equally significant on a personal level, as defeat would leave him definitely outside of the top 64 and facing the reduction of his ranking total to zero at the start of next season, albeit on a fresh two-year card.

Elsewhere, 63rd place Chris Wakelin leads Elliot Slessor 6-3 as he looks to take a huge step towards securing his own top 64 position by reaching the second round, while Fraser Patrick, whose best chance for survival is likely to come via the one-year list, takes a narrow 5-4 lead into the evening session against Li Hang.

For Paul Davison there is trouble however, as he trails Northern Ireland Open winner Mark King 6-2 after their opening session.

Pre-tournament

And so it begins, with potential of scope for movement on both the two-year and one-year lists above which could dramatically alter who stays on tour at the end of the season depending on the results this week at Ponds Forge.

Normally I would begin by picking out matches of particular interest, but this year with a new system (bye bye European Order of Merit, hello one-year list), there are far more matches which could have a significant effect on the qualification race.

Of the less obvious potential changes, if Scott Donaldson can break into the top 64 on the two-year list, a place would effectively be taken away from the one-year list as the player who he would be replacing would likely qualify via that secondary list.

Conversely, if Yan Bingtao were to drop out of the top 64, he would still be safe on tour as a rookie this season, but there would be an opportunity for one of the chasing pack to take his place.

With £8,000 on offer for a first-round win, there are 11 players potentially within a single victory of breaking into that top eight, although of course they will be very much chasing a moving target with those above them also in action.

Check out the latest schedule and follow my updates here from tomorrow.

Follow @prosnookerblog for all of the latest from the venue as the situation develops.