Tour Survival 2019 – Two To Go

  • 19th March 2019

With just the top eight on the one-year ranking list to contest this week’s Coral Tour Championship, there are just two further counting events to be completed for the players further down the world ranking list before the end of the 2018/19 season.

Today we take an updated look at the battle for tour survival and the task facing those in and around the drop zone.

The links

Who stays on tour?

The following players will retain their professional places for 2019/20:

  • All players ranked inside the top 64 on the two-year ranking list following the 2019 World Championship
  • All players ranked outside of the top 64 on the two-year ranking list, who have joined the tour for 2018/19 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?

In recent seasons the key amount earned by the 64th ranked player at the end of the season has been:

  • 2014 – Jimmy White – £48,692
  • 2015 – Joe Swail – £54,582
  • 2016 – Stuart Carrington – £49,431
  • 2017 – Noppon Saengkham – £60,050
  • 2018 – Alan McManus – £86,900

Already current 64th placed player Zhao Xintong has £80,500 to his name with two events to be completed, meaning that it is likely that as much as £90,000 – £100,000 could be required for safety this time around.

Players who finish the season inside of the top 64 will all earn a one-year tour card for the 2018/19 season, but importantly will retain their prize money earned for the new campaign.

One year list

With eight fresh tour cards up for grabs, last year saw Zhang Anda take the final spot on the one-year list with a season total of £37,250.

At the time of writing this time around, amateur player James Cahill and Rory McLeod are tied as current eighth placed player (outside of the top 64) on £25,500 with two events still to be completed.

These players would earn a new two-year card, but see their total ranking points reset to zero at the start of the 2019/20 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 30 players are:

  • Zhao Xintong, Lu Ning, Tian Pengfei, Sam Baird, Joe O’Connor, Mei Xiwen, Zhang Anda, Jak Jones, Luo Honghao, Sam Craigie, Elliot Slessor, Alfie Burden, Craig Steadman, Oliver Lines, John Astley, Lee Walker, Ashley Carty, Thor Chuan Leong, Jamie Clarke, Zhang Jiankang, Jordan Brown, James Wattana (ITC), Chen Feilong, Harvey Chandler, Kishan Hirani, Hammad Miah, Adam Stefanow, Andy Lee, Fan Zhengyi, Simon Lichtenberg

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, for the purposes of this article I am going to look at this those currently 56th and below in the latest provisional end of season list.

Ken Doherty

Provisional EOS ranking list: 56th – £90,500 (+11,300)

One-year ranking list: 69th – £29,500 (+4,000)

Summary: Having been awarded an Invitational Tour Card from the start of the 2017/18 season, former world champion Ken Doherty made the most of his opportunity as he earned £61,000 during his ‘comeback’ campaign.

Although his results so far this season have not been quite as strong, he looks virtually certain of finishing 2018/19 back up inside the top 64, with another win either at the China Open or the World Championship surely enough to confirm his position.

Alan McManus

Provisional EOS ranking list: 57th – £88,500 (+9,300)

One-year ranking list: 63rd – £32,500 (+7,000)

Summary: Having hung on to his top 64 status last season by the skin of his teeth following a deciding-frame win against Oliver Lines at the World Championship qualifiers, this year looks like being more straightforward for Alan McManus with another win either in China or Sheffield likely to be enough to make sure.

Unlike Doherty, he could be caught on the two-year list by 65th placed Fergal O’Brien with two wins for the Irishman, rather than three, however this would also depend on McManus losing his opener and several players immediately below him winning at least one match in Sheffield.

Mike Dunn

Provisional EOS ranking list: 58th – £86,500 (+7,300)

One-year ranking list: 92nd – £20,000 (-5,500)

Summary: With just £20,000 earned so far this season Mike Dunn is largely relying on the £66,500 banked last season to preserve his tour status for another season.

Although he is already out of the China Open, with £10,000 on offer for a first-round victory at the World Championship qualifiers, one victory is Sheffield is likely to be enough to leave him safe, albeit facing a real battle over the coming 12 months if he is to stay in the top 64 in 12 months time.

Daniel Wells

Provisional EOS ranking list: 59th – £85,500 (+6,300)

One-year ranking list: 48th – £45,500 (+20,000)

Summary: Comfortably inside of the total needed to secure a fresh two-year tour card via the one-year list if he were to drop out of the top 64, Daniel Wells can at least head to Sheffield knowing that he will be on tour next season.

However, he will be hoping to do so as a top 64 player, crucially meaning that his prize money total is not reset to zero and he can build upon the strong platform that he has given himself to continue pushing up the rankings. Again, one win at the World Championship qualifiers will almost certainly make sure of this.

Liam Highfield

Provisional EOS ranking list: 60th – £84,600 (+5,400)

One-year ranking list: 77th – £25,500 (+0)

Summary: Having enjoyed a real breakthrough season in 2017/18, this season has been more challenging for Liam Highfield who will likely need to win one match at the World Championship qualifiers to make sure that he remains among the top 64.

If he were to lose his Sheffield opener, single wins for Robbie Williams, Anthony Hamilton, Zhao Xintong and Fergal O’Brien and two or more for another of the chasing pack would be enough to see him pushed out of the top 64 on the two-year list and relegated from the tour given his position on the one-year list.

Robbie Williams

Provisional EOS ranking list: 61st – £83,600 (+4,400)

One-year ranking list: 82nd – £25,000 (-500)

Summary: Three-time Crucible qualifier Robbie Williams finds himself in a similar position to Liam Highfield above him, except for the fact that he has an extra opportunity to add prize money to his tally as he takes on Judd Trump at the final stages of the China Open next month.

If he were to lose that match, again he would be looking to win one match in Sheffield to put some distance between himself and the chasing pack.

Anthony Hamilton

Provisional EOS ranking list: 62nd – £83,500 (+4,300)

One-year ranking list: 39th – £60,000 (+34,500)

Summary: Just a few months ago Anthony Hamilton’s position looked to be in real peril as he earned just £23,500 during the whole of last season, but following a bounce-back campaign which has already seen him bag £60,000 so far, he is already certain to remain on tour next term.

As with Daniel Wells above however, he will hope to do so as a top 64 player and his recent run to the semi-finals of the Indian Open has given him a real chance of doing so. One match victory would mean that even if several players above him were all to win their openers, at least three below him would also need to win multiple matches in Sheffield to push Hamilton outside of the top half.

Jamie Jones

Provisional EOS ranking list: 63rd – £81,600 (+2,400)

One-year ranking list: 94th – £19,100 (-6,400)

Summary: Currently suspended, Jamie Jones will fall outside of the top 64 if Zhao Xintong and Fergal O’Brien win their opening matches at the World Championship qualifiers.

Fergal O’Brien

Provisional EOS ranking list: 65th – £79,200 (-1,300)

One-year ranking list: 62nd – £34,100 (+8,600)

Summary: An ever-present on the professional tour since 1991, for the first time Fergal O’Brien finds his position under threat following two relatively disappointing seasons for the Irishman.

Just £1,300 behind 64th placed Zhao Xintong (not included above as he is guaranteed to be on tour next season as he is currently on the first year of a two-year card), however, O’Brien is well within touching distance of those above him and with Jamie Jones set to miss the World Championship qualifiers would move back into position for a top 64 place with a single victory in Sheffield.

Similarly, one victory would also leave him very well-placed on the one-year list, taking him to £44,100 which would likely be enough for one of the eight additional tour cards.

Dominic Dale

Provisional EOS ranking list: 66th – £72,600 (-7,900)

One-year ranking list: 72nd – £28,100 (+2,600)

Summary: Despite finding himself in real danger following a poor start to the season, there has been a noticeable upturn in Dominic Dale’s form in recent weeks, enough to lift him up inside of the top eight positions on the one-year ranking list, of those not already qualified.

At least one win, more likely two will be required for him to finish back inside of the top 64, while it will likely be a similar scenario on the one-year list.

Dale has qualified for the final stages of the China Open where he will face either Mark Selby or Craig Steadman.

Rory McLeod

Provisional EOS ranking list: 67th – £66,500 (-14,000)

One-year ranking list: 77th – £25,500 (-0)

Summary: Another long-time professional, Rory McLeod must win at least two, more likely three matches in Sheffield if he is to finish the season up inside of the world’s top 64 once again.

He is currently tied with amateur James Cahill for the final position inside of the top eight qualifiers on the one-year ranking list, but would currently finish below on countback due to Cahill’s superior result at the Indian Open. He must therefore win at least one match at the World Championship qualifiers if he is to avoid tour relegation.

Eden Sharav

Provisional EOS ranking list: 68th – £64,600 (-15,900)

One-year ranking list: 44th – £51,100 (+25,600)

Summary: Eden Sharav must win at least three matches at the World Championship qualifiers and earn a Crucible debut if he is to break into the world’s top 64 for the first time in his career.

However, following a career-best 2018/19 season which has seen him earn £51,100 to date, he is already certain to earn a fresh two-year card via the one-year list, regardless of his result in Sheffield.

Ian Burns

Provisional EOS ranking list: 69th – £63,100 (-17,400)

One-year ranking list: 60th – £36,100 (+10,600)

Summary: Having memorably retained his tour card two years ago at the last minute when Noppon Saengkham qualified for the Crucible, Ian Burns will be hoping to keep his destiny within his own hands this time around with a strong result in Sheffield.

Currently second of the eight players in line to earn a fresh two-year card via the one-year ranking list, Burns will likely need just one further win if he is to make sure of his continued presence on the circuit.

Alexander Ursenbacher

Provisional EOS ranking list: 70th – £62,700 (-17,800)

One-year ranking list: 68th – £29,600 (+4,100)

Summary: Another player whose best chance comes via the one-year list, Swiss pro Alexander Ursenbacher will likely require at least one match win in Sheffield to make absolutely sure of retaining his tour place, while nothing less than a Crucible debut would be enough to see him break into the top 64.

He also has a chance to earn further prize money at the China Open with a last 64 match against either Mark King or wildcard Bai Langning to come.

Gerard Greene

Provisional EOS ranking list: 71st – £57,600 (-22,900)

One-year ranking list: 89th – £21,100 (-4,400)

Summary: The first player on this list who must reach at least the last 16 at the World Championship to break into the top 64, Greene’s best chance of tour survival comes via the one-year list with at least one win needed for him to earn a card via that route.

Like Ursenbacher, Greene can make his task in Sheffield easier as he has qualified for the final stages of the China Open where he will face Chris Wakelin.

Duane Jones

Provisional EOS ranking list: 73rd – £48,500 (-32,000)

One-year ranking list: 71st – £28,500 (+3,000)

Summary: Despite reaching his maiden ranking semi-final at the German Masters last month, Duane Jones must reach at least the quarter-finals at the Crucible Theatre to stand any chance of breaking into the top 64.

Currently fifth of the one-year qualifiers however, he has a real chance to earn a new card via the one-year list by winning at least one match in Sheffield.

Peter Lines

Provisional EOS ranking list: 74th – £47,725 (-32,775)

One-year ranking list: 83rd – £24,000 (-1,500)

Summary: Although he has £4,500 less to his name than Duane Jones above, Peter Lines broadly speaking finds himself in a similar position with at least one, likely more victories at the World Championship qualifiers needed to secure one of the eight tour cards up for grabs via the one-year ranking list.

Xu Si

Provisional EOS ranking list: 75th – £45,000 (-35,500)

One-year ranking list: 100th – £15,500 (-10,000)

Summary: Following a disappointing season which has seen the 21-year-old earn just £15,500, Xu Si will need to win at least two matches to qualify for the Crucible if he is to pull himself into contention to earn a fresh tour card via the one-year list.

He has qualified for the final stages of the China Open where he will face Scotland’s Stephen Maguire.

Jimmy White

Provisional EOS ranking list: 76th – £43,500 (-37,000)

One-year ranking list: 98th – £16,000 (-9,500)

Summary: Similar to Xu Si above, Jimmy White finds himself some away adrift from safety on both ranking lists, needing to reach at least the quarter-finals of the World Championship for the first time since 2000 to break into the top 64.

He must win at least one match, realistically more if he is to earn a fresh two-year card via the one-year route.

Zhang Yong

Provisional EOS ranking list: 77th – £43,000 (-37,500)

One-year ranking list: 98th – £16,000 (-9,500)

Summary: See Jimmy White above.

Nigel Bond

Provisional EOS ranking list: 79th – £40,600 (-39,900)

One-year ranking list: 84th – £23,000 (-2,500)

Summary: With £23,000 to his name so far this season Nigel Bond remains in close contention to earn a fresh tour card via the one-year list if he can win at least one match at the World Championship qualifiers next month.

Bond has also qualified for the final stages of the China Open where he will face Anthony McGill at the start of April.

Joe Swail

Provisional EOS ranking list: 84th – £34,600 (-45,900)

One-year ranking list: 75th – £26,100 (+600)

Summary: Currently seventh of the eight players in line to earn a fresh two-year tour card via the one-year ranking list, Joe Swail will likely need one, possibly two wins to put himself into a really strong position to remain there at the start of May.

Robin Hull

Provisional EOS ranking list: 85th – £34,500 (-46,000)

One-year ranking list: 106th – £12,000 (-13,500)

Summary: Must reach at least the quarter-finals of the World Championship (two-year list), or win at least two matches to challenge the top eight (one-year list).

Allan Taylor

Provisional EOS ranking list: 86th – £32,850 (-47,650)

One-year ranking list: 105th – £12,100 (-13,600)

Summary: See Robin Hull above.

Paul Davison

Provisional EOS ranking list: 87th – £32,500 (-48,000)

One-year ranking list: 92nd – £20,000 (-5,500)

Summary: Must reach at least the quarter-finals of the World Championship (two-year list), or win at least one match to challenge the top eight (one-year list).

Ross Muir

Provisional EOS ranking list: 92nd – £30,600 (-49,900)

One-year ranking list: 91st – £20,600 (-4,900)

Summary: Must reach at least the quarter-finals of the World Championship (two-year list), or win at least one match to challenge the top eight (one-year list).

Rod Lawler

Provisional EOS ranking list: 94th – £27,600 (-52,900)

One-year ranking list: 87th – £22,000 (-3,500)

Summary: At the time of writing Rod Lawler must reach at least the semi-finals of the World Championship (two-year list), or win at least one match to challenge the top eight (one-year list).

He does however have the opportunity to add prize money at the China Open where he will face Thor Chuan Leong in the last 64.

Li Yuan

Provisional EOS ranking list: 96th – £26,000 (-54,500)

One-year ranking list: 132nd – £3,500 (-22,000)

Summary: Must reach at least the semi-finals of the World Championship (two-year list), or reach the last 16 at the Crucible to challenge the top eight (one-year list).

Billy Castle

Provisional EOS ranking list: 98th – £24,725 (-55,775)

One-year ranking list: 104th – £13,225 (-12,275)

Summary: Must reach at least the semi-finals of the World Championship (two-year list), or win at least two qualifying matches to challenge the top eight (one-year list).

Chris Totten

Provisional EOS ranking list: 99th – £24,000 (-56,500)

One-year ranking list: 112th – £9,500 (-16,000)

Summary: Must reach at least the semi-finals of the World Championship (two-year list), or win at least three qualifying matches to challenge the top eight (one-year list).

Niu Zhuang

Provisional EOS ranking list: 100th – £23,600 (-56,900)

One-year ranking list: 119th – £7,600 (-17,900)

Summary: Must reach at least the semi-finals of the World Championship (two-year list), or qualify for the Crucible to challenge the top eight (one-year list).

Chen Zifan

Provisional EOS ranking list: 101st – £22,100 (-58,400)

One-year ranking list: 125th – £4,600 (-20,900)

Summary: Must reach at least the semi-finals of the World Championship (two-year list), or reach the last 16 to challenge the top eight (one-year list).

Soheil Vahedi

Provisional EOS ranking list: 103rd – £21,500 (-59,000)

One-year ranking list: 113th – £9,000 (-16,500)

Summary: Must reach at least the semi-finals of the World Championship (two-year list), or qualify for the Crucible to challenge the top eight (one-year list).

Soheil Vahedi plays snooker

Ashley Hugill

Provisional EOS ranking list: 105th – £20,500 (-60,000)

One-year ranking list: 127th – £4,500 (-21,000)

Summary: Must reach at least the semi-finals of the World Championship (two-year list), or reach the last 16 in Sheffield to challenge the top eight (one-year list).

Hamza Akbar

Provisional EOS ranking list: 106th – £19,000 (-61,500)

One-year ranking list: 116th – £8,500 (-17,000)

Summary: Must reach at least the semi-finals of the World Championship (two-year list), or qualify for the Crucible to challenge the top eight (one-year list).

Lukas Kleckers

Provisional EOS ranking list: 109th – £15,600 (-64,900)

One-year ranking list: 102nd – £13,600 (-11,900)

Summary: Must reach at least the semi-finals of the World Championship (two-year list), or win at least two qualifying matches to challenge the top eight (one-year list).

Sanderson Lam

Provisional EOS ranking list: 112th – £11,500 (-69,000)

One-year ranking list: 132nd – £3,500 (-22,500)

Summary: Must reach at least the semi-finals of the World Championship (two-year list), or reach the last 16 in Sheffield to challenge the top eight (one-year list).

Sean O’Sullivan

Provisional EOS ranking list: 115th – £11,000 (-69,500)

One-year ranking list: 124th – £5,000 (-20,500)

Summary: Must reach at least the semi-finals of the World Championship (two-year list), or reach the last 16 in Sheffield to challenge the top eight (one-year list).

Rhys Clark

Provisional EOS ranking list: 121st – £6,500 (-74,000)

One-year ranking list: 130th – £4,000 (-21,500)

Summary: Must reach at least the semi-finals of the World Championship (two-year list), or reach the last 16 in Sheffield to challenge the top eight (one-year list).

Basem Eltahhan

Provisional EOS ranking list: 125th – £500 (-80,000)

One-year ranking list: 157th – £0 (-25,500)

Summary: Must reach at least the semi-finals of the World Championship (two-year list), or reach the last 16 in Sheffield to challenge the top eight (one-year list).