O’Connor’s perfect break came in the third frame of his group match against Slessor in Leicester, putting him 2-1 ahead. He went on to win the mach 3-2, making further breaks of 132, 72 and 85.
147 Milestones First: Steve Davis, 1982 Lada Classic 50th: David Gray, 2004 UK Championship 100th: Mark Selby, 2013 UK Championship 150th: Zhou Yuelong, 2019 Indian Open 200th: Joe O’Connor, 2024 Championship League
It’s the 11th maximum of the 2023/24 season, and a new landmark for world number 30 O’Connor, whose previous top break was 143.
The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) are delighted to announced that the ‘Introduction To Snooker’ sessions in support of Parkinson’s UK will be taking place at the Elite Snooker Club in Preston between March and May.
Seven host clubs across the country, affiliated by the 147 Club Scheme, had initially been announced with the Elite Snooker Club in Preston now bringing this total to eight.
The sessions, which take place between February and May, will engage with local Parkinson’s UK groups to offer free two-hour sessions hosted by WPBSA coaches offering basic-level, fun snooker coaching, as well recreational group play and the opportunity to socialise with fellow group members.
The WPSBA’s Head of Coaching and Training Development Manager Chris Lovell will host the sessions in Preston with the first taking place at 12:30 on Monday 18th March.
A full list of times, dates and locations can be found below:
Hasanain Khalid Alsultani defeated Sargon Isaac 5-4 in the final of the second Q Tour Americas event at the PABSA Academy in San Jose, USA.
The victory sees the American join Canada’s Vito Puopolo, the winner of event one, in the top two spots in the Q Tour Americas series ranking list and secure an invite to the Q Tour Global Play-Off in Bosnia & Herzegovina next month, where three World Snooker Tour cards will be on offer.
Twenty-eight players from USA and Canada headed to Northern California to compete in the final regular Q Tour event of the 2023/24 season.
Neither Puopolo nor Jason Williams, the two finalists from the first event held in Toronto, were involved this time around and so those at the event knew that lifting the title would also secure qualification for the Global Play-Off.
Victories over Andy Mccloskey and Sanaullah Ansari saw Alsultani book his place in the quater-finals where he met two-time United States national champion Ajeya Prabhakar.
Prabhakar twice led in the early stages of the best-of-seven frame contest but Alsultani ultimately proved too strong, winning the final three frames of the match to win 4-2 and reach the final four, where he would comfortably overcome Sam McGrath 4-1.
On the opposite side of the draw, three-time United States national champion Isaac was the beneficiary of a first round bye before beating Fawad Sediqi in a hard-fought deciding frame to reach the last eight.
Back-to-back whitewash wins over Nitin Mehta and Canadian Karam Namek saw Isaac set up a final meeting with Alsultani on Sunday afternoon.
The title match was a tense and nervy affair with both players struggling to get into a rhythm.
Alsultani took the opener and by the time the mid-session interval arrived, he had opened up a two-frame lead over his fellow American at 3-1. The next two frames were then shared to take the scoreline to 4-2 and move Alsultani just one away from the title.
Isaac fought back valiantly, however, to take the next two and force a final frame decider.
Ultimately, however, it was Alsultani who managed to get over the line and secure the Q Tour Americas event two title.
The WPBSA and WST have today jointly confirmed the provisional tour card structure for the 2024/25 World Snooker Tour.
As in previous seasons, the top 64 players on the official world ranking list following the 2024 Cazoo World Championship will remain on tour.
They will be joined by up to 31 players who are currently on the first year of a two-year tour card, as well as the top four players on the one-year ranking list, not already qualified.
The tour will be completed by players who successfully qualify through recognised tour qualification pathways that reflect the continued growth of snooker around the globe.
These once again include Q School UK/Europe and Q School Asia-Oceania, where a total of twelve two-year tour cards will be on offer.
Two places were recently won at the World Snooker Federation (WSF) Championships, snooker’s most prestigious international amateur championships, in Albania earlier this month. Ka Wai Cheung of Hong Kong China claimed a dominant victory in the final of the mixed gender WSF Championship to secure his place, while 17-year-old Bulcsú Révész claimed victory in the WSF Junior Championship to become Hungary’s first ever professional player.
Snooker’s premier amateur tour, the newly-expanded WPBSA Q Tour Global will carry four places – one to the number one ranked player in UK/Europe, already confirmed as Michael Holt, while three more will be up for grabs at the Global Play-Off to be held in Bosnia and Herzegovina in March.
The World Women’s Snooker (WWS) Tour, which was established as an official tour qualification pathway in 2021, will again offer two places – one to the Women’s World Championship winner and another to the highest-ranked player not on the World Snooker Tour. Should either Reanne Evans or Baipat Siripaporn win the world title again in March, the second card will also go to the next highest ranked player on the WWS ranking list.
The final places will be claimed by recognised regional qualifiers from Europe, the Americas, Africa and the Asia-Pacific regions, in addition to the CBSA China Tour.
Jason Ferguson, WPBSA Chairman said: “We are pleased to confirm the minimum guaranteed World Snooker Tour structure for the 2024/25 season.
“We now have a robust and established Tour qualification structure which provides opportunities for aspiring amateur players around the world to earn their professional places, as well as current players the chance to retain their spots.
“The continued growth of the WPBSA Q Tour Global – which this season has seen its number of Tour places double to four – is a significant step, with the relaunched Global Playoff in Bosnia and Herzegovina set to include players from the UK/Europe, Americas, Middle East and Asia-Pacific regions for the first time.
“Together with the two places won at the WSF Championships, the biggest competition in amateur snooker globally, earlier this month, our commitment to our network of global partners and our international qualification structure is clear and will only continue to strengthen in future seasons.”
Full qualification list:
Top 64 from the two-year Prize Money World Rankings after the 2024 World Championship: 64
Players awarded a two-year Tour card for the 2023/2024 season (not already qualified): 31*
Top 4 players from 2023/2024 one-year ranking list following the 2024 World Championship (not already qualified)** 4
Q School UK/Europe**: 8
Q School Asia-Oceania**: 4
WPBSA Q Tour**: 4
WSF Championship**: 1
WSF Junior Championship**: 1
World Women’s Snooker Qualifiers**: 2
EBSA European Qualifiers**: 2
APBSF Asia Pacific Qualifier**: 1
PABSA Americas Qualifier**: 1
ABSC Africas Qualifier**: 1
CBSA China Tour**: 2
*Final total subject to change if any of these players finish inside of the top 64 of the two-year prize money rankings after the 2024 World Championship
**Players will receive a two-year tour card
In addition to these minimum guaranteed places, there may be additional Invitational Tour Cards and/or places for any player who qualifies for the final stages of the Cazoo World Championship at the Crucible, who otherwise would not earn a new tour card. Q School numbers may also be reviewed subject to tour numbers at the season end.
The position in respect of these potential qualification routes will be confirmed prior to the release of the entry pack for the Cazoo World Championship.
The top 16 players from the one-year rankings head for Telford for the Johnstone’s Paint Players Championship, which runs from February 19-25.
Ronnie O’Sullivan, Judd Trump, Mark Allen, John Higgins, Mark Selby, Ding Junhui, Mark Wlliams and many more green baize giants are in the field for the second event in the 2024 Players Series. The draw and match schedule will be announced on Monday.
Book tickets from just £25 here, or watch from home on one of these broadcasters:
UK ITV – for listings click here And for the first time, table two will be streamed live with commentary on ITVX
Europe (excluding UK and Ireland) Eurosport and discovery+
The first of the recently announced ‘Introduction to Snooker’ coaching sessions, supported by Parkinson’s UK, have taken place this month at the Hazel Grove Snooker Club in Stockport.
Led at the club by WPBSA Level 2 Snooker coach Danny Connolly, the sessions in Stockport have proved a great success with groups enjoying two-hour sessions featuring both basic-level, fun snooker coaching on different drills and techniques, followed by recreational group play.
Support by funding from Parkinson’s UK, the sessions are taking place between February and May and will be held across the country – with seven host clubs, affiliated by the 147 Club Scheme, already confirmed.
Reflecting on the scheme, WPBSA Club and Facilities Manager Bob Hill said: “This is a project that we are incredibly excited and passionate about and we are delighted to have the support of Parkinson’s UK.
“We look forward to welcoming groups to our sessions over the coming months and showcasing the benefits that snooker can offer.”
The seventh and final event of the WPBSA Q Tour UK/Europe series gets underway on Friday 16 February at the Northern Snooker Centre in Leeds.
A total of 117 players from 21 countries have entered the final event of the Q Tour UK/Europe series, which takes place in Leeds over the weekend, including recent WSF Junior champion Bulcsu Revesz.
Michael Holt has already secured a two-year World Snooker Tour card as a result of finishing top of the series ranking list but it remains all to play for with a further 18 places at the Global Q Tour play-off on offer via Q Tour UK/Europe.
The 2024 WSF Championship reaches its conclusion on Sunday 11 February when four players from four different nations will be competing for the title and a two-year World Snooker Tour card.
Held at the Grand Blue Fafa Resort in Golem, Albania, the most prestigious event in amateur snooker began last weekend with 211 players from 38 countries battling through five and a half days of group stage action to narrow the field to 86.
From there, the drama-filled knockout stages further reduced the field to 16 players as the event entered into the weekend. Now, as the final day dawns, just four remain.
KA WAI CHEUNG VS. IULIAN BOIKO
The first semi-final will get underway at 10am CET and will see Hong Kong China’s Ka Wai Cheung take on Ukraine’s Iulian Boiko.
Ka stormed through the group phase and dropped just a single frame on his way to topping the group with four wins from four.
He kept up the dominant form in the early knockout rounds and Luke Pinches was the only player to take a frame off Ka up to the quarter-final stage, where the Asian cueist overcame England’s Oliver Sykes 4-2 having trailed 2-0 to book his place in the last four.
His opponent Boiko knows what it takes to reach the title match in this prestigious championship, having lost in the final in 2020 to Ashley Hugill.
After finishing second in his group, Boiko defeated Ryan Gibson in the first knockout round to reach the last 64.
From there, he could not have faced a much tougher route to the semi-finals – beating experienced former professionals Barry Pinches and Duane Jones and Austrian champion Florian Nuessle before coming through a dramatic final frame decider against Wang Yuchen in the last eight.
DANIEL WOMERSLEY VS. GAO YANG
The 2020 WSF Junior champion Gao Yang remains on course to become the first player in WSF history to win both the Open and Junior championships.
Gao impressively topped his group without losing a frame before overcoming final frame deciders against Sean Maddocks and Kreishh Gurbaxani en route to the quarter-finals – where he defeated Nattanapong Chaikul 4-2.
Standing in Gao’s way will be Daniel Womersley, who is the last remaining English player in the tournament.
After topping his group with three wins from three, victories over Kian Dennett, Josh Mulholland and Luke Simmonds saw Womersley reach the quarter-finals.
Latvian Rodions Judins charged into a 3-0 lead in the quarter-final encounter with a break of 86, but Womersley determinedly battled back to eventually win the match 4-3.
The semi-final between Womersley and Gao is scheduled to begin at 1pm CET, with the final set to get underway at 6pm CET.
Ka Wai Cheung has defeated Gao Yang 5-0 in the final of the 2024 WSF Championship to secure the title and his status as a main tour professional for the first time at the Grand Blue Fafa Resort in Albania.
Cheung’s victory continues Asia’s dominance in snooker’s most prestigious amateur competition, which has been won by players from the continent in four of its five editions, with the 24-year-old following in the footsteps of Luo Honghao (2018), Si Jiahui (2022) and Ma Hailong (2023).
The result means Cheung will compete on the main tour in the 2024/25 and 2025/26 seasons for the first time in his career and also denied 2020 WSF Junior champion Gao the feat of becoming the first player to win both the Junior and Open events.
The man from Hong Kong China was in dominant form all week, dropping just four frames in ten matches, and also fired in the tournament high break of 138 en route to a 4-0 semi-final victory over former Ukrainian professional Iulian Boiko, runner-up at the event in 2020.
After topping his group with four straight victories, Cheung overcame Oskar Charlesworth, Luke Pinches, Harvey Chandler, Oliver Sykes and Boiko to set up a final meeting with Gao.
The former professional from China had battled his way to the final by winning three final frame deciders, including a dramatic 4-3 semi-final victory over England’s Daniel Womersley earlier in the day.
The nerves were clearly apparent from both cueists in the early exchanges, but it was Cheung who managed to get over the line in a scrappy opener before doubling his advantage courtesy of breaks of 52 and 39 in the second frame of the evening.
Gao desperately needed to find something quickly after also losing a scrappy third frame and he looked to have found some form when he got in first in frame four and scored a break of 53.
However, Cheung showed determination to fight back and get a snooker on the colours when only able to tie before eventually winning it on the final black to head into the mid-session interval just one frame away from the title.
A break of 60 from Cheung upon their return was enough to complete the whitewash victory and secure both the title and a two-year World Snooker Tour card.
“It is every player’s dream to join the World Snooker Tour,” said Cheung. “I just feel very happy and surprised with my performance, especially in the semi-finals with back-to-back centuries. I played my own game and tried to play like it was practice, which is not easy, but my performance gave me a lot of confidence for the final.
“In the final, the fourth frame was big as I already thought it was 3-1 at the mid-session interval but I tried to play the shot I thought was right and the result came.”
“This is the biggest achievement in my snooker life, I think. I have always wished to be a professional player, so I am really happy to make this happen. It is also a significant result for our sport and I hope that the Hong Kong government will consider to keep Billiard Sports in the Hong Kong Sport Institute instead of asking us to leave in 2025.
“I’ve been a part of the Hong Kong Sports Institute (HKSI) for around 7-8 years as a full-time athlete and even when I was younger, I was a part-time junior athlete. Every tournament, every competition I get support from the HKSI and HKSBCC.
“I have always had a lot of support and encouragement from people in Hong Kong to play more and to chase my goal to earn a [World Snooker] Tour ticket. I am grateful to the HKSI because we get a lot of support to go to all the places to get experience and to play competitions and practice with high standard players. I hope this can remain unchanged in the future so that I can have an easier way to do well in the World Snooker Tour.
Cheung has played snooker since he was 10 years old after he watched the sport on TV and counts former ranking event winner Marco Fu as one of his key inspirations in the sport:
“Marco Fu is always like an idol for me,” continued Cheung. “Because he is always flying around, I do not have much time to see and practice with him, so when I practice in the Elite Training Centre, I have thoughts like I want to be like him and stay on the World Snooker Tour. When I see him play at big tournaments like the Hong Kong Masters that is a big encouragement for me.”
The World Snooker Federation would like to thank all of its partners who have supported the event, including the Albanian Snooker Federation and of all the players, officials and supporters who contributed to a fortnight to remember in Albania.