The draw has been made and the wait is nearly over for the 2023 World Billiards Championship – the sport’s blue riband event – which takes places at the Landywood Snooker Club between October 16-19.
Players representing nine different countries have qualified for this year’s Championship and are set to travel to the highly regarded venue in Great Wyrley, England which hosts the tournament for the first time.
Reigning champion David Causier will be aiming to become the first player since Mike Russell in 2011 to successfully defend English billiards’ premier title.
The World Billiards Championship – A Decorated and Vibrant History
Becoming the sport’s world champion has been number one on the agenda for every top English billiards player for nearly two centuries. With the title having been played for at venues on both sides of the world – and several places in between – the lineage of this unique Championship is like no other.
Cueists at Landywood will be playing for The John Roberts Trophy. First won in 1870, this iconic piece of silverware is the oldest world championship trophy in global sport.
In recent times, the last three editions of the Championship have been held on three different continents and won by three different players.
India’s Sourav Kothari realised his dream in Leeds, England in 2018 when he defeated Gilchrist in a thrilling final to land the sport’s biggest accolade for the first time. Gilchrist, though, turned the tables the following year when he dethroned Kothari in another gripping title match, this time in Melbourne, Australia.
Following an absence due the COVID-19 pandemic, the Championship returned in 2022 in Singapore where Causier continued the theme, getting the better of defending champion Gilchrist in the final.
The Championship Favourites
Three-time winner Causier and four-time winner Gilchrist will be fancied by many to add to their totals, and the pair could be on a collision course to face each other in the final for the fifth time.
Singaporean citizen Gilchrist comes into the event as the world number one, a position he regained after winning the Auckland Open last month.
Since the start of last season, 55-year-old Gilchrist has claimed nine ranking titles. He travels to Landywood in red hot form having also won the recent New Zealand Open – completing the double header in the country – where he compiled breaks of 612 unfinished and 729.
Despite being pushed down to number two in the rankings, Causier holds the sport’s two biggest titles – the World Championship and the World Matchplay.
The 50-year-old Teesider has also been a winning machine on the World Billiards Tour over the past 18 months, chalking up six ranking victories, including the World Matchplay in Ireland last May – the third time in-a-row he won that competition.
Amongst other contenders for the title include world number three Rob Hall – the current Belgian Open and English national champion – and number four Peter Sheehan, who reached the final of the Matchplay earlier this year and subsequently secured his first major triumph on the circuit at the Jim Williamson Open.
Format & Draw
A level 6 World Billiards ranking event, the 50 competitors at the 2023 World Billiards Championship have been drawn into 10 groups of five. Matches during this round robin phase each last 90 minutes.
The top two players from each group and the four best third placed finishers will qualify for the knockout rounds. The top eight seeds from the groups (decided on their results during that phase) will go straight into the last 16.
Group matches will be played across Monday and Tuesday, with the knockout rounds starting Tuesday afternoon/evening.
The final on the afternoon of Thursday 19th October will be a five-hour affair.
Live Coverage and Special Guests
There will be free, livestream coverage of the 2023 World Billiards Championship on the World Billiards YouTube channel across the four days from Landywood.
Esteemed and experienced cuesports commentator Phil Yates will be at the venue and behind the microphone for the final day’s play.
Rex Williams – a seven-times winner of the World Billiards Championship – is also scheduled to be in attendance for the final.
2023 Landywood English Open
Before the World Billiards Championship gets underway, though, the 2023 Landywood English Open will take place across the weekend of October 14 and 15, serving as a very apt starter for this festival of English billiards.
A level 3 World Billiards ranking event, Causier will also be defending this title having won the last staging of the event in 2021 in Reading.
The draw and schedule for the 2023 Landywood English Open is here.