Battle for Number One | Crucible 2024

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Up to eight players are still in the hunt to finish the 2023/24 season as snooker’s world number one following 17 days of action at the 2024 Cazoo World Snooker Championship in Sheffield.

Ronnie O’Sullivan has headed the list since the 2022 Tour Championship but is far from guaranteed to remain there at the end of the season as he will be defending the maximum £500,000 from his record-equalling seventh Crucible victory two years ago.

This means that he is provisionally on course to finish the campaign in fifth position, but of course with big money to be won there is every chance that he can climb back up the list with another strong showing at snooker’s blue riband event.

Below we consider the prospects of the eight who mathematically could finish the season at the head of the pack…

Advantage Allen

Northern Ireland’s Mark Allen heads the provisional world ranking list prior to the World Championship, with five ranking titles won during the current two-year counting period taking his prize money total to £935,000.

A maiden victory at the Crucible would be enough to see Allen become only snooker’s 12th number one ranked player, while a run to the final would be sufficient, unless he were to lose to Judd Trump in the title match.

If Allen were to fall at the semi-finals, quarter-finals or last 16 stage, Trump could take top spot by reaching the final, while the door would also be opened for fifth placed Ronnie O’Sullivan to extend his run at number one by claiming the title.

Defeat for Allen to Robbie Williams on Wednesday afternoon would mean that the semi-finals could be enough for Trump, while Shaun Murphy, Ding Junhui and Mark Williams would all be able to finish number one by winning the tournament – if other results were to go their way.

Top Trump?

With five ranking titles under his belt already this season, England’s Judd Trump is the closest challenger to Allen as he looks to begin what would be a fifth spell at the top of the world rankings.

Starting some £74,000 behind Allen at the start of the tournament, Trump would need to reach at least the semi-finals to bring himself into contention, while any result from the last 16 to the semi-finals for Allen would mean that Trump would have to reach at least the final.

If Allen were to reach the title match from the top half, Trump would have to take him down in the final to reclaim top spot in style.

Brecel Leads Chasing Pack

Reigning world champion Luca Brecel vaulted to second place in the world rankings following his landmark Crucible victory a year ago, but will be hoping to go one better with another strong performance in Sheffield.

For Brecel – and indeed Mark Selby, Ronnie O’Sullivan, Shaun Murphy, Ding Junhui and Mark Williams – only the title will be enough to bring them into contention.

Both Brecel and Selby would be guaranteed to become number one by claiming the title, while O’Sullivan would do so unless Allen were his final opponent.

For Murphy, Ding and Williams, an early exit for Allen would be required, along with other results for the players named above also working in their favour.

Follow the latest provisional end of season rankings through the Cazoo World Championship here at