Already this week, I have looked at what is on the line at the Kreativ Dental Gdynia Open with regards to places in the Players Championship Grand Finals and World Grand Prix, but there is also a further battle for eight main tour places for the next two seasons to be considered.
This is because the tournament in Poland represents the final event of this season’s European Tour, following which the final 2014/15 European Order of Merit will be set.
From this list, the top eight players, who have not already qualified for next season’s main tour by other means (eg by finishing inside the top 64 on snooker’s main ranking list at the end of this season), will earn a two-year tour card from the start of 2015/16.
Following the penultimate event of the Kreativ Dental European Tour in Lisbon just before Christmas, the eight currently in position to qualify by this method are as follows:
- Chris Wakelin (6,833)
- Fraser Patrick (4,500)
- Joe Swail (4,500)
- Noppon Saengkham (4,333)
- Jimmy White (3,666)
- Allan Taylor (2,749)
- James Cahill (2,583)
- Stuart Carrington (2,500)
If we are to look at the standings in more detail, it is fair to say that Chris Wakelin and Fraser Patrick will each earn a fresh two-year tour card from the European Order of Merit, as both are well clear of the chasing pack below eighth placed Stuart Carrington. Furthermore, barring a strong run between now and the end of the season at another tournament, neither appears likely to be able to break into the top 64 on the main two-year ranking list and retain their tour status that way.
Similarly, Joe Swail, Noppon Saengkham and Jimmy White also look well-placed to earn a new tour card via this list, however are within range of finishing inside of the top 64 on the main ranking list at the end of the season and could yet retain their tour place that way. If either were to do so, this would potentially open up another spot to the European Order of Merit.
Below those five however come three players who are separated by just 249 points, with players within a single win of overtaking them.
The three in question are Allan Taylor, James Cahill and Stuart Carrington, who are currently in position to take the final three tour places, but in the case of Cahill and Carrington, can be overtaken if they lose in the opening round in Gdynia and either Jak Jones or Elliott Slessor are able to win their last 128 matches against Shaun Murphy and an amateur qualifier respectively.
Further back, amateurs Paul Davison, Mitchell Travis, Jamie Rhys Clarke and Adam Duffy are the next four players and standing on 1,583, will need not only to qualify for the professional stages, but to reach at least the last 32 to bring themselves into contention.
As well as the players mentioned above, there are also players who are currently on course to finish the season ranked up inside the top 64 on the main ranking list, who could yet drop out if they are to have a poor end to the season.
These include Nigel Bond and Jamie Cope, who if they were to drop out of the top 64, as it stands would take tour places away from James Cahill and Stuart Carrington due to being higher on the European Order of Merit.
Others potentially who could come into the mix with deeper runs (quarter-finals) in Gdynia are the likes of Alfie Burden, Tom Ford, Marcus Campbell and Robin Hull, as well as the remaining players further down the ranking list.
You can view the full draw for the tournament here at World Snooker and a full breakdown of how the results impact each list will be provided after the conclusion of the action in Gdynia.