The opening rounds of Event One in the 2020 Q-School were completed throughout Monday and Tuesday morning at the English Insititute of Sport in Sheffield, leaving 64 hopefuls from the original field of nearly 160 in with a shot of claiming a two-year professional tour card later this week.
Amongst those looking to immediately return to the professional circuit after relegation during last month’s Betfred World Championship qualifiers held here is the experienced Alfie Burden. The Londoner showed his class as he compiled a break of 141 in the second frame of his 3-2 victory over Benji Buckley.
The recently relegated Lee Walker, Hammad Miah, John Astley, Thor Chuan Leong, Simon Lichtenberg, Fan Zhengyi and Sam Baird all advanced and are a further four wins away on Friday from bouncing back to the World Snooker Tour via the first avenue.
Two-time ranking event Michael White narrowly progressed but 2018 Shoot Out champion Michael Georgiou did not due to a 3-2 defeat against former European under-19 champion Stephen Craigie, who is trying to join his younger brother Sam on the circuit.
Craig Steadman and Oliver Lines – two players who dropped off the tour during the recent qualifiers – faced each in a standout preliminary round tie. Joint-record three-time graduate of the school Steadman squeezed through via a decider, but was eliminated later in the day by another ex-main tour competitor, Adrian Rosa, by the same score line.
Ben Hancorn – winner of the 100th English Amateur Championship earlier this year – is through, as are European youngsters Brian Ochoiski (France), Ben Mertens (Belgium), Florian Nuessle (Austria) and Antoni Kowalski (Poland).
There was no such luck for former top 16 stars Mike Hallett and Dean Reynolds, or current 12-times world women’s champion Reanne Evans who won her first match but lost her second to former professional Steven Hallworth 3-1.
Possibly the match of the event so far came between teenagers Wu Yize and Julien Leclercq. China’s Wu made breaks of 92 and 98 to go 2-0 up before Belgium’s Leclercq responded with efforts of 71, 81 and 78 to triumph 3-2. However, Leclercq was pipped 3-2 by Joshua Cooper in the next round.
In a change to this year’s Q-School all three events are staggered, meaning the 64 remaining players in this event will return on Friday when it will be completed. The semi-finalists from each event will earn promotion to the sport’s top tier. Event Two of three begins on Tuesday afternoon, with all the original entrants back in play.
View updated results from each Q School event.