Race to the Barbican 2023 | Two to Go

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There are just two ranking tournaments to be completed before the crucial seeding cut-off for this season’s MrQ UK Championship with 16 players to be guaranteed their place at the York Barbican.

As in 2022, the first Triple Crown Series event of the season will again adopt a tiered draw format, with the top 16 players seeded through to the last 32 stage from 25 November – 3 December.

The remaining professionals, in addition to 16 WPBSA qualifiers, will compete in the qualifying rounds in Leicester from 18-23 November.

Seeding Cut-Off

The all-important seeding cut-off for the UK Championship is set to fall following this year’s International Championship, with ranking points earned from the 2021 event, up to and including the upcoming tournament in Tianjin, set to decide the seedings.

The key points across the ranking list are:

  • Top 16 – seeded through to the last 32
  • Seeds 17-48 – seeded through to Round 3
  • Seeds 49-80 – seeded through to Round 2
  • All other players to begin in Round 1

For the avoidance of doubt, prize money earned at the Scottish Open qualifiers from 30 October – 2 November will not count towards this seeding cut-off.

The Top 16

With the BetVictor Northern Ireland Open and the venue stages of the International Championship still to be completed, the final qualifying spot is currently held by three-time UK Championship winner Ding Junhui, who has £259,500 to his name.

At the top of the list, the likes of defending champion Mark Allen, reigning world champion Luca Brecel and current world number one Ronnie O’Sullivan are of course certain of their positions, while Judd Trump, Mark Selby, Neil Robertson, Shaun Murphy, Kyren Wilson, Mark Williams, John Higgins and Ali Carter also look to be secure.

Some £63,500 behind Carter is Jack Lisowski in 11th place, who himself currently holds a useful cushion of £53,500 to 17th placed Ryan Day, the first of the chasing pack hoping to break into the top 16.

Both Robert Milkins (£307,000) and Barry Hawkins (£305,500) are also relatively well placed, but it is Hossein Vafaei (£263,500) and Ding who are both in immediate danger, less than £10,000 clear of Day. Notably, Ding will not be among the field to compete next week in Belfast, meaning that he could be overhauled prior to the International Championship.

Although there is a further gap of £34,000 to Gary Wilson in 18th position, with big money to be won over the next few weeks, it remains possible for one of many players to come through the pack and make a late bid for place at the Barbican.

The Top 48

The second cut-off of significance is the top 48, with the players ranked 17-48 set to be seeded through to the penultimate qualifying round for the UK Championship.

At the time of writing (prior to the start of the Northern Ireland qualifiers), last season’s UK quarter-finalist Sam Craigie is the player currently in possession of the 48th and final place, just £2,500 ahead of Scott Donaldson, with Ben Woollaston, Robbie Williams and Jackson Page also in close pursuit.

The Top 80

The final section of the rankings to consider is the top 80, with seeds 49-80 positioned in the second round of the draw to await the Round 1 winners.

Taking into account the suspended Mark King, it is currently Germany’s Lukas Kleckers who would take the 80th and final seeding slot, with a lead of £3,500 to closer chaser Martin O’Donnell, who unlike Kleckers is yet to play his opening match at the International Championship, with Zhou Yuelong awaiting him at the televised stages.

A further update will follow the conclusion of the Northern Ireland Open, with tournament updates available via wpbsa.com and wst.tv.