Back in December here at WPBSA.com I took a look at which players had been able to climb the most places in the rankings during the calendar year, with Ireland’s David Morris at that time topping the list.
Five months on and at the end of the season it is time to further analyse who have been the most successful players of 2014/15 in terms of the rankings and there are perhaps a few surprise names on the list.
As was the case when I last undertook this exercise, to avoid the comparison being heavily distorted by those lower down the rankings climbing above players who have since fallen off the tour, I have limited my selection to those players currently ranked inside the world’s top 64.
1= Gary Wilson, Robin Hull (+34)
After starting the season ranked 68th, narrowly having missed out on a top 64 spot after the 2014 World Championship, Gary Wilson has performed impressively to effectively halve his ranking to a career-best 34.
Of course a key factor in his rise was his run to a first ranking event final last month at the China Open, a result that added £35,000 to his prize money total. Add to that the £10,000 earned from his run to the quarter-finals of the BetVictor Welsh Open and Gary has left himself well-placed to break into the top 32 for the first time in his career at some point during the next 12 months.
Also climbing an impressive 34 places in the rankings since the start of the season was Finland’s Robin Hull, who will now remain on tour for next season having broken back into the top 64.
Although his rise is slightly flattered by him having overtaken players who dropped off the tour at the end of the last season or saw their tallies reset to zero, he has nevertheless done very well given the relative lack of tournaments that he has entered compared to other players on tour.
His best result came at the Wuxi Classic last summer where he reached a ranking event quarter-final for only the third time in his career, while he also gave his tour survival prospects a much-needed boost at the China Open with a last 16 run.
He finished off the season at the Crucible for a second successive year and despite an opening round defeat to Shaun Murphy, was able to climb up to 61st in the rankings, securing his tour place for another season.
3= Joe Swail, Li Hang (+30)
Like Robin Hull as described above, Joe Swail also enjoyed a strong season to climb 30 places and up into the top 64 once again, enough to help him stay on tour for next season.
Perhaps his strongest run was to come at the International Championship in Chengdu, where he defeated Neil Robertson amongst others on his way to the last 16, earning £12,000 in the process.
His most dramatic match though was to come at the Betfred World Championship qualifiers when he won the last five frames to defeat Dominic Dale and secure his top 64 place in the process.
Also climbing into that bracket was China’s Li Hang, who like Swail achieved his best result at the International Championship by reaching the last 16, before repeating the feat at the Indian Open later in the season.
Now up into the top 64 for the first time, he will be hoping to make further gains and establish his position on the main tour in future seasons.
5) Anthony McGill (+21)
Needing little introduction at the moment is Scotland’s Anthony McGill, who has climbed 21 places and up to a career-high 24th position during the course of the season.
The highlights of course were quarter-final runs at both the World and UK Championship events, which together earned him a total of £50,000 and a significant rise up the ranking list.
6) David Morris (+20)
Despite a disappointing opening round defeat at the Betfred World Championship qualifiers for a second successive season, Ireland’s David Morris has enjoyed a strong season in terms of the rankings, climbing 20 places in the rankings from the start of the season.
A last 16 run at the UK Championship was the obvious highlight, while otherwise it was generally consistent early wins that helped him up to 51st in the rankings by the end of the campaign.
7) Luca Brecel (+19)
Following his breakthrough year in 2012 Belgium’s Luca Brecel has struggled to make an impact at the latter end of ranking events, but that all changed in 2015 as he reached his first career ranking event semi-final at the BetVictor Welsh Open.
Though he could not come through in Cardiff against eventual champion John Higgins, the £20,000 earned from his run were enough to see him climb 19 places by the end of the season to finish in 44th position.
8) Matt Selt (+18)
Although Matt Selt himself would tell you that he is not one of snooker’s most improved players this season, in terms of ranking he most certainly is, having climbed 18 places during the course of 2014/15.
Season highlights included a first professional final at the Lisbon Open in December, as well as a quarter-final run at the Players Championship in Thailand and strong runs at the UK and World Championship events.
9) Jamie Jones (+17)
Perhaps a surprising name on this list, Welshman Jamie Jones is back up into the world’s top 40 after a much-improved season which saw him make it back to the Crucible for the first time since his memorable debut in 2012.
Importantly, he also reached the last 16 of three full-ranking events in total, earning him enough money to climb significantly from his season-start ranking of 55 by the end of this term.
10= Mike Dunn, Stuart Carrington (+16)
Although a climb that can be attributed primarily to his semi-final run at last season’s China Open, Mike Dunn enjoyed a consistent 2014/15 season and re-established his position back inside the world’s top 48.
Also moving up an impressive 16 places is Grimsby’s Stuart Carrington, who crucially for him was able to earn £12,000 last month by qualifying for the Crucible and perhaps even more importantly, break into the world’s top 64 for the first time.
As is the case with Robin Hull and Joe Swail already mentioned, this means that Stuart will retain his prize money earned at the start of next season and therefore begin well placed to climb even further.