Last weekend’s Gdynia Open marked not only the final event of snooker’s Kreativ Dental Clinic European Tour, but a key event in respect of several ranking battles, including qualification for the Ladbrokes World Grand Prix, Ladbrokes Players Championship and even tour survival.
Prior to the event I took a look at some of the battles to be decided and so today I look at the outcome of the various twists and turns in Gdynia…
The top eight players on the European Order of Merit following the Gdynia Open, not already ranked inside the top 64 on the official two-year world ranking list at the end of the season, will earn a fresh two-year tour card from the start of 2016/17
At the time of writing these players are:
- Thor Chuan Leong – 5,925
- Ian Burns – 4,050
- Lee Walker – 3,750
- Mitchell Mann – 3,675
- Aditya Mehta – 3,000
- Scott Donaldson – 2,775
- Hammad Miah – 2,700 (AM)
- Anthony Hamilton – 2,325
- Liam Highfield – 2,250
- Joel Walker – 2,100
Heading the list of players set to retain their professional status via the European Order of Merit are Thor Chaun Leong, Ian Burns and Lee Walker, who all looked to be secure heading into the event.
For fourth placed Mitchell Mann however the event proved to be a great success as he made it through to the last 16 stage. Coming into the event he had been tied with two other players for the final spot, but by winning three matches he has removed any lingering doubt and can now look forward to another two seasons on tour.
Next placed Aditya Mehta was not present in Gdynia and following the announcement that he has resigned from the tour this season, will not be seen at a professional event again during 2015/16. That said, thanks to his previous performances on the European Tour, he will be entitled to return to the tour next season on a fresh two-year card.
In sixth place comes Scotland’s Scott Donaldson, who scored a vital victory against Syd Wilson in Poland to all but secure his place, while next comes the only amateur on the list, Hammad Miah, who looks to have hung on despite a 4-3 defeat to Jamie Clarke in the amateur rounds.
Finally comes former world number 10 Anthony Hamilton, who crucially won two matches in Gdynia (his opener against another contender in this list, Joel Walker), to put himself into contention for a new tour card at the start of next season, if he is unable to break back into the top 64 by the conclusion of this year’s World Championship.
What can change?
On the face of it, Liam Highfield looks to have missed out on a tour card in 19th place despite his run to the last 16 in Gdynia, but of course the battle is not over, with the final season rankings still to be determined.
For example, if Ian Burns, currently 65th of the provisional end of season ranking list, were to overtake 64th placed Gerard Greene between now and the end of the season, those on the European Order of Merit would effectively move up a position and Highfield would take the eighth and final tour card.
Conversely, if for example 62nd placed Oliver Lines, with some 4,875 to his name, were to drop outside of the top 64 and be replaced by Craig Steadman or Cao Yupeng, Lines would take a position from the European Order of Merit and Anthony Hamilton would miss out.
As ever, this one will run right to the wire in Sheffield next month…
Ladbrokes Players Championship
The Gdynia Open also saw the conclusion of the race to the Ladbrokes Players Championship, with confirmation of the 24 players to qualify through the European Order of Merit, as well as a further six through a combined European and Asian list.
In terms of the movers and shakers in Gdynia, it was a good weekend for the likes of Sam Baird, Kyren Wilson and Martin Gould who all came from behind to qualify, the latter by reaching the final to dramatically edge out Matt Selt on the final day.
Others to miss out were Stuart Bingham, a first round loser to Fraser Patrick in Gdynia and Malaysia’s Thor Chuan Leong, who despite an impressive victory against Ding Junhui to reach the last 16, misses out by just £75.
The final list of qualifiers can be viewed here.
Ladbrokes World Grand Prix
Following his last 32 defeat to Leicester’s Tom Ford, 32nd placed Stephen Maguire could do nothing to defend his qualifying position for the Ladbrokes World Grand Prix during the final two days of the tournament.
Fortunately for Maguire however, his closest chasers for the final place all fell by the wayside during the closing stages in Gdynia, with Andrew Higginson’s semi-final defeat to Mark Selby confirming that the Scot will be in Manchester later this month.
His closest challenger Mark Joyce knew that he needed to win three matches in Poland to overtake Maguire, but ultimately fell at the first hurdle to Welshman Ryan Day on Saturday.
The draw and format for the Ladbrokes World Grand Prix can be viewed here.