Following the conclusion of the qualifiers for the 2015 Betfred World Championship this week, the various battles for places inside the top 64 and on the main tour itself next season have almost been decided, with only a couple of scenarios at the Crucible able to mathematically change the situation.
For readers who have not been following this battle during recent weeks, a reminder that the top 64 players on the official world ranking list at the end of the season will retain their places on tour for the 2015/16 season, as well as their prize money earned during the past two years (for ranking purposes, the players do not actually lose the money!).
Beyond the top 64, there are also places for other players who were able to finish sufficiently high up both the European and Asian Orders of Merit and although these competitions have long since been concluded, those in position to earn tour places have changed throughout the course of the last week, depending upon who has inside of the top 64 on the main ranking list.
The Top 64
Since the start of the Betfred World Championship qualifiers, there has been significant change to the top 64 bracket, with Robin Hull, Stuart Carrington and Joe Swail all having broken into that group with victories for this week.
For Hull his run was significant, as otherwise the Finn would have been relegated from the tour at the end of the season, while Swail and Carrington, who would have been safe through the European Order of Merit, have still ensured that their prize money will not be reset to zero at the start of that competition, as is the case for all eight players qualifying from the European list.
Dropping out of the tour 64 at their expense are Nigel Bond, Jamie Cope and Alfie Burden, all of whom are safe via either the European or Asian list, but will now lose their prize money earned, for ranking purposes.
European Order of Merit
For the avoidance of doubt then, the top eight players on the European Order of Merit, not inside the top 64 on the main two year ranking list are:
- Chris Wakelin
- Fraser Patrick
- Noppon Saengkham
- Jamie Cope
- Jimmy White
- Allan Taylor
- Nigel Bond
- James Cahill
Narrowly missing out is Elliot Slessor, who at times during the last week has been in contention to earn a tour card, before the run of Robin Hull would ultimately deny him a fresh two-year place.
Asian Order of Merit
There are also four qualifiers from this season’s Asian Order of Merit:
- Ross Muir
- Sean O’Sullivan
- Zhang Yong
- Alfie Burden
Some of you may be wondering why Sean O’Sullivan qualifies through the Asian list, as he has also finished high enough up the European Order of Merit to earn a two-year card.
The rule in question however states that he will qualify from the first event from which he qualified chronologically, that is the Asian list this season as Asian Tour Event 3 came prior to this season’s Kreativ Dental Gdynia Open.
What can still change?
With just the Crucible to come this season, the only way that the above can change is if either Craig Steadman or Zhang Anda were able to make it to the semi-finals, in which case they would climb into the top 64, potentially at the expense of Swail and even Carrington.