Tour Survival 2018 – Player by Player

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With a short break in the ranking event action as we build up towards the invitational Dafabet Masters, it is the time of year when I take a detailed look at the battle for tour survival and in particular who needs a strong finish to the season to retain their professional status.

Below I explain just how the places will be determined this season, before looking at each of the players currently in the danger zone, on an individual basis.

The Links

  • View the latest provisional end of season ranking list
  • View the latest one-year ranking list
  • View the prize money schedule for 2017/18
  • View my previous tour survival update (September 2017)

Who Stays on Tour?

This is explained in some detail on my previous article here, but in summary, the following players will retain their professional places for 2017/18:

  • All players ranked inside the top 64 on the two-year ranking list following the 2018 World Championship
  • All players ranked outside of the top 64 on the two-year ranking list, who have joined the tour for 2017/18 on the first year of a two-year tour card.
  • The top eight players ranked on the one-year ranking list, not already qualified as above.

Who will finish in the top 64?

In recent seasons the key amount earned by the 64th ranked player at the end of the season has been:

  • 2014 – Jimmy White – £48,692
  • 2015 – Joe Swail – £54,582
  • 2016 – Stuart Carrington – £49,431
  • 2017 – Noppon Saengkham – £60,050

Of course it remains impossible to say with certainty what the crucial figure will be this time around, but already we know that the target earned last season by 64th placed Noppon Saengkham will be comprehensively beaten, with the player currently in that position on this season’s provisional end of season ranking list already up to £64,825.

With eight events still to be competed this season, it looks like at least £70,000-£80,000 will be required on the official two-year ranking list by the end of the season to remain inside of the top 64.

For the players who do finish inside of the top 64, importantly, they will all earn a one-year tour card for the following season, but will retain their prize money earned. This compares to players qualifying on a two-year card by any other means, who will start the 2018/19 season on zero points.

One year list

With eight fresh tour cards up for grabs, last year saw Ian Burns take the final spot on the one-year list with a season total of £23,862, but how does this compare to the current campaign?

Again the total looks set to rise with current eighth placed player (outside of the top 64) Aditya Mehta on £21,600 with several events still to be completed. Could over £30,000 be required to earn a fresh card via this route in 2018?

These players would earn a new two-year card, but see their total ranking reset to zero at the start of the 2018/19 season.

Who is on the first year of a two-year card?

Simply put, those players who are safe due to being on the first year of a two-year tour card, are those highlighted in green on the latest provisional end of season rankings page.

For the avoidance of doubt, those 35 players are:

  • Lyu Haotian, Ken Doherty (ITC), Sunny Akani, Alexander Ursenbacher, Xu Si, Peter Lines, Li Yuan, Martin O’Donnell, Gerard Greene, Zhang Yong, Allan Taylor, Ian Burns, Jimmy White (ITC), Ashley Hugill, Chen Zifan, Niu Zhuang, Yuan Sijun, Eden Sharav, Robin Hull, Billy Castle, Ross Muir, Chris Totten, Duane Jones, Joe Swail, Sanderson Lam, Soheil Vahedi, Paul Davison, Nigel Bond, Rod Lawler, Hamza Akbar, Sean O’Sullivan, Rhys Clark, Lukas Kleckers, Basem Eltahhan, Matthew Bolton

What about the rest?

For everybody else, I will consider their prospects individually below, highlighting where they currently stand on the two respective lists i.e. provisional end of season ranking list and the one-year list, before trying to summarise how they stand overall.

In the circumstances, while players above could still fall back into the danger zone with a bad run over the coming months, for the purposes of this article I am going to look at this those currently 61st and below in the latest provisional end of season list.

Oliver Lines

Provisional EOS ranking list: 61st – £69,812 (+8,562)

One-year ranking list: 65th – £28,000 (+6,900)

Summary: So far, so good for Oliver Lines who currently finds himself in position to retain his tour card by finishing the season inside the top 64, while also being in position to do via the one-year list if he were to be overtaken.

That said, the job is not yet done and he will be hoping to finish the season strongly so that he can head to the World Championship qualifiers in April with his tour status already secure for 2018/19.

Noppon Saengkham

Provisional EOS ranking list: 62nd – £66,150 (+4,900)

One-year ranking list: 62nd – £29,600 (+8,500)

Summary: It is a similar story for Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham, who memorably vaulted up into the top 64 at the final tournament last season by qualifying to play at the Crucible for the first time in his career.

Like Lines, he is currently where he needs to be on both lists, but is less than £5,000 clear of the chasing pack outside of the top 64 and will be looking to secure his position over the coming months.

John Astley

Provisional EOS ranking list: 63rd – £65,225 (+3,975)

One-year ranking list: 67th – £26,100 (+5,000)

Summary: Consistently one of the higher-ranked players to have re-joined the tour last season, Astley hasn’t hit the heights of last season so far, losing five consecutive matches towards the end of last year.

Like those around him however, his fate remains in his own hands and he will be looking to finish the season up inside the top 64 for what would be the first time in his career.

Liam Highfield

Provisional EOS ranking list: 64th – £64,825 (+3,575)

One-year ranking list: 62nd – £29,600 (+8,500)

Summary: No stranger to tour survival battles, having found himself around the top 64 mark on a number of occasions now, Liam Highfield will be hoping to surpass his previous best career-ranking of number 63, first reached way back in 2011.

With a good first half of the season behind him, more than most he will be hoping to avoid seeing his ranking total reset once again, so that he can really begin to make strides up the ranking list.

Zhang Anda

Provisional EOS ranking list: 65th – £61,250 (-3,575)

One-year ranking list: 72nd – £22,750 (+1,650)

Summary: Another player who has flirted with tour relegation in the past, China’s Zhang Anda is the first of the chasing pack looking to deny those above him on this list a place inside the top 64 at the end of the season.

With £9,000 on offer for a first qualifying round victory at the World Championship this year, he remains well capable of doing so and is also well in contention on the one-year list.

Mei Xiwen

Provisional EOS ranking list: 66th – £60,212 (-4,613)

One-year ranking list: 65th – £28,000 (+6,900)

Summary: Behind Zhang on the two-year list, but ahead of him on the one-year list, Mei Xiwen again can harbour realistic aspirations of breaking through into the top 64 by the end of the season.

That said, his best hope looks to be a fresh new two-year card via the one-year list, with a useful cushion to the chasing pack heading into the second half of the season.

David Grace

Provisional EOS ranking list: 67th – £58,725 (-6,100)

One-year ranking list: 82nd – £19,600 (-2,000)

Summary: Leaving the UK Championship as a first round loser just a few weeks ago, the outlook did not look good for David Grace, but his subsequent run to the last 16 of the Scottish Open has brought him back into play on the one-year list especially.

The popular Yorkshireman still has work to do if he is to secure his position on the tour but the situation is far from irretrievable now.

Tian Pengfei

Provisional EOS ranking list: 68th – £56,575 (-8,250)

One-year ranking list: 59th – £30,500 (+9,400)

Summary: The 2016/17 season was a year to forget for Tian Pengfei as he earned just £26,075, but already this season he has well surpassed that tally and has put himself into a strong position from which to go on and secure a new two-year card via the one-year list.

Can he climb back into the top 64? Possibly, but it would require a strong finish to the season with a gap of over £8,000 to bridge.

Alfie Burden

Provisional EOS ranking list: 69th – £55,350 (-9,475)

One-year ranking list: 80th – £21,100 (-500)

Summary: Tour veteran Alfie Burden finds himself in a similar position to David Grace, needing a strong second half of the season if he is to retain his professional card via either of the two lists.

Again, his best chance looks to be via the one-year list, currently just £500 behind Aditya Mehta who is currently in line to claim the eighth and final available card.

Lee Walker

Provisional EOS ranking list: 70th – £54,825 (-10,000)

One-year ranking list: 81st – £21,000 (-600)

Summary: See Alfie Burden – with Walker just a further £100 behind on the one-year list. Having come so close to qualifying for the final stages of the World Championship last year, a repeat or better of that result in Sheffield would likely be enough to see him earn another two years on tour.

Elliot Slessor

Provisional EOS ranking list: 71st – £54,362 (-10,463)

One-year ranking list: 39th – £45,000 (+23,900)

Summary: It has been quite a season so far for Elliot Slessor, who already looks a certainty to earn a fresh new two-year tour card thanks to his lofty position on the one-year ranking list.

Such was the extent of his struggles last season, despite this he still finds himself over £10,000 behind on the provisional end of season ranking list and so looks unlikely to break into the top 64, but given his performances so far already this season, nothing can be ruled out.

Michael Georgiou

Provisional EOS ranking list: 72nd – £52,737 (-12,088)

One-year ranking list: 64th – £29,500 (+8,400)

Summary: For Michael Georgiou the one-year list looks likely to provide the lifeline that he will be looking for, with a useful cushion between him and the chasing pack.

Again, the top 64 looks to be a big ask at this stage, but a maiden run to the Crucible could change all that.

Sam Baird

Provisional EOS ranking list: 73rd – £50,850 (-13,975)

One-year ranking list: 94th – £15,000 (-6,600)

Summary: Ranked as high as 46 less that two months ago, it has been an extremely disappointing season so far for Sam Baird, who despite currently being ranked in 59th position, is set to drop further still as the prize money from his last 16 run at the 2016 World Championship is deducted from his total this May.

Despite that, all is not yet lost for the ‘Blade’ with plenty of prize money still to be won this season if he can turn around his form quickly.

Zhao Xintong

Provisional EOS ranking list: 75th – £45,262 (-19,563)

One-year ranking list: 77th – £21,725 (+625)

Summary: While the top 64 looks to be a long shot at this stage for Zhao Xintong, the highly-rated star remains right in the mix to earn a fresh two-year tour card via the one-year ranking list.

Hammad Miah

Provisional EOS ranking list: 76th – £44,837 (-19,988)

One-year ranking list: 85th – £19,000 (-2,600)

Summary: It is a similar story for Hammad Miah to Zhao above, less than £3,000 behind the Chinese player in terms of prize money earned so far this season.

Mitchell Mann

Provisional EOS ranking list: 77th – £44,525 (-20,300)

One-year ranking list: 73rd – £22,500 (+1,400)

Summary: A semi-finalist at the Paul Hunter Classic back in August, Mitchell Mann is another who will be chasing a new two-year tour card via the one-year ranking list.

Aditya Mehta

Provisional EOS ranking list: 80th – £39,100 (-25,725)

One-year ranking list: 78th – £21,600 (+500)

Summary: Currently holding onto the final qualifying position for a new tour card via the one-year ranking list, Aditya Mehta’s total of £21,600 represents the current target for the chasing pack behind him.

Sam Craigie

Provisional EOS ranking list: 81st – £37,962 (-26,863)

One-year ranking list: 83rd – £19,100 (-2,500)

Summary: Similar to those around him, in contention via the one-year list.

Ian Preece

Provisional EOS ranking list: 82nd – £36,100 (-28,725)

One-year ranking list: 83rd – £19,100 (-2,500)

Summary: Similar to those around him, in contention via the one-year list.

James Wattana (ITC)

Provisional EOS ranking list: 84th – £29,500 (-35,325)

One-year ranking list: 115th – £6,000 (-15,600)

Summary: With just £6,000 earned so far this season, Thai legend James Wattana looks unlikely to retain his professional status via either ranking list as it stands.

Jak Jones

Provisional EOS ranking list: 85th – £28,962 (-35,863)

One-year ranking list: 102nd – £10,100 (-11,500)

Summary: Welshman Jak Jones will need a much-improved second half of the season to have any possibility of retaining his professional status, currently over £10,000 behind Aditya Mehta on the one-year list.

Wang Yuchen

Provisional EOS ranking list: 86th – £27,000 (-37,825)

One-year ranking list: 99th – £11,500 (-10,100)

Summary: Requires a strong second half of the season.

Fang Xiongman

Provisional EOS ranking list: 88th – £25,650 (-39,175)

One-year ranking list: 102nd – £10,100 (-11,500)

Summary: Requires a strong second half of the season.

Craig Steadman

Provisional EOS ranking list: 90th – £23,050 (-41,775)

One-year ranking list: 106th – £9,000 (-12,600)

Summary: Requires a strong second half of the season.

Adam Duffy

Provisional EOS ranking list: 94th – £19,862 (-44,963)

One-year ranking list: 100th – £10,500 (-11,100)

Summary: Requires a strong second half of the season.

Thor Chuan Leong

Provisional EOS ranking list: 95th – £19,400 (-45,425)

One-year ranking list: 112nd – £7,500 (-14,100)

Summary: Requires a strong second half of the season.

Alex Borg

Provisional EOS ranking list: 98th – £17,100 (-47,725)

One-year ranking list: 121st – £4,100 (-17,500)

Summary: Requires a strong second half of the season.

Chen Zhe

Provisional EOS ranking list: 107th – £12,500 (-52,325)

One-year ranking list: 106th – £9,000 (-12,600)

Summary: Requires a strong second half of the season.

Josh Boileau

Provisional EOS ranking list: 108th – £12,312 (-52,513)

One-year ranking list: 122nd – £4,000 (-17,600)

Summary: Requires a strong second half of the season.

Jamie Curtis-Barrett

Provisional EOS ranking list: 110th – £10,100 (-54,725)

One-year ranking list: 114th – £6,600 (-15,000)

Summary: Requires a strong second half of the season.

Chris Keogan

Provisional EOS ranking list: 113th – £8,550 (-56,275)

One-year ranking list: 126th – £3,500 (-18,100)

Summary: Requires a strong second half of the season.

Kritsanut Lertsattayatthorn

Provisional EOS ranking list: 115th – £8,000 (-56,825)

One-year ranking list: 148th – £0 (-21,600)

Summary: Has not played this season.

Boonyarit Keattikun

Provisional EOS ranking list: 120th – £6,000 (-58,825)

One-year ranking list: 129th – £2,000 (-19,600)

Summary: Requires a strong second half of the season.

Kurt Dunham

Provisional EOS ranking list: 121st – £5,525 (-59,300)

One-year ranking list: 127th – £2,500 (-19,100)

Summary: Requires a strong second half of the season.

Leo Fernandez

Provisional EOS ranking list: 122nd – £5,000 (-59,825)

One-year ranking list: 116th – £5,000 (-16,600)

Summary: Requires a strong second half of the season following his return from suspension last Autumn.

David John

Provisional EOS ranking list: 128th – £2,337 (-62,488)

One-year ranking list: 148th – £0 (-21,600)

Summary: Has not played since the Paul Hunter Classic.