Tour Survival 2024 | World Championship Preview

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With just the Cazoo World Championship to be completed for the majority of players on the World Snooker Tour, today we look at the current standings as the annual race for ‘Tour Survival’ reaches its climax next month.

How can tour places be retained?

At the end of this season (i.e. after the 2024 World Championship), all players not on the first year of a two-year tour card must finish inside of the world’s top 64 on the official world ranking list to remain on the circuit next term.

Additionally, the top FOUR money earners during the current 2023/24 season, who are outside of that top 64 on the two-year list, will earn a fresh tour card. All other players will be relegated, unless they are able to re-qualify through Q School.

What is the provisional end of season ranking list?

The provisional end of season ranking list includes all money earned during last season (2022/23), and from the current 2023/24 season.

This differs from the official rolling world ranking list, which still currently includes prize money from the 2021/22 season which will not count towards the race for next season’s tour places. To provide the most accurate picture of the Tour Survival battle, this money has already been removed from the table.

Who is safe?

All players who were able to earn a two-year tour card for the 2023/24 and 2024/25 seasons, are guaranteed to remain on tour for next season.

All of these players have been highlighted in green on the latest provisional end of season ranking list.

Who is at risk?

All players who finished in the top 64 at the end of last season, or who began their two-year tour cards at the start of 2022/23.

Those higher up the rankings can be confident of their places, but the closer they are to the all-important ‘top 64’ cut-off on the provisional end of season ranking list, the more uncertain their position.

How can players stay on tour?

By finishing in the top 64 at the end of the 2023/24 season.

Traditionally the cut-off point for tour survival, the top 64 on the official world ranking list following the 2024 World Championship will retain their places on tour for at least another season.

What is the cut-off point likely to be? At the end of the 2022/23 season, 64th placed Mark King had £67,000 to his name, while during the previous two seasons, £65,500 was enough for Stuart Carrington and £71,750 for Nigel Bond.

Already however, the bar looks set to be raised this April with David Lilley currently positioned 64 with £68,000 and the big money World Championship still to follow. This means that the final figure is likely to fall somewhere between the £70,000-£80,000 bracket, with the top 64 importantly carrying their ranking points total into next season.

The top 64 players next May will each earn a fresh one-year card for the 2024/25 season.

By finishing in the top four of the one-year list, not already qualified

Under the ‘one-year list’ route, the top four players taking into account prize money earned solely during the 2023/24 season, who finish outside of the top 64 on the main two-year ranking list, will earn a new tour card.

This means that players out of the running on the two-year list, for example due to a poor first season (in this case 2022/23), still have every chance of earning a fresh two-year card with strong performances during their second year.

At the time of writing, those currently in place to earn tour places via this route are:

  1. Oliver Lines (£37,000)
  2. Zak Surety (£34,500)
  3. Dylan Emery (£33,500)
  4. Julien Leclercq (£32,000)

The four players who finish in these positions at the end of this season will earn a two-year card for the 2024/25 and 2025/26 seasons. Unlike those who qualify through the top 64 however, their ranking points will be reset to zero at the start of next season.

Players to Follow

As ever, the Tour Survival battle is set to be keenly contested, with three players within £10,000 of 64th placed David Lilley and further players within two Sheffield wins of overtaking him if he were to lose his opening match – with Lilley and all players seeded from 49-80 – set to begin in round two.

Leading the chasing pack ahead of the crucial World Championship qualifiers are Julien Leclercq and Olivier Lines. who could break into the top 64 with a single match win in Sheffield. As things stand, both would also be set to qualify via the one-year ranking list, but would be vulnerable to players behind if they were to lose early.

In more danger are Mark Joyce – an ever-present on the professional circuit since 2006 – and former WSF Championship winner Ashley Hugill, who look likely to need at least two match wins to challenge for a top 64 place and are both not currently in position to retain their positions via the one-year ranking list. Welsh youngster Dylan Emery is level on £58,000 with Hugill, but crucially is better positioned on the one-year ranking list with £33,500 earned so far this season.

England’s Zak Surety is the final player currently on target to stay on Tour via the one-year list, with a Crucible run likely required if he is to move into the top 64.

Notable names currently at risk on both lists and in need of multiple match wins in Sheffield include Belgian talent Ben Mertens, former Crucible semi-finalist Andy Hicks and 1997 world champion Ken Doherty. Similarly, Liam Highfield and Martin Gould, who have held unbroken main tour runs since 2010 and 2007 respectively, know that they must reach the Crucible stages if they are to remain on Tour next season.

Among those currently inside of the top 64, but likely needing at least one win to make sure they stay there include David Lilley, Mark Davis, Sanderson Lam and Aaron Hill. All four players would also currently retain their positions via the one-year list if they were to be overtaken, though Lilley would be vulnerable with £35,000 banked so far this season.

Most at risk would appear to be 60th placed David Grace, who currently holds a £5,000 advantage to Leclercq in 65th, but with only £21,000 earned so far during the current season would not have the safety net of the one-year list if he were to be overhauled.

Above him, the likes of Jamie Clarke, Michael White and 2006 world champion Graeme Dott have more breathing room, with one win surely enough to guarantee their top 64 positions for at least one more season.

Visit over the coming days to view our official Tour Survival Blog, while the latest provisional end of season rankings will be updated throughout the Cazoo World Championship qualifiers and venue stages.