Trio of World Snooker Tour Cards Secured in Sarajevo

Home » Trio of World Snooker Tour Cards Secured in Sarajevo

Duane Jones, Amir Sarkhosh and Mohamed Shehab have earned two-year World Snooker Tour cards at the Q Tour Global Play-Offs in Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Jones overcame fellow Welshman Liam Davies in a dramatic deciding frame to secure a return to the main tour after a one-year absence, while success for Sarkhosh and Shehab means that both Q Tour Middle East series qualifiers have earned professional status at the Global Play-Offs.

The 2023/24 Q Tour season saw the tour go global for the first time by incorporating series’ in the Middle East, Americas and Asia-Pacific region alongside the UK/Europe series which has been held since 2021/22. Cueists from across the globe competed in regional events throughout the year to earn a coveted spot in the Global Play-Off, where three World Snooker Tour cards were on offer.

Defiant Duane Regains Professional Status

Duane Jones came from 9-7 down to defeat fellow countryman Liam Davies in a dramatic deciding frame in Sarajevo.

Victory in the play-offs means that Jones will return to the main tour after a one-year absence, having dropped off the tour at the end of the 2022/23 season.

The 30-year-old opened up his event in comfortable fashion by beating Q Tour Americas event winner Vito Puopolo without dropping a frame before winning six consecutive frames, featuring a stunning break of 132, in the semi-final against Austrian national champion Florian Nuessle to win 6-3.

On the other side of the draw, 17-year-old Liam Davies stormed to the decisive match with comfortable back-to-back wins over former professionals – beating Peter Devlin 5-2 and Rory McLeod 6-1.

A break of 79 helped Jones on his way to taking three of the first four frames in the final and he found himself in the ascendancy at the end of the first session with a 6-3 lead.

Davies turned the contest on it’s head in the second session, taking six of the next seven frames to lead 9-7 and move just one away frame victory.

It wasn’t to be for the teenage cueist, however, with the experience of Jones showing as he took the next two frames to force a decider before holding himself together to get over the line in a dramatic contest.

Reflecting on the match, Jones said: “I felt awful all evening, I struggled from ball one but I just thought to myself that I am here now so I should try 100 percent. I just tried my hardest and funny things can happen.”

“I was gutted when I dropped off the tour. When I have fallen off in the past, I have always got straight back on through Q School, so I’ve found the amateur circuit really tough – I probably didn’t think it would be as tough as it was. I’ve felt like chucking this in a few times but snooker is in my blood and it always will be.”

Speaking about his fellow countryman Davies, Jones said: “That result will be a sickener for him but in the long run, it’s good character building and experience. He will do well, he’s still only a kid, but he has all the ingredients to kick on and do well.”

“I’ve always practiced hard but I’ll try and give it that extra 10% next season. I’ve got to get inside the top 64, I can’t keep dropping off and getting back on because it’s taking it’s toll on me.”

Sarkosh Qualifies for Maiden Main Tour Season

Amir Sarkhosh held off a Iulian Boiko comeback to earn a place on the World Snooker Tour for the first time in his career.

The Iranian cueist qualified for the Q Tour play-offs as the top ranked player in the Middle East series, winning back-to-back events, and impressed in his opening match by compiling a break of 101 in a deciding frame against Harvey Chandler.

A 6-2 victory over English Amateur champion Steven Hallworth saw Sarkhosh book his place in the final where he would face Ukrainian Boiko.

Boiko had dropped just two frames en-route to the final, defeating Chris Totten 5-1 and Tyler Rees 6-1, and he took the opening two frames of the final to move into an early lead.

Sarkhosh quickly moved into the ascendancy, however, taking six of the next seven frames to lead 6-3 at the end of the first session and continuing his fine form into the evening to move one away from victory at 9-5.

The former professional refused to give up and won three consecutive frames to reduce the deficit to 9-8 and pile the pressure on his opponent. However, Sarkhosh held himself together in frame 17 to score a break of 51 and complete the win.

Post-match Sarkhosh said: “I am really glad to make it onto the professional tour. It was a difficult game but I did my best and I am the champion”

The 32-year-old will join Hossein Vafaei as the Iranian representation on the World Snooker Tour and he plans to work with the former Snooker Shootout champion during his first year as a professional.

“I have known Hossein for around 15 years and we have a good friendship. I will spend a couple of months with him and practice together.”

“This is just the beginning. I know it will be difficult on the main tour but I will give it my best. I am happy that snooker is growing in the Middle East and it will get better day by day.”

Shehab Completes Middle East Double

Mohamed Shehab defeated Hong Kong China’s Yu Kiu Chang 10-8 to earn a third spell on the World Snooker Tour.

Success for Shehab in Sarajevo means that both qualifiers from the Q Tour Middle East series, held for the first time this season, have earned professional status at the Global Play-Offs.

The 47-year-old from the United Arab Emirates made a stunning start to the event by whitewashing the recent WSF Championship semi-finalist Daniel Womersley.

His semi-final against Germany’s Umut Dikme proved a far tighter contest as the two players battled it out well past midnight, but it was Shehab who ultimately got over the line in a dramatic deciding frame.

Yu joined him in the final courtesy of hard-fought victories over Alfie Davies and Antoni Kowalski.

A break of 105 in the third frame helped Shehab on his way to opening up a 6-3 lead at the end of the first session.

The player from Hong Kong China fought back in the evening session, reducing the deficit to just a single frame on three separate occasions, but Shehab ultimately got over the line in the 18th frame to complete the 10-8 victory.

After his victory, Shehab said: “I feel so brilliant, I came here prepared for a challenge – not only to secure the tour card, but to represent my country and the Middle East.”

“It’s the first time we have had the Q Tour Middle East series and the two top players have qualified – that’s a clear message that there are good players in that region. I would like to thank the WPBSA and Jason Ferguson for giving us this chance to host the Q Tour. I’ve really enjoyed my week, I am really delighted, over the moon.”

The player from the UAE has played on the main tour twice before, but believes his experience will be very different this time around.

“When I was on the tour in the past, only six tournaments, now there are more than 20. I haven’t made any plans yet, it is difficult for me but to maintain professional status you have to play against the top players. I have qualified, that was the first step and the second step now is to plan my schedule.”