The world’s best billiards players will travel to the Emerald Isle later this week for a huge double-header at the state-of-the-art Snooker and Billiards Ireland Academy in Carlow, with both the Irish Open and the World Matchplay Championship events taking place.
The latest world ranking tournaments on the World Billiards Tour, the level 3 Irish Open will be played between May 19-21 and is followed by the level 6 World Matchplay Championship – the sport’s second most prestigious title – across May 22-26. There will also be an opening ceremony to celebrate the Matchplay – sponsored by Macau Casino – on the Sunday evening.
Rob Hall will defend the Irish Open, which features a traditional timed format as seen at most events on the circuit. Englishman Hall defeated Peter Gilchrist here 12 months ago in the final.
Reigning world champion and world number one David Causier will look for a three-peat in the World Matchplay Championship having won the last two editions in 2022 and 2019. Last year, the Teessider got the better of India’s Sourav Kothari 8-3 in the title match.
Once again, the Matchplay consists of a unique modified short format with baulkline crossing rules. The winner will pocket a £5,000 payday.
The Season so Far…
The impressive and consistent Causier will likely go into both events as the favourite having enjoyed yet another excellent campaign on the World Billiards Tour.
Throughout the 2022/23 season so far, Causier has claimed the Jim Williamson, British, Welsh and European Opens, as well as the aforementioned World Championship in Singapore.
However, Causier has not had it all his own way, nor is he the only winner this term. Four-time world champion, world number two and the evergreen Gilchrist has also secured five ranking titles in four different countries, while world number three Hall arrives here in good form after triumphing at the Belgian Open last month.
The world’s top 15 ranked players will line up in both events which feature vibrant and cosmopolitan fields.
Ten different nationalities will be represented in the Irish Open, with the youngest competitor being 19-year-old Riley Ellis, and the oldest, amazingly being 91-year-old Bert Seyer who has been playing the sport since 1946 and will make his World Billiards debut in Carlow.
Former world women’s champion Anna Lynch from Australia is also in the draw, as too is Oceania legend Wayne Carey from New Zealand.
Due to its prestige, the exclusive World Matchplay Championship has a field of 40 players, all of whom have qualified for the event via various routes.
Both tournaments in Ireland will initially have a round robin phase followed by knockout rounds.