Houston, “We Made US Snooker History”…Igor Knocks in Top 146

Proud as balls…Igor celebrates a bit of history in Houston: Screenshot from World Seniors Website

It wasn’t so much “Houston, we have a problem,” it was more, “Houston, we made history”, as the World Seniors Snooker Championship qualifiers qualifier 6 rolled into the Texan town at the weekend.

At least 32 players competed for the chance to play the Snooker’s Legends such as Jimmy White et al at an iconic venue to be confirmed later on in 2019.

It was the Brazilian Igor Figueiredo who triumphed in America, and it was indeed he who made history with an incredible 146 break – a first for America! Smiling Igor was as proud as punch for a double taste of sweet success.

The 41-year-old who has been somewhat a regular on the professional circuit, reaching bests in the last 16 of ranking events such as the Welsh Open and Gibraltar.

Igor will join five other successful qualifiers who will compete for a top prize of £25,000 later in the year and a spot in the World Championship qualifiers. These lucky five include:

  • Welshman Rhydian Richards
  • Englishman Stuart Watson
  • From the Netherlands, Joris Maas
  • Irishman Leo Fernandez
  • And from Hong Kong, Au Chi-Wai

The World Seniors events are for players over forty and not currently playing on the World Snooker main tour and they get to compete on the main venues at legendary venues against legendary players such as 7 times World Champion Stephen Hendry or the 1985 World champion Dennis Taylor. The hashtag #DaretoDream is exactly that. If you think you have what it takes, and fit the requirements, then check out World Seniors website or Snooker Legends for more details.

Watch the 146, below…


EASB English Amateur Tour Update

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The Amateur season of the English Association for Snooker and Billiards is in full swing so here’s a quick update of what’s been happening on the English Amateur Tour.

Last season saw Joe O’Connor win four out of the six events and then go on to scoop the English Amateur Championship, not before he turned pro and received a tour card for the 2018/19 season.

This season it’s a different story altogether as there has been no quadruple victory for any player. David Lilley has come close to winning thrice, but took the opening event of the EAT. The winners of the events pocket at least a grand on the circuit, plus, they get a FREE entry into QSchool 2019.

Event two was won by ex-pro Leo Fernandez and three was won by last season’s semi-finalist in the English Amateur Championship Jamie O’Neill. Event five has already been played, and it was won by Simon Bedford meaning there’s still Events four and six to be played. The venues generally get played down in Gloucester or up in Sheffield at the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucestershire and the Star Snooker Academy in Sheffield.

Event four will take place on the 2nd/3rd February at the Star Snooker Academy in Sheffield.

Currently, David Lilley is at the top of the ranking list for this amateur event .

See dates for upcoming events, such as the English Amateur Championship last 16, which happens in March, on the EASB website…


Dave Gilbert Makes Fantastic Historic 147th 147

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David Gilbert has racked the 147th 147 at the Championship League at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry.

The 37-year-old former International Championship runner-up beat the Chinese no 1 Ding Junhui to it this week, as last week Ding fell short of making snooker history at the Masters. Ding’s 122 break included a fluked yellow but he missed the green to create history ar the Masters.

However Gilbert made the break on a much smaller stage at the Championship League, which is synoymous with players making 147s.

Gilbert’s 147 is the second maximum of his career and is the eighth maximum of the season with Ronnie O’Sullivan making his 15th career maximum this season, among others.

147s used to carry a whopping prize of £147,000 in the early days but the prizes for a maximum now are more modest – as they are more frequent now and carry a roll over if no makes one in a particular tournament.

At the Masters, Stephen Hendry the 7 times World Champion suggested that a maximum should carry a special gift prize such as a watch per se, to mark the significant achievement.

Six-times World Champion Steve Davis made the first televised 147 in 1982 and got a Lada car. According to Wikipedia, a player who makes the highest break from Groups 1 – 7 only get £500! In the winner’s group of the Championship League, the prize is £1000.

A 147 involves potting 15 reds, 15 blacks and the six colours, 36 pots of perfection. Watch Gilbert’s historic break below at 13 mins into the match against Stephen Maguire…


A New Snooker Master: The Amazing Judd Trump

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Judd Trump cruised to an astonishing 10 – 4 win over the Rocket Ronnie O’Sullivan to claim his first Masters title at the Alexandra Palace in London.

The 29-year-old Ace in the Pack shot to victory by sewing up the match in the first session in the afternoon 7 – 1 before dotting the I’s and Crossing the T’s in the second session to lift the Paul Hunter trophy and bag 200K.

Trump said after “it was a dream come true.”

He admitted it was his safety that had vastly improved and that it had helped him to win the title as he played some delightful tactical snooker all week in London whilst beating the likes of Mark Selby Neil Robertson and his arch rival Kyren Wilson along the way.

Trump’s Snooker CV

An under-par Ronnie O’Sullivan, who was chasing a 20th major title and 8th Masters crown managed in the second session to get the wheels turning slightly as he treated the Ally Pally crowd to two centuries before Judd did enough to get over the finish line.

The 2019 Dafabet Masters produced high-quality drama, as it does every year as fans almost witnessed China’s Ding Junhui make the 147th 147 in snooker history, but he broke down on 122 after fluking the final yellow but just falling short of the green to the middle pocket. The question on everybody’s lips now

Judd’s win will silence his critics who have been saying he has been underachieving in the game and should be winning more major titles than he has done. However, with a vastly improved safety game and his ability to pot them off the lampshades, Trump will prove to be much more of a handful at this year’s World Snooker Championship in Sheffield.

No Longer A Young Pretender?

2018 and 2019 have seen two maiden Masters winner in a row as Mark Allen ticked off the Masters on his snooker CV and now Trump has crossed off this major title on his CV as well. Trump won the UK Championship back in 2011 but fell short in the same year when he reached the World Championship final when losing to John Higgins.

However, although the score line was a shock, the victory against O’Sullivan wasn’t, as the two men have endured lots of closely fought battles over the last five years. Judd has come out on top in a lot of them. He most recently defeated O’Sullivan in the Northern Irish Open in Belfast back at the end of last year.


Masters Snooker: How A Week of Incredible Drama Has Unveiled So Far

The 2019 Dafabet Masters has yet again provided fans with incredible drama all week – and there’s still plenty more to savor going into the final weekend.

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Last Sunday the opening day of the event saw two final frame deciders in both matches with the defending champion Mark Allen crashing out 6 – 5 to Luca Brecel and then in the evening four time World Champion John Higgins crashed out to Ryan Day.

Fans then saw the World Champion Mark Williams crash out to Neil Robertson in the first round after being 3 – 1 up and even had the opportunity to go 4 – 1 up but Robertson battled back to win that encounter.

Wednesday saw Kyren Wilson and Judd Trump extend their rivalry as the Warrior Wilson had beaten Trump on four occasions last year but this time it was Trump who exacted revenge for those losses and battered Wilson 6 – 2 with being 4 – 0 up. It was a bitter pill to swallow for the Kettering 27-year-old as their rivalry reached Alexandra Palace once again in the top billing.

Younger Rivalries

Before the match Trump had admitted to BBC Sport, “we don’t see eye to eye, we don’t really get on” as both seek to become the new generation of consistent snooker champions and take over the reigns of power from the likes of Ronnie O’Sullivan, John Higgins and Mark Williams, all into their forties.

Ronnie O’Sullivan has not been vintage so far in the event as he hunts for an 8th Masters title and 20 major titles, but saw off both Ryan Day and Stuart Bingham – in solid fashion.

Tons of Drama

And the world number one Mark Selby, who plays the in form Trump today in the two remaining quarter-finals before the main events at the weekend, was back to dashing form in his first round match, knocking in three tons along the way and seeing off comfortably a disappointing Stephen Maguire, who came back to some kind of form to qualify for the Masters.

Finally, Thursday saw yet more incredible drama as China’s no 1 Ding Junhui went head to head with Europe’s Luca Brecel, a player who won his first ranking title a couple of season’s ago in the China Championship as the match was nip and tuck all the way. It was an incredible loss in frame 9 from Ding when he lost the frame through the 3 miss rule in snooker, you can see that on the video below. That said, Ding held himself together in the decider as the Belgium bullet in the decider missed a red to the middle and let Ding in. We may well be seeing more of Brecel in the future as he is another one of the under 30 top players to be breaking through – slowly.

O’Sullivan will play Ding in the semi-final, but who will be the other two semi-finalists??

The drama continues until Sunday evening January 20 on BBC and Eurosport.


Snooker Gets Its Own All Party Parliamentary Support Group

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The World Professional Snooker and Billiards Association (WPBSA) under its chairman Jason Ferguson met a group of MPs this week to discuss the future of UK snooker and to celebrate the contribution the sport has made to UK society.

The result of the meeting was the formation of an all party parliamentary group of MPs who will meet regularly in the year to discuss and highlight the achievements of snooker’s important contribution it makes to society, as well as providing findings on how to grow the grassroots of the sport in the UK.

The group will be chaired by Tory MP Conor Burns for Bournemouth west and five other Vice chairs from different political parties.

Snooker has made a significant contribution to UK society over the years, particularly in areas of deprivation and has also entertained the nation in its flagship events such as the World Championship hosted in the home of the sport itself, Sheffield – an area that has been regenerated in recent times. Last year the World Championship played host to a magnificent final between two Legends of the game, still competing at the top well into their forties! John Higgins and Mark Williams (see pic)

The meeting comes a few days before snooker gets its big moment in January on the calendar with The Masters in London, (starting Sunday 13th January) an event that draws tourism revenue and fans from all over the globe to see snooker’s top 16 stars shine on the baize and hopefully inspire future generations to take up their time on the green baize from all over the world.

Jason Ferguson, WPBSA Chairman said “I am delighted that an All-Party Parliamentary Group has been launched for snooker and thank all those Members of Parliament and Peers who have already joined.
“The World Snooker Tour continues to grow, with a number of major events across the United Kingdom providing inspiration for the next generation of young players.
“We hope that by widening opportunities to take part in our game, we can increase participation among people of all abilities, ages and backgrounds, and look forward to working with the All-Party Group to achieve this.”

WPBSA website

Not only is there a significant contribution from snooker’s flagship events such as the Worlds and the Masters and the UK Championship, snooker is also growing a wide variety of other events with the World Women’s Snooker tour growing in stature, the World Disability Snooker tour becoming popular and also the World Seniors events which saw only last weekend, Jimmy White showcase the brilliance of amateurs over 40 from across the five countries of the United Kingdom.

Speaking after the launch in Parliament, Group Chair and Member of Parliament for Bournemouth West, Conor Burns MP, said “snooker is a fantastic sport that delivers significant economic and social benefits in constituencies throughout the United Kingdom, both through snooker clubs and major events.

“The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Snooker has been established to support the further development of the sport, and I am delighted that so many colleagues have already joined the Group.
“We look forward to supporting the sport on specific issues over the coming year and beyond, but also to promoting the good work that snooker does to government, policymakers, and more broadly across the country.”

From WPBSA website

Whirlwind Jimmy White Rolls Back Years Claiming Irish Seniors Masters

The Whirlwind Jimmy White claimed yet another World Seniors title the Irish Seniors Masters in Goffs in Ireland over the weekend.

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The former six-times World Championship finalist and ten time ranking event winner breezed to a 4 – 1 victory over amateur qualifier Rodney Goggins who produced a fine display of snooker over the weekend as well to reach the final.

An emotional Goggins at the end, 40, gave Jimmy a tough start in the first frame as the Whirlwind went ahead but a tremendous 52 clearance from Goggins saw him steal the frame and go one up. Unfortunately, for Goggins, a former pro in 2004/5, White managed to rekindle some of his old sparkling form and some safety errors from Goggins led to White seeing out the match comfortably.

Brilliant in Patches

White said during the weekend he was playing good stuff in patches but wasn’t consistent like he used to be but said on his day he could beat anybody!

The World Seniors tour is growing in stature as the event was televised on Freeview channel 64 on Freesports as well as streamed online so fans could see the Legends of yesteryear compete with some new faces as there are several events laid on now on the World Seniors tour.

White has already claimed the UK Seniors Championship along with Ken Doherty, both were given wildcard tickets on the main tour after both were relegated a couple of seasons ago.

Other notable performances came also from former professional from Dungannon Patrick Wallace, 49, a former World Championship quarter-finalist in 2001 who got to the semi-finals in Goffs.

But it was White who took the 7,500 Euros and the Alex Higgins seniors trophy in style.


Slow Mo Video: Watch How to Get Through Ball and Cue Smoothly!

This short slow-mo video demonstrates three key things you need to cue through the ball smoothly using a long back swing.

This video was taken on a lesson with top snooker coach Brian Cox and shows you the potential spin you can get by going through the ball and having a long backswing consistently on every shot.

Long or Short?

A long backswing isn’t for everyone though but there are three benefits to it! Some pros have a long swing such as Mark Selby, Ronnie O’Sullivan or JOhn Higgins. Others like Mark Allen have a short compact swing. But what they all have in common is they do it consistently on every shot!

  1. It offers consistency if you do it on every shot
  2. You can control the power in the shot and have time to look at the object ball before delivering!
  3. You can create a pendulum motion in your cue action and the long swing will naturally open the three back fingers!

Cueing Through…

To get through the ball you need to go through all the way to the chest to complete the shot so that the cue arm goes forward of the vertical! Your cue arm starts vertical, and then ends forward of the vertical!

Keep your head still. Pull the cue back in a consistent and controlled manner and follow through! And finally, relax the grip. Having a longer backswing will ensure this by opening the three fingers naturally on the cue!

And that’s it! Once you can do that consistently on every shot, then the world is your oyster and it’s up to you to remember to be consistent!


How to Improve Aiming in Snooker WITHOUT Training Aids in No More Than 10 Mins

Happy New Year!

SnookerZone hopes you all had a great Christmas and New Year and this year is going to be a special year for all, including us working on the site!

Before we talk about how to improve aiming in snooker without using training aids, something that can be done, it’s important to say there are lots of videos talking about lining up a shot and how to walk into the line of the shot.

You can view lots of these videos (some good, some bad) on Youtube…like this one, below (a good one)…

So let’s get down to it.

One of the things that gets failed to mention in videos on Youtube and from some coaches is exactly what your eyes are seeing when visualising the shot. Over the Christmas holidays SnookerZone had some solid practice down the club and we came up with an interesting simple little exercise to discover what may be the preferred vision line.

This can be done if you’re left or right handed.

But first, the textbook rule which seems to be drilled out, again and again, starting back from the days of Joe Davis, is the fact that your right or left leg should be in line with the shot. You can either approach with your feet either side of the cue ball and your right or left foot “steps in” to the line when you are walking into the shot! You can also already have your feet in line with the shot without having to step in with your left or right leg!

In this simple aiming/sighting exercise SnookerZone tried out and achieved success, we did these steps. Follow them like this:

  • Place your cue on the table in the middle of the belly button. Stand with your feet either side of the white –
  • Without moving the cue shuffle your feet either left or right and find out where you best “see” the angle on the shot! Once you’re shuffled into the position that feels right and best at spotting the angle or “contact point” of the cue ball to object ball, then simply step in with either right or left foot as you normally would putting your heel forward and to the side.
  • Play the shot as you normally would making sure to follow through and stay down to see where the object ball goes! Did it go into or left or right of the pocket?
  • You may find if your cue is pointing straight where you delivered then you don’t have an issue with cueing! It’s an aiming issue you have and you need to get up and repeat the process (trial and error) but once you find your perfect starting line on the shot, you will pot more balls (provided you deliver the cue in a straight line!) NOTE: SnookerZone’s proof for this was we potted 10 balls in a row which included blacks and pinks – and not all were “easy” shots!
  • When SnookerZone did this, we found we potted more balls when shifting our feet in the starting position more to the right! Interestingly, being right-handed, we imagined the starting position would be more to the left! This illustrates the idea that what you think maybe your natural vision line because you are right-handed can actually be the opposite!
  • We had a lesson with top coach Brian Cox on Friday the 28th December and he established that our “cueing” was not an issue when missing certain shots!

You can complete this simple exercise in under 10 mins and work on it for a session and practice gaining consistency on your “walk-in” to the shot! Provided you deliver the cue in a straight line and analyze what went wrong when staying down after the shot, you WILL improve your game!

But remember these three key things:

  • Follow through the white! To test if you are following through enough, place a piece of chalk next to the cue ball and then play a shot and stop your cue after and measure with a tape measure to see how much you got through!
  • Keep head/body still
  • Adopt a nice controlled back-swing when on the shot!

In snooker, consistency is the key on everything you do! From walking into the shot to delivering the cue, to feathering up and addressing the cue ball! Even where you grip the cue needs to be consistent!