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Four More Undergraduates Graduate from QSchool 2019

Scotland’s Fraser Patrick rejoins the professional tour! (photo courtesy of Fraser Patrick…

Four more undergraduates have graduated from the 2019 Qschool event – in event two.

China’s Chen Zifan, England’s Riley Parsons and Louis Heathcote and Scotland’s Fraser Patrick earn the coveted spots on the 2019/20/2020/21 World Snooker tour and take up their professional status.

For Chen Zifan and Fraser Patrick, it was rekindling their spots from being ex-pros and for the other two, Parsons and Heathcote it means they will be joining the professional ranks for the first time in their careers.

Parsons is only 19. Heathcote is 21…

For Chen Zifan, he rejoins the tour after being a highest ranking of 81 and his best finish in a ranking event was the last 32 of the 2017 English Open and European Masters.

Fraser Patrick (see our interview with him here) is 33 and has seen the professional ranks and how it works several times so is no slouch to playing the top flight and top players. He’s reached the Last 32 four times as a best ranking finish.

Heathcote was English under-19 Champion in Gloucester last year and now earns his spot on the tour.

QSchool now goes onto Event 3 where there will be four more spots up for grabs – and then four from the Order of Merit will also turn pro.

These four joined the first bunch of graduates David Lilley and co to earn their WST spots!

The hard work has only just begun!

Congratulations to all who’ve competed and competing in the event…

 

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QSchool 2019: David Lilley Joins Tour First Time Incredibly at 43

Lilley is now a first time “full” professional snooker player…

43-year-old David Lilley has joined the World Snooker tour as a full pro for the first time – despite reaching a World ranking quarter-final as an amateur  – the 2016 Indian Open. 

England’s Lilley has been a regular amateur “top up” on the tour over the years but has never been one of the 128 players as a full pro – but after winning 6 matches at this year’s annual qualifying school, where over 200 entrants entered, 16 of which will join as a full pro, Lilley saw off the 16-year-old talent Sean Maddocks in the grand finals.

Maddocks, a talent from Liverpool, is the youngest player to have made a maximum in an open tournament but ran out of steam in his last match against Lilley.

A mixture of newbies and oldies cruised through the rounds of the qualifying event in Robin Park Leisure Centre Wigan, as China’s Xu Si was the first player to regain his tour card after falling straight off the tour last season.

Lilley, who has played on the World seniors tour, where you have to be over 40 and an amateur, whitewashed Maddocks 4 – 0.

But Maddocks played his part after a brilliant display against former professional Barry Pinches previously.

The Englishman missed out by a whisker on a tour card earlier this year in Israel at the EBSA European Amateur Championships to Poland’s Kacper Filipiak.

But he has been a winner of the English Amateur Championships three times in 1997. 99, 2004 and was a runner-up twice!

[bctt tweet=”The Englishman missed out by a whisker on a tour card earlier this year in Israel at the EBSA European Amateur Championships to Poland’s Kacper Filipiak. ” username=”@chrisgaynor2″]

There are three events as Qschool, as 12 players will qualify and four more from the Order of Merit and those outside lower down will get on to the second Challenge Tour which started last season. Lilley finished fourth in that.

Here are the three who’ve qualified so far…We’ll update the final one soon…

  • David Lilley, England, 43…
  • Xu Si, China, 21, regaining a tour card
  • Soheil Vahedi, Iran, 30, regaining tour card…
  • Jamie O’Neill, 32, a former professional is now back on the tour. Highest ranking previously 80 and last 16 finish in 2014 China Open.

 

 

 

 

 

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If you want better results, then do this for longer…

So, in my early days, I used to rush pots…

And NOT LOOK for long enough when focusing on the object ball before the final delivery of the shot.

Then, I wondered why I was missing them.

I’d be frustrated and ask questions like…

Was it my cueing?

Was it my aiming?

It couldn’t be both?

However, when I made a minor tweak in my game, which involved looking longer just before cue delivery, things started looking up!

I noticed I was getting more long balls.

Those I wasn’t getting were getting MUCH CLOSER than they were.

I felt more confident.

All because of just one tiny tweak that didn’t involve grip, stance, or cue action.

It was simply because I was looking for longer before the final swing.

So, ask yourself this…

How many of you really LOOK at a shot properly for long enough?

Be honest…

Maybe you rush a shot too much, and your eyes are all over the place causing you to miss “easy” shots. I bet this happens to you, right? It certainly happens to us!

Maybe it’s nothing to do with your cueing, and EVERYTHING to do with your focus!

If that’s the case, then…

…This post will be worth looking at…

Here, you’re going to learn three IMPORTANT things…

  • What Quiet Eyes is…
  • How QE works in relation to snooker and potting…
  • How it will improve your pot success if you use it in practice and matches properly to your advantage…

But first…

WHAT IS QUIET EYE? SIMPLE DEFINITION…

Quiet eye is a technique reported to improve outcomes in various tasks requiring human visual attention.[1] It has been the subject of several articles in journalistic periodicals,[2][3][4]and of scientific studies that evaluate it in relation to activities such as sports and surgical training.[5][6][7]

[Quiet-eye theory] is deceptively simple: Before you perform an action, you focus your gaze on the salient aspects of your goal—the rim, the catcher’s mitt, the malignant tissue, and so on. In recent years, using eye-tracking technology, researchers have found that locking onto the relevant stimulus during the right time frame—typically the few hundred milliseconds before, during and after the movement—greatly improves your chances of success.

— David Kohn, The Atlantic (What Athletes See)[1]
In sports like snooker, golf, tennis, and even football, your eyes are the key to striking the ball and seeing where to hit the ball.
Often, poor coordination can come down to not focusing on the object properly or long enough, either through poor concentration or through lack of practice at your own technique.
A player going through learning a technique will have their eyes all over the shop, due to the brain still trying to memorize the different aspects of the technique he/she has been taught by a coach.
Professional sports people often work on auto-pilot with their technique as they have had it drilled into them through their own practice 24/7.
Those of us who don’t have the luxury of 24/7 practice at the sports we love, have to rely on memory and constant focus to make sure we are performing the technique properly. That can end up with us losing focus because we are trying so hard!
[bctt tweet=”Look, how many of you really LOOK at a shot properly for long enough? Be honest…” username=”@chrisgaynor2″]
Take a step back for a second…
Here’s something that we want you to consider…
We used to rush shots, especially when looking before the final backswing, but now, using the Quiet Eye technique, we’ve slowed our eagerness to play the pot right down!
Is your desire to perform the perfect right technique getting in the way of your focus to play the shots in snooker?
Maybe the Quiet Eye system will help you. Try it…
Looking for a bit longer using the Quiet Eye system at your line of aim or point of aim has multiple benefits for improving your game:  Using Nic Barrow’s Aim Frame will help you see the line of aim initially…
First, let SnookerZone ask you this…
Are you focusing your attention enough for long enough on the pot and the line of the pot? Are you rushing the shot?
That 2 extra seconds focusing on the object ball or the line of aim before the final backswing may be the key to delivering the cue straight along the line of aim successfully and potting more balls.
SnookerZone had a good practice session over the weekend working on the ‘quiet eye’ technique with some good results.

Now, this is basically a system to get you to focus and set your mind on the pot before you deliver the final backswing…

It means looking that 2 seconds extra on your point of aim before you deliver your final swing…

What it means is committing to a line/point of aim on the object ball when you are standing up on the shot. Once you’ve picked your point, get down on the shot and then do your 2/3 feathers.

Then, just before you deliver that final backswing, LOOK at your line or point you have chosen for 2 seconds, or longer if you wish, and then deliver your cue!

Stay down on the shot to assess what happened. Did you see a difference?

Compare this to your “normal” way you’ve been striking shots pre using the Quiet Eye method.

Michael Waring, a league player from Carlisle, who runs the amateur snooker information events website Snookerhub has also been trying out the Quiet Eyes technique with immediate improvements to his game, and had this to say…

I started to try out the Quiet Eyes theory recently as I seemed to be having a problem keeping my eyes focused on the point I was aiming at.
To simply pick a point and look at it just for an extra second or two has really helped my concentration on the shot. External distractions are lessened as well.
The improvement has been immediate and with more practice, I believe it will improve my game considerably. Time will tell!”

Here’s the benefits to Quiet Eyes training:

=====>It focuses your mind fully on the pot…

=====> Lets you discover if you’re lined up on the shot right or not. If you’re not, get up off shot and do it again…

=====> It also lets you discover if you feel your cue action is not delivering straight as well…With SnookerZone, we could feel in our cue arm if it wasn’t delivering straight on the swings…

=====> Helps you to not rush the shot and to feel the type of power you need for the shot…

======>Also, it helps you to “zone in” and forget all the distractions around you. We were playing in a jam-packed club at the weekend full of distractions, but, we found this really helped us to zone in on the pot and focus ALL our attention on it.

What we do is normally focus on the cue ball doing two or three feathers and then pause – look at the point of contact on the OB and then deliver on the final swing…

Try it and you might find it gives you a much more measured way of delivering shots…

That two-second pause and look before the final backswing is key!…

[bctt tweet=”The Quiet Eyes helps you to “zone in” and forget all the distractions around you and JUST focus on the pot…” username=”@chrisgaynor2″]

QUIET EYE: Results…

Firstly, when you do something initially, and you’re not used to it, it’s going to feel weird and even uncomfortable. Often, things feel like that because they are right! To paraphrase a top coach in snooker, we often revert back to old habits because they feel comfortable, but that doesn’t mean they are right!

For SnookerZone, the 2 seconds extra time to REALLY look and focus on the pot on EVERY SHOT took his game to a different level in terms of potting or coming much closer to potting the more difficult balls. We found we were getting much closer to the more difficult ones and on long pots, some were rattling the jaws.

To put it in perspective, on long pots we attempted 20 and got 11/20. Before, our success rate was 8/20.

WARNING: Using the Quiet Eye is NOT a QUICK FIX – it’s simply a way of controlling the way you approach a shot and teaches you to slow down how you play a shot. You still have to line yourself up right and deliver the cue in a straight line! 

AND PRACTICE IS STILL MANDATORY!

PS: The Quiet Eye is NOT about being slow, it’s about taking the time you need to focus on the pot and see the line of aim. If someone says you’re taking too long, it’s probably because their technique is all slapdash and they’re not focusing on their game enough…

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Judd Trump Scoops World Snooker Player of the Year

The annual World Snooker Awards took place and here are the results with a special message from Barry Hearn…

Barely a few days ago Judd Trump was lifting the World trophy in Sheffield at the Crucible Theatre for the first time as he also scooped the Player of the Year award.

James Cahill’s historic win over the Rocket Ronnie O’Sullivan in the first round meant he scooped Performance of the Year as the first amateur to play at the Crucible and beat the Rocket.

Leicester’s Joe O’Connor won Rookie of the Year after reaching the semi-finals of a ranking event in one season as a professional after his last amateur trophy was the English Amateur Championship trophy last year in Gloucester.

The 2018/19 professional season has celebrated some historic milestones witnessed by fans globally…

  • Ronnie O’Sullivan made 1000 tons at the Player’s Championship
  • 100 tons were made at the Crucible this year – smashing the record of 86…
  • 12 maximum breaks were made – one less than the most of 13 in a season…
  • An amateur qualified for the Crucible – James Cahill
  • We saw Thepchaiya Un-Nooh and Matthew Selt claim their first ranking wins
  • And of course, Judd Trump claimed his first World title – at last…
  • The longest frame at the Crucible of 79 mins between Gary Wilson and Luca Brecel

World Snooker Awards: 2018/19 winners
Player of the Year – Judd Trump
Fans’ Player of the Year – Ronnie O’Sullivan
Snooker Writers’ Player of the Year – Judd Trump
Performance of the Year – James Cahill
Rookie of the Year – Joe O’Connor
Magic Moment of the Year – Ronnie O’Sullivan 1000 tons

 

 

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Meet the Rising Star MC Living the Dream on Planet Snooker…

WE all know the current King of snooker MCing (Master of Ceremonies) is Rob Walker!

But creeping up behind him is Phil Seymour, who covered a couple of sessions at the Betfred World Championships this year for the second year running while Walker was covering the London Marathon. 

Seymour, 43, from York, is one of the main MC’s for the ITV4 events and is gradually making a name for himself in the snooker.

SnookerZone caught up with Seymour for a short Q&A to find out more about him and how he came to land on planet snooker as an MC.

Here’s what he had to say to SnookerZone…

How did you get into snooker or what first attracted you to the game? 

 

I’ve been a snooker fan since I was little, my Dad always played and I grew up watching Davis, Higgins, White, Hendry etc. I used to play with my Dad a bit, and we always watched the big tournaments together, many late nights watching the Crucible coverage….a great excuse to stay up past my bedtime when I was little!

The sport was a major household feature back then as there were only 3 or 4 tv channels and pretty much the whole country used to tune in to watch the World Championships; the players being household names thanks to the likes of Big Break and Pot Black etc.

More importantly, what made you get involved in MCing and snooker MCing? And why? 

I fell into it really. I started off coaching rugby league to juniors at my local pro club and then one day volunteered to stand in for the stadium announcer at a first-team game when he was off sick. It turned out I was good at it and ended up doing that for two years before Super League’s Wakefield Trinity asked me to go and announce at their games, and I jumped at the chance. I still announce there now, into my eleventh season at the club.

[bctt tweet=”It’s the snooker fans though who really make it special. I spend quite a lot of time chatting to people in the arena, in the cue zone etc and everyone seems so welcoming and friendly,” username=”@chrisgaynor2″]

After two years there, a producer for Sky Sports suggested that with my voice I should look at ring announcing for boxing. I’d always loved watching boxing and he planted a seed in my head. On my 35th birthday, slightly worse for wear, I declared to the pub that by the time I was 40 I would ring announce a boxing world title fight!

A few people said I was daft, but I got licensed with the boxing board of control, worked my way all over the country on different-sized shows and aged 37 and a half I got to MC my first world title fight! Other sports then followed, darts, pool, fishing, all on TV, and then I was asked to fill in for John McDonald a couple of times on the snooker. I must have done a decent job as they asked me back! I loved it, the atmosphere was really special and the crowd was so friendly. Last year I was asked if I’d do some full tournaments and I felt incredibly honoured and proud to be asked as I see it as a real privilege.

As an MC on the main tour. How does it feel to be introducing some of the world’s best sportspeople? You recently MC’d at the Crucible – how was that feeling? 

I see it as a real honour to get to introduce the best players in the world, but you have to remember, they’re just people the same as you and I. As well as the players, the whole crew behind the scenes on the tour, from the cameramen, to the World Snooker team, the journalists, TV crew etc are an absolute joy to work with, because we spend so much time together it’s quite a family atmosphere and we have a lot of laughs while working.

It’s the snooker fans though who really make it special. I spend quite a lot of time chatting to people in the arena, in the cue zone etc and everyone seems so welcoming and friendly, as well as being massively passionate about the sport, which is always fantastic to see.MCing at the Crucible is always special. I’ve been lucky enough to fill in for Rob Walker for a day the last two years there and the roar in the theatre when welcoming the players out is incredible, it makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up!

PLAY AS YOUR FAVOURITE  SNOOKER PLAYER AND BEAT THE TOUR IN THE NEW SNOOKER 19 GAME ON EITHER PS4, XBOX OR PC – START NOW…

 

What or who influences you when you’re doing your role as an MC? 

 

From an MC perspective, John McDonald has long been someone I look up to, he works across a variety of sports and is the consummate professional. Obviously, Rob Walker is probably best known in snooker, but being a BBC man he gets a bit more rein than the rest of us do.

Most TV companies want quite short, punchy introductions, so I’m led by what they ask me to do if I’m honest. Where I get a bit more license is when I’m off-camera, warning the crowd up and generally having a laugh. There are certain things I have to say, like asking people to turn their phones off, and then I tend to go off on a tangent at times, but I’m generally trying to make people smile and get them clapping!

 

How much time do you spend planning for your moment when you introduce the players and how much time do you liaise with a player for their walk on? 

I plan each introduction meticulously, making careful notes of previous titles etc. I check all of my introductions with the media team from World Snooker, to make sure they’re accurate, but we tend not to bother the players as they’re preparing for a match at that point and won’t want disturbing.

[bctt tweet=”Neil was kind enough to say, “by the way, I love how you introduce us, it gives me a real buzz waiting to come out and hear you really bigging us up, thanks for that”. That meant the world to me.” username=”@chrisgaynor2″]

I’ve made mistakes, which are quickly pointed out on social media, but I seem to have done ok!

After the final at the Welsh Open I interviewed Neil Robertson for World Snooker (this is a part of my job that people in the arena don’t see, and because I’m off-camera during the interviews, people might not realize it’s me!) and after the interview, Neil was kind enough to say, “by the way, I love how you introduce us, it gives me a real buzz waiting to come out and hear you really bigging us up, thanks for that”. That meant the world to me.”

 

Who has been your best walk-on intro you’ve introduced so far since working on tour?

[bctt tweet=”MCing at the Crucible is always special. I’ve been lucky enough to fill in for Rob Walker for a day the last two years there and the roar in the theatre when welcoming the players out is incredible, it makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up!” username=”@chrisgaynor2″]

I don’t really have a favourite, but the introductions in the finals are always special for me, the atmosphere cranks up another level and everyone is a little nervier. The semi-final between Ronnie O’Sullivan and Mark Selby at the Northern Ireland Open was funny this season. It was a huge match, which didn’t fail to deliver. It turned out to be one of the matches of the season.

The night before I’d been chatting to Ronnie about Parkrun, the free 5km run that happens in parks all over Europe and he was thinking about coming along with me and a friend. He didn’t end up coming, but I welcomed him to the arena for his match live on TV and then as he was walking into the cheers of the crowd, I was going through Mark’s introduction in my head to make sure I got it right.

Just before he reached his seat and I got the cue to introduce Mark, Ronnie looked over at me and said “how did your run this morning go, mate?”, it completely threw me from my train of thought, but thankfully I remembered Mark’s introduction and it all went ok!

 

Have you ever met with Rob Walker to share tips or any advice as two people involved in the same game? 

No, we’ve chatted via social media, but never actually met. It’s the same with many other MCs as we all tend to be working in different cities at the same time. Rob is a great guy though, so friendly and really helpful. He’s given me a few tips and is always there if I do need him for anything.

 

What are your hopes for the future? 

 

I’d love to keep working on the snooker, and I really hope to do some tournaments overseas at some point, just to experience what it’s like.

 

Snooker is growing in popularity on tv – how do you see it going in say five to ten years time in terms of MCing etc?

I can see there being even more tournaments, which is great for the sport. The new Tour Championship went down really well this year, and I’m sure there is room in the calendar for some more. From an MC perspective, I’d like to think the old adage “if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it” applies, as I love what I do, and I don’t think the atmosphere in the arena would be the same without an MC to do the warm-up, introductions etc.

Who’s your favourite player – excluding Ronnie?

I honestly don’t have a favourite player. Most of them are really nice behind the scenes, which is great. Players I enjoy watching most include Ronnie, Judd Trump, Neil Robertson and Thepchaiaya Un-Nooh because I find their style of play to be exciting, but sometimes it’s the games you don’t expect that turn out to be the best of all. Thepchaiaya’s performance in the shoot-out was special this year, and he is such a lovely, humble guy, you couldn’t help but be really pleased for him.

Do you play snooker yourself? 

I am horrifically colorblind, so despite playing a bit when I was young, I never really spent much time on it because I can’t tell the reds from the green and brown! Seriously. I do play a little bit, but it’s difficult. It’s easier to watch the professionals because more often than not the balls stay on their spots so I can work out which is which.

This doesn’t stop me participating in plenty of challenges in cue zones, where I love to have a laugh with the WPBSA coaches and many snooker fans have enjoyed watching me fail to pot balls all season!

Finally , can you tell us something about you people don’t know or maybe you’ve got a funny story that’s happened in your career etc? 

 

Some people know this already, but hopefully, some won’t. I became a Dad for the third time earlier this year, my partner giving birth to a beautiful baby girl who we named Charlotte or Lottie for short. The funny thing about it was the timing of the birth. She was due the Tuesday two days after the final of the shoot-out, just a few days before the Players Championship started in Preston. It was really nervy for me because I was worried that I’d have to rush off from a tournament etc.

She travelled with me to Cheltenham for the World Grand Prix, Cardiff for the Welsh Open and Watford for the shoot-out, just in case the baby arrived early, but nothing happened! Thankfully, Lottie arrived just one day late, on the Wednesday. I then MCd the boxing on Sky Sports on the Saturday and headed to Preston on the Monday for the snooker!

It was a crazy few weeks, but all ended well! Lottie then came along to Llandudno for the Tour Championship, and met the likes of Ronnie, Stephen Hendry and a few snooker fans too!

 

SnookerZone would like to thank Phil for taking the time to talk to SnookerZone and we wish him well in the great job he’s doing as an MC in snooker. Catch Phil on his twitter @announcerphil

Also, catch Phil on his website www.philseymour.co.uk now!

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Judd Trump on Top of the World – Finally…

JUDD TRUMP has finally achieved a dream – Betfred World Snooker Champion for 2019 at the Home of Snooker the iconic Crucible Theatre, Sheffield…

After 8 years since appearing in his first World final in 2011, he met the man who dashed his dreams in that year – John Higgins.

Back then, Judd Trump had a fuller set of hair and was even nicknamed Mr Haircut 100.

He was known for his eagerness to pot everything. He was known more for his flamboyancy and eagerness to entertain. He was unwilling to get hooked up in a safety tactical game.

Now, the apprentice has served his apprenticeship and 2018/19 has been the season where Trump has graduated with honours from the school of hard knocks.

Now, he’s an animal on a 12ft by 6ft snooker table. Now, he’s willing to go toe to toe in a full on safety battle. Now, he’s willing to sit tight and bide his time. Now, he’s willing to sit in the long grass and pounce like a Tiger on his prey.

And that’s exactly what he did against John Higgins in the final.

This time, the 29-year-old dashed the Wizard of Wishaw’s dreams of lifting a fifth World title and equalling Ronnie O’Sullivan.

And the Bristol potter said after the inspiration to lift his dream trophy came from his dad – a true snooker fan.

Judd defeated the 43-year-old John Higgins 18 – 9 in emphatic style – and the match will also be remembered for a series of other reasons, including…

  • 11 centuries – the most in a Crucible match – 7 of which came from Judd himself.
  • 2 maximum attempts – both Judd and John Higgins came so close to making a 147 – the first since 2012 and Stephen Hendry’s swan song maximum
  • 100 tons – another record for a World Championship. Will that ever be beaten?

This 2019 edition of the World Championship also will be remembered for other reasons, including…

  • The first amateur to play at the Crucible – James Cahill who beat Ronnie O’Sullivan in the first round.
  • The longest frame in Crucible history with Gary Wilson and Luca Brecel taking 79 mins to complete a single frame
  • David Gilbert and John Higgins’s epic semi-final, and that final thrilling final frame decider which saw Higgins go into his eighth Crucible final and third in a row
  • Judd Trump made the history with the 100 centuries – a 104 on his way to his first World title

After, John Higgins said of Judd’s emphatic victory: “Just awesome. Absolutely awesome.”

He added: “I was lucky as I was the only one who got a free ticket to watch.”

The Wizard was playing catch up after Trump cruised to a 12 – 5 lead in the final on the first evening and despite a valiant attempt for Higgins to make a mini comeback in session 3, Judd managed to see it through and get the job done.

Now, Trump goes to World number two in the Rankings as the snooker season comes to a close…

Gary Wilson, who had a great run to the semi’s, now is as high as 20 in the World, while David Gilbert moves up to 12.

The Juddernaut, as he is nicknamed, has now shook off his critics who doubted he would win a World Championship, but he’s delivered himself the biggest prize in snooker earlier than others thought.

1991 World Snooker Champion John Parrott said after saying about Ronnie O’Sullivan: If he’s looking for a challenge, he’s got one!”

JUDD TRUMP’S TITLES THIS SNOOKER SEASON…

  • 2018 Northern Irish Open
  • 2019 Masters (non-ranking)
  • 2019 World Grand Prix
  • 2019 Betfred World Championship