After a month of action on the other side of the world, snooker is back in England for the first UK Players Tour Championship event of the season.
Not all of the top players made the trips to China, Thailand and Australia for the opening tournaments of 2012/13 but those who did will be rewarded with the knowledge that they have already eased themselves into what will be a long and arduous campaign.
In saying that, it is hard to deny that with the calendar finally incorporating events back in Europe, the new year now feels like it is finally under way.
Furthermore, despite the fact that several of the major changes came into effect two years ago, it is still a little difficult to acclimatize oneself to competitive snooker being player during the summer.
September was traditionally the month when major competition returned after a few months off following the World Championship but by this September a significant portion of the season will already have been and gone.
In a wise move by World Snooker, Gloucester’s South West Snooker Academy will play host to all four English PTC events this year, which is good for both players and fans alike.
Players can be rest assured that, barring a particularly peculiar set of matches, they will be finished before midnight with the extra tables available – not something that was always guaranteed at the World Snooker Academy in Sheffield.
Fans, meanwhile, will be happy because there is actually an opportunity to go and see their favourite players compete with excellent crowd facilities at SWSA, unlike in Sheffield where all the qualifiers for the main ranking events are held.
Today, the preliminary rounds were completed and there were no massive shocks as most of the amateurs we have grown accustomed to on the circuit progressed to the first round proper.
Indeed, probably one of the biggest upsets was Irishman John Sutton’s narrow 4-3 defeat at the hands of Craig Barber.
Twitter favourite Ben Harrison came from 2-0 down to edge talented Welshman Duane Jones 4-3, while Sam Harvey suffered a 4-1 loss to John Astley.
Greg Davis, son of legend Steve, endured a humbling introduction to full-time life on the circuit after being whitewashed by fellow Englishman Sydney Wilson while top female Reanne Evans recorded two impressive 4-0 scorelines of her own to book a meeting with Jamie Cope.
Former pros Joe Swail, Matt Couch, Stuart Carrington, Lucky Vatnani and Andrew Pagett all recorded wins to reach the last 128, which will be whittled down to 16 for Sunday.