Warsaw Classic

The sixth Players Tour Championship event of the season gets under way tomorrow as the season gathers momentum.

From now until next May the 2011/12 campaign will be action-packed as the majority of the remainder of the PTC series is contested before Christmas.

This weekend, the players travel  to Poland for the Warsaw Classic – one of the six designated European PTC tournaments.

Eastern Europe has been heralded as a potential market for the sport in recent years and more tournaments have been held in countries like Poland, Russia and Bulgaria.

It will be interesting to see what level of support there will be over the next few days with the event being televised live on Eurosport.

There will be instantaneous disappointed for the locals, though, as the top four in the world rankings have opted not to travel.

Mark Selby, Mark Williams, John Higgins and Ding Junhui have decided to take this opportunity to take a rest period as well as crowd-puller Ronnie O’Sullivan, Northern Ireland’s Mark Allen and seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry.

Hendry is already assured to be outside of the Top 16 in the world rankings at the first official revision next week which means he will be back at the qualifiers for the UK Championship for the first time in 23 years.

It also ensures that the Scotsman will be an absentee the first time the Masters will be held at Alexandra Palace in January – a tournament he famously won the first five times he played in it.

However, there are many other stars in attendance in Poland – none more so than 15 year-old local boy Kacper Filipiak.

Filipiak claimed the 2011 Under-21 European Championship in spectacular fashion earlier in the year but has unsurprisingly struggled to adapt to the professional scene at such a young age.

Yet, the teenager will surely be hoping to entertain his home support and could be spurred on to excel his other performances so far this season.

There is an array of Polish amateurs in the line-up for the preliminary qualifying round that takes place tomorrow.

Most of them are unknown but Krzysztof Wrobel, who made up half of the Polish team alongside Filipiak in July’s World Cup, takes on Pakistan’s Najmur Khan for a place in the first round proper.

In an intriguing amateur tie, Ben Harrison, who has been struggling with back and neck pain for the last week, takes on Reanne Evans only days after the female star relinquished her record of 90 consecutive victories on the female circuit to Maria Catalano – Ronnie O’Sullivan’s cousin.

Understandably, none of the Irish amateurs have made the trip east in an effort to limit the expenses for the year but Fergal O’Brien, David Morris and David Hogan will be action later in the week.

The full draw and results can be viewed by clicking here.

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