Back to Business: German Masters Qualifiers

After a brief respite over the weekend, proper snooker makes a much welcomed return to our agenda tomorrow with the qualifying stages for the German Masters.

A quick word on the much debated Power Snooker event that was held over the last couple of days.

While this time last year on my previous blog I lauded the inclusion of the variant format to the snooker scene, now I realise that hasty reaction was made because, at the time, all of us were still starved of the regular stuff.

Having consumed around half an hour in total over Saturday and Sunday, I can safely say that the initiative is not for me.

Many will argue that this is because of a traditionalist viewpoint – far from it. Over the course of the last number of years blogging, I have welcomed fresh concepts and new ideas brought to the table, so to speak.

Yet, not all of them have to, and will, work. This is one of those occasions. The inappropriate rowdiness of the crowd, the flawed rules and the tacky overall presentation aside, the game is simply boring.

While there probably is a possibility for it to be an exciting prospect if the ambitions were honed in a little, that eventuality is unlikely as their mentality of “bringing snooker into the 21st Century” appears to have gone down the road of yobbishness.

That said, a huge and sincere congratulations to Martin Gould who took away the title in Manchester after he beat defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan in a close final.

Gould has enjoyed a superb rise up the ranks in the last few campaigns, culminating in a deserved place in the elite top 16 in the world and now this, his first professional title.

With his confidence continuously on the ascent, it would not be surprising to see the Londoner – or the Pinner Potter as he is affectionately known as – become a ranking event champion in the near future.

Could it be the German Masters in February? Well, the 80 plus players below him in the rankings get their campaigns under way tomorrow in a bid to be among the 16 hopefuls that will earn their right to play in Berlin early next year.

In a change to the norm, there will be only three qualifying rounds instead of the regular four this week with every professional lower than 32 in the world rankings entering the competition from the first stage.

As always, there are a few stand-out ties with the all-English battle between youngsters Jack Lisowski and Sam Craigie being among the most intriguing to look out for.

In addition, Thailand legend James Wattana takes on compatriot Passakorn Suwannawat while in-form Michael White will do battle with namesake Michael Holt.

Irishman David Morris challenges north of the border’s Gerard Greene while David Hogan has an equally daunting task in four-time Crucible quarter-finalist Anthony Hamilton.

Veterans Jimmy White and Steve Davis meet Matthew Couch and Joe Meara respectively while those ranked between 17 and 32, including Ken Doherty and Fergal O’Brien, will come into the fold on Friday.

The German Masters was probably the biggest success story of last season when a packed Tempodrom played host to one of the most memorable ranking events in recent history.

A capacity crowd of 2500 enthusiasts provided a spine-tingling standing ovation at the end of the final between Mark Williams and Mark Selby that ensured, without any doubt, that there is a promising future for the sport in mainland Europe.

For this reason, the players will be even more keen to progress to the venue stages and sample an atmosphere that most sports people can only dream about.

The full draw for the German Masters Qualifiers can be viewed by clicking here.

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