Two very different qualifying tournaments were held over the course of this weekend.
Saturday marked the return of the Snookerbacker Classic – back for a second year after a hugely successful debut in 2011/12.
The format is similar to last season with a series of qualifying legs held across England and Ireland providing 8 Grand Finalists who will each battle it out for two coveted prizes of entry to Q-School next May.
In its inaugural hosting, Martin O’Donnell emerged victorious with victories over Irishmen Johnny Williams and John Sutton in the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester and subsequently put his winnings to good use by emerging successfully from Q-School to gain his place on the professional Main Tour.
With that publicity and through the great efforts of Mr. and Mrs. Snookerbacker over at the fellow snooker blog, this tournament has quickly become one of the most sought after amateur titles in the UK and Ireland – and indeed, one of the most talked about.
Cakes, shrines and a lot of #carelessness aside, there was the serious business of a 16-strong field in the Northern Snooker Centre in Leeds all bidding for a single place in the Grand Finals early in 2013.
And after an action-packed day where former world champion Neil Robertson even popped his head in prior to an exhibition he was to play at the club later that evening, Oliver Lines fought his way through a magnificent four deciding frame thrillers to advance to the Finals.
Lines, Main Tour stalwart Peter’s teenage son, only recently earned his first pro scalp at UKPTC3 when he defeated Joe Perry – coincidentally also 4-3.
And the youngster enjoyed a quartet of similar scorelines as he showed nerves of steel to remain in the competition with victories over Jamie Barrett, John Whitty, Gary Wilson and Ant Parsons to his credit.
Yesterday then, there was a completely contrasting qualifying event being held for the oldies to decide the final line-up for the 2012 World Senior Championship.
1995 Crucible runner-up Nigel Bond made light work of Gary Wilkinson in a 2-0 triumph that included a 101 century break and set up a meeting with 1985 Sheffield champion Dennis Taylor.
Les Dodd, Tony Chappel and Barry West will join Bond in Portsmouth at the end of the month in a tournament that will also feature the likes of former champions Jimmy White and Darren Morgan, as well as Steve Davis, Tony Drago, Alain Robidoux and Cliff Thorburn.