The Kay Suzanne Memorial Cup takes place this weekend at The Capital Venue in Gloucester.
In fact, the annual tournament now in its third year in the Players Tour Championship series, began yesterday with the preliminary amateur rounds.
Those come to a conclusion today with Irish former professional Leo Fernandez in with a chance to reach the main draw in a European Tour event for the second time this season.
Friday will also see the top half of 64 players whittled down to eight.
The Kay Suzanne Memorial Cup is one of the best minor ranking competitions for a number of reasons.
First is its name, which honours venue owner Paul Mount’s late sister, who tragically died from breast cancer at a young age.
In memory of her, Mount and others work hard to raise money for Breast Cancer charities and often the players wear the illness’ signature colour, pink, in respect.
The second thing is the venue itself, which remains one of the most efficiently run facilities for snooker in the United Kingdom – and is the practice base for many of the competitors on the circuit.
There was doubt cast whether the Capital Venue would host professional tournaments again after complications arose with World Snooker last season.
But thankfully those have been swept aside and it returns as a reliable host.
It may not rival fellow satellite tournaments in Germany and Belgium in terms of punters but the staff at the venue do a great job in attracting as big a crowd as possible and, from experience, I know how well everyone is treated while there.
There are currently 143 players still left in the draw so forgive me if I don’t preview each individual match.
However, most of the top players are vying for the 20,000 pound winner’s cheque, including world no.1 Neil Robertson and world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan.
These two are due to meet in the third round should they get that far, which would be sure to attract widespread attention for those in attendance on Saturday.
Taking a rest this week is China’s Ding Junhui, which is understandable considering the amount of snooker he has player in the last couple of months.
Of the Irish players, Ken Doherty plays Swiss teenager Alexander Ursenbacher, Fergal O’Brien takes on Thanawat Tirapongpaiboon of Thailand while David Morris will be hoping to regain momentum in his campaign in his bout with Malta’s Alex Borg.
Frustratingly, no other Irish amateur joined Fernandez in the preliminary rounds which is baffling considering the close proximity of Gloucester to the Emerald Isle.
The reasons for this are no doubt varied, although I’m sure financial difficulties are a key element in the ultimate decision-making.
That said, it remains disappointing that there is a lack of motivation and enthusiasm to mix it with the pros – especially when there are such fantastic opportunities to do so.
Edit: Contrary to what I wrote above, the amateur rounds were actually finished on Thursday night but ran so late that the record of the scores has not been published yet.
There are reports already that a match involving Luke Garland didn’t conclude until 4:51am.
Clearly, the scheduling for the preliminary rounds was ridiculous.
The full draw for ET6 can be viewed by clicking here.