The last snooker action of 2013 took place during the last two days as the World Open field was whittled down to 64 in Barnsley.
The previous two days had seen the same scenario take place for the German Masters and, similarly, there were very few of what you would call shock results in the qualifying round for Haikou.
Indeed, there was hardly any that you would constitute as a major surprise.
David Morris knocked out the highest ranked player in 22nd seed Peter Ebdon but that was almost to be expected given Morris’ superb form of late and the patchy performances from the former world champion.
In fact, this is the second time in a matter of weeks that the Kilkenny cueist has gotten the better of the veteran player.
Morris thumped Ebdon 6-1 in the second round of the UK Championship in York and allowed his English opponent just one more frame on Friday after recording a 5-2 success to book his flight to China.
The Irishman’s confidence must be at an all-time high having reached the last 16 at the UK for the first time while he is already into the top 64 in the world on the money list that will be used to determine rankings from next season.
It appears that Morris isn’t going to let this opportunity pass by like how his initial stint on the circuit ended in disappointment in 2012.
Countryman Ken Doherty, at the other end of his career, also booked his place at the World Open after a tense 5-4 victory over Allan Taylor.
Doherty was 3-1 and 4-3 down but showed his battling qualities once again to resound his rookie challenger to a second successive deciding frame defeat in the qualifiers.
However, fellow Dubliner Fergal O’Brien was not able to make it a hat-trick for the Irish contingent as he was felled 5-3 by Craig Steadman.
Two-time defending champion Mark Allen was made to work hard to maintain his chances of reigning supreme again in the Far East but eventually prevailed over Chris Wakelin 5-4 while World Championship runner-up Barry Hawkins was also at the brink of defeat before reversing a 4-1 deficit to oust Vinnie Calabrese in a final frame thriller.
Arguably the biggest result of the two days came for one of the amateurs who was invited to play to make up the numbers for those professionals who chose to withdraw.
Sanderson Lam has been a regular fixture on the English amateur circuit over the last number of years and he recorded one of his biggest wins to date with a 5-1 victory over Dave Harold.
Former pro Adam Wicheard was another amateur who was successful as he overcame Liu Chuang 5-2 to deny the Chinese a place in one of his home events.
It was a mixed round for the Chinese with seven advancing, as well as Hong Kong’s Marco Fu, but six falling short of the winning post.
The bigger names were all comfortable, though, as Ding Junhui, Xiao Guodong, Liang Wenbo, Yu Delu, Cao Yupeng and Tian Pengfei are all safely through.
Elsewhere, it was another positive weekend for legends Steve Davis and Jimmy White.
The pair, who are battling for their Main Tour places for the next campaign, both qualified for Berlin and added Haikou to their list of destinations with respective triumphs over Hammad Miah and Dylan Mitchell.
So that’s the end of snooker in 2013. It has been another memorable year for the sport.
Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be writing a few review articles reflecting on the year overall.
The draw for the World Open can be viewed by clicking here.
I would like to wish David the very best for Christmas, having avidly read all his blogs during 2013, and enjoyed every single one. Keep it up for the New Year. Power to your elbow to you and your colleagues.
Much appreciated, Peter. Thanks for reading and Merry Christmas!