With the first ranking event of the 2018/19 campaign wrapped up, it’s time to look forward to what snooker in August holds in store for us to enjoy.
Neil Robertson impressed as he captured the opening ranking title of a new term for the fourth time in the last six seasons after beating Jack Lisowski in the final of the Riga Masters on Sunday.
Two more ranking tournaments are set to take place in August as the Main Tour begins to build a little momentum following the longest summer break from the sport in years.
First up will be the return of the World Open next week in China, where Ding Junhui will return as the defending champion after he bagged the last of his 13 career ranking trophies by beating Kyren Wilson in the final just under twelve months ago.
A star-studded field will assemble once again in Yushan, a remote location that will be staging the World Open for the third season in a row despite having never quite captured the imagination of both player and public.
Still, there’s a hefty top prize of £150,000 on offer for the champion and, even though marquee names Ronnie O’Sullivan and John Higgins are notable in their absences, the line-up still includes the likes of world champion Mark Williams and world number one Mark Selby, as well as Judd Trump, Robertson, and two-time winner Mark Allen.
The World Open will also be the first competition of the season to boast the slightly longer and more traditional best of nine frames format, so there should be plenty of drama on the table in store.
Paul Hunter Classic
Bookending snooker in August with the World Open is the Paul Hunter Classic, which takes place from August 22nd to 26th in Germany.
There were some fears towards the climax of last year’s edition that the Paul Hunter Classic, with one of the worst prize funds, might not have a place on the calendar any more.
However, it thankfully will make its return to Furth in a year that will celebrate its 15th anniversary since the late Paul Hunter won the inaugural staging of the once pro-am event back in 2004.
There’s been no announcement of a draw for this event yet but Michael White will be the defending champion and it’s likely that it’ll follow its usual best of seven frames format.
The fourth Challenge Tour event of the season, the new series which provides amateur players with a new avenue into the pro ranks, will also be held in Furth around this period.
In the middle of all that, the qualifying rounds for three upcoming ranking events are set to be held with the competitors going back to the Preston Guild Hall for another bout of tense play in the cubicles.
For just over a week, the players who will go on to feature at the venue stages of the Indian Open, China Championship, and European Masters will be determined.
Put those sunglasses away then and get ready for what promises to be another hectic season of snooker to come.