Although we enjoyed a longer off-season than normal this summer, the action is beginning to come thick and fast as we gather a little momentum for this fledgling campaign.
The champions of three ranking events have already been determined with Neil Robertson, Mark Williams, and most recently Kyren Wilson getting themselves on the podium.
Here on SnookerHQ, we’re excited to announce a new regular feature for this term and, with the help of some of snooker’s esteemed writers, bloggers, players, coaches, and officials, we’ll be debating who deserves the Player of the Month accolade.
We’re going to launch it with the August Snooker Player of the Month so a brief mention first for Robertson, who most likely would have been labeled as July’s winner thanks to his trademark early season triumph in the Riga Masters.
Which crafty cueist picks up August’s award then?
David Hendon – Eurosport commentator, Snooker Scene Magazine and Podcast
Vote: Mark Williams
“Mark Williams won the month’s biggest tournament and did so in a style which underlines his greatness.”
“In three successive matches with his back to the wall he came out fighting, demonstrating not only a will to win but also the ability to produce his best snooker when it really matters.
“A word, though, about Dave Gilbert: he played superbly to lead 9-5 and it was impressive that he came back to the UK and immediately won his three qualifiers despite his obvious disappointment.
“That shows a really good attitude.”
Michael Day – The Cue View
Vote: Jack Lisowski
“Despite not winning an event, I’m going to jump on the Jack Lisowski bandwagon.”
“Lisowski has found consistency and built on his Riga Masters final appearance last month with last eight finishes in both the World Open and Paul Hunter Classic – two events which could, or should, have yielded even more for him.
“The 27 year-old also qualified for the upcoming China Championship and European Masters ranking tournaments, bouncing back well from a painful defeat to Williams in Yushan.
“In total, he chalked up nine match wins throughout August and is now up to 21st in the world rankings, making Lisowski probably the hottest property in the sport at the moment.”
Fin Ruane – WPBSA coach, owner of CrossGuns Snooker Club
Vote: Mark Williams
“After such an incredible 2017/18 season, it was easy to think that Williams would struggle to continue the form that saw him earn over £800K.”
“Yet, Williams travelled to Yushan and won the World Open, showing his relentless battling qualities with a final frame semi-final win over Noppon Saengkham before coming back from the brink at 9-5 down to prevail over an in-form Dave Gilbert in a thrilling final that also went the distance.
“Current world champions normally struggle to find form at the start of a new season but with the World Open in the bag and the defence of his World 6 Red Championship coming up, followed quickly by the lucrative Shanghai Masters, Mark Williams may well be in with a shout for September’s player of the month also.
“A word too for Paul Hunter Classic champion Kyren Wilson and the improving Jack Lisowski, as well as maximum club newcomers Michael Georgiou and Jamie Jones.”
Nigel Slater – The Old Green Baize
Vote: Marco Fu
“While there are obvious stand-outs this month, including the likes of Mark Williams and Jack Lisowski, I feel another player deserves credit for his start to the season after what must have been a difficult time.”
“I am referring to Marco Fu, the Hong Kong star who missed most of the second half of last season to recover from eye surgery.
“Now, I assume for any snooker player that eye surgery is the footballer’s equivalent of recovering from a leg break – it is career threatening and a brave decision for any player to make.
“But Fu will be delighted with his start to the campaign after returning to the game, with his run to the quarter-finals of the World Open followed up by further wins in the European Masters and China Championship qualifiers.”
SnookerHQ’s August Player of the Month
Vote: Mark Williams
There were a few viable candidates, as there will be most months, but it’s hard to look past Mark Williams for the August Snooker Player of the Month.
The 43 year-old made it four ranking titles in less than a year when he magnificently fought his way to glory in Yushan, overturning huge deficits in all three of his final rounds.
What made this success from Williams even more remarkable was his preparation in the off-season, which consisted primarily of celebrating the outcome of his unlikely third World Snooker Championship title at the Crucible Theatre in May.
Who could blame him? But while many were predicting that he would suffer from the hangover of all hangovers and perhaps struggle to rediscover that form, the typically laid-back Welshman returned to action as if nothing major had happened.
A brief word for Jack Lisowski, whose stock is certainly on the rise but whether or not the three painful defeats that he has suffered this season already will come back to haunt him remains to be seen.
Many thanks to all of those who contributed this month.