We’re now firmly into the 2018/19 season and three champions have already been crowned in the trio of ranking events that have been staged so far in Latvia, China, and Germany.
Snooker in September for many marks a more traditional opening for a campaign but, by this point over the last few years, the cobwebs for the majority of the players have been dusted off and the cues properly warmed up for another hectic spell on the baize.
While August still had the odd break of respite here and there from the action, it’s from this point on that the term really begins to become hectic with barely a day off from now until Christmas.
Six Red World Championship (Sept 3-8)
Twelve months ago, Mark Williams hadn’t won a professional tournament since 2013 but finally returned to winning ways in the invitational Six Red World Championship in Thailand.
Fast forward a year and the Welshman has followed up that success in Bangkok with four ranking event victories, including the big one at the World Snooker Championship in Sheffield, as well as a rise back up to number two in the world.
Williams heads an interesting mix of pros and amateurs that will make up the line-up for this year’s Six Red World Championship, which is celebrating its ten year anniversary since the event was first staged as the Six Red Snooker International in 2008.
Fellow former champions Mark Selby, Ding Junhui, Stephen Maguire, Ricky Walden, and home favourite Thepchaiya Un-Nooh are among the star names set to feature.
Shanghai Masters (Sept 10-16)
A couple of days after the conclusion of snooker’s version of Twenty20 cricket comes the Shanghai Masters, which has been transformed into a mega-bucks invitational this season for the first time.
The top 16 players in the world rankings and eight further Chinese contenders will make up the field that will fight it out for a whopping £200,000 winner’s cheque.
While the Riga Masters, World Open, and Paul Hunter Classic all had various numbers of absentees, there was no chance of that happening in this lucrative spree that even has Ronnie O’Sullivan set to make his first appearance of the season.
Women’s UK Championship (Sept 15-16)
Taking place simultaneously will be the first major women’s event of the campaign in the form of the Women’s UK Championship at the Northern Snooker Centre in Leeds.
Ng On Yee from Hong Kong will seek to continue her recent dominance of the bigger events on the women’s tour following her triumphs last season in the World Championship, the Eden Women’s Masters, and indeed the UK Championship as well.
Can former world number one Reanne Evans this year reclaim her once dominant power in the women’s game?
China Championship (Sept 24-30)
After a week off, it’s back to China again for the fourth ranking tournament of the season but somewhat oddly the only one to take place for snooker in September.
Guangzhou hosts the rich China Championship for the third year in succession with Luca Brecel back as the defending champion after his maiden ranking glory in 2017.
Crucible champion Williams will attempt to reel in Selby at the top of the rankings with not all that much now separating them in the standings – the latter’s clasp at the summit seemingly under threat for the first time in a couple of years.
The “Jester” has enjoyed the big-money events in China in that time, though, with a brace of wins in both the International Championship and the China Open under his belt.
As always, all of the snooker will be covered right here on SnookerHQ.