For traditionalists, September is often seen as the month in which a snooker season really gets going in earnest.
Despite the fact that the 2018/19 term had already been a few months old, there was a proper feel – particularly during the Shanghai Masters – that the campaign was gathering momentum.
There were three big tournaments of note last month, all in Asia, with the lucrative invitational in Shanghai sandwiched between the Six Red World Championship and the China Championship.
The Indian Open was also due to be staged in the middle of the month but unforeseen floods in the region resulted in the ranking tournament being postponed to early 2019.
Last month, Mark Williams was the popular vote but let’s see which players impressed our panel of experts from the online media in the September Snooker Player of the Month.
Michael Day – The Cue View
Vote: Kyren Wilson
“Kyren Wilson gets my nod as the September Snooker Player of the Month, with the Warrior continuing the month where he left off in August following his win at the Paul Hunter Classic.”
“If you take into consideration his success at the Six Red World Championship in Thailand, he progressed on a 19-match winning streak that was only stopped by eventual Shanghai Masters champion Ronnie O’Sullivan.
“Even in that defeat there were positives; whilst in Shanghai he held the Rocket close until only the final mini-session and he again defeated Judd Trump – this time quite handsomely.
“Perhaps Wilson is now snooker’s flag-bearer for the British twenty-somethings?”
Hermund Årdalen – Snooker.org
Vote: Mark Selby
“For me, Mark Selby is the September Snooker Player of the Month.”
“There were three events played; the Six Red World Championship, the Shanghai Masters, and the China Championship and I tend to add more weight to ranking events.”
“Selby won the only ranking event of the month by lifting the China Championship trophy, earning £150,000, and it was especially impressive to beat the always dangerous John Higgins in the deciding frame of the final.
“He also got past the group stages in Thailand and reached the quarter-finals of the Shanghai Masters.
“He’s still in third place in the provisional end-of-season rankings, behind Williams and O’Sullivan, but must now like his chances of ending the season on top once again.”
Ron Florax – CueTracker.net
Vote: Zhao Xintong
“Zhao Xintong who, when he turned up on the scene following a couple of runs to the final of the IBSF World Championship, was instantly compared to Ding Junhui & Ronnie O’Sullivan, a bit hastily in my opinion, has slowly gained experience.”
“He was surpassed by Zhou Yuelong and Yan Bingtao, who I think were more complete players when they initially went on the circuit.
“However, by regaining his tour place in Q School this year and now getting to the China Championship semi-finals, he’s showing that nobody should count him out.
“Onwards and upwards!”
SnookerHQ’s September Player of the Month
Vote: Ronnie O’Sullivan
There’s a lot of praise rightly handed to Mark Selby for the big titles he captures when playing nowhere near his best but the same can equally be said of Ronnie O’Sullivan.
While world number one Selby had played in quite a lot of events already this term in the build up to his determined success in Guangzhou, O’Sullivan’s one and only appearance in 2018/19 so far has been in the Shanghai Masters.
The “Rocket” didn’t perform quite to the dizzy heights of his record-equalling last campaign and, in fact, often appeared to struggle with the conditions and certain aspects of his game.
Yet, the 42 year-old managed to sweep aside a high-quality field of elite competitors, including victories over two of this season’s ranking event winners, to defend his crown in Shanghai and pocket the tidy £200,000 champion’s cheque.
It’s easy to take O’Sullivan’s achievements for granted but it’s remarkable how he can enter an event after months of inactivity and still emerge with raising the silverware aloft.
A word too for Chinese youngster Zhao Xintong, who has looked in terrific fettle since bouncing back onto the circuit via Q School in May, enjoying standout triumphs over Mark Williams and Barry Hawkins in making a maiden ranking event semi-final appearance in the China Championship.