The first tournament of the 2018/19 World Seniors Tour campaign gets under way on Wednesday with the start of the UK Seniors Championship in Hull.
Jimmy White returns as the defending champion and is joined by eleven other competitors hoping to get their hands on the top prize and begin the new season for the over-40s strongly.
The World Seniors Tour was officially launched last season after the success in recent years of the Snooker Legends tour, promoted by Jason Francis, and the growth of the annual World Seniors Championship.
There were four events last term, with that number set to increase to at least six this season, and qualifying events for each event staged all around the world.
Four preliminary competitions have already been held for the UK Seniors Championship since the summer with Irish duo Rodney Goggins and Leo Fernandez earning spots in the draw alongside Brazilian Igor Figueiredo and Suchakree Poomjaeng of Thailand.
Poomjaeng, Dechawat’s older brother, came through a qualifier in Hong Kong and will face 1985 world champion Dennis Taylor in the opening round before a possible contest with the “Whirlwind”, who awaits in the quarter-finals.
Goggins, the Irish national champion back in 2000 and a runner-up in the last two editions of the country’s most prestigious domestic title, challenges Cliff Thorburn – who emotionally captured the Seniors Masters crown in April.
Should Goggins cause an upset against the “Grinder”, he’ll face fellow Irishman Ken Doherty in the last eight.
In the bottom half of the draw, Stephen Hendry, who is yet to claim silverware on the World Seniors Tour, will meet the winner of the last 12 tie between John Parrott and Fernandez.
Finally, world seniors champion Aaron Canavan is waiting to play the winner from the clash between Figueiredo and 1986 world champion Joe Johnson – a long-time supporter of the seniors tour.
For the first time on the World Seniors Tour, the UK Seniors Championship will be broadcast live on television with new channel FreeSports – available on Freeview and other platforms – set to show the action across today and tomorrow at the Bonus Arena.