The 2019/20 snooker season will tentatively get under way on Monday with the first batch of ranking event qualifiers at Ponds Forge.
There won’t be any ranking event silverware awarded until the end of July but the Main Tour’s summer break will be briefly halted over the coming week or so in Sheffield.
With Q School recently completed, the full field of players for this new snooker season is pretty much known.
Indeed, the majority of them will be taking part in one or both of the Riga Masters and International Championship preliminaries.
The campaign opener in Latvia doesn’t boast the biggest prize fund, so quite a few of the heavy hitters have understandably opted to skip that tournament.
However, the International Championship in China, with a winner’s cheque last year of £175,000, is a competition not to be missed.
That is reflected in the entry list, which has practically everyone of note in action – with the obvious exception of world number one Ronnie O’Sullivan.
World champion Judd Trump, who is among those not taking part in the Riga qualifying round, will begin his snooker season with a last 128 clash with Jordan Brown.
However, the clash is among several that have been held over to the venue stages in Daqing in August.
Neil Robertson, meanwhile, has won the opening ranking event of the season four times in the last six years but the Australian will also have his qualifying round fixture for the Riga Masters held over.
As always, there’s bound to be some early term rustiness to overcome and it wouldn’t be too big of a surprise to see a few upsets occur.
With the venue stages for these events not for another couple of months, it’s unlikely that any significant degree of momentum will be mustered.
Still, it’s an opportunity for each player, all the way from the top to the bottom of the rankings, to gain an early foothold.
Later in June, there will be a trophy handed out as the World Cup returns to the calendar amid a fresh ten-year contract that will see it being held biennially in Wuxi.
A total of 23 countries – host nation China will be represented twice, bringing the number of teams to 24 – are expected to contest for international honours.
The World Cup’s format is often subject to criticism but it does at least offer fans the opportunity to watch some snooker in the off-season when action on the baize is somewhat limited.
More on that event, and also the qualifiers, over the next few weeks.
Finally, the rescheduled Women’s World Championship is also being contested in June at the Hi-End Snooker Club in Bangkok.
The World Women’s Tour’s flagship showpiece was originally supposed to happen alongside the WSF Championships but the cancellation of the latter earlier this year put the 2019 edition in some jeopardy.
The likes of reigning champion Ng On Yee and 11-times winner Reanne Evans will finally now be seeking to add to their collection of coveted world crowns.