There’s quite a lot of snooker taking place over the next few days but a significant amount of attention is likely to fall on this year’s World Seniors Snooker Championship in Sheffield.
The blue riband tournament on the World Seniors Tour (WST) will see a total of 20 contenders compete at the spiritual home of the game – the Crucible Theatre.
It was quite a coup for Jason Francis and everyone involved at the WST in penning the deal to bring the competition to Sheffield, where the Main Tour’s World Championship has been memorably staged since 1977.
Elevating the World Seniors Snooker Championship to the next level, their efforts have been reflected with a bigger field, a longer format, and a top prize of £25,000 for the winner.
Aaron Canavan is the defending champion after the unheralded competitor from Jersey edged Patrick Wallace in last year’s title decider.
Canavan takes on Au Chi-wai of Hong Kong in the last 16, a round like every other up until the final that will be played over the best of five frames.
With either Leo Fernandez or Joris Maas potentially waiting in the last eight, Canavan will be fancying his chances of a repeat run to the business end of proceedings.
The favourite for glory is on the other side of the draw with 2010 champion Jimmy White facing Rhydian Richards.
The “Whirlwind” famously lost in six Crucible finals and will be looking to break the hoodoo as he bids for a record-breaking fifth WST title.
Interestingly, Stephen Hendry, so often the bane of White’s career after denying the latter in four World Championship finals, is on the opposite side of draw – meaning a mouthwatering repeat showdown could be on the cards.
That said, Hendry has failed to seriously threaten in WST events and there probably aren’t too many people tipping the Scot for success this week.
If you think you can pick the winner of the World Seniors Championship, check the available bookies to bet on snooker on this site.
— ROKiT World Seniors Snooker (@WorldSeniors) August 9, 2019
The last 16 is also guaranteed to feature the likes of former world champions Dennis Taylor, John Parrott, Cliff Thorburn, and recent World Seniors Masters champion Joe Johnson.
Before all that, a preliminary first round will take place on the opening day of action on Thursday, with a couple of humdinger ties to look forward to.
Pick of the lot is arguably the ever popular Willie Thorne’s encounter with Darren Morgan, in what is a battle of the BBC Wales commentating team.
Another intriguing fixture sees blast from the past Dene O’Kane from New Zealand entertain Tony Drago.
Former World Championship semi-finalists James Wattana and Tony Knowles meet Mohammed Abdel Kader and Chen Gang respectively.
Live coverage of the 2019 World Seniors Snooker Championship will be available to watch for free around the world.
For fans in Ireland and the UK, Free Sports will broadcast the tournament from start to finish while supporters everyone else can follow the action via Facebook.