This year in snooker is almost at an end so let’s take one final look for 2019 at some of the recent news stories.
Selby’s Scottish Success
Mark Selby collected a second ranking title of the season courtesy of a 9-6 final defeat of Jack Lisowski in the Scottish Open on Sunday.
A 17th career ranking crown in total, Selby’s triumph in Glasgow adds to his previous glory this term at the English Open and is a 14th victory from his last 15 finals of such status.
Selby isn’t quite back to the level of form that saw him claim three world titles in four years in the middle of the decade.
However, the 36 year-old’s will to win is unmatched and he demonstrated that once again at the Emirates Arena.
The Leicester man became the first player to win two out of the first three Home Nations titles and will be ruing a 5-4 quarter-final loss to John Higgins in the Northern Ireland Open when the million-pound bonus was still up for grabs.
Lisowski’s defeat means that he has been denied at the final hurdle three times in the last 18 months, so his wait for a maiden ranking triumph goes on.
Mark Allen’s two-word quip on Twitter after his 5-0 loss to Lu Ning in the European Masters qualifiers was a clear reference to a debate he had the day before with fellow professional Michael Holt.
Some have argued that it would have been more appropriate for the year to have ended with silverware being handed out, for instance after the Scottish Open concluded at the weekend.
But to Barnsley the Main Tour travelled, with the preliminary stages for both the European Masters and the German Masters being contested in the run up to Christmas.
World champion Judd Trump and Lisowski were among some of the high profile names crashing out of the European Masters qualifiers in the last few days.
Several players then, including Allen, Joe Perry, Robert Milkins and ex-pro Neal Foulds, got involved in the debate surrounding the scheduling.
For Holt, who reached Austria with a 5-3 victory over Mitchell Mann on Thursday, the subject boiled down to two things – fitness and form.
Holt said that he had no sympathy for players who are reaching the business end of tournaments regularly and therefore feel burnt out, while he also indicated that there are too many unfit players on the circuit.
What would the holiday season be without a little family feud.
We are tired for 2 reasons.
1. We’re unfit.
2. We’re drained due to being at the end/winning events in the last few w/m
1. Get fitter.
2. Heart bleeds. Its a privilege most pro’s strive for. Enjoy.
Let’s hope I’m on my arse in March.
I’m off to bed. Tired. 😴
— Michael Holt (@hitmanholt) December 18, 2019
It’s a Young Man’s Game After All
Scotland’s Dean Young emerged as the winner of the seventh Challenge Tour event of the season last weekend in Belgium.
A field of just 42 took part in Neerpelt but Young won’t mind about that as he won his five matches to collect the £2,000 top prize.
Close 3-2 defeats of Aaron Hill and Sean O’Sullivan were followed by a more comfortable 3-0 beating of home player Ben Mertens in the quarter-finals.
Young edged countryman Ross Muir in another decider next before overcoming Andrew Pagett 3-1 in the final.
The 17 year-old from Edinburgh rises to third in the Challenge Tour rankings, with Pagett remaining in the top spot.
The player in first place after the ten events is guaranteed a Main Tour ticket while those ranked from second to ninth will enter a play-off tournament for an additional place.
This year in snooker will finish with the German Masters qualifiers this weekend before the action wraps up until 2020.
Click here to view the German Masters draw (Times: CET)