After a couple of weeks off, the 2019/20 campaign resumes this week with snooker in January set to launch a new decade in the sport.
There’s quite a lot in store so let’s briefly check what there is to look forward to over the course of the next three or four weeks.
Championship League (Jan 6-9)
The Championship League returns for the fifth and sixth groups of the series at the Morningside Arena in Leicester.
Group 5, which starts on Monday, will comprise Mark Williams, Kyren Wilson, David Gilbert, Graeme Dott, Joe Perry, Anthony McGill, and Tom Ford.
The winner will join Neil Robertson, Stuart Bingham, Gary Wilson, and Scott Donaldson in the Winners’ Group later this campaign.
Group 6 will immediately follow with world champion Judd Trump, John Higgins, and Mark King expected to enter the fray.
The Masters (Jan 12-19)
Snooker in January inevitably revolves around one major tournament, though – the Masters.
The sport’s most prestigious invitational gets going on Sunday at the Alexandra Palace in London.
As usual, the top 16 players in the world rankings have been invited to take part, although record seven-time champion Ronnie O’Sullivan has decided not to compete this year.
That’s good news for Ali Carter, who despite being ranked 17th in the world rankings will get a shot at three-time winner Mark Selby in the opening round.
Reigning champion Trump faces Shaun Murphy in one of the ties of the first round, although all eight matches could be finals such is the elevated level on show.
Trump, who after triumphing in the English capital twelve months ago went on to claim a maiden world title at the Crucible, is the 9/4 favourite in the 888 snooker betting.
As well as the coveted trophy and a Triple Crown title, there’s a top prize worth £250,000 on offer.
European Masters (Jan 22-26)
Soon after the Masters finishes, the next ranking event of the season and the first of 2020 takes place with the roadshow stopping off in Austria for the first time.
A total of 32 players have already qualified for the main event in Dornbirn, including Higgins, Selby, and recent UK champion Ding Junhui.
The European Masters provides a respectable sum with £80,000 up for grabs for the champion.
However, the new European Series means that any player who performs the best across four upcoming ranking events, including the European Masters, will additionally pocket a tasty £150,000 bonus.
The German Masters (Jan 29-Feb 2) is the following tournament in the series and commences at the end of the month too.
Snooker in January isn’t just for the Main Tour with balls to be potted in the Women’s World Snooker Tour, the World Seniors Tour, and the Challenge Tour as well.
The latter’s eighth event of the term (Jan 18-19) is to be played in Tamworth while a Seniors One Frame Challenge is scheduled for the 24th January in Liverpool.
The Trickshot in Belgium will host the Belgian Women’s Open with play starting on the last day of the month and running into February.
Finally, on the amateur scene the World Snooker Federation Championships (Jan 4-17) are ongoing in Malta.
Pingback: Snooker in January | Sports 365