It’s been a busy week for professional and amateur snooker alike, with two huge events reaching the business end this weekend.
Upsetting the Masters
The Masters at the Alexandra Palace has obviously generated the most news over the last few days.
The action for the 2020 edition got under way on Sunday and an unusual tournament so far has been unkind to the higher ranked competitors.
Indeed, only one member of the top eight in the world rankings remains in the hunt for glory in London.
Six former champions, including 2019 winner and world number one Judd Trump, were dumped out in the opening round.
John Higgins joined the casualty list on Thursday following a 6-3 reverse against Ali Carter, who is only participating thanks to Ronnie O’Sullivan’s late decision to not enter this year.
That means the only former champion still in the hunt is Shaun Murphy, who faces Carter in the semi-finals on Saturday.
Stephen Maguire, David Gilbert, Stuart Bingham, and world number eight Kyren Wilson will scramble for the other last four spots later on Friday.
Amateur snooker is also high on the agenda at the moment with the World Snooker Federation staging its flagship tournament in Malta.
The WSF Junior Open was won last week by Gao Yang, with the 15 year-old being granted with a two-year Main Tour card as a result.
Another potentially lucrative ticket to the pro circuit is up for grabs in the main WSF Open, which is at the semi-final stage at the Malta Snooker Academy.
After several days of intense battle, more than 150 competitors have been whittled down to just four.
Former professionals Ashley Hugill and Ross Muir are two wins away from a return to the big-time.
The latter faces 14 year-old Ukrainian Iulian Boiko while Hugill meets up-and-coming Welsh teenager Dylan Emery.
Donations for Australian Crisis
Back to the Masters, Neil Robertson suffered a late collapse in his first round clash with Stephen Maguire.
The 2012 champion squandered a 5-1 advantage, duly losing in a decider to bow out at the opening hurdle.
A proud Australian, Robertson will still follow through with his promise to donate £5,000 as aid for the bushfire crisis in his homeland.
The Melbourne man will pay an additional £100 for each century break made in the Masters this year.
A disappointing event in terms of overall standard means that there have only been ten tons compiled so far.
However, it was still a decent gesture by Robertson and one that was matched by the World Snooker Tour too.
Fans on social media got behind the idea as well, each promising to add their own contributions to the tally.
We will match @nr147’s contribution to the WIRES Australian Wildlife Rescue Organisation.
Robertson is kindly donating £100 for each century made at the 2020 @Dafabet Masters, as well as contributing an additional £5,000 👏
👉 More info: https://t.co/vGGIqVGxWP #DafabetMasters pic.twitter.com/FBGagVICnV
— World Snooker Tour (@WeAreWST) January 12, 2020
The conclusions of both the Masters and the international amateur snooker event in Malta will dominate the headlines over the course of the next few days.
The eighth event in the Challenge Tour series is in Tamworth from tomorrow while the European Masters gets going in Austria on Wednesday.