The World Snooker Tour’s decision on Friday to postpone the World Snooker Championship means that there’ll be no action on the baize for the foreseeable future.
The conclusion to the 2019/20 snooker season has been significantly affected by the ongoing worldwide coronavirus pandemic.
Three ranking events have been cancelled from their planned positions on the Main Tour calendar, and there remains no guarantee whether the sport’s blue-riband tournament will go ahead or not this summer.
The Tour Championship has provisionally been allocated a new slot in July already, and it is hoped that the World Championship can follow it around the same period.
There’s a great deal of uncertainty around, and it’s definitely not the way most would have envisaged the 2019/20 snooker season ending.
Still, it’s been another memorable term on the baize with plenty of winners being celebrated since it got going last summer.
One third of the Triple Crown might not take place, with uncertainty surrounding the staging of the World Championship, but the UK Championship and the Masters both served up unexpected champions.
Ding Junhui, out of form for so long beforehand and back in the doldrums of despair since, came out of absolutely nowhere in York to superbly claim a third UK Championship crown.
A month later at the Alexandra Palace, Stuart Bingham took advantage of a series of early upsets in London to land a maiden Masters title at the expense of Ali Carter.
Events in China tend to not be among the favourites with fans in Europe, but they are certainly among the most lucrative on the calendar overall.
The richest of them all, the China Open, doesn’t look like being held during the 2019/20 snooker season as things stand, but there were plenty of other competitions completed in the first half of this term.
Way back in August, Judd Trump took part in his first event since sensationally winning a maiden world title at the Crucible Theatre in 2019.
The world number one picked up where he left off by powering to glory in the International Championship, and a few months later Trump repeated the trick at the World Open in Yushan.
In between those tournaments, Shaun Murphy ended a miserable run of six straight defeats in ranking event finals by edging Mark Williams in the China Championship title decider.
Just prior to that, Ronnie O’Sullivan pipped Murphy to defend the invitational Shanghai Masters for his only success of a disappointing season, while an experienced Scottish pairing of John Higgins and Stephen Maguire triumphed in the biennial World Cup.
With action limited these days, snooker fans around the world may have to seek entertainment from other areas and thankfully there is an array of casino operators, featuring snooker-related slots, that are available with nice offers for mobile players.
Upon completion of a fourth year, the Home Nations has firmly established itself as a mainstay on the calendar.
The quartet of events doesn’t offer the biggest payouts, but they are generally well-liked and are bolstered by trophies that honour four of the sport’s greatest figures.
Mark Selby became the first player to win two Home Nations titles in the same season by emerging victorious in both the English and Scottish Opens.
The three-time world champion was left to rue a 5-4 quarter-final defeat to Higgins in Belfast when the million-pound bonus was still faintly possible.
Instead, it was Trump who added another Northern Ireland Open winner’s medal to his collection, mirroring the 9-7 final defeat of O’Sullivan from a year earlier.
Murphy completed the Home Nations with a resounding 9-1 thrashing of Kyren Wilson to claim the Welsh Open, but that wasn’t even the biggest margin of victory in a final this season.
It was announced at the outset of the campaign that the European Masters, German Masters, Snooker Shoot Out, and Gibraltar Open would all join together to make up a new European Series.
The player who accumulated the most earnings across the four counting events would be rewarded with a £150,000 bonus.
Neil Robertson got off to the best possible start when he humiliated Zhou Yuelong in the final of the European Masters, annihilating his hapless opponent 9-0.
The Australian almost made it successive successes, but was denied in Berlin by that man again Trump.
Honours in the unpredictable Shoot Out were taken by Michael Holt and, with Robertson opting against travelling to Gibraltar amid the COVID-19 crisis, Trump knew that a victory would see him pocket the European Series windfall.
Was it ever in doubt? The 30 year-old edged Wilson 4-3 in the final for another huge payday, while in the process becoming the first player in the history of the game to win six ranking titles in a single season.
The Tour Championship, featuring the top eight in the one-year rankings list, was supposed to be the prestigious climax of the Coral Series this year – we’ll have to wait and see if it’s completed at the later date or not.
Last month, Robertson took victory in the World Grand Prix following a nail-biter with Graeme Dott, while the Players Championship spoils were taken by, who else, the “Juddernaut”.
We’re lucky in this age for the sport that there are so many tournaments to follow and the 2019/20 snooker season has been pretty hectic.
Right at the very outset, Yan Bingtao became the first teenager in a dozen years to win a ranking title when he captured the Riga Masters in Latvia.
The Champion of Champions final, meanwhile, was arguably the most exciting in recent memory as Robertson and Trump traded blow for blow in an outright thriller.
The former fought back from 9-8 down in a showdown that boasted eight tons to pip his esteemed rival in a decider.
Elsewhere, Maguire enjoyed success in the Six Red World Championship in Thailand, Scott Donaldson won a first professional title by lasting the distance in the Championship League, and Barry Hawkins triumphed in the butchered Paul Hunter Classic.
Finally, for all the romantics out there Jimmy White returned to the scene of so many of his painful defeats, the Crucible Theatre, to win the World Seniors Championship in Sheffield.
Featured photo credit: WPBSA