The seeds for the new 2021/22 season will be sown over the next 18 days in Sheffield.
The 2021 Q School gets under way on Thursday at the Ponds Forge International Sports Centre as more than 200 snooker hopefuls attempt to emerge from the packed draw.
Three events will take place between May 27 and June 13, each lasting for six days, with a total of 14 competitors set to graduate to the professional Main Tour.
The four semi-finalists from the three tournaments will receive a potentially lucrative ticket onto the pro circuit for the 2021/22 and 2022/23 campaigns.
Two further cueists will happily leave their amateur statuses behind on the basis of their consistent performances across the three events, and a top two placing on a separate Order of Merit list.
This ranking list may also prove important next season as there are usually top-up places available at ranking tournaments throughout the year, and these spots are often filled on the back of performances at Q School.
There are several players in the Q School draw who will be attempting to immediately regain their professional snooker status, having only just dropped off the Main Tour at the conclusion of the last term.
This includes recent world seniors champion David Lilley, Welshmen Jackson Page and Daniel Wells, as well as Chinese duo Yuan Sijun and Luo Honghao.
Former ranking event winners Michael White, Michael Georgiou, and veteran Tony Knowles will also be in the field, in addition to younger up-and-coming talents like Belgium’s Ben Mertens, Frenchman Brian Ochoiski, and Northern Ireland’s Robbie McGuigan.
Alfie Burden, Barry Pinches, Peter Lines, and three-time Q School graduate Paul Davison are other notable players involved.
All matches will be played over the best of sevens frames, and it promises to be a tense fortnight-plus worth of snooker as more than 200 players are whittled down to a mere 14.
There is set to be no live television coverage or streaming of Q School this year.
Featured photo credit: WST