The UK Seniors Championship commences on Tuesday at the Bonus Arena in Hull, with Michael Judge returning as the defending champion in the draw.
With so many cancellations and postponements as a result of the ongoing pandemic, there hasn’t been much action on the World Seniors Snooker Tour in the last two years.
Indeed, Judge won the last UK Seniors title all the way back in 2019 and has had to wait more than two years to defend his trophy.
The Irishman faces Peter Lines in the first round of the 16-player UK Seniors Championship draw, an encounter between two players who are currently also plying their trade on the professional Main Tour.
Factors involving COVID have not helped the World Seniors Snooker Tour much with its development in recent times, but its overall structure is somewhat of a confusing mess.
The circuit is a jumbled up mix of pros and amateurs over the age of 40 – an age many already consider to be too young – while there’s a ranking list in operation that can only be described as nonsensical.
Patrick Wallace, through performances mainly in qualifying stages, is somehow regarded as the world number one despite having never won an actual event.
The Northern Irishman wasn’t even in the UK Seniors Championship draw initially and was only added to the lineup upon the late withdrawal of Tony Drago.
In the last 16 Wallace faces Jimmy White, who despite having been the dominant force in seniors tournaments over the years is unranked, albeit seeded as third.
None of it really makes any sense and a complete restructuring is needed if it’s to truly lose its tag as a glorified legends tour.
As it is, White will be among the favourites to regain the title he last captured in 2017, with Ken Doherty the other former winner in the field.
Doherty encounters Lee Walker in the opening round, while Stephen Hendry and John Parrott take on Barry Pinches and Wayne Cooper respectively.
Reigning world seniors champion David Lilley begins his crack at an unlikely double against Philip Williams, Joe Johnson battles with Rod Lawler, and Canadian Cliff Thorburn returns to the tour against Kuldesh Johal.
All matches will be played over the best-of-five frames in the first round before an increase to seven frames until the final, which will see the 2022 UK seniors champion crowned.
There is live coverage in the UK on the BBC iPlayer and Red Button, with Irish viewers able to watch on Virgin Media Sport.
2022 UK Seniors Championship Draw
Michael Judge (1) vs Peter Lines
Cliff Thorburn (8) vs Kuldesh Johal
(Wednesday, est. 2:30pm)
Stephen Hendry (5) vs Barry Pinches
(Wednesday, est. 9:30pm)
Ken Doherty (4) vs Lee Walker
(Tuesday, est. 2:30pm)
Jimmy White (3) vs Patrick Wallace
John Parrott (6) vs Wayne Cooper
(Tuesday, est. 9:30pm)
Joe Johnson (7) vs Rod Lawler
David Lilley (2) vs Philip Williams
Featured photo credit: WPBSA