The 2023/24 snooker season is gaining momentum and September will be a busier period again for the sport.
Even though the new campaign launched in June, there has still only been a couple of completed ranking events on the schedule.
Shaun Murphy secured the season-opening Championship League before Barry Hawkins claimed last week’s European Masters crown.
There’ll only be one ranking snooker tournament during the month of September too, but there is a prestigious invitational and lots more going on nevertheless.
Returning to the annual calendar for the first time since 2019 as a result of the pandemic is the Shanghai Masters.
Once held as a ranking event, the tournament’s status shifted to invitational in 2018 and it has only been won by Ronnie O’Sullivan since.
The Rocket has twice pulled out of events already this season but is unlikely to skip the long overdue defence of his title in China.
There will be 24 competitors in total competing in what will be the first World Snooker Tour event on mainland China in almost four years.
The field comprises the top 16 from the world rankings list (backdated), the four next highest ranked Chinese cueists, and four young qualifiers from the CBSA Tour.
A bumper prize of £210,000 is on offer for the last person standing in Shanghai.
September 25 – October 1
Although its champion will be crowned in October, the majority of this year’s British Open will be played out this month.
The preliminary stage for the campaign’s third ranking event has already taken place with several contenders having already negotiated their round of 128 fixtures.
The top 16 seeds – including reigning champion Ryan Day, O’Sullivan, and world champion Luca Brecel – have all had their initial ties held over to the venue.
There will be £100,000 up for grabs for the champion, marking the biggest cheque to be awarded in a ranking event so far this term.
Staged at The Centaur in Cheltenham, the British Open will be broadcast live on ITV Sport.
In recent years, the World Snooker Tour has made a habit of filling the calendar with as many days of qualifying rounds as possible.
That is evident in September with almost half of the month dedicated to life in the cubicles, and 14 days in total of snooker prelim action.
The Wuhan Open qualifiers (Sept 1-5) get under way on Friday and run for five days at the Morningside Arena.
Following that will be the early stage of the English Open (Sept 6-8), while the International Championship qualifiers (Sept 18-23) are also pencilled in for this time period.
UK Women’s Championship
Elsewhere, there will be action on the World Women’s Snooker Tour with the second tournament on its 2023/24 calendar in September.
Mink Nutcharut triumphed in August’s US Women’s Open and will hope to make it back-to-back successes at the UK Women’s Championship.
Reigning champion Reanne Evans, who has lost her world number one spot to Nutcharut, and Ng On Yee are other familiar names expected to be in the draw.
Finally, the amateur Q Tour will continue with its second event taking place at the Snookerhallen in Stockholm.
Liam Davies triumphed in the first event last week to take an early lead in the order of merit standings.
The top-ranked amateur at the end of the series will gain an automatic two-year professional card.
Featured photo credit: WST