David Grace strikes a blow for new Challenge Tour

David Grace Challenge Tour
David Grace kam durch die Challenge Tour 2019 zurück auf die Main Tour. © David Grace

Next year, there will be 2 two-year tour cards offered through the Challenge Tour again. For the 2019/2020 season World Snooker announced some changes.

„World Snooker’s Challenge Tour will feature ten events during the 2019/20 season, with a new ‘play-off’ system to determine which two players are promoted to the professional circuit. At the end of the ten events, 16 players will go into a final play-off tournament. These will be the winners of the ten events, plus a minimum of six players from the Challenge Tour rankings. The two players winning the semi-finals of the play-off tournament will be awarded two-year cards to the World Snooker Tour, for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons.“

After this announcement prompted discussion among professional and amateur players, World Snooker decided to amend the criteria for winning the two available World Snooker Tour Cards.

Nr. 1 of Challenge Tour Ranking will be awarded with a tour card

The player who finishes top of the Challenge Tour rankings after ten events will be awarded a Tour Card. The next eight players in the rankings will go into a play-off event, with the winner of that event to receive the second Tour Card.

David Grace strikes a blow for Challenge Tour

We asked one of this year’s tour card winners for his opinion about the Challenge Tour. What do you think about the old and the new mode? If you would have finished third or lower, would you say it was worth to participate? Do you think two cards (in comparison to 12 through Q-School) are a fair amount? Here is what he told us:

„I really enjoyed the Challenge Tour this season; it was something that was badly needed for the amateur game for a long time. I’m surprised it wasn’t better supported by the players; I can’t understand why some very good players only get their cues out once a year for Q School and then spend the rest of the year twiddling their thumbs! Even if they are working surely they can find a day off here and there to play CT events, if they want to be a Pro!

I appreciate that the European events were not cheap to get to (for UK players), but in a global sport there must be opportunities provided for players throughout Europe, not just the UK. I know some players thought Best of 5 was too short a match to be worth travelling for, but I’m a big believer that a match is a match, whatever the distance, and the best player on the day will win. Look at the 9 winners of the 10 events, mostly ex-pros and all good players, so that proves it for me that it is not a lottery.

Also it’s not just the 5 frames you play in the match that you are buying in to, you have purpose to practise hard, to look forward to playing in meaningful events, and to learn about your strengths and weaknesses from your defeats. Even after a good few years on the Tour playing many matches, I still learned a lot about my game from the CT this season.“

The new terms are an improvement

„They needed to tweak it slightly to try and keep interest up for the Tour Cards, and I think they’ve come to the correct conclusion with Top 1 and 2-9 Playoff for the 2 Cards. I’m also glad to see the Euro events opened up to all players, it will give good experience to players in those countries, a chance to compete with ex pros and good amateurs without throwing them in the deep end at a Main Tour ranking event.

It would be nice if they can find extra Tour Cards for CT in the future, but not at the expense of Q School. Q School gets the most stick from UK players who perceive it as robbing £1,000 off them for no reward, but they are the ones who have it easiest! They can go home between matches, tournaments; some can even drive there on the day! But like I said you have to be fair to players all round the World, and Q School gives everyone in the World 3 chances to earn their dream ticket, without having to spend a whole year in the UK.

The Challenge Tour is a great addition to the amateur game, and players that have the right attitude will gain from it, those that have a bad attitude will gain nothing. I believe that to be true at all levels of the game!“

Thank you for taking the time to give us some insight.

AutorIn: Lula Witzescher

Lula Witzescher (genderqueer), im Netz auch bekannt als Dark Mavis *Lady*. Sucht für den Roman „Belinda to break“ einen Verlag. Streitet im Netz für alle Formen von equality. Hält die Butthole Surfers für die beste Band der Welt. www.twitter.com/lulawitzescher

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