Saturday, 28 May 2011

Q School qualifers: Who Are Ya?

Snooker's first Q School drew to a close today.

Although none of the action was televised, the general consensus is what a huge success it has been, giving players a terrific last chance to book their place on the pro circuit.

The standard has been impressive throughout the field but only 12 players could come away from it with a place on the tour.

Here's a full run-down of who made it:

Tian Pengfei - The 23-year-old is a tremendous attacking talent who increases the ever-growing Chinese presence on tour. A very highly-rated player whose career highlights include beating Ronnie O'Sullivan 5-3 at the China Open in 2010 and winning the invitational BTS International last year against Ryan Day.

Li Yan - Making his debut on the professional tour, aged 19. A fairly unknown quantity but another Chinese star potentially in the making.

David Morris - Ireland still awaits the successor to Ken Doherty, and many thought Morris would be the man. In 2004, he became the youngest ever Irish National Champion before winning that title again in 2005 and 2006. The 22-year-old was on tour last year, but despite making his TV debut at the World Open in September, he dropped off after a series of poor performances in the PTCs. Q School has given him an immediate return though.

Simon Bedford - An experienced player who is most fondly remembered after qualifying for the World Championship in 1998. A former top 64 player who most recently made it to the last 32 at the 2008 Grand Prix.

David Grace - A very successful junior player. He was the English under-19 champion in 2003 and followed that up with the English Amateur Champion title in 2005. Plenty of potential.

Robin Hull - Finland's greatest ever player. He qualified for the World Championship in 2002 with a victory against Steve Davis. He then went on to break into the top 32 of the rankings in 2003 but medical problems stunted his progress. An able break-builder with more than 100 competitive centuries to his name. He's twice been a ranking event quarter-finalist.

Andrew Norman - A former top 48 player who has rekindled his love for the game with the opening of the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester. He first turned professional in 2001 and enjoyed back-to-back trips to the last 16 of the Grand Prix in 2005 and 2006.

Adam Wicheard - Immediately back on tour after falling off from the season just passed. It's been a difficult journey to professional status for Wicheard after suffering from a spine tumour for a long time.

David Gilbert - Finally sealed his spot in the third Q School event after losing in two previous quarter-finals. A former World Snooker Young Player of Distinction who books a straight return to tour. He reached the Welsh Open last 16 in 2009.

Kurt Maflin - Norway's finest. He fell off the circuit last season but still enjoyed plenty of highs. He hit a 147 in the PTC1 event and only narrowly lost to Ding Junhui 5-4 in the first round of the 2011 China Open after making it to the venue.

Adam Duffy - A fine young player who is a former Paul Hunter scholar. Put in some impressive displays in the Q School, and beat David Gray to clinch his place.

Stuart Carrington - The final man to book his place on the professional circuit. The Grimsby potter has finally realised his dream and is predicted a bright future.

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