Tuesday, 3 January 2012

My players to watch: 2012

As another year gets underway we know we'll be seeing plenty from the game's top stars.

But, who are the more unlikely candidates to enjoy success in 2012?

OnCue runs through half a dozen players to keep a careful eye on in the coming year....

Xiao Goudong

Currently ranked in the top 64 of the world, the 21-year-old Chinese player is an incredible attacking force. He strikes the ball cleanly and is among the best potters outside the top 16. His best strength is break building but the PTC series has toughened up his all-round game this season. He showed how far he's come winning the Chinese National Championship last month. He's since set himself a target of breaking into the top 48 but I believe he could leap even higher over the next 12 months.  He's a fearless competitor who should look forward to an excellent year.

Jack Lisowski

People across the sport have already touted Jack as one of the brightest young players in the game and, so far, he's definitely living up to his billing. He was crowned last season's Rookie of the Year and has continued to climb up the rankings this season, helped by consistent performances across the PTC series and qualification for the Shanghai Masters His attacking style of play make him exciting to watch and popular with the fans. Sharing a flat with snooker's star man Judd Trump is unlikely to see his opportunist instincts subside but we've seen before luck favours the brave. Lisowski has immense talent and is already closing down on a place in the top 32. His rise is almost certain to continue.

Ben Woollaston

The Leicester potter made his mark on tour last year capturing the PTC3 title and there could be plenty more success ahead. He's learnt a lot since he first became a professional as a 17-year-old in 2003 and is still developing now. Now ranked comfortably inside the top 64, some pressure has been lifted and he can focus on a push up into the top 48. He's blessed with a great attitude towards the game and has excatly the right hardworking attitude to ensure he continues to progress.

Michael White

A great scoring machine. The young Welsh potter has upped his performances this season and as a result has broken into the top 64 of the rankings. People who have seen him play in the PTC events and at the qualifying stages know what a dangerous player he is. Once he's in the balls he scores freely and quickly, owed largely to his great snooker brain. He gets down and plays, meaning he keeps problems to a premium. This year should be the one he goes on another level and reaches his first venue.

Sam Baird

The 23-year-old needs a good second half of the season to ensure he's among the professional ranks beyond the summer but he's shown enough signs to suggest he could do it. Sam has a balanced and well honed all-round game but has struggled to build on early wins in a lot of the PTC events this season. A win in the qualifiers could quite easily see his confidence rise and inspire him to go further. When he gets going, he's as pleasing on the eye as anyone. He could be a player to watch in 2012 if he starts the year well.

Craig Steadman

Craig could be ready to enjoy his second spell on the professional circuit later this year after a series of impressive displays as an amateur in this season's PTC series. He's won a total  of 22 matches and reached the last 32 on four separate occasions, meaning he's well in contention to earn professional status through the points he's picked up in the Order of Merit. He'll have to wait until the summer to find out if he's done enough but he's already proved he's capable of mixing it with the fully-fledged tour players. Providing he does secure his spot, he'll fancy his chances of improving on his fortunes from when he was last a professional for the 2009/10 season. He's strong in most departments and one of the most feared amateurs in the country. A big year could be ahead.

No comments:

Post a Comment