Thursday, 22 March 2012

Ding secures deserved PL place

Ding Junhui can walk away from this year's Championship League knowing it's a good job done - as he secured a deserved place at the 2012 Premier League.

This qualification process has been running since 2009 but it's not all about the end prize.

Picture by Monique Limbos
While the Premier League is a delightful money-spinning carrot at the end of the line, this tournament held at Crondon Park is both profitable and popular with the players as a stand-alone event too.

It provides excellent match practice in the run-up to the World Championship and supplies extra cash for the game's top players.

The whole format is pretty gruelling with matches coming thick and fast against top quality opposition. That alone makes a place at the Premier League a deserved reward for the eventual winner but for Ding, who beat Judd Trump 3-1 in the final, it's even extra deserved.

He won the Welsh Open - a major ranking event - just a few weeks ago yet the powers that be at World Snooker decided that would not be one of the immediate automatic routes to the Premier League. That seems a little harsh but, at least now he's booked his place.

It's also interesting to note that Ding only won his place in the seven-strong winners' group after emerging through the final group as winner. Matthew Stevens did exactly the same last year, winning group seven, before going on to win the overall event.

As we've seen so many times before, momentum is a powerful tool in snooker.

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