Snookerbacker weighs in:
‘After much moaning and groaning from the players we finally now have the draw for the Shanghai Masters, the qualifying for which takes place at Robin Park in Wigan from Wednesday until Friday.
It’s caused a bit of a kerfuffle has this. For reasons apparently ‘beyond the control’ of the sport’s sole controlling body, the draw wasn’t made available last week when it should have been. This has led to a lot of players having to frantically arrange their travel plans at the last minute, including three players on mainland Europe who insist on making things awkward for World Snooker and more importantly themselves by living in their country of birth.
There were a few stabs at why this delay happened, claims that World Snooker had lost the draw hat proved unfounded as did one player’s assertion that someone had sabotaged the tombola used to pull all the names out.
However, I think I know what the problem might have been, it seems that more players have entered it than should have done, which has caused something of a headache for the draw makers and obviously this confusion led someone into a spiral of anxiety so much so that they phoned in sick and let others work it all out. Ban the wildcards.
The result is that the talented and improving Billy Joe Castle and rather cruelly Soheil Vahedi have to play an extra match, it seems a bit off picking on two tour newbies, one of whom has enough trouble as it is with visas without all this, but clearly World Snooker have no time for such sentiment and poor old SV has been well and truly shafted.
The matches this week are the best of nine and after some doubt as to whether this tournament would go ahead at all it’s nice that it’s been secured. The bad news, for me at least, is that what made it stand out, namely the tiered qualifying, is gone and we’re back to the flat draw, which I know some people think is the way forward but I’m more for a bit of variety myself.
Ronnie O’Sullivan has decided to have the afternoon off Twitter on Friday to line up against Chris Keogan, no doubt one of those players that Ronnie so affectionately refers to as a Numpty. Let’s see how he fares in his first match since his outburst, which was not exactly the best way of making new friends was it?’