A complete of 16 gamers will probably be competing for the highest prize.
Jimmy White and Stephen Hendry are among the many star snooker names within the draw for the ROKiT World Seniors Championship, which commences on Thursday in Sheffield.
Whereas the latter is bidding to safe a maiden title on the World Seniors Tour, Hendry’s long-term rival White is hoping to lengthen his dominance on the over-40s circuit.
The Whirlwind has received the final two editions of the World Seniors Championship – three in complete – and the 59 year-old will enter this 12 months’s snooker draw as one of many favourites for glory once more.
For a participant who infamously misplaced in six World Championship finals between 1984 and 1994 on the Crucible, it’s attention-grabbing that White hasn’t misplaced a single match because the blue-riband seniors occasion moved to the enduring venue in 2019.
The previous world quantity two faces fellow Englishman Tony Knowles within the first spherical, which takes place over a brief best-of-five frames dash.
Hendry, in the meantime, is in the identical half of the draw, which means that there may doubtlessly be a repeat encounter towards White within the semi-finals this 12 months.
The pair most not too long ago crossed paths within the World Snooker Championship qualifiers final month, with Hendry prevailing in a nervy 6-3 affair on the English Institute of Sport.
The Scot takes on Eire’s Patsy Fagan within the final 16, with 1991 world champion John Parrott, 2011 world seniors champion Darren Morgan, and present Predominant Tour gamers Igor Figueiredo and Lee Walker additionally on this part.
Pre-tournament favorite Ken Doherty options within the backside half of the World Seniors Snooker Championship draw, and the Dubliner will probably be trying to avenge final 12 months’s painful defeat within the closing.
Final August, Doherty squandered a 4-0 lead within the title decider, ultimately shedding the remaining 5 frames to succumb in a 5-4 thriller to White.
Doherty encounters 1986 world champion Joe Johnson within the first spherical with a potential quarter-final bout towards both David Lilley or Philip Williams to return after.
Elsewhere, there’s an all-Irish conflict between Michael Choose and Patrick Wallace, whereas 1985 world champion Dennis Taylor takes on Barry Pinches.
For these questioning, though usually an newbie circuit, the World Seniors Tour does allow entries from skilled gamers who’re ranked outdoors the world’s prime 64 and over the required age of 40 – a weird ruling that was launched in 2020.
There have been already query marks as to why the likes of White and Doherty had been allowed to compete, which the organisers conveniently acquired round by claiming that an invitational tour card was completely different to an official skilled tour card.
Truthful sufficient, as a result of on this case it genuinely was necessary – particularly within the early years of the World Seniors Tour – to have legends like that within the line-up who would appeal to preliminary curiosity.
However there’s an id disaster with the World Seniors Tour at current that wants addressing if it desires to be taken extra significantly, and permitting much more professionals to enter solely muddies that additional.
It clearly hasn’t helped that almost all of the occasions within the final 12 months have needed to be cancelled due to the pandemic, besides there are ongoing points that have to be solved.
There’s a complicated rankings system which rewards gamers who participate within the qualifying tournaments however not those that truly win important occasions – White has received a report six World Seniors titles however is nowhere to be seen on the rankings standings – and the continued persistence of permitting contenders over the age of 40 to enter occasions is totally baffling.
Mark Selby, at 37, has simply overwhelmed 38 year-old Shaun Murphy to seize the skilled world trophy – a transparent signal that 40 for the seniors set-up is just too younger.
The World Seniors Tour, which was formally launched in 2017 on the again of the success of the exhibition Legends Tour, has been a terrific version to the snooker scene total, however it’s had sufficient time to mattress itself in and, now that it’s established, that messy total outlook must be tidied up.
It guarantees to be an attention-grabbing weekend nonetheless, and it is going to be a great way for followers who’re experiencing withdrawal signs from the climax to the current World Championship to amass a much-needed repair of baize motion.
Reside protection is on the BBC’s digital platforms with chosen matches anticipated to be proven on the Crimson Button, whereas followers in most different areas will be capable of watch on Matchroom.Reside through a subscription.
World Seniors Snooker Championship Draw
Jimmy White vs Tony Knowles
Lee Walker vs Darren Morgan
Igor Figueiredo vs John Parrott
Stephen Hendry vs Patsy Fagan
Michael Choose vs Patrick Wallace
Barry Pinches vs Dennis Taylor
David Lilley vs Philip Williams
Ken Doherty vs Joe Johnson
Click on right here to view the total draw. (snooker.org)
Featured picture credit score: Monique Limbos