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  • Ssb - farewell sheffield

    The World Snooker Academy in Sheffield will no longer be used for qualifying matches and PTCs next season.


    The space upstairs at the English Institute of Sport was originally used for practice and coaching by the WPBSA led by Sir Rodney Walker but this did not make the association money.


    Barry Hearn was lumbered with the facility and has used it for qualifying but it isn’t particularly popular with players, not least because there is hardly any room for spectators and there is thus a sterile atmosphere.


    There is also only room for eight tables, so the PTCs saw many late nights as matches overran.


    A new venue is being scouted for next season large enough to accommodate more tables and space for an audience.


    With the new system of everyone coming in at the last 128 stage, it is assumed that some tournaments will have a round or two played at such a venue.


    The qualifiers have pitched up in various unglamorous locales down the years. The most famous was the Norbreck Castle Hotel in Blackpool, whose large ballroom saw a bewildering array of names and matches.


    In the open era is was graced by the teenage Ronnie O’Sullivan, John Higgins and Mark Williams, as well as many players who were never quite good enough, some who were but who preferred the Marriner’s pub over the road and fading greats such as Alex Higgins.


    Hereford, Burton-on-Trent, Newport...their leisure centres got good use out of the WPBSA, as did the two rooms at Pontin’s in Prestatyn used for qualifying.


    So where next? Of course, there is already a first class facility, the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester, but it has already been announced that the staging of PTCs here will not continue.


    I’ve heard various towns mentioned and some have pressed the case of Preston Guild Hall, former home of the UK Championship, which has a first class arena in which spectators on the upper tier can walk round and watch whichever match they choose.


    Wherever it is it’ll have to be spacious. First rounds next season will comprise 64 matches. I understand the first qualifier, for the Wuxi Classic, will be from May 28-30 (dates provisional, don’t book holidays without checking with World Snooker).


    To most players, the specific location is less important than the quality of the facilities and the playing conditions.


    But wherever the qualifiers end up, room for spectators is a must. Qualifying matches by and large don’t draw big crowds but any atmosphere is better than none at all.


    More...

  • #2
    Cap in hand to Paul Mount seems the best option . At least it is a facility rather than a large sports hall with a load of tables chucked in . And it's run by people who are passionate about the game .
    Still trying to pot as many balls as i can !

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    • #3
      As I live in Birmingham it annoys me that a great city with plenty of arenas and good links for transport always gets overlooked when it comes to snooker. Its about time they looked to somewhere like Birmingham as its in the middle of the country so everyone has an equal travelling distance and would be terrificly supported too.

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      • #4
        It'll be interesting to see where they pick

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        • #5
          theres all the riley snooker centres all over england some had room for 20 + tables surely one of them would be suitable

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          • #6
            Bolton FC has a good conference room which is quite big and has a balcony around 3 side of if, not sure how many tables it could fit plus the spaces needed inbetween but I think it could do 12.

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            • #7
              cueman, Birmingham is the centre of England. Tell that to the Scots.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by neil taperell View Post
                Cap in hand to Paul Mount seems the best option . At least it is a facility rather than a large sports hall with a load of tables chucked in . And it's run by people who are passionate about the game .
                This ^^^...

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by cally View Post
                  This ^^^...
                  I'd never be surprised if WS returned there!

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                  • #10
                    Let's hope barry see's sense and does return to SWSA and reward paul and co after all the effort/hard work put (not too mention the cash ploughed into it) into the facility, nobody else has bothered to do such a thing in the past and barry just seems to not give too hoots as long as things go his way... paul and co deserve more than what they have got from WSA so far IMO..
                    Although, it seems the players will whinge about most venues where ever they are, i've spoken too players that moan about SWSA and it's got to be without doubt the best facility of it's kind EVER, surely...

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by cally View Post
                      Let's hope barry see's sense and does return to SWSA and reward paul and co after all the effort/hard work put (not too mention the cash ploughed into it) into the facility, nobody else has bothered to do such a thing in the past and barry just seems to not give too hoots as long as things go his way... paul and co deserve more than what they have got from WSA so far IMO..
                      Although, it seems the players will whinge about most venues where ever they are, i've spoken too players that moan about SWSA and it's got to be without doubt the best facility of it's kind EVER, surely...

                      Can't argue with that.

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                      • #12
                        I think SWSA option won't happen because some tables have been removed so there won't be any practice facilities. Another downside is where it is located because there is nothing to do there. It is away from civilisation.

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                        • #13
                          i think this is a strong indication that Qualifiers will be changing with a Flat 128 system in place.

                          i believe it is Possible that Qualifiers will be Played at or near the Final venue.

                          Taking 128 players to China ?

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                          • #14
                            Well I have heard that WS have spoken to Pontins about qualifying and PTC events.

                            I had actually drafted a article about a players expenditure staying at Pontins for qualifying and staying in Sheffield for Qualifying, i'll dig it put and post it up but the end line was that everybody was better off going to Pontins than Sheffield.

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                            • #15
                              Would the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester be a suitable venue?

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