A black-ball decider blasts the Rocket into the Tour Championship Final ūüöÄ

Coral Series – Last Chance In Preston Race

This week’s BetVictor Shoot Out in Watford (February 21-24) is the last counting event in the race to qualify for the Coral Players Championship. The top 16 on the one-year ranking list will then go through to the Guild Hall in Preston for the second event in the 2019 Coral Series, running from March 4-10.

Who has already made it to the Guild Hall?

The top 15 players on the one-year list are already assured of a place in Preston. They are:

Mark Allen
Judd Trump
Neil Robertson
Mark Selby
Ronnie O’Sullivan
Mark Williams
Kyren Wilson
David Gilbert
Stuart Bingham
Jack Lisowski
Ali Carter
Barry Hawkins
John Higgins
Joe Perry
Jimmy Robertson

Maguire: uncertain

That leaves only Stephen Maguire in 16th place unsure whether he will be in the field at the Guild Hall. He has not entered the BetVictor Shoot Out so he must hope results go his way. However there are only four players who can overtake him, and all of them would have to win the £32,000 top prize in Watford to go above Maguire and earn a place in Preston. They are:

Martin O’Donnell
Noppon Saengkham
Xiao Guodong
Zhao Xintong

As it stands there are three players – Ali Carter, Joe Perry and Jimmy Robertson – who are inside the top 16 of the one-year list and outside the top 16 of the official two-year list.

What’s next after Preston?

The third and last event in the Coral Series is the Coral Tour Championship in Llandudno from March 19 to 24, with only the top eight on the list to earn a spot in North Wales, with the cut off point coming after the Gibraltar Open (note that the Indian Open does not count towards Coral Players Championship qualification, though it does count towards the Coral Tour Championship). David Gilbert currently lies eighth with £169,500, just £6,500 ahead of Stuart Bingham in ninth. As it stands Gilbert is the only player inside the top eight of the one-year list and outside the top eight of the two-year list.

Thunder Strikes

Neil Robertson won his second ranking title of the season on Sunday night, beating Bingham 9-7 in the final of the ManBetX Welsh Open. His ¬£70,000 top prize lifted him from tenth to eighth on the two-year list and from sixth to third on the one-year list. Bingham could have gone ahead of Gilbert into the top eight of the one-year list by winning in Cardiff, but instead he stays ninth.¬†There are six counting events to go in the Race to the Crucible¬†and Bingham’s ¬£30,000 is very welcome as he climbs to 15th.

Joe O’Connor got to the semi-finals of a ranking event for the first time in his career and the ¬£20,000 prize moves him up the two-year list from 103rd to¬† 80th. Iran’s Hossein Vafaei was the other losing semi-finalist and he jumps from 37th to 33rd.

Tickets for all of the above events are on sale now ‚Äď for details¬†click here