If you believe you have the talent and dedication required to succeed on the World Snooker Tour, you can earn a place on the circuit via Q School this May.
ENTRIES ARE NOW BEING TAKEN - just go to www.worldsnooker.com, look under 'Featured' on the home page and click 'online entries' then follow the instructions. All players are strongly advised to get their entry in as soon as possible. The closing date for entering Q School is Friday 12 April at 12 noon.
Two years ago, World Snooker introduced Q School as the new way of qualifying for the tour. It is widely considered to be the best and fairest way of gaining professional status.
Staged at the World Snooker Academy in Sheffield in May, Q School is three consecutive tournaments, open to all players. The semi-finalists in each of the three events are given a place on the tour. So that's TWELVE PLACES up for grabs! It is open to players of all ages and nationalities (subject to terms and conditions).
Just imagine getting through Q School then taking your place on the Tour…you could be taking on the best players in the world and competing for £8 million in prize money!
World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn said: "There has never been a better time to be a professional snooker player. The sport is growing rapidly all over the world and we have increasing numbers of tournaments across the globe. Prize money has more than doubled over the past three years and is set to grow further. For the successful players, the rewards will be massive.
"Crucially for new players on the tour, next season we are changing the structure of eight of the 11 main ranking events to make it easier than ever for fresh talent to rise quickly up the rankings. All 128 players on the tour will start in the same round, which will mean that the lowest ranked player could face John Higgins, Judd Trump or Mark Selby in their first match! If you want to test yourself against the best, now is the time. And the lower-ranked players will only have to win two matches to get to the last 32, rather than four under the current system. We are getting everyone on a level playing field.
"Q School is the perfect system for qualifying for the tour. As opposed to previous systems, you only need to spend three weeks finding out whether you're good enough. This is significant for players from overseas who previously had to spend a whole year in the UK.
"So if you want a shot at glory, get your entry for Q School in NOW and start practising! It could change your life."
The 12 players who came through Q School last year were Martin O'Donnell, Ian Burns, Chen Zhe, Sam Baird, Daniel Wells, Jamie O'Neill, Paul Davison, Sean O'Sullivan, Joel Walker, Robbie Williams, Rod Lawler and Michael Wasley.
Many of these have gone on to achieve impressive results on the Tour this season. Burns, a 27-year-old from Preston, gained a place on the Tour for the first time thanks to his successful visit to Q School last May. He came through the first of three events, beating Rod Lawler 4-3 in the decisive match.
And he has gone on to succeed during his debut professional season. Earlier this month he reached the last 16 of the PTC event in Munich. And he has qualified for the final stages of the Haikou World Open so he'll be jetting out to China next month.
"I'm really pleased with how I have done so far and the way I have played," said Burns. "It is a big step up to the main tour, but I have been able to cope with it. The highlight for me so far was qualifying for Haikou, and I'm really looking forward to playing at a big venue for the first time. It will also be my first time in China, so I'm not sure what to expect but it is exciting.
"At the start of the season all I wanted to do was to get a few wins under my belt, but as the season has gone on I have grown in confidence, and now my target is to get as close to the top 64 as I can. And I would love to make it to the World Championship at the Crucible, that would be a dream.
"If anyone is undecided about whether to enter Q School, I would urge them to give it a go. All you need is one good tournament and it can lead to a massive change in your life. If you don't enter you'll never know whether you could make it.
"I think it is the fairest qualifying system. You have to win four or five matches at Q School against good players, but if you can do that then you deserve to have a chance on the tour."
So don't forget…enter Q School today, and chase your dream! For more details see www.worldsnookerqschool.com
Ball by ball scoring and results from tournaments