China Championship 2018

Race To Preston – The Home Straight

This week’s Coral Shoot Out is the final counting event in the race to qualify for the Ladbrokes World Grand Prix, with only the top 32 on the one-year ranking list to go through to the Guild Hall in Preston later this month.

The Watford Colosseum will play host to 128 players from Thursday to Sunday, contesting the Coral Shoot Out crown. And the main sub-plot of the tournament will be battle to gain one of those 32 spots in Preston for the next world ranking event, which runs from February 19 to 25.

Tom Ford

Tom Ford needs to win at least one match in Watford and faces Mark Allen in round one

As is stands, Ben Woollaston holds 32nd place with £53,500, just £275 ahead of 33rd-placed Tom Ford. That means Ford needs to win just one more match than his fellow Leicester pro to overtake him. In 34th spot with £53,000 is Liang Wenbo, but he has not entered the Coral Shoot Out so his chances are gone.

Next is Zhou Yuelong with £51,500 so he need at least to reach the last 16 in Watford*. A further £3,000 behind is Hossein Vafaei so he requires at least a run to the semi-finals. Any player down to Stuart Carrington in 79th place with £21,500 could potentially jump into the top 32 by winning the £32,000 top prize on offer come Sunday night.

The one-year list will also be used to determine the field for next month’s Ladbrokes Players Championship in Llandudno, with the top 16 qualifying for North Wales.

As it stands there are seven players in the top 32 of the one year list who are outside the top 32 of the official two year list, and four players in the top 16 of the one year list who are outside the top 16 of the two-year list.

One player assured of a place in both events is Mark Williams, who won his second ranking title of the season by beating Graeme Dott 9-1 in the final of the D88 German Masters on Sunday. Banking £80,000, the Welshman leaps from sixth to second on the one-year list with £257,000, still well behind Ronnie O’Sullivan who leads with £425,500.

Dott earned £35,000 and climbs from 30th to 17th, boosting his chances of a place in Llandudno. Jimmy Robertson reached the quarter-finals of a ranking event for the first time in Berlin and he’s up from 31st to 27th.

On the official two-year ranking list, Williams is up three places to seventh while Dott climbs three sports to 25th.

Dott also now stands 25th in the Race to the Crucible with six counting events to go, £112,525 behind 16th-placed Mark Allen.

Tickets for all of the above events are on sale now – for details click here

*Players tied on the one-year list are separated according to countback, with the player going furthest in the most recent event to be ranked higher.