WAYS Facilities Management UK Seniors Championship | Tournament Preview

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Action from the World Seniors Snooker Tour returns this week with the 2022 WAYS Facilities Management UK Seniors Championship taking place at the Bonus Arena in Hull from 4-7 January.

Last played in 2019 at the same venue, the championship will see the return of live fans at a seniors event, with the previous two World Championship events at the Crucible Theatre having been played behind closed doors.

The 16-player field is made up of automatic seeds and those who came through qualifying events in Reading last year. First round matches are the best of five frames, with the following matches up to and including the semi-finals the best of seven frames. The final on Friday night  will be the best of nine.

Live coverage throughout will be shown on the BBC iPlayer and via the Red Button.

Top Half

Reigning champion Michael Judge has had to wait a long time to defend his title and he will break off the competition on Tuesday afternoon.

Judge defeated Jimmy White in the final here back in October 2019 and has since returned to the professional circuit after coming through last year’s Q School. The Irishman will face fellow main tour exponent and former world seniors champion, Peter Lines.

Eighth seed Cliff Thorburn is able to travel from Canada for the championship – his first appearance on the seniors circuit for a couple of years. The 2018 Seniors Masters winner has a tough opening round tie against ex-professional Kuldesh Johal who lost to Judge in the final round of a Q School event last summer.

A five-time winner of the professional UK Championship, Stephen Hendry is still looking to reach his first final at seniors level. Hendry faces a potentially difficult first round tie here against 2019 Seniors Masters runner-up Barry Pinches, although the Scot does lead their career head-to-head record, 4-0.

Another meeting between current professionals will be Ken Doherty versus Lee Walker. A three-time finalist in the professional version, Doherty finally won a UK title here in 2018 when he defeated Igor Figueiredo in the title match to become the seniors champion, although the Dubliner was not in the competition the following year to defend.

Bottom Half

Jimmy White looks to further his unrivalled success on the World Seniors Snooker Tour, but he first has to negotiate current seniors number one ranked player Patrick Wallace who is a late replacement for Tony Drago who was unable to travel due to being in close contact with someone with Covid-19.

Three-time world seniors champion White won this title in 2017 in Redhill. A few months later in the same season, Northern Irishman Wallace reached the final of the World Seniors Championship where he was ousted by Aaron Canavan.

The 1991 UK Professional Champion, John Parrott is seeking his maiden seniors title. Runner-up to Lines in the 2017 world seniors championship, Parrott begins his campaign in Hull against Wayne Cooper, who is becoming a regular qualifier for the venue stages of WSST competitions.

Joe Johnson does have a seniors title on his CV. The 2019 Seniors Masters winner will share the baize with Rod Lawler, who has qualified for the main draw of a WSST event for the first time.

At the bottom of the draw is number two seed David Lilley – the current world seniors champion.

No player has yet to hold both the world and UK seniors titles at the same time, therefore Lilley will be attempting to write new history on the tour. He comes up against an in-form Philip Williams, who also recently qualified for the World Seniors Championship.

Article by Michael Day.