Created to provide more competitive playing opportunities, the inaugural EPSB Open Series is already making a significant impact on the amateur snooker scene within the UK.
Organised by the English Partnership for Snooker and Billiards (EPSB) – snooker’s national governing body in England – the new series is open to all players, regardless of nationality, whether amateur or professional.
The Open Series has been devised with input from several of the sport’s star names including reigning world champion Mark Selby, Kyren Wilson and Joe Perry, as well as snooker’s world governing body, the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association.
Comprising one-day, straight knockout events, the Series sees players pay just £20 to enter, with 100% of entry fees paid out in prize money. Events therefore offer a unique and low-risk opportunity for youngsters and budding amateurs to challenge themselves against more experienced and professional opposition.
Competitors also earn rankings points for their performances, with an added incentive of the top four amateurs at the end of the season each winning a free place at the 2022 WST Q School – a prize worth £1,000.
All affiliated EPSB 147 Club venues have been invited to host Open Series events, with several across the country engaging combining to host approximately 70 events during the 2021/22 season, meaning there is a tournament scheduled almost every weekend.
Davies Leads the Way
At roughly the midway point through the campaign, the Open Series has already seen over 250 different players participate including juniors, seasoned amateurs and former professionals.
The circuit has also proved very useful for current main tour professionals with ranking event semi-finalists Craig Steadman, David Grace, Elliot Slessor and this season’s British Open runner-up Gary Wilson all featuring. Farakh Ajaib, Iulian Boiko, Ben Hancorn, Ashley Hugill, Mitchell Mann, Rory McLeod and Jamie O’Neill have all also taken part. Ajaib, Steadman and Wilson have all won events this term. Amateur players receive an 18 points per frame handicap if they face a current professional.
However, well clear at the top of the rankings is promising teenager Ryan Davies – a former national champion at under-14, 16 and 18 level – who is having an extraordinary campaign with seven event victories, so far. In comparison, no other player has won more than two events. Davies has enjoyed triumphs at Tradewell in Hull (twice), Breakers in Leicester (twice), Cueball Derby and Landywood in Walsall (twice).
Leading the way with an incredible 244 points, Davies is 89 points ahead of second-placed player Patrick Whelan (155), who has won two events in Hull.
The race for the top four is already fascinating. Andy Marriott is currently third with 117 points, whilst Josh Thomond is fourth on 109 – however, there is a stream of players behind them in striking distance.
There have been 20 different event winners so far. The roll of honour is:
Ryan Davies – 7 event wins
Patrick Whelan, Josh Thomond, Simon Blackwell, Kayden Brierley, Luke Simmonds, Craig Steadman – 2 event wins each
Andy Marriott, Jack Bradford, Farakh Ajaib, Jenson Kendrick, Leo Fernandez, Gary Wilson, Chae Ross, Lee Shanker, Shaun Wilkes, Oliver Brown, Hamim Hussain, Ashley Wright, Aidan Murphy – 1 event win each
As word continues to spread about the EPSB Open Series, the initiative is perfectly positioned to go from strength to strength, boosting the health and profile of the amateur game across the UK and beyond.
Learn more about the EPSB Open Series.