Welsh teenage potter #Jackson Page has qualified for the TV stages of the Riga Masters, #Snooker's first ranking event of the 2017/18 #season. Page, only 15, missed out by a whisker on qualifying for the tour at QSchool back last month, where he came fifth in the Order of Merit. A fourth placer would have meant an automatic tour card award.

Page, who's been touted as one of Wale's up and coming talents in the snooker scene, has even played and practiced with the likes of Mark Williams, the former two-time World Champion, who received a walk-over to Riga's TV stages in Latvia.

The players of the season

Williams, the veteran at 42, will be hoping his new SightRight training will benefit him this season as he has not won a ranking event since 2011 - but came within a whisker of winning the China Open last season before the World Championships.

Advertisements
Advertisements

The Welsh potting machine said he was giving the new cue technology a go with his coach. SightRight is special cue technology which aids players in aiming and sighting and was developed by the top sports coach Steve Feeney. It has been used by many top players from former World Champion Stuart Bingham to Martin Gould, German Masters winner in 2016.

The Riga Masters was won last year by Australia's Neil Robertson and this season is joined by another Aussie to turn professional, Matthew Bolton, the 2017 Oceania Championship winner, and nomination - as well as Kurt Dunham, in a second season of a two-year card.

This season the tour sees an extra seven Chinese players qualify for the Tour, as well as Germany's first professional player Lukas Kleckers, who has got off to a good start and won his first match in the qualifiers in Preston for the Riga event.

Advertisements

Tour veterans Jimmy White and the Irish former World Champion Ken Doherty also made the cut to Riga. Both were given the nod of a wildcard in events for the next two years alongside Thai player James Wattana.

Former 1997 World Champ Doherty disposed of the 2017 World Seniors Champion Peter Lines in Preston, who managed to keep a card for the tour through tour play offs.

Shining Welsh Beacons

From Wales, Duane Jones, who obtained his card from passing the arduous Qschool test, failed in a bid to make it to the final stages of Riga this time around. He was beaten by England's Jamie Curtis Barrett.

Amateur Page took the U-18 IBSF World Snooker Championship in 2016, and this year he took the U-18 European snooker crown in Nicosia, Cyprus becoming the second Welsh player to win that event after Tyler Rees beat him the previous year in the event. The young potter from Ebbw Vale, Gwent, made a great impact last season as well as an amateur when he reached the last 32 of the Welsh Open.

Another Welsh veteran Matthew Stevens, a former World Championship finalist in 2005, also made it through to the final stages of the first ranking event of the season.

Advertisements

There are still 19 ranking events this season, with the replacement of the World Open, by the China Championship last season which was won by Ali Carter. This is now a full ranking event on the calendar.Previosuly, as a non-ranking event, it was scooped by John Higgins.

The Riga Masters TV stages begin on the 23rd June to the 25th, Friday to Sunday.