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Sam Craigie Shines In Burton, As Four Players Earn Tour Card At Snooker Q School Event One

Sam Craigie sparkled at Q School at the weekend
Sam Craigie sparkled at Q School at the weekend

Four familiar faces earned their place back on snooker’s professional circuit this weekend.

The conclusion of the first of three Q School events in Burton saw four British players all in their 20s regain their position on the main tour after facing relegation just a matter of weeks ago.

While it proves that the experience of having just played at least two consecutive years of professional snooker has paid its dividends, it also a stark reminder that the challengers really need to sharpen up.

The Sportsman gives you the rundown on the four winners – and remember with two more events there are still eight fresh cards up for grabs.

Sam Craigie

Perhaps the most surprising player to have been relegated from the main tour last season. In a campaign where he beat the likes of Judd Trump, Barry Hawkins, Kyren Wilson and Martin Gould, this still wasn’t enough to keep him safe from the cut.

An inability to win matches at the biggest events ultimately cost him, but there’s no doubt he has the class to be among the 128-man circuit and showed that with a swift return. His 4-0 whitewash of Thailand’s Dechawat Poomjaeng to seal his place rubber-stamped his position as the best player in this year’s Q School. He was always too good to be here.

Sam Baird

The former Crucible qualifier lost his place on tour after struggling both on and off the table last season, but again is among a cluster of players are most clearly good enough to be rubbing shoulders on the professional circuit.

He came very close to beating world number one Mark Selby in the second round of the World Championship in 2016 and it would have been a tragedy to have seen him slump down into the amateur ranks.

He beat the likes of former professionals Adam Duffy and Barry Pinches en route to his Q School success and will welcome a clean slate in the new season.

Jak Jones

The 24-year old Welshman really seemed to find his feet on the main tour after beating Trump in the qualifying rounds of the China Open last season, but unfortunately it was too little too late to avoid relegation.

He didn’t look as though he let it affect his confidence and came through Q School with great efficiency.

After beating the likes of Alex Borg and Thor Chuan Leong, he’s back and will feel he’s learned plenty of lessons to be much better equipped for success this time.

Hammad Miah

What you see is what you get with Miah. He is a fast and attacking player who likes to get on with it. While this can look great when things are going well, it sometimes leads to a string of poor results.

He most definitely adds a bit of spice to the tour as he showed last season with a great win against Matthew Stevens at the UK Championship and victories over Luca Brecel and Zhao Xintong to qualify through to the German Masters.

His progress on tour has been gradual but he remains a dangerous player. This will be his third spell on tour and if he can get stronger again, there’s no reason he can’t become a long-term member.

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