Snooker News: Final Four Qualifiers Respond To End Of Q School 2022

World Snooker Championship - Day Four

James Cahill is back for a third spell on tour (Picture: Getty Images)

The final event of Q School 2022 has come to an end, with James Cahill, Jenson Kendrick, Lukas Kleckers and John Astley the last four men to receive their two-year tour tickets.

A number of the biggest names to join the Q School didn’t make it back to the pro tour, including Michael Holt, Kurt Maflin and Andrew Higginson, all of whom are willing to work as amateurs.

Neither Maflin nor Higginson made it to the final day of event three, but Holt fell at the final hurdle and was beaten 4-2 by Astley in Sheffield on Thursday.

Cahill defeated young Chinese star Zhao Jianbo 4-1, Kleckers defeated Ross Muir 4-3 and the only pro to graduate from Q School this year, Kendrick, defeated Haydon Pinhey 4-1.

The 21-year-old from Stoke has dedicated his life to snooker and his place on the Tour is well deserved.

“Words can’t describe it, over the moon, I shocked myself to be honest,” Kendrick told WST.

Jenson Kendrick is on tour for the first time (Image: WST)

“I gave absolutely everything in training when I came here, I played really, really well, but on the other hand there are a lot of great players. There are 40-50 players that could go on tour. I’m one of the 12 and I can’t believe it.

“I left school after the GCSEs, but even at school I had half a week to do Snooker. I’ve never had a job, nothing, I’ve dedicated my whole life to the game and it’s finally paying off.

“I can’t thank my mum and dad enough, since I left school they have done everything to make me the best I can be.

“Even at school, people were saying why not go that route, college, but I had nothing else on my mind than getting down the table and getting to the top of the game.”

On the prospect of competing against the top players on the biggest stages, he added: “I would love every second, every single second after elimination. If I miss a black man out of the spot, I miss a black man out of the spot, I can sit and enjoy it.

“I know I’ve worked as hard as I can to get there and I really think I can beat most of the players on the tour.”

Astley is far from a rookie as the 33-year-old first turned professional in 2013 and even defeated Neil Robertson at the British Championships as an amateur last year.

“Every emotion you can think of but mostly happy and relieved,” Astley said after beating Holt in Sheffield. “It’s just amazing to come through, it’s such a tough tournament and the last game isn’t very nice at all, you can’t enjoy it.

International Championship 2016 - Day 3

John Astley has earned a third spell on the main tour (Picture: Getty Images)

“When I got my chances I tried to keep my pace a bit because in the past when the pressure was on I’d slow down a bit and it didn’t work very well. Just overjoyed.

“It’s been a tough couple of years with Covid so it’s a huge relief to be getting back on tour where I feel I belong and that’s why it came out in the end.”

He added: “Playing Michael is a great player but I’ve played against him quite a bit this season and gained a lot of experience on the tour playing against the top guys so it doesn’t really bother us. I know if I play well I have a chance to beat anyone.’

Cahill is known for his heroics on the Main Tour killing giants, most memorable beating Ronnie O’Sullivan at the Crucible in 2019, and now he’s looking for more consistency after showing just how good he is, but only in a flash .

“There’s a lot of pressure out there to win and I’m just glad I held myself together,” he said.

“I found Q Tour weird with the vest picking out the balls, it was weird not having a referee but that’s what you have to do, I didn’t handle it very well. I’m happy to be back on tour where there’s a referee.

“People will see my game and wonder why I’m playing so badly, it’s simply because I didn’t put in the hours. When I put in the hours, I go to Chris [Henry], my head is in the right space, then I can get good results. I’m really going to do this in the next two years and hopefully won’t come back here for it again.

Cahill beat Ronnie O’Sullivan at the Crucible in 2019 (Image: Getty Images)

Cahill played as a top-up player last season but couldn’t achieve consistency without knowing when or where he was going to compete.

“I didn’t really play. I was called up for tournaments and I just hadn’t played,” he said.

“I played Ronnie at the Welsh Open. Somebody called me at the airport because I’m going on vacation, told me I’m in the draw tomorrow, so I left the airport, went down and played it, but that was the story of the year, I was not really prepared.

“I put a few months into this before the World Cup, knowing that Q School was right around the corner.”

German star Kleckers has returned straight to the Tour after his slip-up at the end of last season and the 26-year-old, like Cahill, is looking for a more consistent standard.

“So pleased, it’s a very tough 16-18 days to play. Just making it at the last event is even better because the pressure was so high, so very, very happy,” he said.

Kleckers flies the flag for Germany on the Main Tour (Image: Getty Images)

“I played so much, if you play all the time you stop thinking and that helped me.

“The pressure was the greatest, but it didn’t feel as big as in some other games.

Representing Germany, he added: “I’m very proud. We all know the German Masters and now also the European Masters in Germany. Big crowds, lots of people watching, so I’m very proud to represent Germany.

When asked about his greatest achievement, he said: “Beating Mark Selby at the Northern Ireland Open was my best match ever.

“I need to be more consistent, that’s the answer, I can’t really say how to get there. More practice, more experience, just put my practice game on the gaming table. That is my goal.’

MORE : Ryan Thomerson’s epic quest for a snooker pro via Melbourne, a blacksmith shop and the home of Neil Robertston

MORE : ‘I haven’t touched my cue in a year’ – Adam Duffy is back on tour nearing the end of snooker

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General Sports Snooker News: Final Four Qualifiers Respond To End Of Q School 2022

Nate Jones

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