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World Snooker UK Tour
World Snooker Challenge Tour
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Brief History of the UK / Challenge Tour
 
Following on from the opening up of the professional game to ‘all comers’, the organisation of the pro circuit became more and more of a logistical problem with over 500 players on the tour requiring nine or ten qualifying rounds for each event which resulted in the qualifying events taking most of the summer to complete. It was decided at the end of the 1996/97 season to reduce the tour to the top 96 players and to set up a secondary tour for the remainder from which the leading players at the end of each season would move up to the Main Tour. At the beginning lower ranked Main Tour players were also permitted to enter thus giving them a second chance of qualifying for the next season’s Main Tour. Since 1999/2000 this practice was discontinued.
 
The UK Tour, as it was initially called, began in the 1997/98 season and it comprised five events at various venues spread throughout the season plus the Embassy World Championship. The number of players who moved up to the Main Tour has varied each season as has the number of players on the tour. In 1998/99 it was sponsored and known as the Riley UK Tour and the number of events reduced to four at which level it has remained ever since with the world championship counting as well but with a different points tariff to that for the Main Tour Players. The Riley sponsorship only lasted one season.
 
Since 2000/01 it has been known as the Challenge Tour and in 2003/4 the events took up a new permanent home at the World Snooker Centre at Pontins in Prestatyn. In 2004, World Snooker, as a cost cutting measure, announced that the 2004/5 series would be that and that only the top six in the Order of Merit would qualify for the next season’s main tour. In future there would be no secondary professional tour and all players outside the main tour would effectively return to amateur status.

 

UK/Challenge Tour Order of Merit Winners             

Season Sponsor Winner
Runner Up
1997/8 none Paul McPhillips Mark Fenton
1998/9 Riley Alfie Burden Joe Swail
1999/00 none Barry Hawkins Simon Bedford
2000/1 none Shaun Murphy Andrew Norman
2001/2 none Ryan Day Lee Spick
2002/3 none Martin Gould Tom Ford
2003/4 Pontins Holidays Brian Salmon Steve James
2004/5 Pontins Holidays Jamie Cope Lee Spick

UK/Challenge Tour Events - Winners & Runners Up
Season Venue Event Winner
Runner Up Score 1st Prize
1997/8 Breaks Snooker Club, Aldershot UK Tour Event 1 Paul McPhillips Michael Holt 6-5 £7,000
1978 Hazel Grove SC, Stockport UK Tour Event 2 Mark Fenton Antony Bolsover 6-4 £7,000
1979 Jesters Snooker Club, Swindon UK Tour Event 3 Simon Bedford Robert Milkins 6-3 £7,000
1980 Spencer's Snooker Club, Stirling UK Tour Event 4 Patrick Wallace Shaun Murphy 6-4 £7,000
1981 Club Snooker, Newcastle-under-Lyme UK Tour Event 5 Paul Sweeny Hugh Abernethy 6-5 £7,000
1998/9 Hazel Grove SC, Stockport UK Tour Event 1 Alfie Burden Anthony Davies 6-5 £7,000
1983 Jesters Snooker Club, Swindon UK Tour Event 2 Joe Swail Alfie Burden 6-1 £7,000
1984 Jesters Snooker Club, Swindon UK Tour Event 3 Stuart Bingham Matthew Couch 6-1 £7,000
1985 Hazel Grove SC, Stockport UK Tour Event 4 James Reynolds Jason Ferguson 6-4 £7,000
1999/00 Riley's Oldham UK Tour Event 1 Matt Wilson Barry Hawkins 6-4 £5,750
1987 Jesters Snooker Club, Swindon UK Tour Event 2 Andrew Higginson Scott MacKenzie 6-3 £5,750
1988 Riley's Stockport UK Tour Event 3 Simon Bedford Barry Hawkins 6-5 £5,750
1989 Jesters Snooker Club, Swindon UK Tour Event 4 Barry Hawkins Craig Butler 6-1 £5,750
2000/1 Jesters Snooker Club, Swindon Challenge Tour Event 1 Adrian Rosa Surinder Gill 6-4 £10,000
1991 Manhattan SC, Harrogate Challenge Tour Event 2  Andrew Norman Luke Fisher 6-3 £10,000
1992 Jesters Snooker Club, Swindon Challenge Tour Event 3 Shaun Murphy Andrew Norman 6-3 £10,000
1993 Manhattan SC, Harrogate Challenge Tour Event 4 Shaun Murphy Luke Simmonds 6-2 £10,000
2001/2 Manhattan SC, Harrogate Challenge Tour Event 1 James Reynolds Steve Judd 6-5 £5,000
1995 Jesters Snooker Club, Swindon Challenge Tour Event 2 Leo Fernandez Ryan Day 6-3 £5,000
1996 Manhattan SC, Harrogate Challenge Tour Event 3 Lee Spick Joe Delaney 6-3 £5,000
1997 Jesters Snooker Club, Swindon Challenge Tour Event 4 David B. Gilbert Ryan Day 6-3 £5,000
2002/3 Towers Snooker Club, Mansfield Challenge Tour Event 1 Chris Melling Tom Ford 6-2 £5,000
1999 Jesters Snooker Club, Swindon Challenge Tour Event 2 Adrian Rosa Stuart Mann 6-5 £5,000
2000 Jesters Snooker Club, Swindon Challenge Tour Event 3 Michael Rhodes Luke Simmonds 6-5 £5,000
2001 World Snooker Centre, Prestatyn Challenge Tour Event 4 Kurt Maflin James Leadbetter 6-2 £5,000
2003/4 World Snooker Centre, Prestatyn Challenge Tour Event 1 Stefan Mazrocis Paul S. Davison 6-2 £5,000
2003 World Snooker Centre, Prestatyn Challenge Tour Event 2 Hugh Abernethy Steve James 6-0 £5,000
2004 World Snooker Centre, Prestatyn Challenge Tour Event 3 Brian Salmon Gary Wilson 6-1 £5,000
200 World Snooker Centre, Prestatyn Challenge Tour Event 4 Gary Wilson Jin Long 6-4 £5,000
2004/5 World Snooker Centre, Prestatyn Challenge Tour Event 1 Jamie Cope Chris Norbury 6-2 £5,000
2005 World Snooker Centre, Prestatyn Challenge Tour Event 2 James Tatton Matthew Barnes 6-4 £5,000
2006 World Snooker Centre, Prestatyn Challenge Tour Event 3 James McBain Mark Allen 6-3 £4,250
2007 World Snooker Centre, Prestatyn Challenge Tour Event 4 Jamie Cope Matthew Couch 6-0 £4,250

Maximum Breaks
Stuart Bingham 1998/9 Event 3 v. Barry hawkins
Nick Dyson 1998/9 Event 4 v. Adrian Gunnell


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© Chris Turner 2008