Northern Ireland’s Robbie McGuigan won the final event of the WPBSA Q Tour season with a 5-3 victory against Michael Collumb at the Northern Snooker Centre in Leeds.
McGuigan’s semi-final victory over Simon Bedford meant that Sean O’Sullivan won automatic promotion from Q Tour to the World Snooker Tour and will have a pro card for the 2022/23 and 2023/24 seasons. He finished the season second in the ranking list, with top-ranked Si Jiahui already qualified for the main circuit.
Londoner O’Sullivan first turned pro in 2012 and has previously had six seasons on the tour; his best run taking him to the last 16 of the 2016 Scottish Open.
The final weekend of the regular WPBSA Q Tour season was to provide no shortage of drama, with places on next season’s main tour, the season-ending playoffs and also next month’s Betfred World Snooker Championship to be determined by the final Q Tour Ranking List following the conclusion of play on Sunday evening.
Reigning Northern Ireland national champion Robbie McGuigan entered the tournament out of range of top spot, but progressed to the final day of a Q Tour event for the first time following victories against Jamie Curtis-Barrett, Wiphu Phuthisabodi and Patrick Whelan on Saturday.
Having reached the semi-finals with a 4-2 victory against Hamim Hussain, the 17-year-old was paired with former professional Simon Bedford, who was the last player standing who could still deny O’Sullivan the automatic main tour card available by lifting the title in Leeds.
It was Bedford who dominated the early exchanges as he top scored with breaks of 61 and 55 on his way to establishing a 3-0 lead, before McGuigan reeled off three frames of his own with top breaks of 83 and 55 in barely 40 minutes to draw level.
Both players would have chances in the decider, but a missed brown by Bedford was to prove fatal and McGuigan would ultimately prevail on the final pink to reach the final – a result that would also confirm that O’Sullivan would take the automatic qualification spot.
Awaiting McGuigan in the final was Scotland’s Michael Collumb, himself a former national champion back in 2019 and through to the final day having claimed the scalps of Adam Duffy, Harvey Chandler and Ryan Davies to reach the last eight. Breaks of 87 and 70 saw him through to the semi-finals with victory against promising Welsh youngster Liam Davies, before he came through a deciding frame against Alex Clenshaw to qualify for the title match.
It was Collumb who made the stronger start to the final as he limited his opponent to just 24 points during the opening three frames as he raced into a 3-0 lead. The next frame also looked to be heading the way of the Scot as a four frame cushion beckoned at the mid-session interval.
However, a clearance of 31 by McGuigan was to prove a key turning point, as he snatched the frame before the break to get himself on the scoreboard. On the resumption of play it was to be largely one-way traffic, as McGuigan added breaks of 51, 58 and finally a match-clinching 82 in the last to claim the biggest title of his career in Leeds.
The victory sees McGuigan earn the top prize of £2,500 and climb to third position in the final season standings, behind only the top two Si Jiahui and O’Sullivan. With beaten finalist Collumb also finishing inside of the top six in the final rankings, both players will join Sean O’Sullivan, David Lilley and Ben Mertens in earning a spot at next month’s Betfred World Championship from the Q Tour.
Both players will also be among 16 players who will contest the Q Tour Playoffs later this year, with a further main tour place to be won.
The WPBSA would like to thank all of the players, officials and in particular the Northern Snooker Centre for their support and hospitality at the event.
Further information with regards to the Q Tour Playoffs will be released as soon as possible.