GDYNIA IN Poland is the last stopping off point for the eight-event European Tour as the final scramble for places in the Players Tour Championship grand finals unfolds over the next four days.

Neil Robertson is looking to complete a Polish hat-trick, having won the Gdynia title in each of the last two seasons. As usual, he faces stern opposition from the game’s other big-hitters, most of whom are making the trip to Poland.

But the real interest will come in the cut-off not only for qualification for the grand finals but also in the battle to remain on tour.

The top 24 on the order of merit on Sunday night will advance to the grand finals, due to be staged in Thailand next month.

So Barry Hawkins (23rd), Shaun Murphy (24th) and Graeme Dott (27th) are among the established names vying for places. Ali Carter, 26th in the order of merit, has not entered the event.

Players further down the list are by no means out of contention as a run to the final from anyone in the top 50 should be enough to qualify.

Poland is one of the areas in Europe to have embraced snooker in recent years. Kacper Filipiak, briefly a professional, is playing in the qualifiers today.

These European Tour events are quickfire affairs: loads of players, loads of tables and best of seven frame matches.

Not all players like the PTC set-up but this is the one chance a year for Polish snooker fans to see top professional action close up. It is also the chance for someone to win the €25,000 first prize.

Eurosport’s blanket coverage starts on Friday at 8.30am GMT with snooker legend Steve Davis in action, followed by Mark Selby v Chen Zhe.


Photographs by Monique Limbos.