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It's getting to the business end of this season's Challenge Tour with just three more legs remaining. Action returns to the continent this weekend with Event 8 taking place at the Terminal Snooker Club in Budapest, Hungary.

Unfortunately, as we have seen with previous stops on the tour (especially 'overseas' ones), only 44 of a possible 72 places have been filled, although all of the top 9 from the current CT Rankings List are scheduled to make the journey.

Just £325 separates leaders David Grace (£5,650), Brandon Sargeant (£5,425) and Mitchell Mann (£5,325). After all ten tournaments have been completed, the top two from this list will secure guaranteed two-year professional tour cards, so pressure for this trio, and the chasing pack, will be increasing.

​Both Grace and Sargeant have to play in the preliminary round against tricky opposition in Peter Devlin and Dylan Emery, respectively. Mann has received a bye into the Last 32 where he will meet Joshua Thomond.

Fourth-placed Barry Pinches (£3,450) has a gap to make up on the promotion berths, but with £2,000 going to the winner of each event, victory in Central Europe would dramatically change the complexion of the standings. Pinches faces Jamie Curtis-Barrett in a prelim.

Joel Walker's (£2,950) success at Event 7 in Barnsley last month launched him up to fifth in the rankings and in contention. Walker will cross cues with Latvian youngster Rodion Judin before the second round.

Sixth-placed David Lilley (£2,700) has frequently featured in professional events this campaign as a Q-School top-up player. The three-time English Amateur Champion is still in the promotion picture, and has been spared the preliminary round with a match against Ukraine's Sergey Isaenko in the Last 32 first on his agenda.

The final two Challenge Tour competitions are due to take place in January and March.

To see this weekend's draw in full, please visit snooker.org here.

Image above is courtesy of World Snooker

Article written and published by Michael Day on the 21st November 2018​​