It was Semi Finals day in Belfast, and here are the results:
Sunday 20 Nov 2016 01:12AM
Barry Hawkins emerged from the most dramatic of final frame deciders, to see off a dogged Anthony Hamilton in the last four of the Coral Northern Ireland Open in Belfast.
Hamilton had the balls at his mercy with the scores locked at 5-5, but unbelievably fouled by accidentally feathering the white ball whilst on the shot. The Hawk pounced and went on to move to the verge of victory with a contribution of 59, before breaking down on a green to the top pocket. He eventually got back to the table and deposited a magnificent long range red to get over the line. He punched both the air and the table with delight.
Hawkins had led for the majority of the match but just couldn’t shake off a resilient Hamilton. At 2-1 he looked set to move further ahead courtesy of a free ball, but missed a simple pot to the top left which allowed Hamilton to level the scores at the mid-session.
When they returned Hawkins gained a 4-2 advantage, only to be pegged back by a magnificent 138 clearance by the 45-year-old Hamilton. Further contributions of 74 and 97 ensured a decider, but it would ultimately prove to be a heart-breaking one for the Sheriff.
Afterwards Hawkins was understandably relieved to have been handed the lifeline by his opponent and gain a spot in tomorrow’s final alongside Mark King.
“I battled really well. I tried to keep calm and I just can’t believe that happened in the last frame. I’d imagine it has never happened before, but I managed to hold myself together in the end,” said Hawkins. “You have to take those bits of luck when they come along. They don’t happen very often so I’m just delighted to still be here.”
Despite the crushing manner of his defeat Hamilton stayed in the arena for some time after the conclusion of the match speaking to fans and signing autographs. He remained upbeat after what was a thrilling encounter.
Hamilton said: “I haven’t touched the white for years. It only happens when I start to feel good on the shot. It took me by surprise and he made a good break.
“It’s a bit of a film moment. Touching the white will be in the papers. But I can’t really be disappointed with the way I played. Especially from 5-3 and 4-2 down. I’m proud of it and I enjoyed it as well.”
Saturday 19 Nov 2016 06:01PM
Mark King is one match away from claiming his first ever ranking crown after a 6-2 victory against world number 15 Kyren Wilson at the Coral Northern Ireland Open in Belfast.
It was King’s first appearance on the semi-final stage since the 2011 Shanghai Masters. Wilson was looking to pick up his second piece of ranking silverware since his victory in Shanghai last season.
The 24-year-old Wilson’s aggressive style of play has featured prominently throughout the week, however it was King who hit the mark more accurately from long range in the opening exchanges. The Romford potter picked off several long pots to create opportunities with the balls in tight positions during the first two frames. He led 2-0 and increased his advantage in the third with a break of 55.
Wilson had the first opportunity in the fourth and with a number of reds situated nicely around the black spot, he looked set to come up with a frame winning contribution. He could only make 42 and King crucially punished him by countering with 71 to go to the mid-session 4-0 ahead.
King then extended his lead before Wilson started to show signs that a comeback may be on. Visits of 90 and 79 in back-to-back frames clawed the Warrior back into the game at 5-2. However, it proved to be too late as King fought from 41-0 down in the eighth frame to get himself over the line and book a first ranking final appearance since the 2004 Irish Masters.
“The main thing was to not panic. Even when it was 5-0 I was still prepared for 5-5,” said King. “Knowing that the worst case scenario was to win £20,000 this week made me relax a bit. It’s not like the pressure of the first round as if you keep doing that it isn’t going to pay the bills.”
A disappointed Wilson felt that the match was a missed opportunity to clinch some ranking silverware.
Wilson said: “I felt really good. I said to my coach I fancied it at 4-0. I even fancied it at 5-0. I’m devastated. I had a similar thing happen at the German Masters. You have to seize these opportunities. The tour is so hard these days and I felt like it was mine for the taking.”
Watch here the decider between Barry Hawkins and Anthony Hamilton:
2016 Northern Ireland Open: Barry Hawkins – Anthony Hamilton (final frame)
During his post match Mark King pounced on what Anthony Hamilton had said the previous day about how hard it is on the tour for most players; 95% of the tour players are skint he claimed.
As for Ronnie, he continued his routine of running and doing punditry …
And, clearly he’s well looked after by Colin Murray, they certainly don’t want growling hungry stomachs interfering with the commentary:
various images source: twitter