The Welsh Open 2017 started yesterday and we already had a few surprising results.
It’s worth noting that this tournament has a random draw: except for the top 16 who are kept apart in the draw, everyone else is placed randomly. This explains that we have some top players meeting early whilst we also have clashes between relatively unknown guys.
Worth noting are the defeats of John Higgins and Kyren Wilson.
John was facing Sam Baird, who is a very decent player but not a top one and who you wouldn’t expect to be able to compete with John tactically. Well, he didn’t need to: too many mistakes from Higgins and good solid potting from Sam did it: 4-2 it was.
Kyren Wilson lost to Sean O’Sullivan by 4-2. Sean is a good player, and a lovely lad, but he’s not a top player . I only watched the match in patches but … well it was patchy. Not one visit snooker by any means but Sean won’t care.
Other interesting results:
Ben Woollaston was playing Thechaya Un-nooh. “Theppy” has not been he great form recently and he wasn’t yesterday either, but Ben looked completely out-of-sorts and, eventually was whitewashed.
Stuart Bingham beat Matthew Stevens by 4-2 in a decent quality match. The Welsh crowd surely wanted it the other way around but Stuart was the better player and had the only century of the match, a 101.
Ryan Day beat David Gilbert by 4-3. This was actually a good match and one that was important for both players in the context of the race to the Crucible as they are both still in with a chance to break into the top 16. In a way it’s unfortunate that they had to meet so early.
Graeme Dott recovered from 3-0 down to beat Ricky Walden by 4-3. Again this was an important match for Ricky who’s chances to avoid Pond Forges look seriously thin now. For Graeme though who has been struggling recently, it’s an excellent result. According to comments by Clive Everton and other pundits recently, Ricky is suffering from a recurring back injury. if true, it’s very unfortunate. He’s champagne when on form.
Anthony Hamilton defeated Luca Brecel by 4-2. “The Sheriff” had a bit of an anti-climax last week but is clearly back in the saddle. This one also was a good match, extremely tactical, with loads of excellent safeties from both.
Neil Robertson beat Jimmy White by 4-1. A very unlucky draw for Jimmy who is battling to stay on the main tour and has been doing very well this season. But Neil had too much for him as you would expect. I sincerely hope that the “Whirlwind” can do it. He will be devastated if he drops of the tour. Nobody loves snooker more than Jimmy.
And finally …
Jackson Page beat Jason Weston by 4-3 in dramatic fashion. Here is the report on Worldsnooker:
Monday 13 Feb 2017 06:45PM
Promising teenager Jackson Page scored a dramatic 4-3 win over Jason Weston in his first match in a professional tournament at the Coral Welsh Open.
By James Lloyd
The 15-year-old amateur was granted a wild card place in the event at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena and slotted a respotted black to take a last-gasp victory over Portsmouth’s Weston.
Page is a former World Under-18 Champion and learns under the wing of veteran Mark Williams – who has tipped the youngster for stardom.
The Ebbw Vale born potter showed signs of his talent with some outrageous pots, notably a stunning pink in the deciding frame.
Page won the first frame on the last black before experienced Weston, ranked 123rd in the world, won three frames in a row with a top break of 58. Page then fought back to 3-3 with a top run of 40.
Weston led by 27 points in the decider when he missed the final yellow, and Page made an excellent clearance which included a cracking long pink. And when his opponent played a weak safety on the respotted black, Page thumped it into a baulk corner to the delight of his army of fans in the crowd.
An ecstatic Page explained his joy after a memorable afternoon in the Welsh capital.
He said: “I had to dig deep. I played a bad shot on one of the reds and at that point I thought it was over as he was in. But when that last black went in, it was just unreal.
“I knew that it was in my favour (on the respotted black). He played a good shot at the start, but he eventually left it over the pocket which was great for me.
“The crowd was great, especially being on one of the main tables. I definitely didn’t expect that, I thought I was going to be on one of the other tables, as you would expect being a 15-year-old.
“When I found out I was on one of the main tables, I thought: ‘this will be fun.’”
Page balances his time playing snooker and studying for GCSEs at Ebbw Fawr Community School.
And the whizzkid admits his academic ability is key to the school allowing him time off to enter tournaments and bump shoulders with snooker greats.
“I am quite lucky to be in the top set in school,” Page said.
“Without revising I can still manage to get a C grade which helps really. That’s why they give a bit of leeway with that.
“It is great to be good at both school and at snooker. Snooker is definitely the better one, though.”
Page also praised the impact of two-time world champion Williams on his playing development.
He said: “Mark is great. We have a lot of games; and he has helped me a lot. It is the way he goes about the game; that is where I learn.
“How he plays is unreal, his positional play around the black is superb, you couldn’t ask for better. When you see these players like Mark playing those shots, it triggers the way you play and you learn from it.”
All detailed results are available on Cuetracker.