International Championship 2018 Qualifiers round-up

After four days of battling it out in Barnsley, you’ll find the results of the International Championship 2018 qualifier here on

Three members of the top 16 didn’t make it: Luca Brecel, Shaun Murphy and John Higgins.

Luca hasn’t been in any sort of form for a long time, He was beaten 6-5 by Jordan Brown, a player who hasn’t exactly impressed until now. The only positive aspect as far as Luca is concerned is that he battled back valiantly, as he had done last week in Lommel.

Shaun Murphy is another one whose form has gome walkabout of late. He was beaten by 6-0 by Sam Baird. I suppose that moving to Ireland, and having a new baby who, unfortunately, suffered health issues, has taken priority over snooker and practice. Shaun was nowhere near his best, or even his average and his assessment of his match was “Mayday…” on twitter.

John Higgins was beaten, and well beaten, by 6-3, by Peter Lines. Now this is a weird one! John and Peter have played each other 8 times in total. Peter leads 6-2 in the head-to-head. Ok, two of Peter’s wins came in the Shootout, but still,  even discarding that, it’s 4-2 to Peter. Even more bizarre, the last time John had the upper hand was in 1994!

There were some high quality matches in those qualifiers. I picked these two:

Judd Trump beat Lu Ning by 6-4. Lu Ning played really well and so did Judd. There was none of the “taking things for granted” that we had seen over the last season in this one. Judd was focused, composed and playing the right shots.

David Gilbert had to come from behind to beat Sam Craigie by 6-5; Sam lead 4-0. Both played well, and hard.

I know that I might “sound” like a broken record, but it’s not right that Sam and Lu get nothing out of this match in terms of money and points. There was nothing mediocre in their performance, they fully played their part in an excellent match for the viewing public and the ones watching on the stream.

Those who see the World Seniors Tour as a pastime for pensioners better think again. The “veterans” did very well in those qualifiers.

Ken Doherty beat Chris Totten (6-4), Mark Davis beat Elliott Slessor (6-4), Alan McManus beat Jamie Clarke (6-5), David Lilley, an amateur who competes on the Seniors Tour, beat Ricky Walden (6-4), James Wattana beat Anthony Hamilton (6-5) AND Jimmy White, who will defend his Seniors UK title in a bit more than a week in Hull, beat Fergal O’Brien (6-5). Of course, Peter Lines, already mentioned above, is a former World Seniors Champion as well.

Finally, I was pleased  to see Luo Honghao finally getting some results: he beat Michael White very convincingly by 6-1.

As for Kurt Maflin, Ronnie’s first round opponent on Monday, he was scoring very heavily. This will definitely be a tricky opener for Ronnie, especially with the short format.

One thought on “International Championship 2018 Qualifiers round-up

  1. The International Championship is a nominally a huge event: best-of-11’s, £175k top prize. But it still seems that some players aren’t in top gear yet. Friday morning’s sessions were incredibly slow and turgid, each match overrunning, and the evening sessions were the opposite: all 6-1 or 6-0. Despite the continuing success of the older players, I think I’ll stick to my plan of watching the younger players, i.e. anyone under about 35!

    Lu Ning has always had the problem of playing nicely, but losing anyway. Luo Honghao has been steadily getting stronger, and seems to be adjusting well to life here (he’s at Keith Warren’s STAR Academy, which is more cosmopolitan than the close-knit Victoria or Q House Academies). Also a first win for Fan Zhengyi in a scramble against one of his friends. It’s good to see some new players get a win of two, as we’ve recently had some players quit the tour winless and broke.

    I really expect the English Open will signal a change in direction, provided there aren’t too many early casualties in the best-of-7 format. It’s the first event of the season in Britain which is televised, so there will be a bit of excitement, and these Home Nations always seem to produce some drama. I definitely hope so, as I’ve got an open ticket for the whole week!

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