UK Championship 2019 – Ronnie beats Tian Pengfei in last 64

Ronnie, being the defending champion, opened the last 64 round, the first round shown on television by BBC. He beat Tian Pengfei by 6-0.

This is Ronnie’s interview before the match:

Here are the stats:


Ronnie played a good professional match. He was solid in all departements, he was focused and patient … except for a short spell in the last frame. He didn’t rush things, and played safe when necessary. Tian stats look dire, but that is in part because Ronnie never really allowed him to play and settle into the match.

Here is the report by Shamoon Hafez for the BBC 

UK Championship: Ronnie O’Sullivan eases through with another whitewash

Clearly Ronnie is not getting carried away. He comes across as calm and determined which is great. He will play Noppon Saengkham next.

And this is the report by Worldsnooker

Another Whitewash For Rocket (excerpt)

Ronnie O’Sullivan has made it into round three without conceding a frame; he followed up his 6-0 first round win over Ross Bulman by beating China’s Tian Pengfei by the same scoreline.

Seven-time UK Champion O’Sullivan made top breaks of 71 and 106 as he set up a match with Noppon Saengkham.

I was trying to win as comfortably as I possibly can,” said the defending champion. “It’s not always going to work out like that and you have to assume that the competition will get stronger and just take one match at a time. You have to try and dominate the game as much as you can draw on experience.

“It’s great to be in York it’s a fantastic place this time of year. The tables are playing great and the further you go in the tournament the more enjoyable it gets.

This is the match

Meanwhile a huge thank you to Tai Chengzhe for those great pictures

and also …

Congratulations and our very best wishes for a life long happiness together to Tai and his wife. They just got married! May all their dreams come true! 


York Barbican – Day 3 at the 2019 UK Championship

Yesterday saw the conclusion of the 2019 UK Championship first round, the last 128, in York. Both the defending Champion and the World Champion were in action.

Here are the reports by Worldsnooker:

Morning and afternoon sessions:

World number 121 Eden Sharav scored the biggest shock of the Betway UK Championship so far as he beat Shaun Murphy 6-4 in the opening round.

It’s the second year in a row that former UK Champion Murphy has crashed out in the pre-televised stage in York; in 2018 he lost to Chen Feilong, another player ranked outside the world’s top 100.

Sharav, who lives in Scotland but is Israeli by birth, goes through to the last 64 to face Daniel Wells.

Murphy led 3-1 at the interval with top breaks of 82 and 88, but Sharav fought back to take the next three frames with runs of 54, 49 and 70. The next two were shared to leave Sharav 5-4 ahead.

Frame ten lasted 40 minutes and came down to the colours. Murphy fluked the pink but then missed a tricky black to a centre pocket. Sharav was left with a tough long black, the cue ball close to the baulk cushion, but slotted it home and punched the air in delight.

“It’s the best win of my career,” said 27-year-old Sharav, who had lost all six of his previous matches this season. “I’ve had no confidence this season but I kept fighting today at 3-1 down. I have been practising up to nine hours a day recently and hopefully I can push on from this.”

Murphy said: “I’m very disappointed, I didn’t see that coming at all because I have prepared well for this tournament and I’ve been having a really good season. I have to give credit to Eden because he played some fabulous stuff.”

Trump’s Got Jungle Fever

Judd Trump started his campaign with a 6-0 whitewash of Amie Amiri – then said he’d be willing to miss the tournament next year if he was invited to appear on TV show I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!

Trump breezed through the opening round in York in just 79 minutes, beating African champion Amiri with a top break of 125. Having already won the Masters and World Championship in 2019, he is aiming to become the first player to capture all three Triple Crown titles in the same year since Stephen Hendry in 1996.

“It would be a massive accomplishment in my career,” said the world number one, who now plays Ken Doherty or Mei Xiwen. “Only the greats of the game have held all three at the same time.

“It was an amazing crowd for the first round. This is one of the best venues and it was an excellent atmosphere. This is one of the big ones where I always get excited.

“This is all new to Amine and he needs some experience. It’s always good to see players from new countries as it shows the game is expanding. He has done amazingly well to get this far and hopefully we’ll see him improve.”

Trump is a fan of the ITV show ‘Celeb’ and would relish a trip to the jungle. “I’d go in but I’m scared of everything in there!” said the Bristolian. “I’d love to give it a try but I don’t know how long I’d last. I’m quite a fussy eater and I don’t like bugs. I’d have to be one of those who gets a doctor’s note for every trial. I’d sit on the bed and sleep all day. I’d love to give something like that a go next year.”

Asked whether he’d be willing to miss this tournament he replied. “Yes, it would be good to get snooker out there. To have a current player on the show and do well would boost snooker.”

Jack-Pot Needs Time To Adjust

Jack Lisowski beat David Lilley 6-2 with a top break of 68 and revealed he is playing with a new cue. “I changed it about two weeks ago,” said Lisowski. “I’m trying to get used to it but it might take six months.”

Alan McManus top scored with 112 and 107 in a 6-1 defeat of Elliot Slessor, while Anthony Hamilton made a 131 in a 6-2 win over Sam Baird.

Riga Masters champion Yan Bingtao looked in fine form in a 6-1 victory over Igor Figueiredo, firing runs of 111, 121, 89 and 127.

Evening session:

Ronnie O’Sullivan started his bid to win a third consecutive Betway UK Championship by beating Ross Bulman 6-0, then said that Judd Trump is currently snooker’s man to beat.

Seven-time UK Champion O’Sullivan took just 66 minutes – with an average shot time of 13.8 seconds – to book his place in the last 64, where he will face Tian Pengfei on Saturday.

In frame three O’Sullivan potted 14 reds with blacks before playing for position on the pink on the last red, passing up the chance of a possible 147. He missed the final pink, finishing on 133. He also fired runs of 88, 90, 66 and 65.

In his post match press conference, the Rocket was asked about Judd Trump, who has won seven tournaments over the past year.

“Judd is ahead of the pack, World Champion, world number one and the man to stop,” said O’Sullivan. “He’s a fantastic player and a great talent. The true test is doing it over ten or 15 years. Tiger Woods is a great. Is Rory McIlroy? Not yet. Potentially he probably will be and it’s great to sit and watch it unfold.”

He was also asked about a comment from Trump that some of O’Sullivan’s fans are “hooligans.”

“I can’t comment on that because I don’t know all the fans who follow me,” said O’Sullivan. “Snooker’s a working class sport, people love to see Jimmy White, Alex Higgins, they follow those type of players. I’m sure at football or golf or other sporting events, people get a bit excited.”

If he had made a 147 tonight, O’Sullivan would have been in line for a share of the £15,000 high break prize claimed yesterday by Barry Hawkins. But he added: “The blue was safe so I didn’t fancy making a maximum, and to get on the pink from the last red was a lot easier. Barry could do with the £15,000 more than me. He is super excited to be able to spend money on some Christmas presents.”

Pistol Shows Grit To Beat White

Last year’s runner-up Mark Allen came from 3-2 down to beat veteran Jimmy White, the oldest player in the field at 57, by a 6-3 scoreline. The turning point came in frame six when Allen cleared from yellow to pink to level at 3-3. Breaks of 64, 129 and 56 gave him the last three frames.

“I probably showed Jimmy too much respect in the early stages,” said Antrim’s Allen. “I went for my shots from 2-2 and played a lot better. I love coming here, it’s a great venue and a lot of history attached to the tournament. I have been under the weather for the last few days and my eyes are sore. It was determination and grit which got me through tonight. With a couple of days rest I’ll be fine.”


Thepchaiya Un-Nooh came from 5-2 down to beat Jamie O’Neill 6-5, winning the last four frames with top breaks of 62 and 71. Joe Perry beat Simon Lichtenberg 6-5 in a match which was pulled off earlier today at 5-5. When they returned, Perry made breaks of  45 and 30 to take the decider. That keeps him ahead of his immediate rivals in the Race to the Masters.

Life came in the way of snooker in the morning …

In the afternoon, I watched Judd Trump beat Amine Amiri, with a 125, but no other 50+ break. Judd missed a few, but Amine was not able to take his chances. That said, this is the kind of match that does nobody any favour. Amine Amiri got his two years tour card by winning the African games but is probably nowhere the level he would need to sucessfully compete on the main tour right now. Back home he does have neither the kind of opposition nor the opportunities to play in high quality amateur tournaments that would allow him to reach that required level. Judd Trump on the other hand may have found it difficult to sustain full concentration as he clearly wasn’t going to be challenged. We have seen the same sort of match in early rounds in the PTCs in the past.

I then turned to Shaun Murphy v Eden Sharav, which was a strange one. Eden tried his heart out, and it was very obvious that he was feeling it towards the end. He did extremely well to keep it together eventually.

Shaun Murphy and David Gilbert are the only top 16 players to go out in round one.

Regarding Joe Perry’s “escape” from disaster, I believe that experience played a massive role, especially when the match got pulled off. Simon has probably never played a multi session match other than at the World Championship qualifiers last season, where he was beaten 10-1 … by Joe Perry. Having lead 5-3, being pegged back 5-5 and then having to mull over it for a few hours was always going to be extremely difficult and so it proved.

Other than that, there was a good win for Michael White. Is he about to turn the corner? I hope so. I was also very pleased for David Grace. Nothing at all against Tom Ford; I just happen to like David a lot, he’s a gentle soul and an artist …

You can read more about Ronnie’s win here

UK Championship 2019 – Ronnie beats Ross Bulman in the last 128

Ronnie started his UK title defence yesterday with a 6-0 win over young amateur Ross Bulman.


As you can see above, Ronnie scored heavily. He played well, and stuck to his all-attack, no-defence recent attitude. His long potting was quite impressive … unlike his break-off.

Before the match he had shared this on Instagram and twitter

Here is the report by Worldsnooker

Ronnie O’Sullivan started his bid to win a third consecutive Betway UK Championship by beating Ross Bulman 6-0, then said that Judd Trump is currently snooker’s man to beat.

Seven-time UK Champion O’Sullivan took just 66 minutes – with an average shot time of 13.8 seconds – to book his place in the last 64, where he will face Tian Pengfei on Saturday.

UK2019ROSL128-1In his post match press conference, the Rocket was asked about Judd Trump, who has won seven tournaments over the past year.

“Judd is ahead of the pack, World Champion, world number one and the man to stop,” said O’Sullivan. “He’s a fantastic player and a great talent. The true test is doing it over ten or 15 years. Tiger Woods is a great. Is Rory McIlroy? Not yet. Potentially he probably will be and it’s great to sit and watch it unfold.”

He was also asked about a comment from Trump that some of O’Sullivan’s fans are “hooligans.”

“I can’t comment on that because I don’t know all the fans who follow me,” said O’Sullivan. “Snooker’s a working class sport, people love to see Jimmy White, Alex Higgins, they follow those type of players. I’m sure at football or golf or other sporting events, people get a bit excited.”

If he had made a 147 tonight, O’Sullivan would have been in line for a share of the £15,000 high break prize claimed yesterday by Barry Hawkins. But he added: “The blue was safe so I didn’t fancy making a maximum, and to get on the pink from the last red was a lot easier. Barry could do with the £15,000 more than me. He is super excited to be able to spend money on some Christmas presents.”

Ronnie got harsh criticism from Barry Hearn for not attempting the maximum… “Shameful” was the “supremo” verdict. Shameful is my verdict on his new scheme regarding how to reward maximum breaks: to promise £1000000 to be shared if there are 20 of them is just a way to say without saying that there will be no more financial reward for a 147, because 20 is never gonna happen. Just another way to show off about money that will never be paid to the players and he knows it.

What this report doesn’t … report is how full of praise Ronnie was for his young opponent:

Here is the match …

Ronnie will play his last 64 match tomorrow afternoon (1pm UK time). His opponent is the dangerous Tian Pengfei.

The BBC coverage starts tomorrow.


York Barbican – Day 2 at the 2019 UK Championship

Let’s start with Worldsnooker report on yesterdays action:

Mark Williams described his performance as “awful” but did enough to beat Fraser Patrick 6-2 in the first round of the Betway UK Championship.

Williams has taken a break from the tour in recent weeks, deciding not to enter the World Open and Northern Ireland Open. His return to action was successful as he top scored with 133 and 124 in a comfortable victory in York, setting up a last 64 clash with Michael White or Fergal O’Brien.

But his demeanour was unenthusiastic in his post-match press conference. “I felt nervous, probably because of a lack of match practice,” said Welshman Williams, who won this event in 1999 and 2002. “Fraser struggled and made it easy for me. If I play like that I will lose in the next round, no matter who I play. Apart from the two centuries it was awful. I’m not expecting much.”

Selby Back In Form

Mark Selby has suffered early exits at this event in each of the last two years, but looked in great shape this time as he thrashed Andy Hicks 6-0 to reach the last 64.

Selby lost to James Cahill in the opening round in 2018 and to Scott Donaldson in the second round in 2017. He has regained form and belief in recent weeks, particularly in a 9-1 win in the final of last month’s English Open, one of the best performances of his career.

And today the 36-year-old looked in the mood to add to his tally of two UK titles.

Hicks had first chance in each of the first two frames, but couldn’t take advantage. A 78 clearance gave Selby the opener and he took the next on the colours. Hicks scored just one point in the last four frames as Selby cruised to victory with top breaks of 134 and 114.

“I was nervous at the start because this is a big tournament,” said Selby, who now meets Liam Highfield or Mike Dunn. “Andy seemed to be the same. When he missed chances in the first couple of frames, that settled me down.

“Winning the English Open gave me a lot of confidence. I have won a lot in the game and hopefully there’s more to come. Getting back to world number one is one of my aims.”

Max Means Festive Joy For Hawk

It was a memorable day for Barry Hawkins as he made the third maximum break of his career and beat Gerard Greene 6-2.

The 147 came in the fourth frame and Hawkins also compiled runs of 91, 68 and 80 during a fine display.

“It was a good maximum because I was always in position,” said Hawkins, who will win the £15,000 high break prize unless his target is equalled. “To make a 147 in a big arena at the UK Championship is fantastic. I was feeling it on the last few balls. I had to take a deep breath when I got to the blue. I didn’t realise the prize was so high – that will go towards a nice Christmas.”

Sick And Injured – But Maguire Through

Stephen Maguire battled through a virus and fractured ankle to beat Billy Castle 6-4. Maguire’s top break was just 55 but he did enough to book a second round place and boost his hopes in the Race to the Masters.

The Scot suffered the ankle injury during the recent World Open in China and now has an unpleasant illness. “I feel awful. I was spewing all the way down on the train yesterday,” he said. “I went to bed at five last night and woke up at seven this morning.

“The kids are off school back in Scotland and I’ve obviously caught something from them. I’m going to stay down here now and hopefully shake it off by the weekend.

“I’m in quite a bit of pain with the ankle. That match lasted too long for my liking. That’s the most I’ve been on it for a while so it was tough, but it’s getting better. I don’t want to be playing too many matches that go 6-4, I’d much prefer to get them over with quickly.”

Round up

Ding Junhui also kept himself in contention for a Masters spot by beating Duane Jones 6-2 with a top break of 103. Marco Fu was in superb form in a 6-3 win over Craig Steadman, knocking in runs of 92, 50, 67, 93, 117 and 85.

Fight-back of the day was made by tour rookie Louis Heathcote as he recovered a 5-2 deficit to beat Iran’s Hossein Vafaei 6-5.

Peter Ebdon won a 30-minute decider 57-36 to beat John Astley 6-5 in a match which was pulled off at 5-5 at the end of the afternoon session. Ricky Walden fired runs of 104, 120 and 115 in a 6-3 win over Xu Si, while Gary Wilson made a 103 in a 6-3 defeat of Bai Langning.

Ok … these are my thoughts based on what I’ve been able to watch.

In the morning I was only able to watch the first four frames of Ding’s match. It was 2-2 at the MSI but there was a very noticeable change in Ding’s attitude as compared to recent months. He was focused and playing the rigth shots. Ding is a beautiful player to watch when on form and I was very pleased to see him give it his best at the table.

In the afternoon, I watched Mark Selby and Andy Hicks first. Mark Selby did play well, but truth to be said, he wasn’t challenged at all. After losing the second frame, despite a 50 break, Andy Hicks was non-existent in the match. The match was quick enough for me to watch the whole post-MSI part of the Barry Hawkins v Gerard Greene match. Barry had four breaks over 50 before the MSI including this 147:

He must have lost a bit of focus after these heights because he didn’t impress in the second part of the match. Gerard Greene won the first two frames after the MSI and after that Barry did enough to get over the line, but without spark.

Other than that, two matches in the afternoon session needed to be pulled off because they were over-running: Sunny Akani v Lee Walker and Peter Ebdon v John Astley. Lee and Peter are two of the slowest players on the tour with only Rod Lawler and Amine Amiri “beating” them in the snail race.

In the evening, I watched Willo … who was indeed terrible. There is not much to add to that damning assessment.

Matt Selt, Mark Joyce, Andrew Higginson and Hossein Vafaei were the top 64 casualties on the day. Hossein lead 3-0 and 5-2… Rookie Louis Heathcote  is clearly one to watch this season.

And, of course, because of the strict seeding, the closest matches were played on the non-television tables although they are available to watch in China.

Here are a few dramatic finishes, thanks to Nikolay

Mammad Miah missed the last green in the decider, allowing Yaun Sijun to go through

Jackson Page, who had potted match ball,  goes in-off the green, giving Noppon Saengkham the 4 penalty points he needed and Noppon clears to win.

Nigel Bong sends Luca Brecel home with a cool pink. (that was on the first day). Luca had missed the last red.

So today, Ronnie starts his title defence. As pointed out by both Mark Williams and Mark Selby, the first round matches are stressful for the top players. They are expected to win and there is a lot at stake. Ronnie will probably feel nervous as well. Also, I’m certain that some members of the press will remind him that, on this day, 26 years ago, he won his first ranking event, the 1993 UK Championship, beating Stephen Hendry by 10-6. He was still only 17. 

Good luck today Ronnie! 

York Barbican – Day 1 at the 2019 UK Championship

York Barbican a great place for those playing in the main arena, a bit less so for those playing the sports hall. There is though usually a decent crowd, right from day 1, even on the side tables. Going by what we could see on streaming, yesterday was no different.

The strict seeding often produces very one-sided first round television matches, and yesterday afternoon, we saw a complete demolition, a whitewash,  of Alex Borg by Neil Robertson, despite the latter never really hitting top gear. The other streamed mach though was more interesting as the youngest player on the tour, Lei Peifan, gave Stuart Bingham a game. Lei ended up losing by 6-4 but things could have been different maybe if he had won the 9th frame: he was 61-1 up, he had just scored a 61 break, and lost 63-61 after Stuart himself scored a 62 break … When a 16 years old rookie gives a former World Champion, and  current top 16 player, such opposition, this is not “mediocrity” and, to me, he should get something for his efforts.

The evening streamed matches were, on paper, more promising. John Higgins had not beaten Peter Lines since 1994. Yesterday, he whitewashed him. John played decent, but not outstanding by any means, and had the run as well. Peter was awful and it’s a worrying state of affairs for him as he has not won a match yet this season, other than in the Q-school. He had opportunities in every frame but his positional game was terrible, and his safety game, usually very solid, was weak. Peter requalified for the main tour via the Q-school event 1 … makes you wonder about the standard of the amateur game and the adequacy of the Q-school. In the other streamed match, James Cahill beat David Gilbert by 6-4. Last season, Cahill had sent Mark Selby home here at the same stage. In 2004, he had done it to Ding. At the Crucible he beat Ronnie … and yet he’s nowhere in his career. He seems to be able to find his game only on the big stages against top opponents. Is it because, somehow, he plays with more freedom, not being expected to win? Or is he fundamentally a show man who mainly draws his inspiration from the crowd and the big occasions?

Two more members of the last 64 lost yesterday. Sam Craigie lost to Tian Pengfei. Well that was n°64 v n°65, so not really a shock. Tian is always dangerous. He will be Ronnie’s last 64 opponent, provided the defending champion wins tomorrow. What is shocking though is Luca Brecel losing to Nigel Bond. It was a close match, it went to a decider, both players had a century. Luca had three more breaks over 50, Nigel had two. Still … Nigel is 54 years old, he turned pro in 1989, thirty years ago, six years before Luca was born. How come? Nigel is a shrewd player, very clever. He also loves the game and invests a lot of efforts into coaching and helping younger players. Is that the secret of his extraordinary longevity?

This is the report by Worldsnooker

David Gilbert threatened to “smash my cue up” after losing 6-4 to James ‘Giant-Killer’ Cahill on the opening day of the Betway UK Championship in York.

Cahill is ranked 118th in the world but has developed a reputation for beating big names, including both Ding Junhui and Mark Selby at this tournament as well as Ronnie O’Sullivan at the World Championship earlier this year. And the 23-year-old from Blackpool knocked out another top 16 star as he got the better of 11th seed Gilbert to book a last 64 meeting with Anthony Hamilton or Sam Baird.

Breaks of 81 and 130 gave Cahill the first two frames, before Gilbert fought back to 4-4 with a top run of 105. But three-time ranking event finalist Gilbert missed crucial chances in the last two frames and his opponent took advantage.

A furious Gilbert said: “I’ve got no bottle so that’s why I haven’t won anything. I should have won today. I want to smash my cue up. I love this tournament but I can’t win a match in it.

“Every other top 16 player has been given a virtual walkover in the first round while I’ve been unlucky to draw someone who fancies winning. But he played well so fair play to him.”

Cahill said: “I’m happy with the way I dealt with the situation. I’ve had a bad season so far but I played good stuff today. I love playing out there against the best players, the table is so nice and responsive which suits my game.

“My aim is to be in the top 16, I’m not playing to be ranked 40 or 50. I have shown I can beat the top players.”

Wizard Ends 25 Years Of Hurt

John Higgins beat Peter Lines for the first time since 1994 and did it in style, winning 6-0 with top breaks of 78, 55, 52 and 54.

“I was very lucky, I had every piece of running going,” admitted three-time UK Champion Higgins. “Maybe that was the only way I could beat him. It was a tough draw and I’m delighted to get through. I haven’t had many good results at this venue so let’s see what happens.”

Sargeant Peppered

Ali Carter boosted his hopes of a place at the Dafabet Masters by thrashing Brandon Sargeant 6-0. Carter moves ahead of Ding Junhui, and level with Joe Perry in 14th place in the Race to the Masters. That race looks set to go to the wire in the coming days with at least four players in the mix for the last three spots at Alexandra Palace in January.

And Carter, who missed out on the Masters last season, improved his chances by white-washing Sargeant, firing breaks of 53, 100 and 71.

“I was really pleased with my performance,” said four-time ranking event winner Carter, who now meets Robert Milkins or Harvey Chandler in the last 64. “I’ve moved into a snooker room at home and it really helps. I can put a few hours worth of practice in, take a break and then do another few hours. It helps with the family life and being at home more.”

Robertson Hits Borg For Six

Neil Robertson was another 6-0 winner as he beat Malta’s Alex Borg with top runs of 81, 81, 107 and 51.

Australia’s Robertson won the recent Champion of Champions but has lacked consistency in ranking events so far this season and lies 36th on the one-year list.

“I’m really pleased to get through comfortably,” he said. “The table was really reactive. I should have had four centuries. I’m happy I played on the first day because I can head home and come back up at the weekend.

“There’s nothing worse than getting knocked out before the BBC coverage starts on Saturday. That happened to me when I was defending champion in 2016 and it was the worst feeling.”



China’s Zhao Xintong edged out Switzerland’s Alexander Ursenbacher 6-5 in an exciting tussle. Ursenbacher made a 136 in the penultimate frame to make it 5-5 and had first chance in the decider but only made 37 and Zhao made a match-winning 92 clearance.

Stuart Bingham came through a tough match against 16-year-old Lei Peifan 6-4. The turning point came at 4-4 when Bingham came from 61-0 down to make a 62 clearance. He added the next frame to book his second round place. Michael Holt compiled runs of 101 and 111 in a 6-1 defeat of Adam Stefanow.

Noppon Saengkham beat Jackson Page 6-5 despite trailing 68-0 in the deciding frame. Saengkham made a break of 41, got the snooker he needed on the green, then cleared for victory.

The tournament runs until December 8th.

And – seriously – Zhao v Ursenbacher and Saengkham v Page should have been on stream. I know that going by seeding is the easiest way to avoid discussions and bad feelings, but it’s not providing the best matches for the viewing audience.

The 2019 UK Championship starts tomorrow …

The 2019 UK Championship starts tomorrow in York; Ronnie is the defending champion.

This is the first of the “BBC tournaments” but the first round won’t be shown on BBC at all. Some matches will be shown on the Eurosport player.

This tournament goes by strict seeding, meaning that seed 1 plays n° 128, seed 2 plays n°127 etc… Because of that the very top players are rarely challenged in the last 128, and, unfortunately, it’s usually their matches that get on the stream.

Tomorrow the streamed matches will be: Neil Robertson v Alex Borg and Stuart Bingham v Lei Peifan in the afternoon, John Higgins v Peters Lines and David Gilbert v James Cahill in the evening.

I don’t expect any upset in the afternoon, but the evening might be interesting. Indeed Peter Lines has won 6 out of 8 of his matches against John Higgins, and, worryingly for Higgins he hasn’t defeated Peter Lines since 1994! The other match might bring a surprise as well. James Cahill hasn’t been bossing his season so far, but seems to play particularly well when facing top players. He gave Judd Trump a scare in Belfast, forcing a decider from 3-0 down and he’s very capable to cause David Gilbert some problems.

Away from the camreras, one afternoon matches is certainly worth to follow: Zhao Xintong v Alexander Ursenbacher.

On Wednesday, play starts in the morning.

I expect Ding Junhui v Duane Jones to be on the stream. Now Ding isn’t a morning person, and his form has been dire in recent months. He’s also been playing exhibition style and it hast cost him. It will be interesting to see how he will play this time. The other streamed match will likely be Stephen Maguire v Billy Joe Castle.

The other “TV” matches will probably be Mark Selby v Andy Hicks and Barry Hawkins v Gerard Greene in the afternoon, Kyren Wilson v Riley Parsons and Mark Williams v Fraser Patrick in the evening. Not expecting an “shock” here. Ricky Walden v Xu Si and Hossein Vafaei v Louis Heathcote would have been my choices instead.

On Thursday, the most interesting matches – in my opinion – are Robbie Williams v Luo Honghao and Ken Doherty v Mei Xiwen. I expect neither to be on the stream.

On the stream, David Lilley may cause Jack Lisowski problems if Jack’s potting isn’t reliable, which happens sometimes.

Finally, I hope that Ronnie will be focused from the start. Ross Bulman can play.



Arbroath Nights of 1000 Centuries – 22/23 November 2019


22 November 2019

For what transpired it was a very good exhibition and Ronnie played really well.

Jason Francis on twitter:

Thank you @shotz147 great night with @ronnieo147

3 centuries and one of the best 79 clearances you’ll see… more of the same tomorrow we hope

And a few images shared by the fans

23 November 2019

Ahead of the show, Ronnie posted this on Facebook:

Looking forward to tonight with JV, jason and marc and Ryan
4 smokies done so far…

Earlier this week he had posted

Want to take me on Friday and Saturday? Bring smokies and we will play for them

Good to see the Scottish fans taking him to his word!

This is Jason’s report on twitter after the second nigth, another great one…

Sneaky 142 tonight and 2 other centuries. Thanks to @shotz147

The “victim” of the 142 wasn’t too dispirited. He tweeted this 

It’s not every day you get to meet one of your heroes. Even played a frame with @ronnieo147: he broke off and I played what I thought was a decent safety shot… then he cleared up with a 142 break! Still a night I’ll never forget.

And pictures shared by the fans:

And maybe Csilla can tell us more…

Also this short video popped up on youtube:

Arbroath itself is a lovely place, and not just because of the smokies…

Here are some pictures albums from three weeks ago

Walking around Arbroath harbour

Arbroath old Benedictine Abbey

The coastal trail between Arbroath and Auchmithie – sspectacular sceneries