York Barbican – Day 8 at 2019 UK Championship

I saw nothing of the afternoon session, so I can’t comment on the action itself. Regarding the phone incident though, yes, it’s disturbing and, yes, it’s unacceptable. I would however like to report my own experience with phones going off in the arena. It was at the Crucible, during the Selby v Ding final. So, we are talking about the highest profile match of the season. I was sat on the thrird or fourth row, so rather close to the arena floor, in the middle of a group of Selby fans. I’m saying they were Selby fans because they were cheering on him whenever he was at the table. Several of them had their phones in their hands during the match and I could clearly see what was going on with the one closest to me. They were on betting sites, and busy betting in play. At least three times one of those phones went off, whilst Selby was at the table, immediately triggering assumptions that this came from Ding fans trying to put Selby off. Actually they were getting betting alerts… They weren’t thrown out. Now, nearly every snooker tournament nowadays is sponsored by the betting industry. I’m sure that Worlrdsnooker is nowhere near ready to take any serious measure that could impact their main sponsors profit. Therefore those things will go on.

Here are the reports by Worldsnooker:

Afternoon session


Stuart Bingham was left furious by a mobile phone interruption at a crucial moment of his 6-4 defeat against John Higgins at the Betway UK Championship.

Higgins goes through to the quarter-finals in York while Mark Allen is also through to the last eight thanks to a nail-biting 6-5 win over Kurt Maflin.

Bingham was among the balls in frame nine, with the score at 4-4, when a mobile rang. Fans are always told before matches to turn their devices off, but this time the warning went unheeded.

“It’s just a sickener,” said world number 12 Bingham. “Some idiot left his phone on and I had a chance there to win the frame to go 5-4 up. I missed and that put me in a bad frame of mind. It’s just pathetic. I had the frame in my hands. If the guy had been any closer I would have knocked him out.”

Bingham had earlier led 2-0 before Higgins fought back to 4-4 with top breaks of 93, 78, 58 and 61. The crucial ninth frame went Higgins’ way and he gained the advantage in the tenth with a run of 50. Bingham had one chance to counter but after making 35 he missed a difficult pot with the rest to a top corner, and that proved his last shot as Higgins sealed victory.

Wizard of Wishaw Higgins is through to the quarter-finals of this event for the 14th time and remains in contention for a fourth title. He meets Yan Bingtao or Neil Robertson on Friday.

“The two of us really struggled, we brought each other down,” admitted 44-year-old Higgins. “If I’m playing someone like Neil in the next round, if I play like that I might as well not turn up. I’ll get on the practice table tomorrow and try and iron out a few little things. I’ll try get a bit of rhythm into my cue action because it wasn’t really there at all today. That match is behind me now and I can look forward.”

As for the phone interruption, Higgins added: “I don’t think the gentleman even heard the phone, it kept on going on and on. Stuart is sure to be kicking himself because he was in front and he could have put the foot down.”

Last year’s runner-up Allen was pushed all the way by world number 42 Maflin but eventually made it through to a meeting with Gary Wilson or Nigel Bond.

Norway’s Maflin had leads of 3-1 and 5-4, making breaks of 81, 113 and 128. Allen made a vital 68 clearance to win the tenth frame from 34-0 down, and he also trailed 53-0 in the decider. World number seven Allen countered with 40 before missing the penultimate red. Maflin later fluked the last red to lead by 21 points and went for a do-or-die pot on the brown to centre pocket, but it hit the far jaw, letting Allen in to clear for victory.

“Kurt played well throughout the game I didn’t feel like he was going to miss at any point,” said Northern Ireland’s Allen. “The only way that I could have won at the end was for him to go for the brown and miss. I know how aggressive Kurt is and he would have fancied that brown all day long. But maybe a bit of inexperience at these big events cost him there.

“I can’t criticise because I miss shots but I’m sure he might look back on that brown and think he should have played safe. Maybe that is the only thing he’s missing to get him to that next level because in my opinion he’s a top player. He was the better player, some of his long potting was frightening at times. He scores heavy and pots crazy balls.

I always fancy myself when it goes close. I think a great quality to have is to fancy the job in these deciding frames even in these big events. I always back myself.”

Evening session

Neil Robertson became the third player ranked among the world’s top four to be knocked out of the Betway UK Championship before the quarter-finals as he was hammered 6-1 by Yan Bingtao.

World number four Robertson followed Judd Trump (one) and Mark Williams (three) on the road out of York after being outplayed by China’s 19-year-old rising star Yan. The talented teenager, who won his first ranking title at the Riga Masters earlier this season, goes through to face John Higgins on Friday.

Yan was making his first appearance in the last 16 of a Triple Crown event but looked at ease from the start against two-time UK Champion Robertson. Breaks of 66, 74 and 56 helped give him a 5-0 lead.

Australia’s Robertson was in danger of being white-washed when he trailed by 49 points on the last red in frame six, but he got the snookers he needed and cleared the table to avoid that ignominy. But there would be no fight-back as the seventh frame came down to a battle on the final black and Yan’s long pot sealed the result.

“My game wasn’t perfect but my potting was good,” said Yan, who has acquired the nickname the Chinese Tiger this week. “Once I was 4-0 up I played a more strategic game and didn’t give Neil many chances.

“John Higgins is very good under pressure. I will have to score well or hope he has a bad day.”

Robertson said: “He’s in the mould of a giant-killer, he’s extremely dangerous. I saw him dismantle Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-1 in a match in China (at the 2017 International Championship).

“He played really well tonight. His safety was awesome and he kept getting in first, I stuck in there but didn’t take enough of my chances.

“It gives me a few extra days to prepare for the Scottish Open so hopefully I can do well there and finish the year on a high.”

Liang Keeps Brave Run Going

Liang Wenbo’s remarkable progress in the tournament continued as he beat Li Hang 6-4 in a Chinese derby. Liang’s mother died at the age of 56 last Tuesday and he flew to China after his first round tie to attend the funeral. Since returning to York he has won three more matches.

Li made a 136 in taking a 2-1 lead tonight then Liang, who was runner-up to Robertson at this event in 2015, took four frames in a row with top breaks of 57, 69 and 104. Li pulled two back before Liang clinched victory in frame ten with an 83. He left the arena in tears, overcome with emotion.

Yan played extremely well, anshowed great maturity for someone so young. I’m very pleased to see how well he’s progressing. As for Liang Wenbo, he’s showing admirable courage.

Ronnie will play Ding Junhui today, a close friend, and should he win he would play Liang next, another close friend. It’s also Ronnie’s birthday; he’s turning 44. He doesn’t like birthday’s although he never fails to bring a cake to the press room…

So here are my wishes …

Happy everyday Ronnie, play well today, enjoy your match!


One thought on “York Barbican – Day 8 at 2019 UK Championship

  1. In fact Yan won easily despite not scoring heavily, which he has done in earlier matches. But Robertson justs didn’t get going, which happens to all players occasionally.

    Liang did well, against Li Hang who has been hitting the ball much better than he has been for at least a year. However, with everything that Liang has been through in the past 7 days, it’s surely only a matter of time before he runs out of energy…

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