2020 Shoot Out – Day 3

The last 64 round, played yesterday in Watfort, saw more big names depart, including Ronnie.

Here is the report by WST:

World number 111 Billy Castle scored a second round victory over Ronnie O’Sullivan on a day of surprise results at the BetVictor Shoot Out in Watford.

The field is reduced from 32 to one on Sunday, with the winner to take the £50,000 top prize at snooker’s unique one-frame knockout tournament.

O’Sullivan’s natural fluency made him a strong contender for the title, but he missed several chances early in the frame against Castle. And when the Rocket failed to escape from a snooker, his opponent compiled a break of 43 which proved enough. Castle now meets Luo Honghao in the third round

O’Sullivan’s place at next week’s Coral Players Championship in Southport is under threat – he is clinging on to 16th place in the one-year rankings but there are nine players who can still leapfrog him.

There were thrills and spills galore on day three at the Colosseum, not least in Brandon Sargeant’s win over Ali Carter. A break of 63 looked to be enough for Carter, but Sargeant got the chance he needed with four minutes to go and made 61 before missing a tricky cut on the final black. After a safety exchange, world number 115 Sargeant rolled the black into a baulk corner for victory.

World number 83 Ashley Carty caused another upset as he knocked out three-time World Champion Mark Williams. Trailing 47-0 with two minutes to go, Williams sprinted around the table in making a break of 43, but missed a tough red to a centre pocket with ten seconds on the clock.

Three amateur players are still in the draw: Ross Bulman who beat Andrew Pagett, Dean Young who saw off Liam Highfield, and Aaron Hill who scored a superb win over Kyren Wilson thanks to a run of 47.

Two-time Shoot Out runner-up Xiao Guodong made a 101 to beat Ashley Hugill and he is one of ten Chinese players through to the third round.

One of those, 16-year-old Lei Peifan, scored a dramatic win over Kurt Maflin, who trailed 28-30 in the closing seconds and didn’t have enough time to pot the brown before the cue ball stopped rolling.

Ryan Day’s match with Joe Perry also went down to the wire, as Day came from 43-1 down to set up a winning chance, only to miss the last red when he needed two pots for victory.

Defending champion Thepchaiya Un-Nooh was beaten by Peter Lines while Anthony Hamilton made a late break of 39 to get the better of David Gilbert. Welsh Open champion Shaun Murphy made a 62 to beat Alexander Ursenbacher.

Here is how things stand regarding the Players Championship race (Matt Huart):

Below are the 20 players who went into this week’s BetVictor Shoot Out still with a chance of breaking into the top 16 of the one-year ranking list and earning a spot at next week’s Coral Players Championship in Southport.

Ronnie O’Sullivan, having been knocked out of the Shoot Out in the second round, is in 16th place with £97,500 but not yet sure of his spot in Southport.

17th – Gary Wilson – £91,000 (needed semi-final minimum) – knocked out first round
18th – Tom Ford – £83,250 (final minimum) – knocked out first round
19th – Jack Lisowski – £82,750 (final minimum)
20th – Zhou Yuelong – £80,250 (final minimum)
21st – Zhao Xintong – £73,250 (title minimum) – knocked out second round
22nd – Kurt Maflin – £72,000 (title minimum) – knocked out second round
23rd – Ali Carter – £71,500 (title minimum) – knocked out second round
24th – Barry Hawkins – £68,250 (title minimum)
25th – Matt Selt – £65,250 (title minimum) – knocked out first round
26th – Liang Wenbo – £63,500 (title minimum)
27th – Xiao Guodong – £62,500 (title minimum)
28th – Stuart Bingham – £62,500 (title minimum) – knocked out first round
29th – Matthew Stevens – £62,250 (title minimum) – knocked out second round
30th – Scott Donaldson – £62,250 (title minimum) – knocked out first round
31st – Michael Holt – £52,000 (title minimum)
32nd – Anthony McGill – £50,500 (title minimum)
33rd – Li Hang – £50,500 (title minimum)
34th – Ben Woollaston – £50,250 (title minimum)
35th – Luca Brecel – £49,000 (title minimum) – knocked out first round
36th – Ricky Walden – £47,750 (title minimum) – knocked out first round

A win yesterday would have taken McGill, Li Hang and Woollaston out of the equation, but there was no win…

The last 32 draw is good and bad news, depending how you want to look at it:

Zhou Yuelong v Jack Lisowski
Liang Wenbo v Anthony McGill
Barry Hawkins v Ben Woollaston

This means that three of the remaining nine will certainly go out in the last 32 round, but it also means the three will certainly reach the last 16 round. The first match though  guarantees that only one player will temain the the draw that would not need the title to push Ronnie out of the one year top 16.

Yesterday results also mean that, provided Ronnie keeps his 16th spot, he will certainly face Judd Trump first round in Southport, a very hard draw, but probably the best chance to beat him as Judd tends to get stronger as tournaments progress.

Regarding the match it self, here it is:

Yes, Ronnie missed a couple at the start, as did Billy  BTW. Actually, except for the first black maybe, none of those missed balls were easy, especially when you are playing in this environment and struggle for concentration. The noise was really deafening. In the session preview, ES showed Ronnie being interviewed by Rachel (ES) and telling her how difficult it is to concentrate whilst keeping track of the clock, of the scores, and of what’s the situation on the table. You can hear him here:

Eventually the early misses were irrelevant. Billy won because he laid an excellent snooker, of which Ronnie could not escape, because of the ball in hand rule, and because he held himself together and constructed  an excellent break when it mattered. He deserved the win, and good luck to him from here on!

The ball in hand rule is very harsh. In this case Ronnie played the right shot: he tried to nestle on left side of the red closest to the left side “black pocket” (as we look on TV). That wasn’t a big target. Under normal circumstances it would probably  have gone back – he had not left anything really easy – and there was a good chance for him to get it right on second time asking. With ball in hand for his opponent, it was his last telling shot. There have been plenty of other examples in this tournament. Actually Ronnie would have been better off with trying to hit one in the little cluster in the middle of the table. He would probably have left something, but unlikely to be as easy as when the opponent can put the cue ball anywhere they like on the table, and he would not have given Billy 7 points in penalty. But snooker players don’t think that way … this is a “pool” rule.

Other than that, the day produced one of the best and most satisfactory frames of the season … here are extended highlights of it

And this extraordinary, but ultimately vain, effort by Mark Williams

That’s called panache!

Now some mild stat attacks…

There are only three top 16 players remaining in the event – Shaun Murphy, Barry Hawkins and Jack LIsowski and there are still three amateurs in the draw – Aaron Hill, Dean Young and Ross Bulman – three teenagers.

There are 22 professional players from China on tour, roughly one in six, and 10 of them are still in the draw, that’s roughly one in three. they are doing well in this format.









15 thoughts on “2020 Shoot Out – Day 3

    • Yes it’s over, but Ronnie might not play in another event before the Crucible (if he enters) if Zhou Yuelong reaches the final or Michael Holt, Ben Wollaston or anthony Mc Gill win the title. Si I wouldn’t be happy with the it’s over. It would be a much better prospect if it wasn’t.

    • Happy now Lautence? Ronnie will not defend his Players Championship nor his Tour Championship titles and this might be the end of the season for him.

      • The result may be a blessing in disguise. If I were Ronnie, I’d try and book a holiday (Sicily, perhaps) while the Player’s Championships are on and come back rested and energised. The, “thank goodness it’s over” comment referred to the shoot-out tournament, an ill-conceived attempt at aping the WPDC and one that Ronnie clearly doesn’t rate. Ronnie also needs to reassess his relations with Barry Hearn, IMHO, as this may be influencing his game. The family problems (and God knows, we all have our share) should iron themselves out, given time.

      • Not playing competitively for 2 months won’t help him, rested or not, and the family problems have been there since he was 16. He’s 44. Those problems impact him much more than Hearn and whatever he comes up with. And my post was about the fact that the shoot out being over for him was certainly no blessing. He entered it to get ranking points, hoping to play this week. He lost early and won’t play this week, nor will he play until April probably.

  1. Ronnie looked pretty terrible in both of his shootout matches. Even without Castle’s killer snooker, you can’t expect to win missing easy balls. It’s looking likely we won’t see Ronnie again until the Crucible, devoid of real match practice. His scheduling strategy this season is looking to have backfired, not helped by the cancellation of the China Open.

    I’m pretty sure the Chinese players have targeted some special practice for this shoot-out, particularly the Victoria boys. In fact, Zhao was careless and Chang was unlucky, or it could have been 12/22 (Ding didn’t enter). Perhaps the events in China have galvanised them? It’s nice to see that Mei Xiwen (from Wuhan) and Zhang Anda (wife about to give birth) have been able to take their mind off some agonising times, separated from their families for maybe months.

    • We’ll see Lewis. Actually a lot of top players will get to the Crucible devoid of real match practice with the China Open being canceled. And honestly, I can’t judge Ronnie’s form on his matches here. ES bigging his presence in the tournament, combined with the fact that the crowd got wilder than ever when he was playing certainly did not help.

  2. Typical Ronnie, lost on purpose again, shame. I hope the world no.1 is happy now, he might get that easier draw he was tweeting for.

    • He did NOT lose on purpose Ivan. That’s preposterous, untrue and libel. I don’t know why you do this, but if it’s because you lost a bet, I have no sympathy. People who bet know that they take a risk, especially with a tournament like this one. As for getting an easier draw, I really have no clue what you are about. IF he gets in the Players Championship he gets Trump first round. It doesn’t come harder than that.

      • The idea here by Ivan is that Trump will get an easier draw if Ronnie doesn’t make it to the PC, and he tweeted that stuff about the foul which may or may no have happened to upset Ronnie and make him lose (on purpose feeling that his victory/getting points for the PC would be tainted – see yesterday’s discussion), or simply being upset about the whole thing.

        Now I don’t know if there was a real controversy about it (unlike in the case of the English Open last year where Ronnie was shown the foul and was visible upset about it), or it is just a few tweets. I certainly hope that Ronnie would not be as stupid as doing this. I’m OTOH amazed how someone would need 3 balls in hand in a 10 minute match to play and reiterate that it is no tournament for ranking points and it will be a sad thing if Ronnie loses out on the PC because of it (and as it is now, it was really useless to enter…)

    • Bingham was already a long way out of contention. It’s like the situation a few years ago when Mark Allen won the Masters and very nearly missed the Crucible. It’s a question for WST: is the Masters Champion one of the best players in the World? Or is he 29th? But we’ve had this discussion before.

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