Yesterday produced some very good snooker, and some welcome tension and thrill …
Luca Brecel’s 2-2 draw with Jack Lisowski in the final match of the day was enough for him to clinch top spot in group nine at the Matchroom.Live Championship League in Milton Keynes.
Both players went into the last tie of day two with a chance of progressing, having each amassed four points with respective 3-0 wins over Oliver Lines and 2-2 draws with Robbie Williams.
With the highest break of the group acting as a tiebreaker, former China Champion Brecel held a slender advantage coming into the encounter courtesy of a run of 138 compiled in his 3-0 victory against Lines.
Belgian Brecel claimed the opening frame this evening, before a superb break of 104 from Lisowski restored parity at 1-1. A crucial third frame saw both players spurn chances on the final brown and blue, before Brecel put himself 2-1 up.
That meant Lisowski required a break of 138 or better to stand a chance of progressing to the Group Winner’s stage. He did win the frame, but only on the colours, meaning a 2-2 draw wasn’t enough for him to advance.
“I am happy to get over the line, that was a tough game against Jack, he is a world-class player, so to beat him was very nice and to finish top of the group is what I came for,” said Brecel.
“If Jack had made a big break in the last frame he would have still won the group, so I was trying not to leave him any chances and when I potted the first red I knew I had done it.
“I will go back to Belgium now. In the last frame I was thinking I was top of the group and would have to stay here for a week without being able to go outside, but I can go back to Belgium.”
Meanwhile an impressive showing from Mark Joyce saw him top group three. He secured 3-1 defeats of Shoot Out champion Michael Holt and Mark Davis to seal progression with a game to spare.
Jack Lisowski should have won group 9 really, as he looked on his wait to beat Robbie Williams by 3-0, leading by 40 something in frame 3 of their match, the fourth in the group. But a miss with the rest turned it all around. Jack appeared to have lost his way as Robbie went on to win that frame, and the next as well to secure a draw. At that point, we had an interesting situation.
Indeed both Jack and Luca were on 5 points, both having drawn at 2-2 with Robbie. Robbie could still join them at 5 points. However, he needed to beat Oliver by 3-0 and beat Luca’s 138 to stand any chance to win the group. The chance was thin, but it was possible. Losing the first frame to Oliver sealed Robbie’s fate and, I guess that he must have lost a bit of interest because he ended up losing that match by 3-0. This meant that whoever won the last match of the group, would win the group. In case of a draw, Luca was well placed, having compiled a 138 earlier. And, eventually, it ended with a draw…
All three, Jack, Luca, and Robbie produced good snooker, much better than anything we had seen the previous day in group 2. It was a quite enjoyable group.
I didn’t see a ball of group 9. Mark Joyce is a very capable player and one who can wear away his opponent’s concentration as he’s not exactly fast around the table. Yesterday, at times, his AST was flirting with the 30 seconds mark…
Today’s groups feature Kyren Wison, Ryan Day, Alfie Burden, and Chen Feilong in group 12, Mark King, Joe Perry, Sam Baird, and Harvey Chandler in group 4.