Yesterday was a strange day in Milton Keynes, and today might be a bit strange as well.
Group 28 was reduced to three players, playing each other twice, because Lei Peifan’s test returned “invalid”, a very rare occurrence. In doubt, he couldn’t be allowed to play and was withdrawn. This is very unfortunate for Lei. who was tested again, and the test returned negative this time. So, really, he missed out on the tournament by sheer misfortune. Group 28 was very much reduced to a battle between Jamie Clarke amd Mark Joyce. Young amateur Haydon Pinhey – who had replaced Mark Williams after he as well withdrew a few days ago – really never was in contention to go through.
Tom Ford won the decisive final frame of his match against Luca Brecel to knock the defending BetVictor Championship League Snooker champion out and join Jamie Clarke in the next stage of the event at Stadium MK, Milton Keynes.
Ford needed to beat Brecel in the final match of Group 27, having earlier salvaged a draw against Mitchell Mann when he had looked set to suffer a 3-0 defeat. Brecel had earlier beaten Mann and Ashley Hugill to take top spot with a game to play, meaning a draw would have been enough for the Belgian.
The defending champion took the first frame, but Ford turned the match on its head to top the group with a 3-1 win.
“I was trying to play quick out there and it didn’t work in a lot of the frames but in the last two frames it did work,” said Ford. “The last frame was the best I felt in the three games. Maybe I just needed a bit of pressure to give me a kick up the bum and it seemed to work.
“When Luca was 1-0 up he potted a black and got snookered behind a red. If that hadn’t happened, it probably would have been match over.”
On Table 2, Lei Peifan was withdrawn from Group 28 after returning an invalid Covid-19 test overnight. An invalid test was returned as the sample taken was unable to determine either a positive or negative result.
Players must return a negative test result in order to enter the BetVictor Championship League Snooker event space and unfortunately Lei was therefore withdrawn from his group. All other players for the day’s play tested negative.
Therefore, Group 28 proceeded with three players, who each played each other twice to maintain six matches in the group.
Clarke and Mark Joyce opened proceedings with a 2-2 draw, before both defeated Haydon Pinhey 3-0. That meant the second clash between Clarke and Joyce would likely be decisive, and Clarke took it 3-1 on the pink. That meant just a point was required for the Welshman and he got that and more with a 3-0 win over Pinhey to top the group.
“The second match against Joyce was really twitchy,” admitted Clarke. “I was 1-0 down and I knew that 2-2 or a win would have probably put me through, so it was quite nervous towards the end.
“I felt sorry for Lei because it’s a rare thing for that to happen but it could happen to any of us. It’s a shame but I had to go and do my job.”
BetVictor Championship League Snooker continues on Saturday with World Championship runner-up Kyren Wilson among those in action. Coverage of both tables will be available at Matchroom.Live, with UK television coverage on Freesports.
FINAL GROUP STANDINGS
P W D L FW FL +/- PTS Tom Ford 3 2 1 0 8 3 5 7 Luca Brecel 3 2 0 1 7 4 3 6 Mitchell Mann 3 1 1 1 5 6 -1 4 Ashley Hugill 3 0 0 3 2 9 -7 0
P W D L FW FL +/- PTS Jamie Clarke 4 3 1 0 11 3 8 10 Mark Joyce 4 2 1 1 9 6 3 7 Haydon Pinhey 4 0 0 4 1 12 -11 0
And Lei’s fate is all the more unfortunate because Daniel Wells tested positive again and was withdrawn from the tournament. Had Lei stayed in the bubble, he would have benn able to play today. As it is, we will have another three men’s group. Lei probably decided to leave the bubble in order to prepare for the next tournament. However there was always a good chance for Wells having another positive test, and that a spot would become available today. I hope that the young Chinese took his decision, knowing all the facts.
Daniel Wells has tested positive for Covid-19 at BetVictor Championship League Snooker and has therefore been withdrawn from the event.
Wells was tested earlier today (Friday, October 2nd) and remained in isolation until the results of the test were known, at which point Wells left the venue immediately with no direct contact with other personnel. Wells had previously tested positive at the European Masters last Tuesday, September 22nd and had remained in self-isolation since. In accordance with Government guidelines he was able to re-test on Friday. All other players who were tested on Friday (October 2nd) returned negative results.
Lei Peifan, who received an invalid result on Thursday, was re-tested with a negative result. However, he opted to leave the event bubble and therefore Group 24 will now proceed with three players, each playing each other twice to maintain six matches in the group.
Since Matchroom Multi Sport events restarted in June, strict Covid-19 regulations have been followed, under UK Government guidance and with approval of the DCMS and the local public health director.
As with all Matchroom events, our priority is the safety and well-being of the players, venue staff and officials.
GROUP 24 FIXTURES – SATURDAY, OCTOBER 3
Table 1 – Group 24 11am Kyren Wilson v. Kuldesh Johal Duane Jones v. Kuldesh Johal Kyren Wilson v. Duane Jones 4pm Kyren Wilson v. Kuldesh Johal Duane Jones v. Kuldesh Johal Kyren Wilson v. Duane Jones
Michael White, who had been withdrawn from the European Masters because he had been hanging around with Daniel Wells, was tested negative this time and will be able to play tomorrow.
Also due to play tomorrow, is Elliot Slessor who had been hanging around with Gary Wilson. Now, it will be interesting to see what the result of his test will be. Elliot was furious to have been withdrawn from the European Masters last week, and, going by his social media, he’s stayed in contact with Gary Wilson and is one of those who believe that covid-19 is just a flu and all the precautions around it are unecessary and driven by a polical agenda. Obviously, he’s lucky enough to have had nobody around him who has got it and developped severe symptoms, and may it stay that way, but …