The 2020 Scottish Open – Day 1

The first day at this season’s Scottish Open didn’t go according to plan to say the least…

The first session of the tournament saw the two top 16 players involved in it exit the tournament. Yan Bingtao was beaten 4-1 by Jak Jones, who played well, and Stephen Maguire lost by the same score to Zak Surety.

It’s fair to say that Maguire wasn’t in a good mood, as reported by “the Scotsman”

‘They don’t care about Scottish people, do they?’ – Stephen Maguire slams snooker bosses

Stephen Maguire has slammed snooker bosses for “not caring” about Scottish people as he suffered more misery in Milton Keynes.

Monday, 7th December 2020, 6:33 pm

The Glasgow player slumped to a shock 4-1 defeat against world No 117 Zak Surety in the first round of the Scottish Open and admits life in the bio-secure bubble is becoming a strain.

Because of Covid, the tournament is not being played in Scotland but at Milton Keynes’ Marshall Arena, the venue for recent tournaments, including last week’s UK Championship.

Maguire, ranked 109 places above Surety, is yet to progress past the third round of a ranking event this year and says he has been denied access to hiring an apartment, rather than staying in the event hotel.

He let rip at tournament organisers and admits he regrets taking part after another dismal display on the Buckinghamshire baize.

“They don’t care about Scottish people, do they?” Maguire said. “Let’s be honest, they never have and they never will. We just have to follow those guidelines, travel wherever they say we have to travel, and that’s part of the job.

“They don’t care about Scottish people. There’s too many bigger players in England, or the world, to care about us.

“I knew I shouldn’t have come down. I wasn’t ready to come down and I got what I deserved there.

“I’ve just had enough of the hotel – it’s too much for me. It’s too much to be away locked in a room. I’ve asked but I’m not allowed to stay in an apartment for some reason, whereas other boys are all mixing.

“I’m not allowed to stay away and keep myself safe. Whatever the guidelines are, they’re all messed up, but I got told the tournament’s bigger than me and I’d be withdrawn if I stayed in an apartment. In a way, I wish I did. I might as well have been withdrawn the way I played.

“I’m not saying I’d play better snooker, but I’d be a lot happier. That room, in there, takes a strong mind to stay in there all the time, and I’ve obviously not got that.

“I just can’t wait to go home and relax and get away from this place for a while. It is tough.

“I’ve just had enough. I’ll enjoy Christmas, forget about it, and it’s not a big deal. I’ll come back and refresh next year.”

World Snooker Tour responded by stating they are following the guidelines that players must either stay on the on-site hotel, or at their homes.

Maguire reached the last 32 of the European Masters, Northern Ireland Open and UK Championship – all staged in Milton Keynes – but was downed by underdog Surety, 29, at the first hurdle in the third Home Nations event of the season.

The six-time ranking event winner struck a break of 57 but a solid performance from Surety, capped by a fourth frame 72, dumped the Scot out of his – technically – home tournament in the first round for the second time in three years.

Maguire has been drawn against three-time world champion Mark Selby in the first round of next month’s Masters, which will welcome back 1,000 spectators per session into Alexandra Palace.

Whilst I can understand that the situation is difficult, WST and WPBSA have no other option than making sure that the guidelines are followed. It’s that or no event at all.

Also, this isn’t about the Scottish players. True, Milton Keynes is in England and some players have the possibility to go home instead of staying at the hotel, however that is only the case if they happen to live close enough to Milton Keynes. No player in their right mind will want to drive for 4 or 5 hours on the day of a match, especially as they have to be alone in the car to minimise the risk of infection. So even for most English players, this is not an option. Not to mention that for those coming from Ireland, or mainland Europe, it’s even more diificult than for the Scots or the Welsh.

Maguire well and truly lost it there.

The afternoon sessions had to be delayed because an IT issue prevented the covid tests results to be delivered in time. Instead of 1pm, the scheduled matches only started at 6:45 pm. As a result some unfortunate players were still battling it out at ungodly hours last night.

The only match that went on, saw another top 16 member go out, as David Gilbert lost by 4-3 to Matthew Stevens. It’s been a miserable season so far for Gilbert.

Anyway, here is WST report on the action:

Defending Champion Selby Through

Defending champion Mark Selby booked his place in the second round of the Matchroom.Live Scottish Open after a 4-1 win over Yuan Sijun.

Selby lifted the title 12 months ago with a 9-6 win over Jack Lisowski in Glasgow to capture the Stephen Hendry Trophy. Selby has already claimed silverware this season with victory at the European Masters, his 18th career ranking title.

The pair were forced to wait for the match to begin, with the late arrival of Covid-19 test results causing disruption to the majority of the day’s play. Having been scheduled to start at 1pm, Selby and Yuan eventually took to the baize at 6:45pm.

Despite the delay, three-time World Champion Selby came out of the blocks quickly with a run of 76 to take the opener. He then added a further two on the bounce to move one from victory at 3-0.

China’s 20-year-old talent Yuan then showcased his ability with a fine break of 122 to remain in the match. However, Selby closed out a professional win to seal progression to round two, where he will face Nigel Bond.

Selby said: “It was strange. To prepare myself to be ready for one o’clock and not go on until 6:45 was very difficult. It is what it is at the moment and I am happy to win the match and play okay in patches.

“It will be difficult to defend my title. My season so far has been consistent. I can’t really complain, winning a tournament and getting to a couple of semi-finals. When I’ve been beaten it has been Neil Robertson playing at the top of his game so you can’t be too disappointed with something like that.”

China’s Zhou Yuelong fired in the second 147 break of his career in a 4-1 defeat of Peter Lines.

The magical run came in the third frame and leaves Zhou in line for the £5,000 high break prize on offer this week.

It continues Zhou’s fine run of current form, he reached the semi-finals in last week’s Betway UK Championship, where he was beaten by eventual winner Neil Robertson.

Mark Allen made three consecutive centuries on his way to a 4-1 win over Jimmy White. The Pistol fired in breaks of 135, 110, 112 and 61 during the win. Victory strengthens Allen’s hopes of qualifying for next week’s World Grand Prix.

Barry Hawkins whitewashed Stuart Carrington 4-0, while Matthew Stevens edged out David Gilbert 4-3.

Also through are Ben Woollaston, Jack Lisowski and Kyren Wilson. Anthony McGill though lost to Sam Craigie. Also worth mentioning are Sunny Akani’s and young Gao Yang’s wins. Gao, only 16 years old, is a heavy scorer. This, however, was a different type of match: it was a hard fought close affair against a rather methodical player. The fact that Gao managed to win it is a very encouraging sign in the context of his future as a professional.

Neil Robertson withdrew from the event, which isn’t surprising after last Sundays epics

Watch Zhou’s maximum here:

The referee was William Craig, and it was William’s first maximum. I’m very pleased for William who is a lovely man and has been away from the sport for a very long time in the aftermath of an accident that left him with brain injuries. He only recently came back and donned the white gloes again at the recent Northern Ireland Open




3 thoughts on “The 2020 Scottish Open – Day 1

  1. It’s the Scottish Open, not played in Scotland where he is at home and just lost in the first round, not making it into the Grand Prix and then how to make it to the Tour where is is the defending champion, I suppose it all contributed to the rant, though if I recall Maguire was also unhappy about it before, so it might have affected his matchplay, though the Scottish angle was a first. But I’m not surprised that people had enough of Milton Keynes and the rules and of course some adjust better than others. I wonder what was Ronnie’s regimen last week with the ES he did and actually how up he is to his tournament and the next one. Of course, one is happy that there IS something and these times are not easy for anyone, but recognizing it does not make one’s life happier.

  2. There’s no getting away from it this whole situation is Boring and tedious to say the least but if he turns up he has to be professional about it and perform to the best of his ability.

    Staying in Hotels at the best of times has found players out and some love travelling staying in hotels enjoying the local views and attractions and others hate it but this is so different to anything that’s been before.

    But what’s the alternative Delivery Driver for Amazon?

  3. Yes, the crowdless bubble may have suited Maguire in June, but evidently not now… Lots of players may have had a tougher lockdown year (for example Gilbert), but have dealt with it a little less explosively.

    Nice to see WST interviewing Zhou Yuelong, as did the BBC twice last week. It is important, regardless of the quality of the interview, that all players are considered the same. If English skills are limited, then subtitles can easily be added to a pre-recorded interview. It really isn’t too difficult and if it bothers some viewers then they need to learn to get used to it.

    This run of tournaments is actually quite crucial for some young players, in terms of their rankings. For example, the last match Heathcote-Si may confirm Heathcote’s place in 2021, but relegate Si. There were a few of those: Craigie, O’Connor, and also Maddocks, Lines and Gao from the point of view of 2022. There won’t be so many ranking-point swings in the new WST Pro Series, which only really leaves the Welsh Open, Gibraltar and the World Championship.

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