World number 75 Allan Taylor scored an impressive 4-0 qualifying win over seven-time World Champion Stephen Hendry to secure his place at the final stages of the BetVictor Scottish Open.
Taylor came into today’s encounter having enjoyed a positive start to the campaign. He made the last 32 of the matchroom.live British Open and has already qualified for next month’s BetVictor Northern Ireland Open in Belfast.
Hendry, who is in the second year of an invitational tourcard, had cause for optimism ahead of this afternoon. He defeated Michael White 4-1 in BetVictor English Open qualifying last week.
When play got underway Taylor, 36, showed no signs of nerves against his illustrious 52-year-old opponent. He swiftly stormed to victory in just 55 minutes, making breaks of 60, 59 and 71 along the way.
Belgian number one Luca Brecel got the better of Switzerland’s top player Alexander Ursenbacher by a 4-1 scoreline to qualify. Ursenbacher had started the better, compiling a break of 67 to take the opening frame. However, Brecel controlled the tie from then on. He claimed four frames on the bounce, including a run of 85, to seal victory.
Former Players Champion Joe Perry earned his place in Llandudno with a 4-1 defeat of Andrew Pagett, while Jackson Page won a battle between two young prospects by defeating Aaron Hill 4-2.
Ryan Day won a fiercely contested clash with China’s Lyu Haotian 4-3. The Welshman took the decider on the final black to seal his progression. Former WSF Junior Open winner Gao Yang defeated Peter Devlin 4-1.
Michael Judge made two century breaks of 100 and 133 on his way to a 4-1 defeat of Graeme Dott, while Matthew Selt scored a narrow 4-3 win over Ashley Hugill.
What can I say about the Taylor v Hendry match? Well, first of all, “Pretzel” played very well: his long potting was good and he scored heavily when in the balls. Now, what about Hendry? What indeed?
This. I’m not in Stephen’s head, but, going what I saw yesterday, I have the feeling that he still wants to play the way he did when he turned pro, some 36 years ago, a fearless lad who went for everything. If that’s the case, it will not work and it will not end well.
Why? First of all because he’s 52, his eyesight certainly isn’t what it used to be, and he’s been 9 years out of competition. Next, and maybe more importantly, because the game has changed, and, he, Stephen Hendry, is actually the man who triggered that change. This is one of his greatest legacy: he has forever changed the way snooker is played. When he came on the scene, gluing the cueball on the baulk rail was a good enough safety. Players weren’t going for pots from there, unless forced into it. Stephen did take them, and was getting them pots more often than not. He also went into the pack much earlier than his contemporaries used to, often from the blue, a shot he’s often credited by commentators to have invented. His style was a novelty at the time.
But of course, the opposition adapted. The (then) young players coming through in the early 90th learned from him, and took it to the next level. Other players, like Ken Doherty in the 1997 World final, neutralised his game with superior safeties. Hendry didn’t change, and reading his book my feeling is that he didn’t want to change, didn’t accept that he HAD to change and evolve. This, and not “being past it”, is why his winning “rate” dropped significantly when he was still in his early 30th.
From what I saw yesterday, he’s still not wanting to compromise. If my feeling is right, he will not get anywhere that way and will soon get frustrated.
The other player who got me bot frustrated and sad yesterday was Lyu Haotian. Lyu had won this match: Day needed a snooker and only pink and black remained on the table. Then Lyu played a baffling shot, an incredibly bad shot, a shot that left Day in a position to get a guaranteed nasty snooker. Why? He could simply have put a maximum distance between pink and black, he had the whole table to find a good spot, instead he left the pink right next to the black. Day didn’t need a second invitation: he snookered Lyu, and Lyu, not only failed to get out of the snooker but left a rather simple pink… That’s how he lost the match.
Iulian Boiko scored his first win of the season with a 4-2 victory over Louis Heathcote to qualify for the final stages of the BetVictor Scottish Open.
Ukraine’s 16-year-old Boiko turned pro last season and is currently ranked 104th so faces a battle to keep his tour card, but showed his potential today with a fine display in Barnsley.
A break of 74 in frame four put Boiko 3-1 ahead, then he lost a tight fifth frame on the black. The teenager then came from 65-0 down to win frame six, clinching it with a 33 clearance to secure his place in the televised stages in Llandudno in December.
Robbie Williams top scored with 130 in a 4-2 win over Soheil Vahedi, while Sunny Akani made a 98 in a 4-0 defeat of Lukas Kleckers.
China’s Wu Yize saw off Kurt Maflin 4-2 with breaks of 76, 68, 53 and 50. Hossein Vafaei closed with a run of 68 as he beat Fan Zhengyi 4-2, while amateur Sanderson Lam edged out Jamie Clarke 4-3 with a 58 clearance in the decider.
First of all once again two matches are “absent” from the report.
Xu Si beat Lu Ning by 4-1 in the morning. It wasn’t “high scoring” scoring but it was a very solid professional performance from Xu.
Li Hang beat Nigel Bond by 4-0, Nigel had a 61 break in the first frame but still lost it. After that it was pretty much one-way traffic. Li finished with a 58 and a 92.
Also not mentioned in the above report is the fact that Fan Zhengyi was docked the first frame for being late. Fan found himself 3-0 down despite scoring a break of 50 in frame 3. He really made a figth of it: he came back to 3-2 with breaks of 133 and 65, before Hossein put the match to bed with a good 68.
Iulian Boiko should have won his match by 4-1, his opponent needed snookers in frame 5. Iulian’s inexperience showed during the conclusion of that frame: his shot selection during the battle on the colours was not the best and Louis Heathcote dug down, got the snookers he needed and won the frame. What happened in that frame is an example of what Ronnie means when he says that the youngsters can’t play professionally: they rely mainly on their potting power, which is enough at amateur level, but they struggle with situations like this one. It’s not their fault, they turn pro without much experience of these situations. When Ronnie was 10-15 years old, the amateur game in the UK was very strong. Until the game “opened” in 1991, the likes of Ken Doherty and Peter Ebdon were “amateurs” and the talented kids, notably the class of 92, had opportunities to play such opponents nearly every week. They learned a lot from them. The kids coming through nowadays don’t have many such opportunities. Now … end of digression… what really impressed me is how Iulian won the sixth frame. Louis looked set to win that frame, he built a substantial lead and Iulian looked dispirited in his chair. But given the opportunity, he stepped up to the plate: he needed a snooker, got it, and held his nerves to clear and clinch victory. Well done!
China’s Si Jiahui knocked former UK and Masters champion Matthew Stevens out of the BetVictor Scottish Open with a fine 4-1 victory in the qualifying round.
Si, competing as an amateur having dropped off the pro tour last season, goes through to the final stages in Llandudno in December. Having shared the first two frames, he compiled breaks of 105, 76 and 81 to secure an impressive result.
Mark Davis came from 2-0 down to beat Michael White 4-3, making an 81 in the decider. Tom Ford rounded off a 4-2 win over Peter Lines with a run of 115.
Elliot Slessor made a break of 114 to lead Liang Wenbo 3-2, but it was China’s Liang who came back to take the last two frames to snatch a 4-3 success.
Anthony Hamilton won four frames in a row with a top break of just 29 as he beat Tian Pengfei 4-1. Jimmy Robertson eased to a 4-1 win over Jamie O’Neill, while Jamie Jones saw off Joe O’Connor 4-2.
Once again one match is bizarrely missing from this report: 18 years old Zhao Jianbo beat Liam Highfiled by 4-0 in the first match of the day and finished it off in style with breaks of 83 and 69.
Elliot Slessor had a 96 as well as the above mentioned 114 but still lost to Liang Wenbo who didn’t have any big break all match. Liang really surprised me there. He wasn’t playing well, his long potting was unreliable but he was tactically sound and extremely patient, very different from the player we used to see a few years back. Well done Liang.
The Hamilton v Tian match, 5 frames, lasted 3 hours and 45 minutes… with the referee, Ben Williams, asking them to speed up a bit at one point as their AST had gone one 40 seconds. This prompted Shan Murphy to ask for a 30 seconds shot clock. To that, Phil Haigh, who has interviewed Anthony Hamilton a few times over the last season, observed that the players circumstances should be taken into account, and that Anthony has been in a lot of pain in recent years. Shaun then backed down, admitting that, having suffered from neck and back pain himself in the past, he wouldn’t have wanted to be hurried at the time. He admitted that he hadn’t thought of it. Good on him. Whilst Anthony’s circumstances are well documented, I wonder what happened to Tian. OK, he’s not the fasted player … but still … he was even slower than Antony in that match.
Xiao Guodong made the first 147 break of his career at BetVictor Scottish Open qualifying in Barnsley during the deciding frame of his 4-3 win over Fraser Patrick.
World number Xiao’s previous high break was 143. Today’s contribution puts him in line for the £5,000 high break prize on offer for the event.
The magic break is the 169th official maximum in professional snooker history and the third of the season so far. It came at the perfect moment at the end of a fantastic performance from Xiao, who also compiled runs of 57 and 108 on his way to victory.
WST published the video of the last three minutes of the break, and the match, on their Youtube channel:
And here is WST report on what happened during the day:
Gilbert Wins With Two Tons
David Gilbert finished with back-to-back centuries as he beat Simon Lichtenberg 4-1 to qualify for the final stages of the BetVictor Scottish Open.
The qualifying round runs until Wednesday next week, with all winners going through to the televised stages in Llandudno in December.
Gilbert has dropped out of the world’s top 16, down to 18th, despite winning the recent BetVictor Championship League. But if he continues today’s form he could soon be back among the elite. After sharing the first two frames with Germany’s Lichtenberg, he won a tight third on the colours then compiled runs of 131 and 113 to secure a comfortable victory.
Xiao Guodong finished his match against Fraser Patrick in perfect fashion with a 147 in the deciding frame to win 4-3 – read more on that story here.
Fergal O’Brien top scored with 61 in a 4-2 win over David Grace – the Irishman has won all three of his qualifying matches for BetVictor Home Nations series events over the past month.
Oliver Lines made a 116 in a 4-1 win over Gerard Greene, while Gary Wilson saw off Cao Yupeng 4-1 with a top break of 86.
One match that isn’t mentioned at all is 18 years old Lei Peifan excellent 4-2 win against the more fancied Zhao Xintong.
I was hoping for a good match between Gary Wilson and Cao Yupeng but it was disappointing. Cao had a rather bad day in office and Gary, who played well, had little opposition. Cao was visibly frustrated with his own performance.
Oliver Lines seems to have finally found some good consistency.
DOHA : Star Indian cueist Pankaj Advani on Tuesday grabbed his 24th world title when he triumphed at the IBSF 6-Red Snooker World Cup with a victory over Pakistan’s Babar Masih in the final.
Advani, who won his 11th Asian title last week, started the final with a comfortable 42-13 win in the opening frame.
Babar drew parity by winning the second 38-14.
In the third frame, Advani made a foul that only he knew he had committed. The 36-year-old won the third and fourth in quick succession to go 3-1 up.
The Pakistani cueist, in no mood to play second fiddle to his worthy opponent, crafted a wonderful 56 break to bridge the gap.
Advani shifted gears and then took the next three to be one frame away from getting his hands on his 24th world winner’s trophy.
Not going to go down without a fight, Babar brought the match to a precarious situation by winning the next three frames as a strong response.
At 6-5, it was touch and go. Babar had found his touch and Advani had more to lose at this point being within striking distance of the finish line. But a classy 32 break off the cue of the multiple world champion put paid to Babar’s hopes.
Pankaj ensured a clean slate of wins over the last fortnight in Qatar across two international championships – Asian Snooker and 6-red Snooker World Cup.
“I am living a dream. Being away from the table for so long, these two back-to-back triumphs assure me that my hunger and competitive skills haven’t diminished,” Advani said.
“Very fortunate to win both as I am aware there is still a lot of work to put into my game once I return. Happy to return home tomorrow with two gold medals for my country.”
Earlier, in the day, Pankaj got the better of the Asian Snooker finalist Amir Sarkhosh of Iran 6-3.
Phil Haigh and Nick Metcalfe had John Virgo as a special guest to their podcast.
John Virgo expects next World Snooker Championship to be the last for him and Dennis Taylor
Phil Haigh Monday 20 Sep 2021
John Virgo believes the next World Snooker Championship will be the last for him and Dennis Taylor in the commentary box, expecting to be cut from the BBC’s coverage.
Virgo, 75, and Taylor, 72, have been voices of snooker for decades, with Virgo first commentating on the game way back in 1985 and becoming a huge television star through the ’90s thanks to gameshow Big Break.
While no decision has been confirmed by the BBC, Virgo seems sure that his next trip to the Crucible in April will be his last to work behind a microphone.
Speaking to the Talking Snooker podcast, Virgo said: ‘Listen, you never know what’s round the corner in life, but it looks like this will be my last season. Not my choice, theirs [the BBC]. Along with Dennis (Taylor) apparently.
‘Scoop or whatever it is, I don’t know, but that’s what we’re getting, that this will be our last season. I think that’s definite. The World Championship will be our last one. It’s not my decision, I love the game and everything else. But I understand, nothing lasts for ever, I understand that.’
The World Championship, played from 16 April-2 May, will likely represent the end of an era for two of the most significant commentators the sport has had, and Virgo says it will be hard to deal with when it comes around.
The former UK champion first played at the Crucible in the first year the venue hosted the World Championship in 1977 and it is a venue filled with fond memories for him.
‘That’s the decision they’re making, so yeah, I haven’t really felt it at the moment but I probably will do come the World Championship,’ he said.
‘There will be a lot of memories there, memories from when we first went there in ’77. So it will be hard, but as I say, nothing lasts forever, and I’ll give it my best shot and that will be it, yeah.
‘I think they’re probably looking for people who are more in touch with the modern day player. Although I think all players are the same aren’t they? They play shots, there’s not many shots that people play that I haven’t seen, you know. I’m not criticising the decision, I know nothing lasts for ever.
‘The BBC have been fantastic to me, in my commentary career, Big Break, if that’s the decision that’s the decision, we’ll just have to accept it and enjoy it on the telly.’
2019 world champion Judd Trump called for broadcasters to make a change to their veteran commentary teams earlier this year, telling Metro.co.uk: ‘There’s not enough trying out new things in snooker for me at the moment, it’s all the same every season, not enough excitement, not enough different dimensions,’ he said.
‘Change the coverage, the commentators who have been around a long time, change the way the game is spoken about.’
Asked about Trump’s comments, Virgo said: ‘I still think we’ve got something to offer.
‘I don’t think the shots have changed, I don’t think the mentality [has changed]. When somebody misses an easy shot you can put your finger on why they did it.
‘If someone’s in a spot of bother…Dennis is the best line-drawer in the business, if someone’s in a snooker.
‘Being younger, you might put an emoji on the bottom of it, but how are you going to better it?
‘But no, I understand. I think over the years we’ve had the experience to talk when we need to talk, to be quiet when we need to let the pictures tell the story.
‘It will change, sooner rather than later, but I won’t have any complaints because I’ve enjoyed it.’
The BBC has been approached for comment.
Well… I at least hope that the BBC will not got for the “excitement” bit. I’d absolutely hate “football style” commentary on the snooker. And indeed, their knowledge of the shots and understanding of the table situation are excellent and make for interesting commentary.
That said, I could do without the golf digressions, and discussions about “great players” from 50 years ago that most viewers never had the opportunity to watch except maybe in some blurry Youtube bit. Also, too many times, there have been admissions that they had never seen this one or that one guy playing before. They don’t seem to watch much snooker unless it’s on the BBC. Their choice, but at least do some research.
Also, completely butchering overseas’ players names is not acceptable. I have been contacted by ITV pundits who wanted to make sure about the pronunciation of Belgian and French players’ names and I truly appreciated their efforts to get that right.
Runners set to navigate all 315 London Underground and DLR stations on foot
Psychologist and author Dr Kevin Dutton and Great Britain rower John Collins are embarking on a brutal two-week challenge to raise crucial funds for charity
On Sunday 19 September Dr Kevin Dutton, a psychologist and author, and Great Britain rower John Collins will embark on a unique leg-sapping challenge – navigating all 315 London Underground and DLR stations on foot, over a two-week period. But that’s not all. They’ll be sleeping rough in between legs and, on Day 15, they’ll conclude their challenge by running all 26.2 miles of the London Marathon. The pair have badged the 305-mile feat the ‘Metro Marathon Challenge’.
So why are the pair taking on such a gruelling feat of endurance? Dutton and Collins are raising money for The Running Charity – a charity harnessing the power of running to support young people who are experiencing homelessness or managing complex needs.
The Running Charity believes that running is as good for your mind as it is for your body. Running builds resilience and self-esteem, and they use this to improve the lives of 16-25 year-olds who are homeless or at risk from homelessness.
‘The last year and a half has been tough on all of us,’ said Dutton, ‘but it’s been even tougher for those without a roof over their heads.’
Metro Marathon Challenge logistics
Dutton and Collins have called on a team of data scientists from Capgemini Engineering to help them plot the route. The data scientists have calculated the optimum start point and shortest possible route between the 315 stations, beginning in Chesham and ending in Lewisham, the station nearest to the London Marathon start line.
The pair will be sleeping rough for the entire duration of the challenge, mostly in parks along the route, but sometimes, in a friend’s garden. On Day 10, they’ll be dropping in on none other than snooker legend Ronnie O’Sullivan to refuel with some of his home-cooked pasta.
There will be a few other famous faces supporting Dutton and Collins on their journey, too. The pair will be started by former London Marathon winner Hugh Jones, and former SAS soldier Andy McNab will also be on hand to support them at various points along the route.
‘The Metro Marathon Challenge is eccentric, original…but genuinely bloody hard,’ said McNab. ‘It’s 50/50 in my book whether Kev and John manage to pull it off. I hope they do – it’s for a great cause. But it’s going to take a monumental effort of guts and willpower, not to mention extreme fitness.’
Lu Ning came from 2-0 down to beat Ryan Day 4-3 and reach the final stages of the BetVictor English Open.
Day won the BetVictor Shoot Out in Milton Keynes last season, but he won’t be at the same venue when the BetVictor English Open world ranking event runs from November 1-7.
China’s Lu, a semi-finalist at the UK Championship last season, won three frames in a row with top breaks of 70 and 61 to go 3-2 ahead. Day took frame six and had first chance in the decider, but made only 28, and Lu took it with runs of 57 and 14.
Hossein Vafaei scored a 4-1 victory over Kurt Maflin while Martin Gould eased to a 4-0 success over Andrew Higginson.
Oliver Lines maintained his fine start to the season as he beat Zhang Anda 4-0 with top runs of 66, 59 and 71. Tian Pengfei top scored with 60 in a 4-0 defeat of Barry Pinches while Joe O’Connor saw off Pang Junxu 4-1 with a high break of 81.
Lu Ning will always battle hard up to the last ball. He proved it again in this match.
Stephen Hendry won his opening match in a ranking event for the third consecutive occasion as he beat Michael White 4-1 to qualify for the final stages of the BetVictor English Open.
Hendry will face Chris Wakelin in the last 64 at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes in November.
Seven-time World Champion Hendry made his comeback earlier this year and has since scored wins over Jimmy White at the World Championship, Wakelin at the British Open and now two-time ranking event winner Michael White.
After taking a scrappy opening frame on the colours, 52-year-old Hendry compiled an excellent run of 60 to go 2-0 ahead. White pulled one back with a break of 95, but Hendry made a 46 in taking frame four and then got the better of a scrappy fifth to secure the result.
Fellow veteran Jimmy White was no match for Zhao Xintong as the Chinese ace ran out a 4-1 winner with breaks of 61, 73, 57, 74 and 57. Ken Doherty also misses out on the final stages as he lost 4-1 to Sunny Akani.
Iulian’s Boiko saw his 16th birthday celebrations dampened by a 4-0 defeat against Fergal O’Brien. England’s 17-year-old Jamie Wilson scored one of the best results of his pro career so far, beating Robert Milkins 4-0 with a top break of 62.
Stephen Hendry improved as the match went on. He looked vulnerable in the early frames, but Michael White couldn’t take advantage. What happened to Micheal White is hard to understand and very sad. One thing I noticed about Hendry though is that whilst playing thin on the right side of a ball (as seen on our screen) he missed it completely and that happened more than once. That’s a bit worrying as it might be a sign that his eyesight isn’t what it was. That said he knocked in quite a few good long ones.
Poor Iulian Boiko looked truly unhappy facing Fergal. The latter was his good old Ferginator self, and made it extremely hard for his young opponent. In frame three Iulian seemed to have a chance and battled really hard. The frame went to a re-spotted black (78-78) and … went the way of Fergal eventually. Tough school!
The 4-0 win by Jamie Wilson over Robert Milkins will do the young lad’s confidence a lot of good. It has to be said however that Milkins was particularly poor: he had plenty of occasions but kept missing seemingly easy balls.
As much as I like Kendo, I was happy to see Sunny get a good win. He needs it!
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh produced a stunning display to whitewash Jamie O’Neill 4-0 and clinch a place in the final stages of the BetVictor English Open.
Un-Nooh, who is renowned as one of the fastest players on the circuit, wasted little time this afternoon. He averaged just 14.5 seconds per shot and required only 38 minutes to get over the line.
Thailand’s Un-Nooh was also in supreme break building form, firing in runs of 123, 82, 139 and 105 to secure the win. The final stages take place in Milton Keynes from November 1st to 7th.
World number 22 Ali Carter eased through with a 4-1 defeat of China’s Fan Zhengyi.
The Captain has enjoyed a strong start to the season, having made the final group of the BetVictor Championship League, reached the last 16 of the British Open and also qualified for the BetVictor Northern Ireland Open.
He continued that run of form this afternoon, securing his win in just one hour and 17 minutes, making breaks of 91 and 76 along the way.
Peter Devlin scored an impressive 4-3 defeat of former UK and Masters Champion Matthew Stevens, while Jamie Clarke sealed his place in the final stages with a 4-2 defeat of Zak Surety.
Not a word about the two last matches on the day? Hum…
Un-Nooh didn’t waste time indeed: he finished the job just 5 minutes after the Devlin v Stevens match had concluded and this is a match that had started in the previous session…
Regarding that Stevens v Devlin match, I’m not sure where to start. Stevens looked good in patches. He won the first two frames easily with fluent big breaks. Peter didn’t give up and started grinding his way back. It was not pretty. There were loads of mistakes on both sides. But Peter stuck in there. I wasn’t impressed by his snooker but I was impressed by his resilience. In frame 6, he missed a red with the rest that was effectively “match ball”. OK, he still needed a colour, but that looked like a formality. Peter’s expression after that miss was one of despair, mixed with disbelief and anger at himself. Matthew cleared to win by one point and it wasn’t an easy clearance by any means. After that, I expected Matthew to win the match: he had the momentum and his oppenent looked a bit ragged. The way Peter regrouped and fought to win deserves high praise.
The Carrigton v Miah match was a very close, hard fought one.