Day 3 at the 2021 Soot Out saw the defending champion Michael Holt depart the tournament.
Here are the reports by WST about yesterday’s action
Stevens Knocks Out Champ Holt
Michael Holt’s hopes of reaching the BetVictor Shoot Out final for a third consecutive year were ended by Matthew Stevens in the second round.
Holt was runner-up in 2019 then won the world ranking event last year, but this time falls at the last 64 stage. A break of 43 put Stevens ahead, though he missed a red to a centre pocket to gift his opponent a chance. But Holt missed a black off its spot trailing 43-21 with two minutes remaining, and was soon heading for the exit door.
Welshman Stevens goes into the draw for the third round, which will be made on our Facebook page around 9.30pm tonight.
“Michael has a tremendous record in this event and I was lucky he missed the black in the end,” said former UK and Masters champion Stevens, who has only reached one Shoot Out quarter-final in ten years. “Every year in this event I join in with the crowd and have a few beers so if I’m playing in an evening session I can hardly see the balls! Hopefully this year I can do better.”
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh beat Holt in the 2019 final and he is among the favourites for the £50,000 top prize this time, having knocked out John Higgins. Thailand’s Un-Nooh, one of the fastest players on the circuit, fired breaks of 47 and 23 in a comfortable win.
Three-time World Champion Mark Williams got the better of Hossein Vafaei while China’s Liang Wenbo compiled a break of 81 to beat Eden Sharav.
Declan Lavery, the Northern Ireland national champion, enjoyed a thrilling win over fellow amateur Leo Fernandez. An excellent break of 34 put Lavery three points ahead with just 20 seconds on the clock. Fernandez then converted a brilliant long pot on a red to leave himself a tricky black for victory, but rattled it in the jaws of a top corner.
Three more amateurs scored wins on Saturday afternoon as Ian Martin knocked out Andy Hicks, Hamim Hussain made a superb break of 40 to beat Duane Jones, and 2015 Shoot Out winner Michael White saw off Rory Mcleod.
Sean Harvey almost joined them as he led Louis Heathcote 17-1 in the closing stages of their frame, but a fluked red gave Heathcote the chance to make a winning 26.
Round two continues from 7pm on Saturday night.
Despite the defeat, Hossein Vafaei was the main talking point during his match against Mark Williams, as he potted the most extraodinary red. The black appeared to block the right top pocket, but Hossein still knocked a red in it, something that seemed impossible. Even when repeating the footage in slower motion, the pundits couldn’t understand how he did it. A really, really slow motion replay later showed that Hossein had played the red at such speed, and with some much strength, that, it hit the black, freeing the passage but continued its route almost without deflection, right in the hole.
There was another clock incident during the Liang Wenbo v Eden Sharav match. This time the “5 seconds left” warning sound came almost immediately after Liang descended on a shot, leaving him rather baffled with no time to actually play the said shot properly. It appeared that the clock had not been reset after the previous shot. The balls were replaced, and the shot replayed.
Murphy Falls Against Taylor
Since it was first staged in 2011, this tournament is yet to be won by a player ranked among the world’s top 16. With 32 players remaining this time, only Allen, Selby, Mark Williams, Thepchaiya Un-Nooh and David Gilbert have a chance to change that sequence.
Defeat for Murphy means that he could need a deep run in the BetVictor Welsh Open later this month in order to climb into the top 16 of the one-year list and earn a spot in the Cazoo Players Championship.
He fouled twice in the early stages of his match tonight, allowing world number 104 Taylor to build a 29-0 lead. Murphy only had one scoring chance, at 36-0 down, but after potting a red he missed the black to a top corner and his hopes ended.
“I enjoy this event and maybe I haven’t taken it as seriously as I should have done in the past,” said Liverpool’s Taylor. “Perhaps not having the crowd has changed that. It’s a big opportunity and I’m starting to realise that. As the money starts doubling tomorrow it gets serious. I just have to dig in and try my best.”
Selby came through a tight battle against Barry Pinches, making breaks of 7 and 9 in the closing stages which gave him a 16-2 scoreline. Allen compiled runs of 44 and 34 to beat Dylan Emery.
Thailand’s Sunny Akani trailed John Astley 46-11 with less than three minutes on the clock, but snatched victory with an excellent run of 37.
Haydon Pinhey, one of six amateurs among the last 32, trailed Riley Parsons 24-0 before making an excellent 65 to book his place in round three.
Martin Gould, the 2013 Shoot Out winner, made a break of 58 to beat Alan McManus. Last year’s runner-up Zhou Yuelong got the better of Barry Hawkins thanks to a run of 49.
Asked on twitter if he would see himself as a ranking event winner, should he win the Shoot Out tonight, David Gilbert answered “No”, but added that he would be a “happy Farmer” if he did.
Peter Devlin didn’t get the opportunity to improvise another snooker rap. Instead, he got a good motherly telling off for not showing enough fighting spirit, as he freely admitted on his Facebook page:
My mum has just had a go at me on the phone saying “I’m really upset that you just walked out of the arena and gave up when you weren’t too far behind. Why didn’t you carry on? You could have caught up”
With both his father and his brother crashing out of the Shoot Out in the first round, young Leo Lines is determined to join the Lines cuesports’ clan and to put things right in the future, but not without a big crowd! (shared by Sarah Lines on twitter)
Finally some short videos shared on twitter by WST and Eurosport yesterday
Some incredible pots by Zhou Yuelong en route to victory
Leo Fernandez’s despair is Declan Lavery’s relief
Horrible “near pot” but “true miss” for jamie Wilson.