White Dazzles In Q School Opener
Michael White fired two centuries in a 4-1 win over Ronnie Blake as he got his 2021 Q School campaign off to an impressive start in Sheffield.
Former Indian Open, Shoot Out and Paul Hunter Classic winner White was relegated from the pro tour in 2020 and narrowly missed on an immediate bounce back via Q School. The Welshman is among the favourites to win one of 14 tour cards available this time at Ponds Forge.
Breaks of 127, 81 and 103 helped him to a comfortable win over Blake as he set up a meeting with Ben Fortey. White will need four more wins to earn a tour card from event one.
Veteran Peter Lines also made two centuries – 119 and 102 – as he saw off Connor Benzey 4-1. Australia’s Ryan Thomerson beat Callum Beresford 4-3, taking the deciding frame on a respotted black.
Former world number eight Dean Reynolds suffered a 4-1 defeat against Russia’s Ivan Kakovskii. Rebecca Kenna, the only female player in the draw, lost 4-1 to Germany’s Umut Dikme, whose top break was 84.
Event one runs until Tuesday.
Ahead of the event, Michael White has spoken very honestly about his struggles and it’s nice to see him play well again. I was also please to see a win for Ross Muir who had his young career ruined by health issues.
Now I can’t understand why there is any focus on someome like Dean Reynolds, except for the ever-present nostalgia factor. Dean suffered a stroke some year ago and had to re-learn to play snooker, which is admirable, but at 58 he’s got no hope in this, nor as a pro in the future.
What I want to put forward is this: of the 31 matches played yesterday 14 were won by a non-British/Irish player, whilst 9 were lost by a non-British/Irish player. Amongst those “defeated” we have two Polish players who had to withdraw. So actually, 29 matches were played, 13 of them won by non-British/Irish players, only 7 were actually lost by non-British/Irish players. And that is, despite the fact that there are very few Asian players in the draw this time. Many of the players from mainland Europe who won yesterday are young guys.
What does this show? First of all that there is strong interest in snooker, and quality, outside the UK, in mainland Europe in particular, which in turn vindicates my opinion that it’s high time to “break” the structural UK bias, compounded by having all qualifiers played in the UK and the Q-Schools in the UK.
One young European player who did not win is the much fancied Ben Mertens from Belgium. I have no doubts that Ben is a fatastic talent, but I’m not sure that all the hype around him is doing any good! Julien Leclercq, who won his first match at the World Qualifiers last month, is through to the second round.