30 August 2021 – Snooker News

With not much action in the coming day here are two pieces published in the news:

Mark Williams reckons that Ronnie owes him a favour… 

Ronnie O’Sullivan owes me a massive favour for Champion of Champions place, says Mark Williams

Ronnie O’Sullivan was helped out by his old rival at the British Open (Picture: Getty Images)

Mark Williams reckons Ronnie O’Sullivan owes him a ‘massive favour’ after his British Open win is set to secure the Rocket in this season’s Champion of Champions event.

Williams claimed the British Open title on Sunday 22 August, beating Gary Wilson 6-4 in the final in Leicester and he gave his old rival a helping hand in the process.

O’Sullivan, quite remarkably, reached five ranking finals last season but failed to win any of them, so didn’t manage to book a spot in the Champion of Champions by lifting any silverware.

However, due to players winning multiple titles over the last year, places in the event are opened up to the highest ranked players who didn’t manage to qualify.

With the Rocket ranked number three in the world and Williams stopping Wilson from qualifying for the event, O’Sullivan is set for a return to the Champion of Champions and the Welshman is expecting a thank you from his fellow Class of ’92 legend.

Speaking after his British Open glory, Williams spoke of the remarkable achievement that he, O’Sullivan and John Higgins are still competing at the top of snooker nearly 30 years after turning professional.

‘Myself, John Higgins and Ronnie O’Sullivan having turned pro together all those years ago… we are still hanging around like a bad smell,’ Williams told The Sportsman.

‘I have dropped down the rankings a few times and come back up. But we just seem to be sticking around for a lot longer than people expected.

‘I have always believed there are definitely more titles out there for the other two, but I have won another one here and won one last season – so who knows, maybe I can get a couple more?

‘And by winning this week I may have guaranteed Ronnie a place in the Champion of Champions on his world ranking, so that could be a massive favour he owes me.’

Williams took his ranking title tally to 24 with his victory in Leicester cementing his place at fifth on the all-time list behind O’Sullivan (37), Stephen Hendry (36), Higgins (31) and Steve Davis (28).

The Welsh Potting Machine thinks that players of his era and older were only limited by the number of events they played in during their pomp and Judd Trump (next on the list on 22 titles) has a great chance to surpass them due to the regular tournaments on the calendar now.

‘I do think that if there had been the number of events we play in now all through from 1992, then Ronnie would have 100, Higgins 80, and maybe me on 40,’ said Williams.

”Judd has won 11 in two years. There were only 12 tournaments in total in two years at one time.’

The Class of ’92 and Trump will have their next chance to add to their ranking titles at the Northern Ireland Open, with the main stages starting on 9 October in Belfast.

The Northern Ireland Open and then the English Open offer qualifying chances for the Champion of Champions in November, but even if there are two unqualified winners at those events – which aren’t O’Sullivan – that will still only be 15 different champions for the event and the Rocket will take the final spot on the world rankings.

So about this one…

  1. I totally agree with Willo that comparing how many ranking titles players of different era have won makes little sense. When I said something very similar to what he says here about Trump’s tally I got stick (including from Trump)  but it’s only common sense.
  2. I would prefer for Ronnie to qualify for the Champion of Champions on merit … on the other hand making it to 5 ranking finals in proper events is better in my eyes than winning the Shoot Out. So… if Ronnie wants to play in it, good luck to him, I won’t complain!

This appeared yesterday on news feeds

Chinese snooker player Xiao Guodong accuses British competitor of abuse after match, enraging Chinese netizens

Published: Aug 30, 2021 12:57 AM
Photo: Screenshot of Weibo

Photo: Screenshot of Weibo

Chinese snooker player Xiao Guodong said on China’s Twitter-like Sina Weibo on Friday that he was abused by British rival, Peter Lines ,with swear words after winning a match. Xiao reported the rude behavior to the World Confederation of Billiards Sports (WCBS). “I do not make trouble but also am not afraid of any trouble,” Xiao wrote.

The incident has been considered “a very ungentle scene at a gentle event” on Sina Weibo and in media reports. Chinese netizens strongly condemned Lines for not accepting defeat and insulting Xiao.

Xiao beat Lines by 4-3 and qualified for the Northern Ireland Open on Thursday. After the match, Lines abused Xiao in the lounge in front of other witnesses using “swear words.”

“Peter was also threatening Xiao to step outside the arena for a fight in front of a referee, which is not acceptable and quite intimidating for a player who is coming here from a different country,” according to a letter to the WCBS Xiao posted on his Sina Weibo account.

The letter also said that Wu Yize, Pang Junxu and Elliot Slessor were all witnesses of what happened, adding that security staff had to stop Lines from doing anything worse.

Xiao took to Sina Weibo again on Saturday to thank for all the support from netizens. “I have sent all the details to the WCBS and am waiting for them to announce the investigation results. I will not make trouble and I am not afraid of any provocation. I am a Chinese,” he wrote.

Many Chinese netizens stood by Xiao, supporting him to guard his rights and dignity.

“Do not need to be afraid! 1.4 billion Chinese people are all behind you,” one Sina Weibo user commented.

Netizens also urged the WCBS to investigate if Lines abused Xiao, adding that to correct the damage to the sports spirit, he must be punished and apologize.

“I agree with Xiao’s attitude. No one can unequally treat Chinese people, especially on sports events. We are waiting for a result together with Xiao,” another netizen wrote on Sina Weibo.

When I read this I was surprised for several reasons:

  1. I have known and met both players for over 12 years now and never saw anything bad from either so this surprised me. I won’t take sides and I will wait for WST/WPBSA inquiry. What I do know is that, with a lot at stakes during matches, emotions run high. Mistakes and misunderstandings  do happen.
  2. I was very surprised that nothing was said on WST website.
  3. I’m even more surprised that when WST did react it only appeared on Chinese social media…



That’s weird to say the least. Why not put this on their website as well? Because, obviously, this was always going to land somewhere in a news feed or on social media sparkling questions and speculations.

2022 German Masters Draw and Qualifiers Format

WST has published the draw for the 2022 German Masters as well as the format for the qualifiers.

BetVictor German Masters Draw

The draw and format for the 2022 BetVictor German Masters qualifiers is now available.

Click here for the draw

Click here for the format

The qualifying rounds will run from October 18 to 26 at Chase Leisure Centre in Cannock, followed by the final stages at the famous Tempodrom venue in Berlin from January 26 to 30.

Trump beat Jack Lisowski in last year’s final

All players will need to win two qualifying matches to make it through to Berlin.

Judd Trump has won the title in each of the last two years, and this time he’ll face Tian Pengfei in the opening round. Ronnie O’Sullivan will meet Hossein Vafaei while World Champion Mark Selby will be up against Ross Muir.

Germany’s Lukas Kleckers will begin his bid to qualify for the Tempodrom against Yuan Sijun, while Berlin-based Simon Lichtenberg will take on Sanderson Lam.

Father and son Peter and Oliver Lines will face each other in the second round if they both win their opening matches, against Chang Bingyu and Mark Williams respectively.

Players need to win two matches to get to Berlin. Interestingly, the qualifiers format is different this year, and, IMO better. Indeed, each day, except the first and the last will see three sessions played: the first and last will feature round one matches, the afternoon one will feature the second round matches opposing the first round winners from the previous day.

I wasn’t really expecting it, given what happenend in recent years, but Ronnie has entered the event and his due to play Hossein Vafaei on Monday, October 25, 2021. It’s not an easy first match, but Ronnie quite likes Hossein and should be up for the challenge. I’d rather have this than another match against a low ranked player that he is expected to beat whilst his opponent somehow has nothing to lose.

Should he win, Ronnie would face Andrew Higginson or Steven Hallworth the next day. He famously beat Higginson by 5-4 from 4-0 down in the first round at the Tempodrom in 2012. He was in danger to need to qualify for the World Championship. He went on to win the title that week and later triumphed at the Crucible.

2021 Nothern Ireland Open – Qualifiers days 4 and 5 – Super Sunday announced

The qualifiers for the 2021 Northern Ireland Open just concluded.

This is WST report on what happened yesterday:

Gould Downs Doherty

Martin Gould finished with a century as he beat Ken Doherty 4-2 to qualify for the final stages of the BetVictor Northern Ireland Open.

The qualifying round runs until Friday this week in Leicester, with places in Belfast at stake – the televised phase to take place in October.

Former German Masters champion Gould shared the first four frames against Doherty, but then crucially took a scrappy 31-minute fifth frame before sealing victory in style with a run of 110 in frame six.

Liang Wenbo top scored with 104 as he beat Pang Junxu 4-1 in a Chinese derby, while Luca Brecel saw off Michael White 4-0 with top runs of 97 and 83.

Pakistan’s Farakh Ajaib came from 3-1 down to beat Andrew Higginson 4-3, winning the decider on the final pink after getting the better of a safety battle. Elliot Slessor also recovered a 3-1 deficit, beating Ross Muir 4-3 with a 35 clearance in the decider.

Germany’s Simon Lichtenberg saw off Wu Yize 4-2 while Andy Hicks beat Aaron Hill by the same scoreline. Jak Jones fired breaks of 70, 112 and 71 as he beat Soheil Vahedi 4-2.

I feel sorry for Soheil Vahedi. Don’t get me wrong, Jak Jones was the better player and deserved the win. What I can’t get out of my mind is Soheil Vahedi looking absolutely devastated in his seat after losing at the World qualifiers last April, and losing his professional status as well. He and his wife sacrificed so much in the hope to fulfill his dream of a succesful career in snooker. They have a very small child, a son born last spring.

In an interview given shortly after losing his professional status he had said that he was going to bounce back, but, so far, he has not really succeeded in doing that. He lost at the last 32 stage in each of the Q-School events, and each time to someone who went all the way and regained their tour card. He is yet to win a match in a professional event this season.

There is also absolutely no sign of Michael White getting back to form. He was completely outplayed by Luca Brecel, scoring just 42 points in the whole match.

Today we had only five matches and all but one were one-sided. The exception saw Louis Heathcote beat Craig Steadman by 4-3 in a quality match that featured six breaks over 50, including a 107 by Steadman.

David Gilbert beat Ian Burns by 4-0; the first frame was a closeaffair, but after that the “Farmer” ran to victory with breaks of 52, 116 and 108. Rory McLeod surprisingly beat Dominic Dale by the same score (the surprise is the severity of the score, not the win). David Grace whitewashed Jimmy White (sorry!) and Liam Highfield, who played well, scored breaks of 54, 86 and 77 in beating Reanne Evans by 4-1.

Regarding the main event WST promises us a Super Sunday:

Snooker’s Super Sunday In Belfast

Snooker giants including Ronnie O’Sullivan, Judd Trump, Mark Selby and home favourite Mark Allen will all be in action on Sunday October 10th at the BetVictor Northern Ireland Open in Belfast.

The world ranking event runs until October 17th, at the fantastic Waterfront Hall venue in central Belfast, featuring a wide range of the sport’s leading stars. It is part of snooker’s BetVictor Home Nations Series, with the winner to lift the Alex Higgins Trophy.

The tournament has 128 players all starting in round one. The top 16 seeds, as well as Jordan Brown, have had their opening matches held over to Belfast, while all other players compete in a qualifying round.

Matches to look out for on Sunday October 10th include

1pm session
World Champion Mark Selby v Mark Davis
John Higgins v Joe O’Connor
Northern Ireland’s top player Mark Allen v Si Jiahui
Neil Robertson v Barry Pinches

7pm session
Defending champion Judd Trump v Andrew Pagett
Kyren Wilson v Jamie Clarke
Local favourite Jordan Brown v Gary Wilson
Ronnie O’Sullivan v Stuart Carrington
Mark Williams v Mark Joyce

Trump is aiming to win the tournament for a fourth year in a row – remarkably he has beaten O’Sullivan 9-7 in the final in each of the last three seasons.

The full first round match schedule will be confirmed after the completion of the qualifying round. Tickets for all sessions including the final on Sunday October 17th are currently available.

The event begins with a 7pm evening session on Saturday October 9th, with tickets at just £5.

The event will be televised by Eurosport, Quest and a range of other broadcasters worldwide.

2021 Scottish Open Draw and Format

WST has published the draw as well as the qualifiers format for the 2021 Scottish Open … to be played in Llandudno in Wales.

BetVictor Scottish Open Draw

The draw and format for the 2021 BetVictor Scottish Open is now available.

Click here for the draw

Click here for the format

The qualifying round will run from September 24 to 29 at the Barnsley Metrodome, followed by the final stages at Venue Cymru in Llandudno from December 6 to 12.

The matches involving the top 16 seeds and the two wild card nominations will be held over to the final venue. Top stars including Mark Selby, Ronnie O’Sullivan, Neil Robertson, Judd Trump, Shaun Murphy, Mark Williams and John Higgins will be in Llandudno.

Selby, who beat O’Sullivan in the final last year, will be up against Sean Maddocks in the opening round.

O’Sullivan will face Dominic Dale while Murphy has been drawn against three-time Women’s World Champion Ng On Yee.

Scotland’s top player John Higgins will meet Alfie Burden while  Trump will be up against Robert Milkins.

The two Scottish wild cards are:

Liam Graham, number two in the under-21 events from the 2019-20 rankings (number one was Dean Young who is now on the tour). He was also the top under-16 player from the 2019-20 rankings.

Amaan Iqbal, Scotland’s top ranked under-21 player from the senior rankings in 2019-20.

Let’s just say that the defending champion is likely to have an easy passages to the last 64 as his opponent has won just one match since turning pro last season and only yesterday managed to lose again, by 4-3, having lead 3-0. Ronnie, John Higgins, Mark Williams and Judd Trump all  face a stronger challenge.

Those are the qualifiers matches that draw my attention:

Gary Wilson v Cao Yupeng

Alex Ursenbacher v Luca Brecel

Liang Wenbo v Elliot Slessor

Joe O’Connor v Jamie Jones

Note that, once again, Ronnie could face Elliot Slessor early in the event. He could also face Hendry in the last 32 if both make it that far.

Ding is in the draw as well and it’s a bit surprising that he isn’t mentioned in the above article, unless it’s because WST isn’t too confident that he will actually be there.


2021 Northern Ireland Open Qualifiers – Days 2 and 3

Here are WST reports on what happened in Leicester over the last 2 days:

Day 2 of  2021 NI Open qualifiers

Saengkham Ousts Un-Nooh

Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham edged out compatriot Thepchaiya Un-Nooh to win a tightly contested encounter 4-3 and qualify for the final stages of the BeVictor Northern Ireland Open.

Qualifying stages have been introduced to the BetVictor Home Nations series for the first time this year and places at the Waterfront Hall will be at stake all week. The qualifying event runs until Friday, with the televised stages taking place in October.

Saengkham came into the match having lost his only previous meeting with Thai number one Un-Nooh 5-0 at the 2016 World Open. Five years on, with Saengkham trailing today’s encounter 2-1, he burst into life. Back-to-back breaks of 88 and 108 saw Saengkham turn the match on its head and lead 3-2.

Un-Nooh, who remarkably averaged just 15.5 seconds per shot throughout the tie, refused to back down and fired in a break of 111 to force a decider at 3-3. However, it was Saengkham who got over the line to book his place in Belfast.

World number 22 Ali Carter eased through to seal his progression to the final stages. The Captain saw off the challenge of Welshman Dylan Emery 4-1, making breaks of 66 and 79 along the way.

Liverpudlian teenager Sean Maddocks spurned a 3-0 lead to lose 4-3 against Tian Pengfei. China’s Tian top scored with a break of exactly 100.

Chris Wakelin made a superb break of 137 during a 4-3 defeat of Michael Holt, while Jackson Page overcame Lei Peifan 4-3.

It’s a real shame that the two top Thais players were drawn against each other. There was a good win for young Fan Zhengyi against the very experienced David Lilley. Somehow Sean Maddocks managed to lose against Tian Pengfei, from 3-0 up.

Day 3 of  2021 NI Open qualifiers

Walden Through To Waterfront

Ricky Walden scored four breaks over 50 in a 4-1 win over Fraser Patrick to reach the final stages of the BetVictor Northern Ireland Open.

The qualifying round runs until Friday this week in Leicester, with places at the Waterfront Hall at stake – the televised phase to take place in October.

Walden looked sharp at last week’s matchroom.live British Open, beating John Higgins on his way to the quarter-finals, and he kept his momentum going today as runs of 57, 81, 58 and 62 helped him to a comfortable victory.

Oliver Lines was in fine form against Joe Perry, winning 4-2 with top breaks of 76, 117 and 73.

Lukas Kleckers reached the last 16 last week, but this time he was on the wrong end of a 4-0 scoreline against Ben Woollaston, whose top break was 75.

Mark King knocked in runs of 85, 52 and 75 in a 4-2 win over Li Hang while Duane Jones edged out Zhang Jiankang 4-3 with a top break of 104.

There were good wins for Xu Si and Yuan Sujun against Michael Georgiou and Matthew Selt respectively and Lyu Haotian got the better of Zhao Jianbo. Why aren’t those young players’ wins not even mentioned?

I’m disppointed for Lukas Kleckers, but happy for Ben Woollaston who, for some reason, has been struggling for years now. I would love to see him go back to the form he showed around 2015.

2021 English Open Draw and other news

WST has published the 2021 English Open draw and qualifiers format: 

BetVictor English Open Draw

The draw and format for the 2021 BetVictor English Open is now available.

Click here for the draw

Click here for the format

The qualifying round will run from September 17 to 22 at the Barnsley Metrodome, followed by the final stages at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes from November 1 to 7. The matches involving the top 16 seeds and the two wild card nominations will be held over to the final venue.

Judd Trump, who beat Neil Robertson 9-8 in the final last year, will start the defence of his title against Matthew Selt.

Ronnie O’Sullivan has been drawn against Brazil’s top player Igor Figueiredo, while World Champion Mark Selby will take on Sanderson Lam.

British Open champion Mark Williams faces amateur Paul Deaville while top female player Reanne Evans will be up against Barry Hawkins.

On Yee is in the draw and, should she make it to the UK is due to play Stuart Bingham at the main venue. Ding Junhui is also in the draw. Let’s see what happens.

Ronnie might face Elliot Slessor in the last 64… probably one of the worst draws he could have.

WST has announced a new documentary series:

New Documentary: Make Or Break

Throughout the 2021/22 season, we’ll be following the fortunes of six of the most promising young players on the World Snooker Tour in our new video documentary Make or Break.

Episode one of the series is here:

Narrated by Alan McManus, Make or Break will include exclusive footage from behind the scenes at WST events as well as interviews with the six featured players:

Iulian Boiko – age 15 from Ukraine

Alexander Ursenbacher – age 25 from Switzerland

Wu Yize – age 17 from China

Oliver Lines – age 26 from England

Jackson Page – age 20 from Wales

Aaron Hill – age 19 from Ireland

The series will follow their progress as they aim to make their way towards a successful career in the sport. Episode two will be released in September.

It’s good to see WST finally put some young players in the spotligths and Alan is a great choice as a narrator.

After nicking Michael McMillan from the Snooker Scnene podcast, WST have published their own thing  and the first episode is with Judd Trump

Here is Eurosport take on this one:

Snooker news: ‘He’s very clever’ – Judd Trump on why Ronnie O’Sullivan will be at top for another decade

Judd Trump has praised six-times world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan for picking and choosing his events. O’Sullivan has pulled out of the season’s first two ranking tournaments at the Championship League and British Open, but Trump believes he is wise to be selective with his choices as he bids to extend his career. The world number two feels O’Sullivan will be inside the top 16 for another decade.

Ronnie O’Sullivan will be a serious contender for snooker’s biggest titles for at least another decade, according to fellow crowd-pleaser Judd Trump.

World number two Trump has praised O’Sullivan for picking and choosing his events after the six-times world champion opted out of the first two ranking tournaments of the season at the Championship League and British Open.

In a timely demonstration of sporting longevity, O’Sullivan’s fellow ‘Class of ’92’ member Mark Williams lifted the 24th ranking event of his career with a vintage 6-4 win over Gary Wilson that included two century breaks at Leicester’s Morningside Arena.

At the age of 46, he is the third oldest ranking event winner of all time behind fellow Welsh icons Doug Mountjoy (46) in 1989 and Ray Reardon (50) in 1982.

In his 29th year as a professional, it is the second ranking title Williams has won this year after his success at the inaugural WST Pro Series event in March.

“Myself, John Higgins (four-times world champion) and Ronnie O’Sullivan having turned pro together all those years ago, we are still hanging around like a bad smell,” he told reporters on Sunday.

I have dropped down the rankings a few times and come back up, but we just seem to be sticking around for a lot longer than people expected.

While O’Sullivan, 45, reached five finals last season, he failed to win a ranking event for the first time since the 2010/11 campaign, but Trump feels being selective is the key to being competitive for at least the next 10 years.

The Chigwell man is due face Stuart Carrington in the first round of the Northern Ireland Open at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast which begins on Saturday 9 October. Trump has curiously defeated O’Sullivan 9-7 in the past three finals of the event.

“I’ve got so much respect for him,” said Trump on WST. “Every time I play him, it is always a special occasion.

To be honest, I think he can play the game until whenever he wants to. He is that good.

“The way he doesn’t enter every event is only beneficial for him. He keeps the public wanting more and more. He doesn’t give you too much in one go.

“So, just as you think he is getting a bit bored with snooker, he’ll take that tournament off, he’ll pull out. He knows he’s not ready and I think he is very clever in that way.

“He’ll always be the crowd favourite just because of how easy he makes the game look.

John Higgins is up there with him, but Ronnie just makes it looks so easy. I think that is what annoys the viewing public because he kind of looks invincible at times.

“When he doesn’t win, they think he’s not trying so he’s built up this image that he can’t be beat and it adds a lot of pressure to yourself I think.”

At 44 years and 254 days, O’Sullivan became the oldest man to win the World Championship since Reardon (45 years and 203 days) in 1978 when he overcame Kyren Wilson 18-8 in Sheffield to lift his sixth Crucible title a year ago.

Trump admits the strain to keep producing under pressure means it is impossible to play in every tournament.

“Over the past two or three years when you keep winning events, you kind of see what he has been through,” said Trump. “The past 15 years, the expectation he has had on himself.

I just think he knows what he is not ready to give it his all and he’ll skip those events. For me, when he wants to stop playing, he’ll stop playing, but he’s good enough to be top 16 for at least another 10 years.

Trump lost his world number one spot to world champion Mark Selby after a two-year stay at the summit following his 3-2 defeat to Elliot Slessor in the last 32 of the British Open on the same day he turned 32.

He is set to reclaim top spot after the Northern Ireland Open with Selby set to lose £102,000 from his points tally on the two-year list, but Trump feels the ranking system puts far too much emphasis on earning £500,000 for lifting the world title.

Trump celebrated his first ranking event with a 10-8 win over Selby at the 2011 China Open.

He claimed his first eight in six years, but has lifted another 14 in the past four years in a remarkable period of consistency.

Trump totted up a record six in 2019/20 and another five during the pandemic in 2020/21, but is bemused about losing the top spot.

“Nobody has ever won six events in a year,” said the 2019 world champion, who begins his bid for a fourth straight Northern Ireland title against Andrew Pagett in Belfast.

“The year before I won the Masters, the World Championship and another couple of events.

“Then the following year I won five events. There is always that comparison with Ronnie or the world champion about who is the best in the world.

“But for me, I don’t think you can compare winning the World Championship to winning six events in a year that nobody has ever done before.

“If somebody came up to me, and said to me: ‘You’ve won the World Championship, but Mark Selby has won six or seven events, do you think you are the best in world?’

I’d say no. For me, Mark Selby would be the best in the world because he has shown it on a consistent level. The World Championship is a special event, but it is only one event.

“For me, it gets too much recognition just because of the prize money. In a dream scenario, there would be three or four events on that kind of level with that kind of prize money.

“It is too lopsided because the world champion is always going to be number one and for me to prevent that over the past two years is literally an impossible task.”

About the latter bit, I’m not sure Judd would see things in the same light if he was the World Champion. At the the World Championship luck is usually less a factor than in any other comp because the length of the matches. Kyren Wilson and Anthony Mc Gill may disagree, but statistically this remains true.


Shambolic first day at the 2021 Nothern Ireland Qualifiers

This is WST report about yesterday at the 2021 Northern Ireland Open qualifiers:

Stevens Books Belfast Spot

Matthew Stevens edged out Zhao Xintong 4-3 in a high quality contest to earn a place in the final stages of the BetVictor Northern Ireland Open.

The qualifying round runs until Friday this week in Leicester, with places at the Waterfront Hall at stake – the televised phase to take place in October.

After losing the first frame, former UK and Masters champion Stevens took three in a row with breaks of 99, 111 and 66. China’s Zhao hit back with 75 and 51 for 3-3. The decider came down to a tactical battle on the brown, and Zhao was unlucky to go in-off when attempting safety, gifting Stevens the chance to clear for victory.

Peter Devlin came from 2-0 down to beat Alexander Ursenbacher 4-2 with a top break of 84. Cao Yupeng also made an impressive fight back, recovering a 3-1 deficit to beat Robbie Williams 4-3, compiling runs of 95 and 65 in the last two frames.

James Cahill, a late replacement for Graeme Dott, fired runs of 97, 104 and 87 in a 4-2 win over Chang Bingyu, while Lu Ning made a 33 clearance in the decider to beat Scott Donaldson 4-3.

The story of the day though isn’t in this WST report.

For most of the day, the livescores didn’t work. As a result, even now, most matches don’t have frames scores. I suppose they might come at one stage as they must be on the match sheets… hopefully.

WST has posted that those qualifiers would be on Eurosport app. This wasn’t the case. and going by ES schedule this won’t be the case today either. The only snooker available on ES schedule are repeats of the British Open final.

I, being in Greece, was able to watch the matches on Matchroom.live. My friends in the UK couldn’t though and the only way for them to watch the snooker was via betting sites.

Even so, for most of the day, scores were not displayed on table 2 at all. This made it extremely difficult for the snooker.org team to provide their usual service to the fans. It was a nightmare.

With just two tables, and no crowds, the qualifiers environment is absolutely soul destroying. It’s dark, lonely and lifeless. Before it all started, one player had told me that they were allowed to bring one companion at the venue and that this person would not be allowed to sit in the arena to watch their match. Really? With only two tables in use that would have been at most 4 spectators in the whole arena. You have to wonder why such drastic restrictions are imposed on the players when only the night before a full house of spectators was allowed to watch the British Open final at the same venue.

Come on WST/WPBSA, this is not right. Yes, it’s their job. It’s a difficult enough job as it is, it should not be made worse by depressing surroundings and unecessary isolation.

Don’t be surprised if we have “shocks” here or if top players shun events if they are required to qualify in such conditions.

The only “light” on the day for me was to see Jan Verhaas at the table, a rarity in recent times.