David Gilbert and David Lilley were the winners yesterday. Here is WST report:
Gilbert And Lilley Make Stage Two
David Gilbert and David Lilley became the penultimate names into the second stage of BetVictor Championship League Snooker at the Morningside Arena in Leicester.
Gilbert came out of the blocks quickly wrapping up his opening match 3-1 against Sanderson Lam. The Angry Farmer’s closest rival came in the form of Liam Highfield. He started out strongly with victories over Jamie Wilson and a Lam to move to two wins from two and top at the interval.
The evening session started much like the afternoon with Gilbert completing his second win of the day, this time against Wilson, 3-0. The result meaning it would come down to a final match decider between Gilbert and Highfield to top Group 30. Gilbert’s quality shone through in the end against Highfield with a comfortable 3-0 win.
Gilbert said: “I’d love to get back in that top 16. It meant a lot to me. It’s going to be tough because the gaps are so big now with that COVID has done to the rankings, obviously all the money we’ve lost in China and things. It’s going to be really difficult. Every match counts, last season I was very sloppy from the off so I didn’t play well today but I’m not bothered at all. I’m happy to be through, they all count.”
Lilley much like Gilbert had to wait until the final match of the day to seal his fate but it wasn’t quite as easy. The World Seniors champion started the day with a 2-2 draw against Zhao Xintong, whilst Joe O’Connor drew with Andy Hicks meaning matters were wide open.
The first three points fell to Zhao who moved top after the afternoon session overcoming Hicks. Lilley started the evening with a comprehensive 3-0 win over O’Connor which took him top of the group on frame difference.
Zhao’s hopes took a blow in the following match though as O’Connor put in a steely clearance of 116 to finish the day on four points and leave Zhao sweating on the result of the last match.
That last match is where Lilley knew just one frame against Hicks would secure victory on frame difference whilst Hicks knew a win could see a route to the next stage. It was Lilley who held his nerve to come through a 3-1 victor.
Gilbert joins Group G on Monday, 9 August with Ronnie O’Sullivan, Chang Bingyu, and Craig Steadman. Meanwhile, Lilley joins Noppon Saengkham, Mark Davis, and Bai Langning in Group C on Wednesday, 11 August.
David Gilbert didn’t play well. During his match against Jamie Wilson he made enough mistakes to fill a whole season and still won by 3-0. Gilbert will know that.
What I wonder is if Jamie Wilson will know that. Because, let’s be blunt, Jamie was useless yesterday, and I’m being kind. He has won only three “telling” matches all of last season, earning ￡4500. In three months, he will be close to turning 18, the age Ronnie was when he beat Hendry, then firmly in his pomp, by 9-6, to win the UK Championship, a major, where all matches were multi-session. Yesterday, the commentators reflected that Jamie was taking shots that were overly risky, the kind of shots they said that do work at amateur level, as you may get away with them should you miss, but are not the right shots in the professional context. They added that Jamie was still very young with time to learn. This is true, but I still find it worrying that after a full year as a pro he has apparently no learnt it and his body language wasn’t great either. This is the guy who wanted to make Ronnie “eat his words”. IMO he should have a good hard look at the state of his own game instead and admit that Ronnie is right in his assesment, although this assesment only covers a tiny part of the real issue. Accepting the truth may not be easy, but it’s always useful because delusion will get you nowhere. To stand any chance to correct a problem, you need to accept and undertand that there IS a problem, and what it is.
I’ll say it again: there are many reasons why most young players don’t get through: the brutal and overly top-heavy system currently in place being a main issues, the decline of the amateur circuit being another one. However, I believe that there is also a problem with the mindset of many young players who tend to believe that earning a tour card means that they “have made it”. This is so far from the reality. The reality is that, from that moment on, they will have to step up many gears to get to the pro level, whilst facing a system that isn’t helping them at all. The reality is that they will have to work very hard, often for very little, and they will have to change. They will have to change the way they play, and they will need to be pepared for disappointments and frustration. Often, by the time they understand this, if they ever do, a lot of damage has been done to their confidence and to there mental health. To think about that knowing that they are the future of the sport we love is worrying.