Yesterday was the last day of stage two and here is WST report:
Ford And Allen Into Finals Day
Tom Ford and Mark Allen progressed to the Final Day of BetVictor Championship League Snooker at the Morningside Arena, Leicester.
Ford had to come through a group of Judd Trump, Jimmy Robertson, and Stuart Carrington to book his place in Group 1 on the final day.
The Leicester cueist started off in the worst possible fashion with defeat against Carrington but from that point onwards he didn’t lose a frame on home territory, going on to resoundingly beat Roberton 3-0 in the following match.
Trump meanwhile had started his day with a draw against Robertson having gone two nil up meaning it kept the group-wide open at the interval having only played one match.
The evening began with Trump taking all three points against Carrington 3-0, setting up a final match decider against Ford knowing a point would do as long as his high break of 128 held out.
Ford started the quicker of the two with the opening frame with a brilliant clearance of 124 and he quickly followed that in the second with a break of 77. That frame meant it was only one more for victory, and Ford soon wrapped up a 3-0 success.
Ford said: “The thing that was going through my head is what am I going to do to get childcare! It’s weird being in Leicester. You can’t get yourself up for a proper match. You can’t have the routines. I woke up this morning and I am getting my little boy ready to go to my mum’s and then all of a sudden I am going off to play a snooker match.
“It’s going to be a tough one tomorrow, I played well today. The first group I played awfully, and I just scraped through on the last match. Today, I played awful in the first match but then I started to get down and play quick.
“It’d be great to get into the Champion of Champions, I’ve never played in it before. It’d be good to get a ranking title under my belt.”
Allen is the reigning Champion of Champions, and he showed the form that won him that title on the final day of the second stage of BetVictor Championship League Snooker. The Northern Irishman started the day imperiously with a 3-0 win over Fergal O’Brien, starting with a break of 115.
He continued the strong showing in his next match against Peter Lines who he dispatched 3-1 meaning he went top of the group going into the evening session.
The closest competitor for Allen came in the form of an inspired Ricky Walden who hadn’t played competitively since the opening day of the tournament. Walden had begun strongly with two wins making it a group decider with Allen for a spot in finals day.
It was a procession in the end for Allen, beating Walden 3-0 with a break of 110 in the final frame to mark his 500th century in the paid ranks.
Allen said: “It is going to be a very tough group on Finals’ Day, you expect nothing less. It’s going to be tough, but I didn’t expect anything but that.
“It would mean a lot to win it, it still means you’ve started the season well and you’re full of confidence going into the bigger ones.
“You need to build. You can’t play well all year round. You have to try and peak at the right times, and that’s hard to do, but if you can build confidence slowly as the season progresses.”
On making 500 centuries he added: “It was on my mind because my dad has been at me all the time about it before I played in group 1 He told me he wanted five centuries and I only made three that day, he will be chuffed I have made it to 500.”
What this report doesn’t say, but Tom Ford said it in his post-match, is that table one is rolling off badly and anything that’s played “softly” is more or less doomed. That’s not helping the touch players and it’s also hard to understand how this was not fixed as it’s been that way from day 1, nearly four weeks ago. Tom said that he just decided to “not think about it” and go for his shots. It paid off.
Another thing that I found painful yesterday was Phil Yates commentary. Phil is extremely knowledgeable about the game but when one of his favourites plays, he can be both overly lyrical and biased. It was like that when Hendry played in the days, and now it’s like that when Judd Trump plays.
From the poster boys, only the defending champion, Kyren Wilson made it to the final day, today.
My predictions about stage two were reasonably correct.
On table one today, I think that it will be between Kyren Wilson and Mark Allen. Mark Allen played the best snooker in this competition so far, but Kyren is nicknamed “the warrior” for a reason and he’s the defending champion.
Things are less clear on table two. Cao Yupeng once again could be the dark horse if his temperament doesn’t let him down.