2021 Scottish Open Qualifiers – Day 3

Here is WST report on what happened yesterday in Barnsley:

Boiko Off The Mark

Iulian Boiko scored his first win of the season with a 4-2 victory over Louis Heathcote to qualify for the final stages of the BetVictor Scottish Open.

Ukraine’s 16-year-old Boiko turned pro last season and is currently ranked 104th so faces a battle to keep his tour card, but showed his potential today with a fine display in Barnsley.

A break of 74 in frame four put Boiko 3-1 ahead, then he lost a tight fifth frame on the black. The teenager then came from 65-0 down to win frame six, clinching it with a 33 clearance to secure his place in the televised stages in Llandudno in December.

Robbie Williams top scored with 130 in a 4-2 win over Soheil Vahedi, while Sunny Akani made a 98 in a 4-0 defeat of Lukas Kleckers.

China’s Wu Yize saw off Kurt Maflin 4-2 with breaks of 76, 68, 53 and 50. Hossein Vafaei closed with a run of 68 as he beat Fan Zhengyi 4-2, while amateur Sanderson Lam edged out Jamie Clarke 4-3 with a 58 clearance in the decider.

First of all once again two matches are “absent” from the report.

Xu Si beat Lu Ning by 4-1 in the morning. It wasn’t “high scoring” scoring but it was a very solid professional performance from Xu.

Li Hang beat Nigel Bond by 4-0, Nigel had a 61 break in the first frame but still lost it. After that it was pretty much one-way traffic. Li finished with a 58 and a 92.

Also not mentioned in the above report is the fact that Fan Zhengyi was docked the first frame for being late. Fan found himself 3-0 down despite scoring a break of 50 in frame 3. He really made a figth of it: he came back to 3-2 with breaks of 133 and 65, before Hossein put the match to bed with a good 68.

Iulian Boiko should have won his match by 4-1, his opponent needed snookers in frame 5. Iulian’s inexperience showed during the conclusion of that frame: his shot selection during the battle on the colours was not the best and Louis Heathcote dug down, got the snookers he needed and won the frame.  What happened in that frame is an example of  what Ronnie means when he says that the youngsters can’t play professionally: they rely mainly on their potting power, which is enough at amateur level, but they struggle with situations like this one. It’s not their fault, they turn pro without much experience of these situations. When Ronnie was 10-15 years old, the amateur game in the UK was very strong. Until the game “opened” in 1991, the likes of Ken Doherty and Peter Ebdon were “amateurs” and the talented kids, notably the class of 92, had opportunities to play such opponents nearly every week. They learned a lot from them. The kids coming through nowadays don’t have many such opportunities. Now … end of digression… what really impressed me is how Iulian won the sixth frame. Louis looked set to win that frame, he built a substantial lead and Iulian looked dispirited in his chair. But given the opportunity, he stepped up to the plate: he needed a snooker, got it, and held his nerves to clear and clinch victory. Well done!


4 thoughts on “2021 Scottish Open Qualifiers – Day 3

  1. I was happy for Boiko, because it must be terrible to be so young, to be on the tour and get no results. But isn’t Louis Heathcote the one whom Ronnie named as an exception from his negative view considering young players? Because he is not doing that well either (understatement).

    And Lewis is right about match times. It is quite irritating to find that a match has started way before the announced time.

    • Louis Heathcote did very well in his first season, winning 19 matches and reaching the last qualifying stage for the Crucible. He won 10 of his 17 first matches in tournaments. His second season wasn’t as good. That happens often because there is the additional pressure of keeping the tour card. So your “understatement” is not on. He’s been by far one of the best newcomers on the tour. Iulian Boiko is too young. He’s in his second season and only turned 16 last week. This simply isn’t right and it’s even harder for non UK players who face all sorts of additional difficulties. I hope he gets more results this season and that he isn’t “destroyed” by the system the way some others, also too young. have been. As for the matches, yes, it can be irritating. On the other hand, if both players are ready and wanting to play, why make them wait? These are qualifiers, and only streamed, not actually televised. If you miss the start you can still watch it entirely, at least you can on the ES player.

      • Oh, so Louis Heathcote’s performance started to fall since i started paying attention to him… Oh jinx… 🙂

        Yeah, agree that there is no need to make the players wait, and good that these matches are at least streamed, though they are practically first round matches held in some remote place with no audience… 🙂

  2. In fact, Boiko’s win was very similar to Wu’s. They should have won more easily, but failed to close out the match. Fortunately they got another chance, but it won’t always be that way. It’s also worth remembering that Heathcote is also quite inexperienced, although considerably older than Boiko…

    The Vafaei-Fan match started at 10am, so I assume Fan’s docked frame must have been for not arriving sufficently early or meeting at the right place. The starting times for these matches have puzzled me – often matches seem to start earlier than the advertised times. Anyway, Fan played well. For the first time he decided to score a century break, after numerous deliberate misses. He showed that he is a very talented boy who has lost his way emotionally. He really shouldn’t have won his junior world title (his opponent choked in the final), and would have been much better served staying in Shenzhen with Roger Leighton until a bit older, such as with Pang Junxu. But Hossein Vafaei also played well, although went for many high-risk shots.

    Despite his chronic health problems, Sunny Akani has managed to win both qualifier matches easily.

    Overall, it was a decent day for the young players.

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