Nine players won three matches out of three in the qualifying rounds for the BetVictor Northern Ireland Open, BetVictor English Open and BetVictor Scottish Open.
They will be looking forward to a trio of appearances at the BetVictor Home Nations series events over the coming weeks. The nine with a perfect record (world ranking in brackets) are:
David Gilbert (18)
Martin Gould (23)
Tom Ford (24)
Xiao Guodong (32)
Sunny Akani (56)
Chris Wakelin (61)
Oliver Lines (69)
Fergal O’Brien (77)
Xu Si (98)
A further ten players won two out of two matches, with their third held over to the main event:
Gary Wilson (28)
Hossein Vafaei (40)
Luca Brecel (44)
Martin O’Donnell (46)
Jimmy Robertson (48)
Ben Woollaston (52)
Mark King (59)
Steven Hallworth (70)
Allan Taylor (75)
Duane Jones (93)
Across the three events, 63% of matches were won by the higher ranked player. The BetVictor English Open will feature 47 of the world’s top 64 players, while the BetVictor Northern Ireland Open and BetVictor Scottish Open will include 46 apiece.
Highest break of the qualifiers was a 147 from Xiao Guodong in the third of his three wins. That was his first maximum break and the first by a Chinese player since Zhou Yuelong at last season’s Scottish Open.
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh’s 139 and Wakelin’s 137 were the highest breaks in the English and Northern Ireland rounds respectively.
There was notable success for amateur players as six overcame pros to qualify, including Cypriot Michael Georgiou and James Cahill, who won two matches each.
Remarkable results for Xu Si, the lowest ranked player to win all three qualifying matches, and Sunny Akani whose practice has been minimal due to suffering from long covid.
Snooker’s Back In Belfast – ‘Sensational’ Atmosphere Expected!
Snooker’s BetVictor Northern Ireland Open will be among the first sporting events to take place in Belfast without social distancing, and fans are expected to pack the Waterfront Hall to see the world’s greatest stars.
Following the announcement this week that social distancing is no longer required in Northern Ireland in certain indoor settings, WST can confirm that the snooker event which runs from October 9 to 17 in central Belfast CAN go ahead with capacity crowds.
The field will be loaded with the best players on the planet including Judd Trump, Ronnie O’Sullivan, John Higgins, Mark Selby, Neil Robertson, home favourite Mark Allen and many more.
“The atmosphere inside the Waterfront Hall when the top stars walk into the arena is going to be absolutely sensational,” said a WST spokesman. “We are thrilled by the decision to allow our event to go ahead without social distancing because fans have been starved of these major sporting events for a long time and there is a huge appetite to return and enjoy the excitement that live sport can offer.
“Now that this news has been confirmed, many sessions are expected to sell out fast so tickets must be booked quickly. The Waterfront is one of the most popular venues on the circuit for the players, we know how much people in Northern Ireland love snooker.
“Fans can be reassured that, based on the government guidelines, all necessary measures will be taken to minimise the risk of virus transmission. We have successfully staged over 30 snooker events since the start of the pandemic and proved our ability to keep public safety as the highest priority.
“This is an opportunity to see all of the best players during snooker’s golden age, when the standard of play and level of entertainment is higher than ever.”
Here’s all the key information for ticket holders:
- You will not be required to socially distance, however please keep face to face contact to a minimum at all times.
- You will need to wear a face covering throughout your time inside the venue, unless eating or drinking.
- All ticket holders aged 18 and over, will need to provide one of the following:
- Proof of full vaccination – both doses received (a full 14 days must have passed since the final dose of COVID-19 vaccine was received)
- Proof of a negative Lateral Flow Test taken no more than 24 hours prior to attending the event
- Proof of natural immunity shown by a positive PCR test result for COVID-19, lasting for 180 days after the date of the positive test and following completion of the self-isolation period
All ticket holders will be required to complete this COVID Status Check on arrival at the venue.
Please CLICK HERE for all relevant information.
The BetVictor Northern Ireland Open will feature over 70 players battling for the famous Alex Higgins Trophy. Trump is aiming to win the title for a fourth consecutive year – remarkably he has beaten O’Sullivan 9-7 in each of the last three finals.
The opening Sunday of the tournament, October 10th, features no fewer than 13 of the world’s top 16 players, the ultimate Snooker Super Sunday!
Local players Mark Allen, Jordan Brown and young amateurs Robbie McGuigan and Christopher Clifford are also in the line-up. For the first round match schedule click here.
The BetVictor Northern Ireland Open is the first of the season’s BetVictor Home Nations series and will be televised by Eurosport and a range of broadcasters worldwide.
No social distancing, but masks on and proof of vaccination, long lasting immunity or negative test. Glad to see they are not throwing caution to the wind.