2022 Welsh Open Qualifiers – Day 1

The 2022 Welsh Open qualifiers started yesterday with just 6 matches, three sessions, 2 tables. There are no spectators, just four chairs, two for each player’s companions. It looks pretty depressing I must say … probably bringing memories of the Pontin’s cublicles to those who where around back then.

The only plus side is that all matches can be watched on stream.

Here is WST report on yesterday’s matches:

Stevens Books Newport Spot

Home favourite Matthew Stevens secured his place in the last 64 of the BetVictor Welsh Open as he fired four breaks over 50 in a 4-1 win over Joe O’Connor.

The qualifying round runs throughout this week in Wolverhampton, with players needing to win one match to book a place at the final stages at ICC Wales in Newport. The top 16 seeds are seeded through to the final stages which run from February 28 to March 6.

Former UK and Masters champion Stevens lost the opening frame against O’Connor but battled back to win four in a row with runs of 53, 96, 62 and 66.

In-form Jimmy Robertson, semi-finalist at last week’s Cazoo Players Championship, kept his moment going with a hard-fought 4-3 win over Peter Devlin. From 2-0 down, Robertson hit back to take four of the next five frames with top breaks of 57 and 53.

Welshman Jamie Clarke top scored with 99 in a 4-2 defeat of Farakh Ajaib, while Mark Joyce saw off Jackson Page 4-1 with a best break of 76.

Jimmy Robertson looked anything but in-form in yesterday’s match. It was a terrible match for most of it. I suppose that going from playing a semi-final in the Players Championship, an elite tournament, to playing qualifiers these cubicles isn’t exactly thrilling. Peter Devlin, playing as an amateur was always very easy on the eye, but all the fluency and confidence seem to have deserted him. This match was quite depressing to watch.

In the evening, Mark Joyce beat Jackson Page easily. Again, the Jackson Page I saw at the table yesterday had little in common with the young lad who thrilled us playing as a wilcard in his home tournament five years ago. It’s sad.

Really there should be no qualifiers, even if that means events go for 9 or 10 days.

10 thoughts on “2022 Welsh Open Qualifiers – Day 1

  1. Agree with you fully Monique.

    The 2 Table Set Up for Qualifiers is far from glamorous for our World Class Professionals and hardly makes any of the Pros feel like they are a World Class Snooker Player – you know – one of the Top 128 Snooker Players in the World.

    The Top 16 are spared from these lower graded qualifying surroundings enjoying Main Venue competition, which in itself does not fit in with the Flat Draw / Equal Fair Play ethos.

    I know we’re coming out of a pandemic but still, like Darts, all of our World Class Snooker athletes deserve better in my humble opinion – if only to be given motivating and inspiring surroundings that make them feel like one of the Worlds Top 128 Players in our great game.

    Hope that doesn’t sound too harsh but I really think all WST Pros deserve more than they are getting at the current time. Sorry.

    • You know I agree Stephen. And I don’t think that the flat draw helps players’ development. Not the way it is implemented. It’s far too brutal. Until Yan and Zhao emergence ALL the top players had “grown” through the tiered system, even Judd Trump. And I’m convinced that Yan and Zhao wouldn’t be where they are if they weren’t supported by the excellent “structure” offered by Victoria’s academy.

  2. I thought this was a Ronnie blog. I think it would be a good editorial decision to write about Ronnie (he just broke up with his gf) rather than the superbly exciting Welsh qualifiers

    • This is a snooker blog, and even when it’s mainly about Ronnie – when he plays – it’s about mainly his snooker, and what he chooses to share, not his private life especially when Laila has said nothing about the reasons for their decision and Ronnie has said nothing at all.

      • I like Ronnie, he is the player I watched 15-20 years ago that got me interested in snooker. But I’m here for the snooker, not for Ronnie. Keep up the excellent work, Monique!

      • Fan website as opposed to official website and definitely no “yellow press” stuff here. Laila was dignified in her announcement of the end of their relationship. No big drama, no hate. Ronnie has stayed silent. The tabloids have tried to make a story of nothing by unearthing some years old second hand dirty stuff. I’m NOT going that route. If you want to read that you’ll have to buy those rags.

  3. I wonder what will happen when – if ever – they reinstate the Chinese tournaments: there won’t be so many free weeks for qualifiers on two tables only.

  4. Yes they wrecked the tournaments with these qualifiers. I really used to love going to the Home Nations events where all 128 players started out in the same venue, and there were 6+ tables to enjoy. In 2019-20 I travelled to the English Open, Scottish Open and Welsh Open. I’d have gone to Belfast but for work commitments.

    Apparently, some top players didn’t like the venues (e.g. Crawley), and didn’t want the players’ lounge to be full of lower-ranked players. WST have obeyed. I had thought it was a covid measure, but it will continue this way next season, and probably forever, unless they move to best-of-5 matches.

    • To be fair Lewis, I can understand why the top players don’t like it. It’s not so much the lower ranked players themselves but more often who comes there with them . The top players are there to play their match, they want peace, they want to concentrate. I have seen it with my own eyes only too often, how people who are in the players lounge as companions or family of a player – usually a lower ranked one – see the opportunity to try and chat or ask for autographs and selfies to the top boys. That’s not on.

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