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.
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.