2022 World Championship Qualifiers – Day 7

The third round od the World qualifiers is well underway and this is WST report on day 7 at the EIS:

Danger Man Gilbert Downs McLeod

David Gilbert warned prospective opponents that he will be someone to avoid in the draw if he reaches the Crucible, after beating Rory McLeod 6-1 to make the final round of Betfred World Championship qualifying in Sheffield.

Former World Championship semi-finalist Gilbert earned his maiden ranking silverware earlier in the season at the Championship League. However, since then he hasn’t been beyond the quarter-finals of a ranking event.

The Tamworth cueman’s last appearance on the circuit was a first round loss at the Welsh Open just under a month ago. He withdrew from the recent Gibraltar Open and lost in qualifying for the Turkish Masters. Despite being short on match practice, Gilbert believes his game is close to where he wants it to be.

Gilbert composed breaks of 91, 101 and 51 on his way to this afternoon’s win. Next up he faces Anthony Hamilton, who scored a 6-2 defeat of Elliot Slessor to reach Judgement Day.

Following this evening’s match Gilbert admitted that opening his new club, Potters Snooker and Pool in Swadlincote, has given him fresh motivation.

Gilbert said: “I’m 40 years old now, so I don’t love it all of the time. I find it hard sometimes to get up for it. I am somebody who has to put the work in and if I don’t do that I won’t be any good. Since I have had this club in Swadlincote, I am really enjoying it again. Of course I want to get to the Crucible, I don’t want to play that down. I am desperate to get there like any other player.

I feel like I put something together in the first four frames. I felt like my game was pretty close. I just need matches. I’ve only got to win ten frames in the next round. It isn’t about looking pretty, it is about getting through. I feel like I’d be a qualifier that seeds want to avoid.

Chris Wakelin is through to the final round for the third time in his career, after beating European Masters champion Fan Zhengyi 6-5.

Wakelin has a 100% Judgement Day record, having reached the Crucible last year and in 2018. He is yet to win a match at the Theatre of Dreams and will be keen to qualify and put that right this time around. He faces Jimmy Robertson up next, who beat Oliver Lines 6-4.

Tom Ford defeated Michael Holt 6-3 in a result which leaves the former Shoot Out winner on the verge of relegation from the circuit.

Ford plays Jamie Jones for a Crucible place, while Holt faces a likely trip to Q School in order to maintain his professional status.

I’ll go to Q School. While I’m capable of playing at the level I can, it would be silly not to play. I have to contemplate the fact that I might not be on the tour next year if I don’t get through,” said Holt, who first turned professional in 1996.

It is what it is. The world will keep spinning. It is disappointing, because I’ve put a lot of work in. I’ve not showed myself. I’m better than that and my level is better. That is sport though, if you lose then you go backwards. I will always keep playing though.

Recent Turkish Masters runner-up Matthew Selt secured a late night 6-5 win over Germany’s Lukas Kleckers. The result books Selt a clash with Thepchaiya Un-Nooh with a Crucible spot on the line, while Kleckers loses his professional status.

Thailand’s Un-Nooh beat Jak Jones 6-5 to reach the final round and ensure he won’t be relegated from the tour. However, Kurt Maflin has lost his professional status after a 6-1 defeat to David Lilley.

Next up for Lilley is a meeting with 14-time ranking event winner Ding Junhui, who beat Tian Pengfei 6-4.

The Chinese superstar has been forced to qualify after suffering a surprise slump to 29th in the world rankings. However, the last time he had to qualify he went on to be runner-up to Mark Selby in the 2016 World Championship.

Here is Ding’s interview post-match:

Ding admits that players like Yan Bingtao and Zhao Xintong succeeding both motivates him to try harder and partially frees him from the pressure of expectations he had to cope with since he was 18.

The Wakelin v Fan match was interesting as it was a bit of a clash of styles.  The Jimmy Robertson v Oli Lines match was also entertaining, full of twist, turns and comebacks.



6 thoughts on “2022 World Championship Qualifiers – Day 7

  1. Sad to see some good professionals (and likeable people) lose their tickets.

    Also several points that need to be highlighted:

    1. We really need a proper global circuit. That means qualifiers, as well as tournaments, held overseas. A sensible mix (judging by current interest in the game) would be China, Iran, Thailand, Germany, and maybe somewhere in the Americas. It’s not right that excellent players from overseas are denied a fair chance to excel.

    This is a longstanding feature of snooker history. Australia, Canada, and South Africa were snooker powerhouses in the mid-1970s, and are now anything but (with the brilliant exception of Neil Robertson). Do we want to lose Thailand and Iran as well? It’s ludicrous that a brilliant player like Sunny Akani is being relegated – or that Thepchaiya is anywhere near the drop zone.

    2. We need tiered tournaments. The right to stay on tour depends too much on chance and on forfeits, as lower-ranked players are typically pitted against top players rather than against each other. Also, how can you progress if you’re always playing people who are just too good? Better to develop your skills against people who are at roughly your level.

    3. 11-frame matches aren’t really World Championship matches.

    4. Prize money should be more evenly allocated. There’s plenty to go around. Being a professional is an achievement in itself. Why shouldn’t first-round losers get a reasonable payment? This would allow people without massive money behind them to commit to the game – and would raise standards as well as fairness.

    5. Should rankings be based only on prize money? At the moment, survival on tour depends really heavily on your form in the World Championship qualifiers – a week in April.

    Sorry – fuss over.

    • Its not fuss at all Athar, it’s perfectly sensible stuff, and I agree 100% with your comments here and have advocated for the same things many times in this blog over the years.

  2. Yes, Fan was spectacular, but a few things didn’t work out. He should learn how to reign in and control matches.

    Again, there were a few upsets, possibly caused by top-48 players being under pressure in their first match. I’m sure I have seen about 10 matches that would have been completely different if they were best-of-19.

    The ranking situation is now almost confirmed. Tian Pengfei will have been very relieved to see Maflin losing on the other table, as that effectively keeps him on tour. The remaining place depends on Cao Yupeng’s progress: if he wins, the he gets into the top-64 and Carrington will drop down. Dave Lilley’s win, however, should get him a place at the expense of Gao Yang, relegated by £500. Gao is still in the tournament, but faces Ali Carter today.

    • I have seen this too. Lewis who is (or was) on-site also reflected that it was weird that 2 of the tables were turned with the black spot towards the crowd.

      • Yes, I spoke to a few players about exactly that issue. It’s compounded by the location of the seating, and the entrances at the front. It’s a big distraction for the players.

        Interestingly, there is actually a 5th table, next to Table 4, which was unused. There were some slow matches which could have used it. Obviously there is a strict limit, perhaps related to the streaming contract

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