Zhao Xintong and Noppon Saengkham were probably the favourites to emerge from their groups ahead of yesterday’s matches and, whilst Zhao eased through Group 4, Noppon’s hopes to make it to the final week were dashed by the birthday boy … Anthony Hamilton who topped Group 31.
Happy 51 Anthony!
Zhao And Hamilton Progress
Zhao Xintong and Anthony Hamilton progressed to Winners’ Week after the second day of play at the BetVictor Championship League Snooker in Leicester
Zhao started the day off in a rampant fashion as he defeated Michael Holt in a 3-1 win which included a century run of 105. The Cyclone followed that up with a 45-minute demolition of Adam Duffy.
Hammad Miah was Zhao’s main opposition for the place in the next stage. After drawing with Duffy, he scored a 3-1 defeat of Holt. That set up a deciding tie with Zhao in the last round of matches.
UK Champion Zhao only required a point, but he eased to a 3-0 win to secure his place in the next round in impressive fashion.
Zhao said: “I want to be better than last year and I want to do my best. I will try as hard as I can to win the matches and the tournament. The idea of aiming to become world number one in the future sounds good. Hopefully I can do it.”
Over on table two the decisive tie was more tightly contested. Noppon Saengkham started off brightly with a 3-0 win over Steven Hallworth. The Thai cueist went on to add a second win of the day with a 3-1 defeat of Ashley Hugill, which included a high break of 90. Hamilton meanwhile had to settle for a point against Hugill, before whitewashing Hallworth. That meant only a win against Saengkham would keep his tournament hopes alive.
Former German Masters winner Hamilton came out the blocks quickly against Saengkham, with a classy clearance of 130 to lead 1-0. Saengkham got his first on the board in the second, but Hamilton took the next and then fired in a break of 114 in the last to seal a win and his spot in the next stage.
2022 BetVictor Championship League Snooker continues tomorrow with previous winner Kyren Wilson in action on Table 1 in Group 6 live on FreeSports and Matchroom.Live in the UK and networks worldwide with Zhang Anda, Michael Judge, and Luke Simmonds whilst Tom Ford leads Group 26 with Chris Wakelin, Ian Burns and Anton Kazakov live on the Matchroom Multi Sport YouTube for free. See where to watch here.
Here is the table as linked above
Shaun Murphy was in commentary for most of the day and, with Phil Yates, reflected on a few interesting points.
- Michael Holt is almost unrecognizable as a player. He seems to have been stripped of any sort of confidence and his shot selection was “erratic” yesterday, as – from what I heard – it had been during the Q-School. The commentators reflected that winning the Shoot Out was probably a “curse in disguise” (my wording) as it gave him a false sense of security and when the associated ranking points came off, he wasn’t really prepared for it. It was a shock. Of course, it was predictable, Michael “knew” that this was coming but he probably didn’t really understand how brutal the “fall” would be … until it happened. And, IMO, the same happened to Michael Georgiou. as well.
- Whilst commenting on Hammad Miah, who played some good stuff in patches, Shaun Murphy and Phil Yates reflected on the importance and history of the “recovery blue”. Here is their discussion summarised by Phil Haigh:
Ronnie O’Sullivan ‘changed the game’ of snooker with one shot, says Shaun Murphy
Ronnie O’Sullivan ‘changed the game’ of snooker early in his career by taking on a shot that few players did then, but now every professional practices regularly, believes Shaun Murphy.
Sometimes called a ‘recovery blue’ because a player has strayed from ideal position, the shot in question sees the blue potted to a baulk corner pocket.
It is a common shot in the modern game, but did not used to be, as Phil Yates explained on commentary during the Championship League on FreeSports, saying: ‘One aspect of the game that has vastly improved is the recovery blue.
‘So many players knock it in now as if it’s simple, but we all know it’s a real examination of cueing.’
Former world champion Murphy explained that it was the Rocket that turned the shot from a rarity into standard practice 30 years ago.
‘It was O’Sullivan, really, that started it in the early 90s,’ said the Magician. ‘He was the one that first, if he finished near the pink spot somewhere, he’d just get down and pot the blue.
Of course, Shaun, being younger than Ronnie, can’t have witnessed him playing that shot in Norbreck Castle in 1992, but Phil Yates was there and he remembers it vividly.
Today my attention will be on Anton Kazakov. He’s in a hard group. Group 26 doesn’t feature any top 16 player but Tom Ford, Chris Wakelin and Ian Burns are all very good solid players. Tom is a ferocious scorer when on form, Ian is an expecienced “hard match player” and Chris can “mix” it. . Anton will certainly learn from the experience. Hopefully he will also enjoy it and show us what he’s capable of.