The 2022 European Masters Qualifiers – Day 1

We are taking a break from the Championship League Snooker as we turn our attentiom towards the 2022 European Masters qualifiers, and it’s a nice change. Best of 9 matches have a differenr feel.

Here is WST report on what happened yesterday:

Williams Through With Superb Clearance

Mark Williams snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with a brilliant clearance in the deciding frame to beat Liam Highfield 5-4 in the qualifying round of the BetVictor European Masters.

Three-time Crucible king Williams admits he had a poor record in deciders last season, but this time he rose to the challenge to avoid a surprise defeat against world number 39 Highfield. Welshman Williams goes through to the final stages in Furth, Germany, next month and will face Louis Heathcote or Sanderson Lam in the last 64.

In a high scoring contest, Williams made a break of 105 in frame four, while Highfield knocked in runs of 99 and 100 in taking a 4-2 lead. World number seven Williams hit back with 56 and 94 for 4-4. Highfield had two chances in the decider but ran out of position on 41 then missed a red to top corner when he led 61-0. The five remaining reds were awkwardly placed for Williams but he picked them off then cleared the colours in a break of 62 to win by a single point.

Tour rookie Oliver Brown knocked out six-time ranking event winner Stephen Maguire by a 5-4 scoreline. Maguire made 107 and 105 to go 4-3 ahead, but Brown made a 57 for 4-4 then got the better of a scrappy decider.

Another promising rookie, Dylan Emery, gave more evidence of his potential in a 5-1 win over Peng Yisong, compiling runs of 79, 84 and 80.

Dominic Dale came from 3-2 down to beat Joe Perry 5-3, making breaks of 50, 65 and 50 in the last three frames. Yan Bingtao recovered a 2-0 deficit to beat Pang Junxu 5-2, firing breaks of 83, 96 and 74. Kyren Wilson top scored with 100 in a 5-2 defeat of Stephen Craigie.

Mark Williams clearance was indeed sensational but you have to feel for Liam Highfield. He played a very good match and he will get nothing for his efforts at all. He wasn’t “mediocre” at all, far from it. The match was streamed and I’m certain that a lot of fans enjoyed it. It would only be right for him to get something out of it, that it doest cost him to do his job and do it well.

Yan Bingtao is a bit of a “diesel engine”. Sometimes he needs time to get going … like yesterday. Once he found his game there was only one winner.

I also watched the Wu Yize v Jenson Kendrick match and I enjoyed it. Two talented young players going for their shots, playing at a nice pace and  showing some decent tactical nous when needed. Wu has one year on tour under his belt and that experience was telling at crucial moments of the match but Jenson really impressed me. Unlike some other young players(*), he didn’t throw his cue at everything.

(*) some of them have been on tour for two years or more and haven’t learned a thing from the countless defeats they faced.