Bingham And Vafaei Reach Winners’ Week
Stuart Bingham and Hossein Vafaei booked their winners’ week sports, topping Group 11 and 14 respectively, at the BetVictor Championship League Snooker in Leicester.
Things didn’t go to plan for the top seeded Bingham in the opening match, who found himself on the receiving end of a 3-0 Peter Devlin whitewash.
Bingham rectified those wrongs by handing out a whitewash of his own to Peter Lines in his next match, breaks of 65 and 55 were enough to secure his first three points of the group.
The snooker gods were on the 2015 world champion’s side as all other matches in his group ended in draws, meaning victory in Bingham’s final match against Cao Yupeng would earn him a place in winners’ week.
At 2-0 Bingham looked to be cruising to his second whitewash victory of the day, but a routine green rattled the jaws of the pocket, allowing Cao to get back to the table and steal the third with a breaks of 38 and 25.
Clearly stinging from his prior mistake, Ball Run composed himself in the deciding frame and secured victory with a 56 break to top Group 11.
Speaking with Phil Yates afterwards, he said: “That was hard work today, I didn’t get off to a good start against Peter Devlin, but credit to him he played well.
“I gave myself a stern talking to, took myself out the venue and tried to calm myself down, it worked as I ended up producing some good snooker in the end.
“I never make things easy [missing the green], I had one similar in the final frame that I made sure of making. It’s all a learning curve at this point in the season.”
Vafaei, fresh off the back of making his first career maximum break in BetVictor European Masters qualifying, started the group in strong fashion by beating Australia’s Ryan Thomerson 3-0 with breaks of 55 and 70.
The Iranian star then followed that up with another comprehensive 3-0 victory over Hong Kong’s Ng Ong Yee with breaks of 48 and 69 to set up a group decider against China’s Tian Pengfei. Vafaei only needed a draw to top the group.
Pengfei started in fine form, and led Vafaei 2-0 with breaks of 30 and 39. The reigning Shoot Out champion came out firing and secured the point needed, a crucial snooker in the third frame was key in his quest for group-topping glory. He went on to take the two frames he required.
Group 2 headlines Table 1 on Tuesday, 19 July live on FreeSports, DAZN, Viaplay, and Matchroom.Live with Judd Trump, Jamie Clarke, Sean O’Sullivan, and Yisong Peng with Group 7 live on YouTube from midday with Shaun Murphy, Liam Highfield, Xu Si, and Ben Mertens.
And the table
Peter Devlin played very well in the afternoon session. He was invited “last minute”, he hadn’t practiced, he had been on holidays when called, he had no expectations. Everything was a bonus. But that changed going into his last match, knowing that awin would see him top the group and go to the next stage. Tension crept in, and with it, mistakes. Credit to Peter, having lost the first two frames he regained his focus and secured a draw. It wasn’t enough but it was good to see.
In group 14, On Yee won just one frame all day. In that frame she scored a 94 … which is great but, obviously, that’s not good enough and I’m afraid that giving tour cards to the top women players might backlash, “bringing water to the mill” (that’s a French expression: “apporter de l’eau au moulin”) for those who see women as “inferior” and definitely unable to even get close to the men’s level. It’s a number game, and until snooker manages to attract both young girls and boys in equal number, and clubs make gils feel welcome and safe, it won’t change.
Today we have Group 2 with Judd Trump, Jamie Clarke, Sean O’Sullivan, and Yisong Peng, and Group 7 with Shaun Murphy, Liam Highfield, Xu Si, and Ben Mertens.