The 2022 European Masters Qualifiers – Day 6

Yesterday was the last day of the 2022 European Masters qualifiers and it yielded a few surprises. Here is the report by WST:

Whirlwind Set For Furth

Jimmy White rallied from 4-2 down to beat Andrew Pagett 5-4 at BetVictor European Masters qualifying in Leicester and earn a place in the final stages.

The ten-time ranking event winner struggled for large parts of last season and today’s victory is a first match win since the British Open last August.

With Pagett needing just one frame for victory, the Whirlwind fired in breaks of 58 and 133 on his way to three on the bounce to secure the win.

Scott Donaldson scored his first ever win over Scottish compatriot and four-time World Champion John Higgins, battling to a 5-3 victory. The Perth cueman crafted contributions of 51, 52 and 60 on his way to the win.

Belgium’s Luca Brecel put on a break building blitz to brush aside Andy Lee 5-1 and book his place in Furth. Trailing 1-0, Brecel proceeded to compose breaks of 65, 59, 87, 69 and 53 to take five on the bounce and secure the win.

Aaron Hill top scored with a break of 103 during his 5-1 defeat of Chen Zifan, while Graeme Dott stormed to an impressive 5-0 whitewash win over Thepchaiya Un-Nooh.

Yes, Jimmy White did play very well to come back and beat Pagett. At 60 he still has it, albeit not consistently. When on form he remains a fantastic player and entertainer.

Graeme Dott played well also but he was helped by a very out-of-sorts Theppy, who was struggling AND got several slices of bad luck too.

I didn’t watch the Donaldson v Higgins. It was an extremely slow match, at least before the MSI. That probably means that either it was very scrappy or Donaldson dictated the pace, or both.

Again some matches are not mentioned at all.

Li Hang came back fro 2-0 down to beat Craig Steadman by 5-3. That’s not an easy thing to do against such an experienced opponent.

Ricky Walden beat Alfie Burden by 5-1. I only saw the end of the match. At that stage it was clear that Alfie had lost hope and wanted to be out of there.

Matthew Stevens had to battle hard to defeat Florian Nüssle by 5-4. Florian is clearly getting better with every match but seems to struggle a bit to get over the line. One good win however could change that, and when it comes, he will be a serious contender to get and stay on tour.

Oliver Lines beat Tom Ford by 5-3. When Oli got first on tour there was a lot of hype around him, but it didn’t quite happen for him. I have a strong feeling though that this year migth well be the year of his breakthrough.

The 2022 European Masters Qualifiers – Day 5

The qualifiers for the 2022 European Masters continued yesterday and here is the report by WST:

Murphy Continues Strong Start

Shaun Murphy continued his strong start to the new season with a 5-3 win over Dean Young at BetVictor European Masters qualifying in Leicester.

The 2005 World Champion was plagued with back and neck problems last term but he is hopeful that those issues have lessened over the summer break. He started this season well by coming through his BetVictor Championship League group with two wins and a draw.

Murphy constructed contributions of 90, 55 and 68 on his way to this afternoon’s victory and he can now look forward to a trip to Furth for the final stages.

Scotland’s Anthony McGill edged past Switzerland’s Alexander Ursenbacher 5-4 in a keenly contested encounter. World number 16 McGill had trailed 4-3, but took the final two frames to edge through.

BetVictor Gibraltar Open champion Robert Milkins scored a 5-0 whitewash victory against Lu Ning. Andrew Higginson beat Joe O’Connor 5-2.

Barry Pinches recorded a 5-1 defeat of Rebecca Kenna with a top run of 138, while Mitchell Mann beat Mink Nutcharut by the same scoreline.

Mark Joyce top scored with 82 in a 5-0 whitewash of Stephen Hendry.

Probably the best matches of the day are not mentioned in this report, likely because their latish finish:  Jak Jones beat Ben Woollaston by 5-3, in a match where both players scored 4 breaks over 50 and Jordan Brown beat Cao Yupeng by 5-4. Jordan was 4-2 up in that match, only for Cao to force a decider. Jordan scored 5 breaks over 50, including a 64 in the deciding frame, whilst Cao had 3 50+ breaks.

No mention either of Lei Peifan’s whitewash of Rod Lawler.

Andrew Higginson is far too good to be out of the main tour, and without the ranking points pressure he is out to do some damage. I wouldn’t be surprised if he requalified via the one year list come the end of the season.

Rebecca Kenna started playing better towards the end of her match. Later, on social media, she admitted to have felt very nervous, and to have struggled with the speed of the table. She is a fighter and a quick learner. I expect her to improve as the season advances.

As for the Mark Joyce v Stephen Hendry match … what can I say? Stephen does not seem to be willing to compromise on his style of play. I’m afraid this won’t get him anywhere for a number of reasons: his long potting is nowhere near as reliable it was when he was in his pomp, his tactical game, when he accepts that he has to play safe, isn’t good enough and the standard of the mid-ranked players is much, much higher than it used to in the 90th.  I will never tell a player, never mind a great champion like Hendry, that they should retire. But this was painful to watch …

All detailed results are on


The 2022 European Masters Qualifiers – Day 4

The qualifiers for the 2022 European Masters resumed yesterday.

Here is the report by WST:

Ajaib Stuns The Pistol

Amateur Farakh Ajaib scored a stunning 5-3 win over former Masters champion Mark Allen to reach the final stages of the BetVictor European Masters.

Ajaib lost his professional status at the end of last season, when he was relegated following a campaign which saw him win only five matches. Defeat for Allen will come as a huge surprise after the Northern Irishman progressed from his BetVictor Championship League group yesterday with three wins from three matches.

Breaks of 52, 62 and 87 had given world number 14 Allen a 3-1 advantage this afternoon. However, Ajaib rallied to claim four on the bounce and snatch victory. He capped off the win by taking the eighth frame on the black.

Zhou Yuelong, who was runner-up to Neil Robertson in this event in 2020, was made to work hard for a 5-4 win over John Astley. China’s Zhou had led 4-1, before Astley came roaring back to force a deciding frame. It was Zhou who held his nerve to secure a trip to Furth.

Jack Lisowski sealed his spot in the final stages with a 5-1 defeat of Zhang Jiankang. The six-time ranking event finalist compiled breaks of 55, 76, 73 and 136 on his way to victory.


As usual, a lot of matches are overlooked in this report.

Mark Allen didn’t look too aggrieved. To be fair Farakh Ajaib, free of the ranking points’ pressure, played extremely well, particularly after the MSI. Actually, I’m not sure that playing in the CLS the day before on a Rasson table, did Mark any favour.

The same applies to Julien Leclercq who struggled badly yesterday. The young Belgian couldn’t reproduce the form he showed in the CLS and he certainly would have needed it against an excellent Ashley Hugill, who beat him 5-1. Hopefully, Julien can later analyse this match with his coach/team because he could learn a lot from it.

Steven Hallworth is another ex-pro who got a win yesterday against Robbie Williams who didn’t play badly himself.

Michael White got a 5-0 win over Martin Gould. Michael played OK, without reproducing the heavy scoring he had shown in the CLS. Martin however was completely out of sorts. Maybe he was unwell? We don’t know, but, for sure this is the worst I have ever seen Martin play! It was painful.

Chris Wakelin beat Jamie Clarke by 5-4. This was an extremely close and tense match. Both players produced very good snooker. This was a though draw for both of them and it’s a shame that Jamie won’t be in Fürth.

I can’t comment on the other matches as I didn’t see any of the action.

All detailed results are available on

On a diffrent topic, Ronnie was yesterday doing a charity event to help a family of friends who are facing very difficult times. Pete Cohen is a mental coeach who helped Ronnie, notably when he went through a bad patch in the mid noughties

Screenshot 2022-07-23 at 08.00.28RonnieHannahCohenCharity

2022 British Open First Round Draw

WST just published the draw for the 2022 British Open  first round:

Cazoo British Open Draw

Mark Williams will start the defence of his Cazoo British Open title against Andres Petrov at the tournament in Milton Keynes in September.

The tournament will run from September 26 to October 2 at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes.

The random draw was made today and pitched three-time World Champion Williams against Petrov, who became the first ever professional player from Estonia after winning the European Amateur Championship earlier this season.

ronnie-cazooWorld number one and World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan will face Alexander Ursenbacher, in a repeat of their match at the 2020 UK Championship which Ursenbacher won 6-5. Mark Selby will take on Ricky Walden while Judd Trump will be up against Si Jiahui.

The full draw is:

Mark Allen v Stuart Carrington
Alexander Ursenbacher v Ronnie O’Sullivan
Anthony Hamilton v Jimmy White
Xiao Guodong v David Lilley
Jak Jones v Andrew Pagett
Ricky Walden v Mark Selby
Elliot Slessor v Sean O’Sullivan
Zak Surety v Ross Muir
Peter Lines v Robert Milkins
Michael Judge v Craig Steadman
Andy Lee v Barry Pinches
Fraser Patrick v Alfie Burden
Michael White v Noppon Saengkham
Fergal O’Brien v Chang Bingyu
Matthew Stevens v Stephen Maguire
Fan Zhengyi v Jamie Clarke
John Astley v Rod Lawler
Peng Yisong v Dylan Emery
Duane Jones v Barry Hawkins
Mark Joyce v Asjad Iqbal
Cao Yupeng v Marco Fu
Ben Woollaston v James Cahill
Joe O’Connor v Chris Wakelin
Jamie O’Neill v David Grace
Shaun Murphy v Gary Wilson
Jenson Kendrick v Zhou Yuelong
Mark King v Lyu Haotian
Tom Ford v Mitchell Mann
Mark Davis v Kyren Wilson
Gerard Greene v Sanderson Lam
David Gilbert v Aaron Hill
Hammad Miah v Ali Carter
Zhang Jiankang v Reanne Evans
Joe Perry v Hossein Vafaei
Liang Wenbo v Dean Young
Adam Duffy v Ian Burns
Rebecca Kenna v Ryan Day
Jamie Jones v Scott Donaldson
Anthony McGill v Wu Yize
Yuan Sijun v Anton Kazakov
Ng On Yee v Ken Doherty
Dominic Dale v Jack Lisowski
Tian Pengfei v Sam Craigie
Julien LeClercq v Muhammad Asif
Matthew Selt v Lu Ning
Judd Trump v Si Jiahui
Pang Junxu v Jordan Brown
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh v Martin Gould
Allan Taylor v Lukas Kleckers
Jimmy Robertson v Louis Heathcote
Ryan Thomerson v Ben Mertens
Ding Junhui v Oliver Lines
Yan Bingtao v Oliver Brown
Bai Langning v Zhao Xintong
Himanshu Jain v Xu Si
Mink Nutcharut v Chen Zifan
Stephen Hendry v Zhang Anda
Andy Hicks v John Higgins
Lei Peifan v Stuart Bingham
Ashley Hugill v Robbie Williams
Mark Williams v Andres Petrov
Zhao Jianbo v Jackson Page
Graeme Dott v Luca Brecel
Liam Highfield v Li Hang

Selected matches will be held over to the venue in Milton Keynes, while the other first round matches will take place in the qualifying round in Wigan from August 9 to 14. The format will be released soon.

First draw only,  because a random draw is made ahead of each round for this tournament.

The sentence about Ronnie and Alex Ursenbacher puzzles me a bit. Yes, Alex beat Ronnie in that match, but Ronnie has since beaten Alex too, and Alex had beaten him before in the 2019 Welsh Open. Why that match in particular? Especially as the previously annouced format for this comp is best of 7 in early rounds like in the Home Nations events. Anyway…

I have put some matches in bold… those I feel might be close and interesting!


2022 Ranking CLS – Day 16 – Groups 8 and 12

Yesterday was the last day of stage one and here is the report shared by WST:

Allen And White Book Last Slots

Mark Allen topped Group 12 and Michael White came through Group 8, as phase one of the BetVictor Championship League came to a conclusion in Leicester.


Both players go through to phase two which starts on Monday next week.

 The champion of the first ranking event of the new season will be crowned next Friday, July 29.

Allen started his day with a 3-0 victory over India’s Himanshu Jain, making a top break of 65. The BetVictor Northern Ireland Open champion followed up with a 3-1 success over tour rookie Jenson Kendrick, closing the match out with a run of 68 in frame four. And Allen made it three wins out of three as he saw off Stuart Carrington 3-1. A break of 142 from Allen in the second frame was the second highest of the tournament so far.

White, who has returned to the pro tour this season after two years as an amateur,  made two breaks of 68 in an opening 3-0 defeat of Mark Joyce. The Welshman then lost 3-1 to the group’s top seed Jack Lisowski to leave the outcome in the balance, heading into the final round of matches.

White got the victory he needed as he fired breaks of 68 and 69 in a 3-0 defeat of Julian LeClercq. Lisowski could have topped the group by beating Mark Joyce in his last tie, but he lost the first two frames and ended up on the wrong side of the 3-1 result.

Stage two gets underway at 12pm on Monday, with Mark Williams, Stephen Maguire, Lu Ning and Aaron Hill lining up on table one in Group E. Table two hosts Group F, featuring Hossein Vafaei, Jimmy Robertson, Lyu Haotian and Michael Judge.

and the table as published

2022 ranking CLS Groups 8 and 12 table

Note that this table is incorrect. In group 12, Jain won a match, and should be second on four points. It makes a diffrence in prize money, and ranking points. I left a message to Matchroom about it.

I mainly watched Group 8. Julien Leclercq, playing his first match as a professional, impressed when he secured a draw against Jack Lisowsi, and nearly made a century in his first professional frame. Against Mark Joyce, however he struggled. The match against Michael White was closer than the score suggests. The commentators were very positive about Julien: the talent is obvious but it’s still a very raw talent.

Michael White on the other hand was impressive from start to finish. Jack Lisowski needs to “shake” a few cobwebs off and Mark Joyce was… Mark Joyce, slightly on the slow side and solid.

In Group 12, Himanshu Dinesh Jain, one of the Asia-Oceania Q-School laureates, managed to get a win and to finish second in the group. From what I saw, Jain is a very capable player. Group 12 was quite slow. The afternoon session over-ran and the second match of the evening was still in progress when the action concluded on table 1. The last match of  group 12 was therefore played on table 1, and Mark Allen, on social media, reflected that it was playing diffently, and much better than table 2.

Today we see the return of best of 9, knock-out snooker with the second week of the 2022 European Masters qualifiers.


2022 Ranking CLS – Day 15 – Groups 16 and 19

David Gilbert, the defending champion, dominated Group 16. However, the most interesting performance in that group came from the amateur, Florian Nüssle from Austria. Florian was a bit disappointing at the Q-school but it later transpired that he was battling illness throughout. Yesterday he played some very good snooker and deservedly finished second in the group. Zak Surety on the other hand was pretty terrible.

Jimmy White didn’t make it to the venue and Group 8 was reduced to three players, facing each other twice during the day. Not great, but what else could they possibly do? Everyone of them played 4 matches. BTW, there is a mistake in the table (*): Mark Davis had one win, two draws and one defeat. He did NOT play five matches.

Here is the report, shared by WST

Gilbert And Brown Progress

Defending champion David Gilbert booked his place in winners’ week at BetVictor Championship League Snooker, topping Group 16, and was joined by Jordan Brown who topped Group 19.


Gilbert’s day got off to the perfect start with a 3-0 win over Austria’s Florian Nuessle. He then saw off Zak Surety 3-0 with a top break of 78 to put him in pole position heading into his final match against Joe O’Connor.

Gilbert couldn’t keep his perfect record going against O’Connor, having to settle for a hard-fought 2-2 draw, but breaks of 78 and 100 helped him secure his place in winners’ week.

Speaking with Dave Hendon afterwards, Gilbert said: “It’s a weird one being back, my game isn’t very good at the minute but I’m really happy to get through.

“I’ve not put much preparation in for this season yet, I’ve been playing lots of pool, I just want to buy a pool club if I’m honest with you. The aim for this year, and every year, is to try and get in the Players Championship.”

Northern Ireland’s Brown, starting his season as a new father, opened his 2022/23 campaign with a 2-2 draw against Ross Muir and made two excellent century breaks, 115 and 100. Brown then picked up his first win with a 3-1 victory over Mark Davis.

Group 19 was reduced to three players due to the late withdrawal of Jimmy White, who was unable to get to Leicester due to travel issues. That meant that the fixtures were repeated, and Brown went on to beat Muir 3-0. In the final match of the day between Brown and Davis, the former Welsh Open champion needed just a single frame, and he went one better in drawing 2-2 to maintain his unbeaten record.

and the table

Screenshot 2022-07-21 at 08.37.47

Here is Jordan Brown’s interview on WST YouTube channel

Congratulations to Jordan and his family, all the best to the little one 💕

Today is the last day of stage one. We have Group 12 on table 1  with Mark Allen, Stuart Carrington, Jenson Kendrick and Himanshu Jain and Group 8 ion table 2 with Jack Lisowski, Mark Joyce, Michael White and Julien Leclercq.

Mark Allen is the highest seed, of course, but I expect Group 8 to be more enthralling than Group 12 and it’s a bit of a shame that it will be on table 2, without commentary. It’s “National Day” in Belgium today and I hope that it brings Julien luck!

Or maybe not? I have enjoyed the commentary by the players. The know what they are talking about, and their analysis of the shots is always interesting. But, I have to admit that Phil Yates in the “box” has got on my nerves a lot. His knowledge of history of the game is immense, but I want to hear about what’s happening on the table, not what happened to the player at the table some 20 years ago in a different match, in a different place. Also he has his favourites and apparently, can’t keep a minimal of “neutrality” when commentating. It can be very irritating at times.

(*) there have been a few mistakes in tables over the duration of this competition so far.  That’s careless … and I’m serious.


2022 Ranking CLS – Day 14 – Groups 2 and 7

Here is the report shared by WST

Clarke And Murphy Progress

Jamie Clarke and Shaun Murphy are the latest two players to book their places in winners’ week at the BetVictor Championship League in Leicester, topping groups two and seven respectively.


Clarke was made to work hard for his first victory, but ultimately did enough with breaks of 50 and 62 helping to register a 3-0 whitewash against Sean O’Sullivan.

The Welshman could only manage a point against China’s Peng Yisong in his next match, leaving a group decider against Judd Trump. Clarke headed into it needing just a point against the 2019 World Champion, with Trump chasing a victory.

Clarke was able to hold off the usually dominant Trump, a hard-fought third frame went the way of Clarke thanks to a fluked red. Trump took the last, but a 2-2 draw was enough for Clarke to top the group.

Speaking with Dave Hendon afterwards, he said: “I feel really good, obviously when you’ve got Judd [Trump] and a couple of other good players in your group, you know it is going to be difficult.

Preparation has been good, I’ve had about five or six sessions in the past ten days, I came to Leicester yesterday and had a game against Joe O’Connor too. I wasn’t playing my best but I’m just glad to get through.

I’m 49th on the rankings at the start of this year, I’ve not got any real aims this season other than to win as many games as possible and go as deep at events as I can, and who knows; maybe even win a tournament.

Murphy had a tough start to his day and required the final frame to secure a 2-2 draw against the impressive Ben Mertens.

The Magician showed his class in his next match against China’s Xu Si. He recorded a 3-0 victory, which was capped off with a century break of 109 to set up a must-win match against Liam Highfield.

Murphy romped to victory over Highfield, a 3-0 win with breaks of 45, 144, and 103 was more than enough to book his place in winners’ week.

and the table

Screenshot 2022-07-20 at 07.55.21

Once again the report seems to focus mainly on the UK/Irish players. Yes, it mentions that Ben Mertens was impressive. Yes, he was. Ben, like Shaun was undefeated in the group and their match ended in a draw. Ben is only 17, he just booked his place on the tour whilst Shaun is a triple crown winner, a pro since 1998, seven years before Ben was even born, and, yet, the group was only decided on their frame difference… Doesn’t that deserve better than a short mention?

As for group 2 … Jamie Clarke was the deserving winner. Judd Trump was far from his best. Sean O’Sullivan struggled badly in the morning and appeared to be in pain when walking around the table. Peng Ysong ended up last in the group but he showed some very nice things. He managed a draw against both Jamie Clarke and Judd Trump. That’s no mean feat for a rookie who just arrived from China. Obviously he lacks experience and will need to work on the tactical side of the game, but he certainly has potential. Let’s hope that the brutal ranking system doesn’t crush him.

Today we have Group 16 with Dave Gilbert, Joe O’Connor, Zak Surety, and Florian Nuessle and Group 19  with Jordan Brown, Jimmy White, Mark Davis, and Ross Muir. You would expect Gilbert and Brown to top their respective groups. David Gilbert is the defending champion, he will likely come here well prepared.