2022 British Open Qualifiers – Day 1

Yesterday was the first day of this season British Open. Mark Williams is the defending champion. The format is slightly longer than last year, which is good.

The qualifiers’ venue doesn’t look particularly welcoming I have to say: it looks very dark, a bit run down… and empty.

There are only two matches scheduled in each time slot and both are shown on Eurosport player … although, paradoxally, yesterday morning they weren’t available for the UK fans due to contractual issues. An agreement was found rapidly though.

Here is the “Day 1” report by WST:

Hendry Knocked Out Of British

Stephen Hendry was left waiting for his first win of the 2022/23 season as he lost 4-1 to Zhang Anda in the qualifying round for the Cazoo British Open.

All results

China’s Zhang goes through to the final stages in Milton Keynes next month, running from September 26 to October 2.

Hendry beat Zhang 10-9 in the first round of the World Championship in their only previous meeting back in 2010, but this time the legendary Scot finished second best.

Breaks of 49 and 59 helped give Zhang a 2-0 lead. Hendry pulled one back with runs of 54 and 43 in frame three, but he didn’t score another point as Zhang rolled in breaks of 78 and 75 to book his place in the random draw for the last 64.

It was a good day for Chinese players as Chen Zifan scored a 4-2 success over Women’s World Champion Mink Nutcharut, while Zhao Jianbo top scored with 105 in a 4-3 defeat of Jackson Page. Xu Si saw off Himanshu Jain 4-2 while Li Hang compiled runs of 130 and 107 in a 4-0 win over Liam Highfield.

Steven Hallworth top scored with 130 as he beat Julian LeClercq 4-2. Ben Mertens won 4-1 in a battle between two tour rookies against Ryan Thomerson, while Robbie Williams took a 68-minute decider on the final black to beat Ashley Hugill 4-3.

It was a “typical” nowadays Hendry performance. He went on the attack, potted some great balls but also surprisingly missed some relatively easy ones … leaving the lot every single time. He seems to stay determined to play the game the way he used to do … but he isn’t quite the player he was and the opposition, down the rankings, is much, much stronger than it was some 30 years ago. I can’t see him going anywhere this way.

Watching Mink was painful. She was poor in all departments but one: she kept trying her hardest despite being comprehensively outplayed. She did improve as the match went on, but it was too little, too late.

The Steven Hallworth v Julien Leclercq match was a good match overall. Between them they had three centuries in the first three frames. The fourth frame was pivotal: it was scrappy, the balls ran awkward, the black was tied up for most of its duration. Julien should probably have won it to go 3-1 up, but he missed the last red and knocked the pink in as well in the process. Steven, who is now an amateur but is much more experienced than Julien, took full advantage. Losing that frame, and the way he lost it, knocked the stuffing out of Julien a bit. He wasn’t quite the same player after that. He has to learn to deal with such disappointments, it’s part of the sport. I’m sure he will.

Ben Mertens had a much easier passage as he ran the show against Ryan Thomerson, although it was Ryan who scored the highest break of the match, a 89, in frame 2. But it was pretty much all he did… Ben dominated the other four frames, playing a fast, entertaining and very attacking snooker. Ryan looked slightly punch-drunk towards the end…





2 thoughts on “2022 British Open Qualifiers – Day 1

  1. Julien should indeed have won that match against Steven : the 4th frame was pivotal, and he should never have hit this red so hard towards the middle pocket. If he had gone 3-1 up, I’m sure the match would have ended 4-1 in favour of Julien.
    That said, Steven played a very good match and showed that he’s capable of playing some very solid snooker when needed. I played him in the year before he became a professional player and since then he has improved his game substantially.

    • Absolutely Bart. And the fact that someone like Steven didn’t manage to keep his tour card is an indication of the very high level required from the professionals nowadays.

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