Yesterday was the last day of the qualifying roud for the 2022 British Open
Super Stevens Ditches Maguire
Matthew Stevens made four breaks over 50 as he won a battle of former UK Champions against Stephen Maguire, scoring a 4-1 success to reach the final stages of the Cazoo British Open.
The result leaves Maguire without a win in a knockout ranking event so far this season as he lost 5-4 to Oliver Brown in the BetVictor European Masters qualifying round. Welshman Stevens rattled in runs of 77, 56, 60 and 71 as he booked his place in the last 64 in Milton Keynes in September.
Jimmy Robertson came from 3-2 down to edge out Louis Heathcote 4-3, making a superb 71 clearance to win frame six from 48-12 behind, then taking the decider with a run of 68. Jordan Brown also successfully recovered a 3-2 deficit, winning the last two frames on the colours to beat Pang Junxu 4-3.
Peter Lines top scored with 71 in a 4-0 win over BetVictor Gibraltar Open champion Robert Milkins. Noppon Saengkham got the better of a high quality match with Michael White, winning 4-3 with top runs of 50, 72, 109 and 104.
Victories for Chang Bingyu and Xiao Guodong meant that over the six days in Wigan, 17 of the 22 Chinese players in action won their qualifying matches.
Chang Bingyu had breaks of 100, 78, 76 and 79 in beating Fergal O’Brien. Basically, he prevented Fergal to play the sort of tactical game that suits him. Fergal won the only close frame in the match.
The Jordan Brown vs Pang Junxu match was extremely hard fought. Both played well. Eventually the more experienced player prevailed.
Those longish qualifiers may “drag” a bit, but the plus point for those interested in the future of the game, is that you can basically watch all the young players in action. I have been impressed by many of them over the last weeks, and, more than ever, I feel that first round losers should, as a minimum, have their basic expenses covered. Doing their job, and doing it properly should not cost them. It should be seen as a investment into the future of the sport. I have seen very little “mediocrity” in those qualifiers and it hasn’t come from the lowest ranked players. Mainly, it’s some well established players, still very rusty after the summer break, who have been disappointing.