The two matches we saw yesterday a t the 2022 British Open couldn’t have been more different. The only thing they had in common is the referee. Indeed, because Colin Humphries was unwell, it was Ben Williams who took charge of both.
The afternoon match was as one-sided as it gets. During the first mini session, Mark Allen restricted Noppon Saengkham to just 6 points, of which 5 were from a penalty. The trend continued after the interval. Mark went 5-0 up. At that point he had scored breaks of 69, 76, 133, 69 and 56 whilst Noppon had scored 11 points in total. To Noppon’s credit, he didn’t give up and managed to win the scrappy next frame.All smiles, e celebrated with the crowd who was clearly happy for the sympathetic Thai. It was as good as it got though as Mark took the next with a break of 64.
‘Flawless’ Allen Storms Into Final
Mark Allen described his own performance as “nearly perfect” after beating Noppon Saengkham 6-1 in the semi-finals of the Cazoo British Open.
Northern Ireland’s Allen lived up to his billing as the heavy favourite for the title as he dominated a potentially tough task against Thailand’s Saengkham, sealing the result in just 112 minutes to reach his 14th ranking final.
World number 14 Allen will face Ryan Day or Robbie Williams over a possible 19 frames in the final on Sunday in Milton Keynes, with the winner to lift the Clive Everton Trophy and a top prize of £100,000. Victory would give Allen a seventh ranking title, which would put him 14th on his own on the all-time list, ahead of Ken Doherty, Stuart Bingham and Stephen Maguire who all have six.
Just one of Allen’s six ranking titles has come in England – he has won three in China, one in Scotland and last October he enjoyed his finest hour when he captured the Northern Ireland Open in Belfast. The 36-year-old also won the Masters in 2018.
World number 38 Saengkham was playing in his third ranking semi-final and had hoped to reach his first final, but was completely outplayed and has to settle for a prize of £20,000.
The Thai scored just 11 points in the first five frames as Allen rattled in breaks of 69, 76, 133, 69 and 56 to go 5-0 up. A whitewash looked likely in frame six until Allen missed a red to a centre pocket on 44, and Saengkham cleared with 48 before raising his hands to the crowd in celebration having got one on the board.
Saengkham trailed 64-0 in the seventh then had a chance to clear after fluking a red, but missed the final green and that extinguished any hopes of a fight-back.
“I’m delighted with the way I played, I was pretty much flawless for the first four frames,” said Allen. “After that I kept making it tough for him and didn’t give him easy chances. I think I only missed one ball.
“I remember playing John Higgins in the (2013) World Open semi-finals, it was 2-2 at the interval and he didn’t pot a ball in the next four frames. That’s pretty much how it was today, it was nearly the perfect performance.
“It would be great to go ahead of the likes of Ken and Stuart on the list of ranking event winners but those two have both won the world title so I think they would take their career ahead of mine. I’m not getting carried away, I have to go and do a job tomorrow. At the end of my career I’ll see where I am on that list.”
Allen, who lost more than four stone in weight over the summer, added: “I won’t be watching the other semi-final tonight, I’ll have a very relaxed evening and the same in the morning. I’ll do a little work out in my room and otherwise take it easy.”
The evening match was completely different. It was pretty horrible TBH.
Day One Win Away From Claiming Biggest Title
Ryan Day is one match away from his biggest career title after holding his nerve in a final frame decider to defeat Robbie Williams 6-5 and secure his place in the Cazoo British Open final.
The three-time ranking title winner admitted he had to “fight tooth and nail” to overcome Williams, with both players not at their fluent best.
Day, who came from 4-2 down in the match, won three consecutive frames to lead 5-4, before Williams won the tenth to force a decider. But, in the end, the Welshman pulled through to book his spot in the final where he will play Mark Allen – who beat Noppon Saengkham 6-1 earlier today.
After wins in the Riga Masters, Gibraltar Open and more recently, the Shoot Out, Day will be hoping to claim a fourth ranking title and take home £100,000 – the biggest payday of his career.
Day, who is ranked 27th in the world, took the lead with a break of 55. Williams hit back with a break of 77 before going on to win the next two frames and enter the mid-session interval with a 3-1 lead. The next two were shared then Day edged the seventh, 56-31, before a break of 61 ensured the match was finely poised at 4-4. He then moved in front for the first time since the opening frame.
Day had a match-winning chance in the tenth but missed the last red to a top corner with the score 51-50. Williams, who was seeking to reach his first ranking final, cleaned up for 5-5.
In the decider, Williams led 28-24 when he misjudged a containing safety, handing his opponent a chance to pot a red to a top corner. Day made a break of 45 which proved enough to secure a spot in the final.
“I was massively relieved to fall over the line,” said Day. “What you’ve seen tonight is two players that are not up the top of the rankings, fighting tooth and nail, letting the pressure affect them. But tomorrow is a different day. I’m playing Mark Allen, who is the form guy of the whole week and I know I’m going to have to improve massively, but I’m sure I’ll be better than I was tonight, for sure.
“I’ve won three ranking titles but they were not really massive events. This one would go down as a proper big event on home soil. So it would mean the world. I’ve got to come out of the trap early tomorrow and try and put Mark under pressure.
“I’ve got nothing to lose. Everyone, especially after watching that match tonight, will be expecting Mark to win. He’s trounced everybody he’s played. I’ve got a nice cheque coming in at the end of the week that is going to help my ranking, probably get me into one or two extra events that I wasn’t guaranteed before this week and I’ve just got to try to enjoy it.”
Day, who is a Manchester United fan, will now miss the Manchester Derby against rivals City tomorrow. The 42-year-old joked: “I’m not sure if that is a good or bad thing really! City are in good form, United have been a little bit better lately so hopefully, there is an upset in both the football and the snooker tomorrow!”
Ryan’s quotes, in italic and bold, do tell the story. There is not much to add and credit to them both. It’s not easy out there under such circumstances.
Ryan Day is currently up to second in the provisional one year list, and Robbie to 11th. Both definitely well placed to qualify for the Grand Prix.