In the evening, World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan held off a Ben Woollaston fightback to earn his place in the last 32 with a 4-2 win.
The Rocket took the opening three frames, before Woollaston kept his hopes alive with a superb run of 132. He then took a dramatic fifth by a point on the black to reduce his arrears to 3-2. However, O’Sullivan snuffed out any hopes of a revival with 93 to get over the line.
This wasn’t a particularly easy draw for Ronnie, especially over a short format. Indeed they had played each other three times before in best-of-7 matches, and Ben had prevailed twice, most recently, last season in the Gibraltar Open. Ronnie played at a good pace but nowhere near as fast as in the fist round and he clearly was out there to win. that was good to see.
This evening he will play Gary Wilson, who is in good form. Not an easy match either…
A lot more happened yesterday, including another 147 by Judd Trump. I will cover all that, probably later today, when the second round concludes.
Scotland’s Fraser Patrick ended defending champion Luca Brecel’s bid to retain the Stephen Hendry Trophy, earning a shock 4-3 win over the Belgian at the BetVictor Scottish Open in Edinburgh.
It’s only the fourth match win of the season for world number 86 Patrick, who had to pull out of last week’s BetVictor German Masters qualifying though illness.
Last season Patrick revealed he was balancing his professional snooker career with a job as an Amazon delivery driver. However, he is now fully focussing on his snooker and will hope that today’s win can act as a catalyst to improve his form.
Brecel exits at the first hurdle after a stunning victory 12 months ago. The 27-year-old defeated John Higgins 9-5 to capture the title on that occasion. He now turns his attention to the English Open before Christmas and will then begin preparations for the Masters in January, where he takes on Ronnie O’Sullivan in the first round.
Patrick took the opening two frames this morning to earn an early 2-0 lead. However, breaks of 49, 72 and 83 helped Brecel to turn the match on its head and lead 3-2.
A steely run of 93 saw Patrick force a decider. He then got the better of a tense 41-minute final frame to book his place in the next round. He now faces Sam Craigie in the last 64.
Patrick said: “I wasn’t expecting too much as I haven’t been playing. I’ve been under the weather and pulled out last week. I came here yesterday thinking I’d play and see what happens. I didn’t feel any pressure because of that.
“I don’t think I’ve ever won a game in Scotland, but I’ve lost to Marcus Campbell and Anthony Hamilton 4-3. To get my first win, on the main table and against the defending champion. It can’t get much better than that.
“I’ll try to get another few wins and have a wee run. I want to try and get a bit of confidence ahead of the New Year and you never know what can happen.”
Glasgow’s 31-time ranking event winner John Higgins booked his place in the last 64 with a 4-2 win over Anthony Hamilton.
Higgins is yet to capture the Stephen Hendry Trophy, despite having appeared in two finals. In addition to last year’s defeat at the hands of Brecel, Higgins also lost the inaugural final against Marco Fu in 2016.
The Scot made breaks of 55, 103, 55 and 74 on his way to victory this afternoon. He now faces China’s Cao Yupeng.
World number three Judd Trump eased to a 4-0 whitewash win over Sanderson Lam. The Ace in the Pack’s opponent in the last 64 will be Mitchell Mann.
Former Scottish Open champion Mark Allen sealed his progression with a 4-1 win over Andy Lee, while Mark Williams beat Andres Petrov 4-1.
Former Scottish Open winner Neil Robertson also enjoyed a comfortable passage to the last 64, beating Mark Davis by a 4-1 scoreline.
Australia’s Robertson composed breaks of 104, 61, 52 and 92 on his way to victory. He faces Himanshu Dinesh Jain in the next round.
Robertson said: “I thought it was good. I potted well and scored well. I am very pleased. Mark is a very tough opponent to play in the opening round.
“It is beautiful up here. I Tweeted about it earlier, I like the scenery and everything. The historical buildings, pathways and roads are amazing. I’ve always loved coming to Scotland. I’ve won four of my ranking events up here and I always get good support from the crowd. I want to stay up here for as long as possible.”
Shaun Murphy cruised to a quickfire 4-0 win over Lei Peifan. He emulated O’Sullivan by closing out the win in 43 minutes of playing time. The Magician conjured breaks of 100, 104 and 107 during the rout. He plays Scott Donaldson in the last 64.
Mark Selby progressed with a 4-2 win over Aaron Hill, while Barry Hawkins eased to a 4-0 defeat of Andrew Pagett.
World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan fired in a century break in an astonishing three minutes and 34 seconds, just three seconds short of the world record time, on his way to a 4-0 win over Bai Langning at the BetVictor Scottish Open.
The entire victory took just 43 minutes for O’Sullivan to complete. The 39-time ranking event winner was in no mood for hanging around, averaging 11.4 seconds per shot throughout the tie.
After edging a tight first frame, O’Sullivan composed his quickfire break of 118 to lead 2-0. The break narrowly fell short of overturning Tony Drago’s record of three minutes and 31 seconds, which was set at the 1996 UK Championship.
O’Sullivan then added the third frame, before closing out the victory with a break of 56 in the fourth. Next up O’Sullivan faces Ben Woollaston, as he continues his bid to win the Stephen Hendry Trophy for the first time.
“I just felt like I needed to speed up a bit. I needed to try and enjoy it,” said 46-year-old O’Sullivan. “Edinburgh is a nice city. I’ve got some runs sorted out with people who live about here so that will be nice. I’ll try to find a few restaurants, relax and do a bit of reading. I’ll enjoy my time here.”
Initially, the pundits thought that Ronnie’s 118 in frame 2 lasted only 3 minutes and 24 seconds. That however was dismissed later by WST:
Here is the break, shared by WST on their official YouTube channel:
I had mixed feeling watching the match. At times it looked like Ronnie didn’t care wether he won or lost.
At the start of the first frame, he made quite a lot of mistakes and was going for absolutely everything. Some fans were upset, saying he wasn’t giving his opponent enough respect. If I’m honest, I wasn’t feeling comfortable with it either but not so much because of the “lack of respect” thing but because I was wondering if Ronnie’s trip to Bulgaria had maybe left him really tired and with only the desire to get out of there, and out of the tournament, asap. I’m still not sure TBH. It doesn’t matter anyway as he won, even if he won playing pure exhibition snooker. Some of the shots he played were just fantastic. They may not have been the “right” shots in the context of a ranking tournament but it certain entertained the crowd royally.
As for Bai, sitting in his chair during THAT break, he didn’t look overly upset to me, although I may not be the best at reading Asian persons’ facial expression. I may be wrong, but to me, Bai, with a half smile on his face, rather looked like someone thinking “oh well… there are all sorts of natural disasters … thunderstorms, cyclones, volcanic eruptions… and this guy. Nothing I can do. I can as well watch and try to enjoy the spectacle“.
Hosted by new Q Tour venue the Snookerhallen in the Swedish capital of Stockholm, local Scandinavian players joined fellow European cueists and those representing nations from further afield for the fourth leg of the six-event amateur series.
Former professional Castle – who reached the quarter-finals of Event 1 back in September – defeated Patrick Whelan 3-1, Michael Holt 3-2 and Scott Bell 3-0 to qualify for Sunday’s final eight stage.
There he registered breaks of 60, 65 and 76 to stop the run of Event 3 winner Farakh Ajaib 4-1 in the quarter-finals before crafting further efforts of 102, 73 and 50 to deny promising Welsh teenager Liam Davies by the same scoreline in the last four.
On the other side of the draw, former Welsh Open finalist Higginson appeared beyond the last 16 for the first time this Q Tour campaign, although he had to come through a gauntlet that included Event 2 winner Martin O’Donnell, Event 1 winner Ross Muir, and two-time event runner-up George Pragnell. In the semi-finals Higginson came from a frame down to see off Frenchman Brian Ochoiski 4-2.
In the all-English final, Castle led twice early on, although runs of 85 and 70 aided Higginson to go into the mid-session interval level at 2-2.
The process repeated on resumption, with Castle (breaks of 71 and 72) moving 3-2 and 4-3 ahead, only for Higginson to keep pegging him back; a break of 65 in frame eight helping him force a deciding frame.
More drama was to come in that ninth frame with the tightest finish possible. Both players had scoring visits within it, although it would ultimately come down to the colours.
Leading by five points, Higginson potted the pivotal pink but also the cueball in the same shot. Castle then sank the pink to move six in front, but after a safety exchange, the black was left over a pocket for Higginson to force a re-spotted black.
More brilliant safety was played on the re-spot before Castle secured an epic victory with a mid-distance pot on the black.
The 30-year-old former English Amateur Champion zips up the rankings and puts himself in contention for the number one spot at the end of the season and automatic promotion back to the sport’s top tier.
Here is the provisional top 20 in the Q-Tour rankings (source: snooker.org)
His excellent run in Stockholm places Brian Ochoiski in contention for a place in the play-offs. Brian went off the radar after falling off the tour “top ups” main contenders list. His experience of the professional life wasn’t a particularly happy one, and the covid situation at the time did not help.
I was very surprised to see Luo Hong Hao’s name in the draw and I was right. He actually didn’t intend to be there … He lost in the first round in bizarre circumstances. From what transpired on Chinese social media, Luo thought that this event would offer a tour card to players managing to reach the semi-finals, like the Q-School. Learning that this wasn’t the case, he wanted to withdraw but was told by the organisers that he would be fined if he did. He played his first match, the score went 2-2, and he then walked out of the match with just one ball potted in the deciding frame. His explanation was that losing so early allowed him to go back to China right away, whilst he would otherwise have to wait for another 5 days before being able to fly home and the costs of the hotel were very, very high for him. Now he will likely be fined anyway… and he has damaged his reputation as well. All because he didn’t understand the purpose and context of this event… 😟
Without making excuses for Luo, this story illustrates another aspect of the difficulties non UK/Irish players face with most, if not all, WST/WPBSA communication happening in English. Most English native speakers don’t speak a word of any other language but (too) many think it’s “normal” for anyone else to master the language perfectly. It isn’t the case of course. I now live in Greece for over three years, on an island that is one of the major touristic destinations in the world. Big hotels and tourists agencies have multilingual staff but countless times I have witnessed incidents involving British/American tourists getting angry and very rude with the local staff in small villages and taverns because they spoke somewhat broken English… at least they spoke some English and were making an effort. How’s your Greek, guys?
Now the Academies – Vic’s Academy, Ding’s Academy and the Q-House – help their players with this stuff, but when Ding first arrived on the scene, they didn’t exist and this makes his early successes on the tour even more remarkable. I met him for the first time at the 2008 Premier League Snooker. He was extremely shy, and barely spoke a word of English.
The victory earns the 23-year-old her first ranking title of the 2022/23 season and the first since her historic victory at the World Championship in February. The title is her fourth career success in total and her maiden glory at one of the most prestigious tournaments on the calendar, that had previously only been won by either Ng or Reanne Evans during eight previous stagings.
Seeded second in the tournament as world champion, Nutcharut progressed to the final following wins against Diana Schuler (3-0), Siripaporn Nuanthakhamjan (3-1) and most notably six-time champion Reanne Evans in the semi-finals. Evans had recovered from 0-2 and 1-3 down to force a deciding frame, only for Nutcharut to claim the match with a doubled pink.
Awaiting her would be two-time Eden winner Ng On Yee, who had defeated Polish debutant Nikola Broyak (3-1), Mary Talbot-Deegan (3-0) and Rebecca Kenna (4-2) to reach her third consecutive final at Frames. As in 2021, her semi-final against Kenna was a finely balanced affair, during which she came back from behind to claim a crucial fifth frame and a 3-2 lead, before closing out the match with a break of 89.
The final would however prove to be a one-sided affair which was dominated by Nutcharut who top scored with a run of 64 on her way to a convincing 4-0 victory in just under two hours.
The victory will see the Thai number one consolidate her position of third in the world rankings, behind only Evans and Ng.
The highest break of the tournament was a magnificent run of 114 compiled by Tessa Davidson during the group stages – her first century break at a WWS Ranking event since the 1994 Pontins Spring Bowl – albeit having only returned to the Tour this year following a 23-year absence.
There was also a Thai victory in the Under-21 competition as Ploychompoo Laokiatphong made it five in a row since her success at the World Championship back in February. The 20-year-old excelled with breaks of 58, 51, 37 and 33 during a 2-0 victory against Zoe Killington in the final to seal victory.
In the Seniors tournament there was a return to success for England’s Tessa Davidson, who won her fifth Seniors title of the calendar year following a hard-fought 2-1 victory against defending champion Mary Talbot-Deegan in the final. It was Talbot-Deegan who claimed the first frame and had chances to seal a 2-0 victory in the second, only for Davidson to show her class and turn the match around to end the year on a winning note.
The Challenge Cup competition – for the first time played under a 6-Red format trialled at the event – was won by world number six Emma Parker, who defeated Wakefield’s Steph Daughtery 3-0 in the final. The pair came through a strong field which featured four top 20 ranked players in the semi-finals, with Parker coming out on top to earn her first WWS side-event title in almost three years.
As always, World Women’s Snooker would like to thank everyone who has supported the tournament, including title sponsors Eden Resources and our host venue Frames Sports Bar.
Mink is practicing at Vic’s Snooker Academy and she’s clearly improving significantly.
We have 12 Chinese players in this list. That’s 40% of the field. There are 24 Chinese players on the tour, that’s about 18% of the tour. The oldest of them is 35 years old; the average age on tour is 34. In fact 9 out of 12 are under 25. It took more time than many expected but definitely the times are a- changin…
The oldest player on tour, 60 years old Jimmy White has qualified. He’s a pro for 42 years. Surely that’s explanation enough for this apparent oddity? (Douglas Adams would probably agree).
Only 6 of the top 16 will go to Berlin. The season so far has been very start/stop. We have had endless, often soulless qualifiers. Many top players had weeks without competition at times. They are still “cold” in many ways. This isn’t working. The sponsors want the top guys at the main event. It’s even more important when it’s about tournaments outside UK.
After two rounds of qualifiers we still have 3 amateurs in the draw. All three have been pros before. In many ways, with no ranking pressure, they are under less pressure than the pros.
John Higgins joined the list of big-name casualties in the qualifying rounds of the BetVictor German Masters as he lost 5-3 to amateur Daniel Wells.
Neil Robertson is the only member of the world’s top seven to make it to the final stages in Berlin in February, as Mark Selby, Judd Trump, Mark Allen, Mark Williams and now Higgins have all lost in qualifying matches. And the result compounds a poor start to the season for four-time World Champion Higgins, who is yet to make it past the last 32 of any ranking event.
After sharing the first four frames, Welshman Wells dominated the fifth then made a break of 76 in the sixth to lead 4-2. Higgins pulled one back before Wells clinched victory in frame eight with a run of 63.
Shaun Murphy is also absent from the last 32 line up as he was beaten 5-2 by last season’s BetVictor European Masters champion, Fan Zhengyi. Cazoo UK Championship runner-up Ding Junhui came from 4-1 down to 4-4 against Matthew Stevens with breaks of 59, 72 and 119, only for Stevens to get the better of a scrappy 39-minute decider.
Germany’s top player Lukas Kleckers missed out on his home event as he lost 5-2 to Robert Milkins. Tour rookie Julien LeClercq couldn’t build on yesterday’s victory over Williams as he went down 5-1 to Louis Heathcote, who top scored with 101. Luca Brecel warmed up for the defence of his BetVictor Scottish Open title as he booked his place at the Tempodrom with a 5-2 success against Barry Pinches.
Julien Leclercq and Mark Davis staged major shocks at BetVictor German Masters qualifying, defeating three-time World Champion Mark Williams and 2019 Crucible king Judd Trump respectively.
Belgian 19-year-old Leclercq produced a fine performance to beat Williams 5-4 and score the biggest win of his fledgling career. He turned professional at the beginning of the season after winning the Q-Tour Playoff. Until now Leclercq’s biggest result dated back to 2021 World Championship qualifying, where he defeated Soheil Vahedi 6-5 in the opening round.
Leclercq held his nerve and composed a break of 61 to get himself over the line in the decider this morning. He now moves one win away from the final stages in Berlin. Next up he faces Louis Heathcote in the final round.
Former English Open finalist Davis also prevailed by a 5-4 scoreline, but he had to stave off a fightback from two-time German Masters winner Trump, who rallied from 4-2 down to force a decider.
Breaks of 85, 93, 69 and 55 helped former English Open runner-up Davis to secure his 4-2 lead. However, it was at that moment 23-time ranking event winner Trump showed his class to turn up the heat. He crafted runs of 127 and 56 to take the tie to a final frame.
Trump had the first chance, but it was Davis who made a break of 72 to win on the pink. He now faces Joe O’Connor for a place in Berlin.
Chris Wakelin earned his Berlin berth with a 5-3 defeat of Ben Woollaston in the final round, while Joe Perry beat Ryan Thomerson 5-1 to qualify.
John Higgins defeated Hong Kong’s Marco Fu 5-3 to make the final round. He now plays Daniel Wells in the final round, who beat Michael Judge 5-4.
Once again the word “shock” is being overused. Although Julien’s win is a big achievement at this stage of his career and shouldn’t be underestimated, the full story should also mention that Mark Williams came on twitter after the match, stating that playing had been a mistake as he is far from fully recovered from his food poisoning. He still feels poorly and he said that his participation in the Scottish Open is “doubtful”.
I didn’t see much of the Davis v Trump match as I was shooting away somewhere in Sofia but I do know how good Davis is when at his best and, going by the scores, he was close to his best yesterday.
As always all the detailed results are on snooker.org. The last of those results records Reanne Evans’s 5-4 defeat to Adam Duffy. Reanne came later on social media with this downbeat comment: “I used to enjoy this… “. That doesn’t look great 😟.
Ronnie and Jimmy entertained a huge crowd yesterday evening in Sofia. Today they will do another one in Plovdiv. Those events are organised by Oleg Velinov and he does a sterling job. Everything ran smoothly yesterday.
It started with the players signing goods and programs in the arena itself.
The match itself was a best-of-9 with a twits or two…
The first frame was in fact played as a “Scotch Doubles”. Each of the pros was paired with a local amateur. Sorry, I don’t know their name. Jimmy’s yesterday’s partner is a really good player. Ronnie played with a young lad, who, maybe, was a bit overawed by the occasion. Anyway, “Team Jimmy” won that frame convincingly. and it counted as 1-0 to Jimmy in the match…
The rest of the match was a rather close and very entertaining affair, Ronnie emerging a 5-4 winner. Both players scored one century. They didn’t refuse many shots as you might imagine 😉
Two of the frames Jimmy won involved very unorthodox shots. In both occasions the white had come to rest touching, or nearly touching, the colour he intended to play. There was not way he could play it without playing a push shot. What to do? Jimmy’s “solution” was to put his cue down, “cut the white” with his hand … and send the colour in a pocket as a result. Under the Bulgarian Exhibition circumstances, this was deemed a legal shot much to the delight of the crowd.
The first part of the match was refereed by Proletina Velichkova, the second part by a young lady whose name I couldn’t get (my hearing is not the best and it was a bit noisy out there before the match!). Both did a great job.
There was a crew filming the match, but I’m not sure if it was for television, probably not given how the players contract works, but there was a big screen in the arena itself and the images have to come from somewhere…
It was a really good night.
Those exhibitions are doing a lot for snooker. Maxime Cassis, the president of the EBSA attended the event and he had brought the president of the Serbian billiards and snooker federation with him. This is how to grow the sport at amateur levels.
Here is a short video shared by Jason
Here are the pictures I took on the night:
26 November 2022 – Plovdiv
Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay for the Plovdiv exhibition.