Here is WST report on what happened yesterday at the Q-School as the first round concluded.
Bai Reaches Round Two With Crucial Break
Bai Yulu made a vital break of 78 in the deciding frame to beat Muhammad Aurangzaib 4-3 and reach the second round of Q School event one in Leicester.
China’s 19-year-old Bai, playing in Q School for the first time, will now face Craig Steadman on Monday morning. She has shown her potential on the World Women’s Tour in recent weeks, reaching the final of the World Championship and winning the British Open, and admits that earning a place on the professional tour is now her biggest goal.
After losing the opening frame against England’s Aurangzaib, she levelled with a run of 62. Bai lost the third but then made a 33 clearance to snatch the fourth, and a break of 49 put her 3-2 ahead. Aurangzaib forced a decider, but Bai’s excellent 78 secured her progress.
Former Shoot Out champion Robin Hull was smoking hot in a 4-0 win over Richard Pipe, compiling breaks of 114, 58 and 66. Joshua Cooper made a 132, the highest break of the event so far, during a 4-0 success over Abdul Raheem.
Gerard Greene, a former Players Championship finalist, eased to a 4-0 win over James Burrett. Liam Pullen, runner-up to Stan Moody in the WSF Junior Championship, came from 2-1 down to beat Mark Lloyd 4-2.
All the results are on snooker.org
There was clearly a lot of interest about Bai’s match yesterday. She will have learned a lot from that match yesterday. She had no previous experience to play in professional conditions. Also, it’s unlikely that the young Chinese lads she plays regularly in China have the type of game Muhammad Aurangzaib plays. He’s 51 and probably plays a more conservative game than the younger players. Bai coped with that. She handled the pressure well. She must have known that her match would followed by many. Craig Steadman will probably have too much for her, but, as she stated, she’s here to learn.
The deciding frame is on YouTube
There weren’t any big surprises yesterday.
That said, I thought that the 4-0 win by 19 years old Antoni Kowalski from Poland deserved a mention. Here is Antoni’s 2022/23 page on Cuetracker. Antoni won 49 of the 60 matches he played this season so far (counting yesterday win) and at 19 is the reigning Polish National champion.
Also worth mentioning is France’s Nicolas Mortreux win. Nicolas, who is only 20, has played a lot of good matches this season as his 2022/23 Cuetracker page shows. including on the Q-Tour. He’s shown serious dedication, traveling a lot to play, gain experience and improve. Nicolas will play Lee Shanker next. They have never played each other (according to Cuetracker) but I think that it’s a winnable match for Nicolas despite the superior experience of his opponent.
Snooker News shared by WST
Ding Steps Down
It has today been announced that Ding Junhui is to step down from his position on the WPBSA Players Board of Directors as of 31 May 2023.
Ding was elected as a founding director of WPBSA Players in December 2020, following the formation of the organisation as part of a major constitutional review of the WPBSA.
Following a season which has seen the former world number one lift the 6-Red World Championship title for a second time and notably reach a fourth UK Championship final, the 36-year-old has taken the decision to step down from the board of WPBSA Players to focus on his playing career at this time.
Ken Doherty, Chairman of WPBSA Players said: “Ding has made a positive contribution to the WPBSA Players Board over the past two and a half years. On behalf of the board, I would like to thank him for his input and wish him well for the future.”
I’m glad to read that Ding wants to focus more on his career again. He’s too good, and, at 36, too young to partially retire and if he feels that his duties as a member of the board are taking too much of his time and energy, then, this is surely the right decision for him. I can’t help though to wonder if there might be additional motives as well. It’s obvious that the image of Chinese snooker has been tarnished by the latest match-fixing scandal and many of the players involved were training at Ding’s academy. Maybe Ding feels that he now has a responsibility to try and restore a positive image of the state snooker in China and there is no better way than doing it on the table.
Huge Offer From Matchroom Sport Charitable Foundation
The Matchroom Sport Charitable Foundation will pledge £25,000 to Jessie May Children’s Hospital at Home IF Rob Walker can reach the same target during his Absent Friends Tour in June.
Our Master of Ceremonies is cycling 1,000 miles from John O’Groats to Land’s End next month in order to raise money for WST’s official charity Jessie May, as well as the Brain Tumour Charity.
CLICK HERE for Rob’s Just Giving page where you can donate
And if the Jessie May tally reaches £25,000 then Matchroom Sport Charitable Foundation will double it to a massive £50,000.
WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson, a trustee of the foundation, said: “This is an incredible challenge for Rob and we know how much it means to him personally. We’re delighted that he has chosen Jessie May as one of the charities who will benefit as these kind on donations are what keep them going. If Rob can complete the challenge and reach the £25,000 target then we will be thrilled to match it.”
The Matchroom Sport Charitable Foundation was created to centralise the benevolent efforts of Matchroom Sport, the global sports promotion company headed by Barry Hearn. For over 30 years, Matchroom Sport has donated millions of pounds to a wide-range of charities throughout its many sporting activities, including sports and community charities, and a number of hospices for both children and adults.
Jessie May Nurses provide vital respite and palliative care for terminally ill children, and their families across the South West. For more information visit www.jessiemay.org.uk