Snooker Main Tour News – 09.12.2022

WST has published an updated version of this season calendar, and the good news is that the 6-reds World Championship is going to happen after all.

Here is the announcement:

Six Red World Championship

We are pleased to announce that the previously postponed Six Red World Championship has returned to the calendar and will take place from 6 to 11 March, 2023.

Click here for the updated calendar

And for the first time, there are four places allocated for players coming through a qualifying process. These four places are in addition to those players who qualify automatically or have been otherwise invited.

We will be staging the qualifying event from 7 to 9 January. This will be followed by the BetVictor Welsh Open qualifiers from January 11 to 13.

The four players who make it through will earn a place in the final stages in Bangkok, Thailand and will join the 16 players who had already entered and been confirmed for this event.

While this is a non-ranking event, we felt it was important to give all players the opportunity to compete, earn prize money and potentially a place in the televised stages in Thailand.

This change means that the qualifying rounds for the 2023 Turkish Masters have been put back to 6 to 12 February, 2023.

I would have liked to know a bit more about the qualifying process but I suppose this will come in due time.

Speaking of “due time”, the invitational, traditional Championship League Snooker is due to start in 10 days and there is still no information about who will play in it.

Rolf Kalb reflects on the 2023 German Masters Qualifiers Fiasco

Rolf Kalb has been reflecting on the outcome of the recent German Masters qualifiers and how their outcome may possibly impact the tournament and the future of snooker in Germany.

The original text is in German but a translation is offered and here it is:

DISCUSSIONS ABOUT THE GERMAN MASTERS: MORE PRIZE MONEY, DIFFERENT FORMAT?

The elimination of many top players in the qualification for the German Masters caused shock waves. This leads to discussions in the snooker world. Only six players from the current top 16 in the world rankings managed to qualify. Ronnie O’Sullivan had canceled his launch; the others failed in the preliminary rounds. As a result, critical voices calling for changes increased.

OF ROLF CALF PUBLISHED 07/12/2022 AT 16:02 GMT+2

Judd Trump indicated to the portal “The Sportsman” that he might not take part in the German Masters next year. He demanded more prize money and that the top players didn’t have to play a qualifier. He also criticized that the German Masters had not developed further.

Of course, the many failures in qualifying cannot be explained away. It’s annoying for the fans. One explanation for the cancellations is that the qualification was played immediately after the UK Championship. One week on the big stage at an outstanding tournament, the other week in the prosaic qualifying environment, with practically no spectators and, above all, no atmosphere. This is worse than a cold shower. That can be demotivating. 

However, the many surprises at the subsequent Scottish Open naturally put this finding into perspective.Of course, more prize money is always great for the players. Nobody has anything against that. But the money has to come from somewhere. There’s nothing left to get from the fans. The income from TV rights cannot be increased indefinitely either. So only sponsors remain. In view of the currently very difficult economic environment, however, there are also limits in this area.

Then there is the question of qualifying the top players. Should the top 16 no longer have to qualify, that would mean 32 more matches in the Tempodrom. However, it is not possible to set up more tables in the Tempodrom (you tried it once and then rightly left it again very quickly). So the tournament would have to be extended. The Tempodrom is a great location, but unfortunately also an expensive one. I doubt that the ticket sales for Monday and/or Tuesday will cover the additional costs. 

In addition, other events usually take place in the Tempodrom on the weekend before the snooker. And the expansion for the German Masters now takes two days. So where are the extra tournament days supposed to come from? Apart from the fact that there is still the question of whether the team, which consists largely of volunteers, is able to handle it.Looking for another venue for the German Masters is also not a good idea. 

The Tempodrom in particular gives the German Masters a special status. As a result, the tournament has an extremely high recognition value. Not doing so would devalue the German Masters extremely.One suggestion was that four players only have to play one qualifying match. After that, you would first play the first qualifying round completely. The top four who have reached the second round then play their next match in Berlin. 

However, this has the disadvantage that the players who are not financially well off would have to stay for up to a week in the qualification and not just two days. They also say thank you in view of the costs incurred.

So it’s a dilemma. The only option I see right now is a staggered betting system similar to that of the World Championship or UK Championship. The top 16 would then be seeded for the final round and would definitely play in the Tempodrom. But that should raise concerns on the World Snooker Tour that this could be the beginning of the end of the flat draw.

I think Judd Trump’s suggestion to give the German Masters more event character through additional activities and attractions is very good. But you also have to consider that the foyer in the Tempodrom does not offer many spatial possibilities.But I’m sure of one thing: A cessation of the German Masters would be a disaster for snooker Germany. 

But it would also be a serious setback for the World Snooker Tour in the internationalisation of the sport.

It’s certainly no coincidence that at this moment I’m thinking about how much we miss Brandon Parker.

Best regards

Yours, Rolf Kalb

The green background has been added by me. Yes, this is indeed the only solution and by far the best format as the UK Championship has proven. I would be very happy to see the end of the flat draw for all tournaments except the British Open and the Home Nations. When/if snooker returns to China the tiered system should be the format as well.

I would however want to see that “qualifying week” systematically played just before the event and at or close to the main event location. I really want to see the end of the UK centric organisation of snooker. The dates would be known from the start of the season, with plenty of time to get the required documents (i.e VISAs) and organise the travels.

The form players would be at the main venue, instead those who were on form two months before the event. We wouldn’t have the absurd situation where young “local” players are offered a wildcard, allegedly to promote snooker “locally”, only to have to travel and lose in soulless qualifiers in the UK.

And if the calendar is planned properly, traveling can be limited by having a UK/Irish leg, a mainland Europe leg and an Asian leg. Yes, it will mean being away from home longer for the UK players, and it will be more expensive for them too. But, hey, that’s been the fate of everyone else until now, as under the current organisation, most non UK players have to live as ex-pats in the UK … Remember it’s called WORLD snooker.

Gary Wilson is the 2022 Scottish Open Champion

Gary Wilson beat Joe O’Connor by 9-2 yesterday evening in Edinburgh to win his first ranking title, the 2022 Scottish Open. Congratulations Gary!

Here is the report by WST:

Wonderful Wilson Crushes O’Connor In Scottish Final

Gary Wilson won the last six frames in a row as he beat Joe O’Connor 9-2 in the final of the BetVictor Scottish Open, to capture his first ranking title 18 years after turning professional.

The Wallsend cueman first appeared on the World Snooker Tour in 2004, after winning the World under-21 championship. Since then he has competed in two ranking finals, suffering defeat at the 2015 China Open to Mark Selby and the 2021 British Open against Mark Williams.

Wilson also graced the hallowed single table setup at the Crucible in 2019, following a fine run to the World Championship semi-finals. The 37-year-old beat Luca Brecel, Mark Selby and Ali Carter, before losing to eventual winner Judd Trump. Those near misses made this evening’s emphatic triumph taste all the sweeter.

Wilson pockets a top prize of £80,000 and will now move up to 18th position in the world rankings. It also catapults him to second place in the BetVictor Series, where the player who accumulates the most money over the qualifying events will scoop a bumper £150,000 bonus.

O’Connor’s first foray into a ranking final ends with disappointment. The 27-year-old has spent four seasons as a professional and enjoyed the finest run of his career thus far.

He dumped out a star studded cast across the week, beating Zhao Xintong, Ding Junhui, Mark Williams and Ricky Walden to make the semis. O’Connor then scored a sensational 6-3 defeat of 2010 World Champion Neil Robertson. He leaves Edinburgh with the consolation of the £35,000 runner-up prize.

Much of the damage was done in the afternoon session, where Wilson clinically moved to a 6-2 lead and punished any errors made by his opponent.

Wilson took the first frame this evening, before crucially stealing the next on the black to move one from the win at 8-2. He wasted no time getting over the line, firing in a match winning break of 94 to capture his first major title.

It means the world. Many times over my career I’ve thought I would never get to this stage. You watch people do it on the telly and it seems harder and harder. It is getting harder. The standard is so good,” said an elated Wilson.

It is unbelievable to think that after the career I’ve had, which has been so up and down, I’ve finally won a tournament. I’ve fulfilled a lifelong ambition from when I was eight years old, I’ve done it.

I purposefully tried to put no expectation on myself. I’ve been in a couple of finals and lost situations in matches where I should have won. Even at 8-2 you are still thinking the worst could happen, but you are concentrating and plowing on to the line. It is just something that I have learned to do over the years. After so many years of defeats you learn to accept anything that comes.

I reckon you can get about six or seven pints at least in this trophy. So I am going to give that a go tonight and see what happens.

O’Connor said: “I have had an amazing week. I’ve beat a lot of top 16 players. Unfortunately today, I didn’t play my best. Congratulations to Gary, he was amazing and fully deserved the win.

“I loved every minute. I’d like to say a big thanks to my family and friends who came down to watch and thanks to the crowd, you’ve been amazing.”

The first frames of the final were very high quality from both. After that, Joe appeared to feel the pressure more and started to miss balls he hadn’t missed all week. This was his first ever final of course and it’s understandable. He will learn from the experience.

Gary also paid tribute to Stan Chambers, a man who did a lot for snooker in his area.

Gary Wilson pays emotional tribute to mentor Stan Chambers after maiden title at Scottish Open

Phil Haigh Sunday 4 Dec 2022 11:34 pm

Gary Wilson won the first ranking title of his career at the Scottish Open on Sunday night, and his former coach Stan Chambers who sadly passed away last year was on his mind.

In a classy winner’s speech, The Tyneside Terror hailed O’Connor, but also paid tribute to Chambers who was a huge figure in North East snooker, coaching players of all ages, doing a huge amount of charitable work, organising tournaments and dedicating his life to the baize.

He died last year at 85 years old and was well-deserving of the brilliant words from Wilson in Edinburgh.

I want to make a special mention to Stan Chambers who was a massive North East snooker fanatic for years and years and years,’ Wilson told Eurosport after his victory.

He sadly passed away last year and he would have really liked to be here, he believed I could win one and there was times when I believed maybe not.

Just a massive shout out to Stan, wherever he is, I know he’s looking down, and he’ll be proud.’

Jimmy White added on Eurosport: ‘I’m glad he mentioned Stan Chambers from the North East, because Stan did a lot for kids, got kids going.

He was there with Gary when he was 12 or 13, I played exhibitions for him. Unfortunately he passed, but I’m glad Gary gave him a mention because fantastic for snooker he was, Stan.’

That was a nice touch and you could see that it came from the heart.

And on a different subject ….

Happy 47 Ronnie!

Ronnie wasn’t in the studio yesterday night. He was looking forward to spend his birthday with his family, a rare occurrence as he’s usually detained in York for the UK Championship at this time of the year. No cakes for the media this time then!

2022 Scottish Open – The Semi-finals

I’m not sure how many would have predicted the Final line-up we have today but surely this must be the most unexpected Final in a long time. Indeed Gary Wilson will face Joe O’Connor today as both will try to win their first ranking title.

Here are the reports by WST:

Gary Wilson 6-4 Thepchaiya Un-nooh

Wilson Powers To Scottish Final

Gary Wilson is through to his third ranking event final, after battling past Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 6-4 in the last four of the BetVictor Scottish Open in Edinburgh.

Wilson is bidding for a maiden ranking crown and will now face either Neil Robertson or Joe O’Connor for the Stephen Hendry Trophy tomorrow. The final will be contested over the best of 17 frames, with a top prize of £80,000 on the line.

The Wallsend cueman’s previous final appearances ended in disappointment. He was soundly beaten 10-2 by Mark Selby in the 2015 China Open final and lost out by a 6-4 scoreline against Mark Williams in the title match at the 2021 British Open. Wilson will be hoping for a reversal of fortunes tomorrow.

Former Shoot Out champion Un-Nooh is still yet to win a full format ranking title. He was runner-up to Judd Trump at the 2019 World Open. The Thai leaves Edinburgh with £17,500 in prize money.

Wilson led 2-1 after a fiercely contested first three frames, before Un-Nooh embarked on a maximum break attempt. A final red on the right hand cushion was the last obstacle, but he couldn’t get position and his run ended on 112. As a result, they went into the mid-session locked level at 2-2.

World number 32 Wilson stepped it up a gear when play resumed, a break of 88 saw him regain the lead at 3-2. However, Un-Nooh immediately replied to make it 3-3. It was from there that 2019 Crucible semi-finalist Wilson made his move. Back-to-Back century runs of 122 and 130 saw him move to the verge of victory at 5-3.

Wilson was in with the first chance in the ninth, but missed a red to the middle on 64 and Un-Nooh cleared with 68 to steal the frame. Wilson was undeterred and made a nerveless 115 to close out the 6-4 win.

Wilson said: “I was just trying to play on instinct, keep potting the balls and keeping going. I think because it was going so quickly, that helped. It got myself into a rhythm and a flow. I was 5-3 up before I knew it.

He’s absolutely outstanding, so much natural ability. Makes the game look so easy and probably like a few players he just has to tighten up a bit. That is what I’ve worried about doing. By playing on instinct you can leave yourself open to mistakes.

It would mean the world to win. It is a cliché but it is what we play for growing up. Playing tournaments and picking up trophies. I’m not going to get ahead of myself. I know my game isn’t at the level to warrant winning a tournament in my own head. I have to continue what I did in the last few frames there. If the frames rack up then great, hopefully I can do it.

Ronnie had a heartwarming discussion with Gary in the Eurosport studio after the match. Keep in mind that Gary is the one who beat him here in the last 32 round, and he might well face him again next week at the same stage in the English Open. Despite this, Ronnie praised Gary and encouraged him to play more on instinct because that’s when he’s at his best. Yes, there are risks attached, but rewards as well. Earlier in the week, Gary had admitted that he rarely feels comfortable at the table. Ronnie told him that he’s awesome and should allow himself to play with more freedom. It was very obvious that Ronnie was completely genuine and eager to help a player who plays the game “in the right way” (in Ronnie’s views) and has all the talent in the world but, maybe, not the mental approach to really unleash this talent.

I’m pretty sure that neither Steve Davis, nor Stephen Hendry would have done such a thing while they were still winning, or hoping to win.

Ronnie has often been criticised for not doing enough for his sport. Other than the fact that he has kept it in the spotlights for over thirty years, even, almost singlehandedly, through the ‘noughties’ dark period, he’s regularly been helping individual players. That’s his way. Other players do it differently, by contributing to the sport’s governance, by advocating for changes they believe would bring more fans to the game, by focusing on coaching when they come to the end of their competitive career … All that is good and useful. Some ways are more “visible” than others and some suit “extravert” players more.

Joe O’Connor 6-3 Neil Robertson

Outstanding O’Connor Reaches Maiden Final

World number 55 Joe O’Connor stunned 2010 World Champion Neil Robertson 6-3 to reach his maiden ranking event final at the BetVictor Scottish Open in Edinburgh.

After four years as a professional, 27-year-old O’Connor will contest a title match for the first time tomorrow when he takes on Gary Wilson. It will be the first time they have faced each other on the World Snooker Tour.

With Wilson himself vying for a first ranking title, there is guaranteed to be a maiden ranking event winner tomorrow. The pair will do battle over the best of 17 frames, with the Stephen Hendry Trophy and a top prize of £80,000 on the line.

O’Connor first qualified as a professional in 2018, when he came through the EBSA Playoffs to earn a tour card. The Leicester cueman sensationally reached a maiden ranking semi-final a year later at the 2019 Welsh Open, where his run was ended by Stuart Bingham. This evening he went one step further by ousting 23-time ranking event winner Robertson.

The result is the latest in a superb run this week, which has also seen O’Connor defeat Zhao Xintong, Ding Junhui, Mark Williams and Ricky Walden.

Tonight’s victory marks O’Connor’s first ever win over Robertson. Their only other meeting came at the 2014 UK Championship, when Robertson prevailed in a 6-0 whitewash. A vastly improved O’Connor fared far better this evening.

Melbourne’s Robertson misses out on a second Scottish Open title. However, the £17,500 earned this week could prove to be important with it putting him into the top 32 on the one-year list. That means Robertson moves into position for a World Grand Prix spot ahead of the qualification cut off at the end of the English Open.

Robertson could hardly have got off to a better start tonight, firing in a break of 137 to take the opener. However, O’Connor is made of stern stuff and wasn’t going to be intimidated. He claimed the next two frames to move 2-1 ahead, before a break of 127 from Robertson made it 2-2 heading into the mid-session.

When play resumed the Australian composed his third century of the match, a break of 116, to lead 3-2. It would turn out to be his last frame won in the tie.

O’Connor restored parity with a fine break of 137 to take the sixth frame. Robertson led 60-14 in the seventh, but O’Connor summoned one of the clearances of the season with 47 to steal on the black. He then moved a frame from victory and stormed over the line with a superb break of 71.

I’m absolutely buzzing and over the moon, what can I say,” proclaimed a jubilant O’Connor.

It would mean everything to win tomorrow. It is what you play for. It is why you pick up a cue. You look at the top boys on TV and think that you want to be there one day. After watching Mark Selby’s success, it has inspired me more. He is someone I look up to that has achieved so much in the game. I want to be like that.

I’ve been waiting for my game to click. I don’t think it has clicked, but somehow I keep clinically getting over the line. I might look back next week and think everything went right. It feels like I’ve got an extra 10 or 20 percent in there, but that might sound mad.

I will just concentrate on my own game. I’ll make sure I prepare and eat close to the match and get some practice in. I will just trust myself. I’ve prepared well for this tournament. Hopefully my action can hold up and take me through.

In many ways Joe reminds me of a young Mark Selby, maybe unsurprisingly as he’s from Leicester too.He’s quite slow-going (AST over 30 seconds), he carefully considers his shots but his shot selection isn’t actually negative. Neil Robertson made a century in each of the three frames he won, he lost all the close ones. Without diminishing Joe’s merit, maybe Neil was still not 100% physically (he had a chest infection coming into this event) and struggled to keep full concentration in the closer frames, especially towards the end of the evening. . The reason I write this is because, on social media, I read suggestions that he might have “fixed” the match and should be investigated. That’s preposterous.

2022 Scottish Open – The Quarter-finals

The quarter-finals in Edinburgh brought some excellent snooker and a lot of drama. They also produced an unexpected line-up. This afternoon Gary Wilson will play Thepchaiya Un-Nooh and tonight Neil Robertson will face Joe O’Connor. Neil is the only top 16 player left in the draw and, on paper, a huge favourite to lift the title tomorrow.

This is how we got there, as reported by WST:

Afternoon session

Un-Nooh Downs Trump In Epic

Thepchaiya Un-Nooh scored his first ever win over Judd Trump, in the most thrilling fashion imaginable, beating the world number three 5-4 on a respotted black in the decider at the BetVictor Scottish Open.

The pair had previously met five times on the World Snooker Tour, with 23-time ranking event winner Trump prevailing on each occasion. The most painful of those losses for Un-Nooh came in the opening round of the 2019 World Championship, where he was narrowly edged out 10-9. Trump went on to win his first and only Crucible crown to date.

Victory sees Un-Nooh end his losing streak against Bristolian Trump and progress to his seventh ranking event semi-final, where he will face Gary Wilson. The Thai cueman landed a maiden ranking title at the 2019 Shoot Out, but is yet to taste silverware in a full format event.

Defeat will come as a tough pill to swallow for Trump, who hasn’t lifted the Stephen Hendry Trophy before. He will have to wait another year for that and also continues his hunt for a first title of the season. The Ace in the Pack was runner-up to Ronnie O’Sullivan at the Champion of Champions last month.

The match got underway at a rapid pace, with the pair putting on a show for the packed crowd in Edinburgh. Breaks of 53 and 79 from Un-Nooh and 104 and 102 from Trump saw the first four frames shared and they went into the interval locked level at 2-2.

Trump edged in front when play resumed, but Un-Nooh claimed a tight sixth to restore parity at 3-3. A contribution of 86 from Trump gave him the seventh, before Un-Nooh responded with 104 to make it 4-4 and set up a dramatic decider.

It came down to the final two balls and Trump had the chance to clear and steal. He missed the pink with the rest while trying to develop the black. It was left at the mercy of Un-Nooh, who potted it and left himself a tricky black for the match. Un-Nooh then missed a rest shot of his own and Trump deposited the black to make it 55-55. Eventually Trump had a chance on the respot to the yellow pocket but missed it and left a simple black, which Un-Nooh potted to secure a momentous victory.

I am still excited. I have one thing to say. Everything has a first time. I’ve never beaten Judd before. I believe in myself and I can do it. I beat him today and I’m so happy.” said 37-year-old Un-Nooh.

I lost to him 10-9 at the Crucible. I have never forgotten that match. He won the world trophy as well. I am so happy to beat him today.

I had to be positive on the first black I missed with the rest. I thought I would pot it, but my cue speed wasn’t fast enough, it was too slow. I was so happy to get over the line. The table is fast, I thought the black Judd missed wouldn’t roll far enough for me, but it did.”

The second quarter-final was a clash of the Wilsons, with Gary battling past Kyren by a 5-3 scoreline to make his sixth ranking event semi-final.

The Wallsend cueman’s most recent appearance in the last four came during his run to the 2021 British Open final. He was runner-up to Mark Williams on that occasion. Wilson will be hoping to go one step further this weekend.

He crafted breaks of 65, 60 and 74 on his way to the win. After the match the pair had a discussion at the table and Gary revealed in his interview that Kyren was unhappy with his reaction following a specific shot.

Gary Wilson said: “To be honest he was quite serious. He was saying he thought my attitude was terrible when I left a red over the pocket. I had a joke with the crowd and it wasn’t against him. He said he could hear me banging about at the interval and it wasn’t the way to go on. I said that I was sorry if it affected him. I didn’t mean it like that and I’m allowed to release a bit of steam in the interval. Emotions get the better of us all at times. I certainly didn’t mean anything towards him about it.”

I’m very, very happy for Theppy whose ranking suffered a lot during the covid crisis and was in danger of relegation. Judd had made two centuries and breaks of 53, 52, 61 and 86 but still lost. That’s because he also made mistakes at crucial moments. He looked utterly devastated and barely able to speak when interviewed after the match. To his own admission he had many chances and didn’t take them. His final assessment of his performance was “Shocking”.

Gary Wilson deserved the win in the other match. Kyren’s reaction was a bit bizarre, but then, he had just lost from 3-1 up and he absolutely hates losing.

Evening session

Robertson Into Edinburgh Semis

Neil Robertson scored his seventh consecutive win over Mark Selby, winning 5-2 to book his place in the semi-finals of the BetVictor Scottish Open in Edinburgh.

The last time Selby conquered Robertson was back at the 2020 World Championship, where he came through in the quarter-finals. Since then, 2010 Crucible King Robertson has embarked on a relentless streak against Selby, building a 17-8 lead in the head-to-head.

Robertson is aiming to pick up the Stephen Hendry Trophy for a second time this weekend. He was Scottish Open champion in 2017, when an extraordinary comeback in the final gave him the title. The Australian rallied from 8-4 down against China’s Cao Yupeng to win 9-8.

Selby is a two-time winner of the Scottish Open, having claimed the title in his first two appearances in 2019 and 2020. However, the four-time World Champion will have to settle for a spot in the last eight this time around.

Melbourne cueman Robertson put on a devastating display in the early stages this evening. Breaks of 133, 99 and 83 saw the Thunder from Down Under storm to a 3-0 lead. There was little Selby could do in the face of the Robertson blitz. However, he showed his typical steel with a break of 104 to head into the mid-session two behind at 3-1.

A run of exactly 100 saw Robertson re-establish his three frame cushion upon the resumption. Selby replied with 105 to stay alive at 4-2, but Robertson got over the line with 60 in the seventh to end a 5-2 winner. He now faces Joe O’Connor in tomorrow’s semi-finals over the best of 11 frames.

Robertson said: “The overall standard was fantastic from both of us. It was one of those matches where I seemed to be able to create the opportunity to have a look at a long ball. I was very accurate from range tonight and clinical when I knocked in the long reds. The momentum was always with me and I was very happy with how I played.

There have been a few deciders (in his recent run against Selby) where we’ve both played brilliantly. A semi-final at the Champion of Champions comes to mind. There were a few deciders that could have gone either way if he got the first chance. It doesn’t mean too much. I don’t think top players look at the head to head.

It would be nice to get the title. Winning the mixed doubles was great. Every top player just wants to win something. You don’t really care where it comes from or when it is. Now I want to push on and add more titles to the collection. In the next match I want to play really well and see where it leaves me.”

O’Connor earned his semi-final slot with an impressive 5-1 demolition of three-time ranking event winner Ricky Walden.

The Leicester cueman will appear in his second ranking semi tomorrow evening. The first came at 2019 Welsh Open, where he was beaten by Stuart Bingham.

O’Connor fired in breaks of 127 and 81 on his way to this evening’s win. Afterwards he admitted it would be a dream to win tomorrow evening.

O’Connor said: “It would mean everything to make the final. I’ve practised all these hours for God knows how many years now just to get a chance at winning a title. Hopefully I can play well again and have a chance.

I looked over a couple of times tonight and Neil was clearing up. He looked like he was palying well. It was nothing different to what I would expect from Neil. I’m just going to concentrate on my own game and hopefully that’s good enough.”

There isn’t really much to add to this report. Neil Robertson was just incredible yesterday evening.

As for the other match, I did see nothing of it, so can’t comment on the action. From what transpired on social media, Ricky was not feeling great as he was battling the flu. That probably explains the very one-sided scoreline.

2022 Scottish Open – Last 32 and Last 16 Rounds

Much was done of Ronnie’s last 32 exit at the hands of Gary Wilson in a high quality match that went the distance but actually such alleged “shocks” are commonplace in those short format events. The outcome of the last 32 and last 16 rounds show just that.

Here are the reports by WST:

Last 32 – Wednesday Evening

The evening saw the last 32 get underway and Gary Wilson scored a significant first ever win over World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan, prevailing by a 4-3 scoreline.

Wilson had come up short in all of his prior meetings with the Rocket, suffering losses at German Masters, World Championship and Shanghai Masters in 2017.

Wallsend’s Wilson crafted breaks of 72 and 82 during the tie, before a match winning 73 in the decider. Next up he faces either Yan Bingtao or Hossein Vafaei for a place in the quarter-finals.

Of pretty much all of the top players on the tour, Ronnie O’Sullivan and Mark Williams were the only two I haven’t beaten before. I think there’s only Mark left now. It’s nice, you don’t want to keep playing someone and not winning. It is good to tick that one off and get a result,” said 37-year-old Wilson.

I don’t ever really feel comfortable with my game generally. It is hard to block out when you feel that way. On the very rare occasion I feel confident and good about my game it doesn’t matter who I’m playing.”

Anthony McGill won an all-Scottish clash with Scott Donaldson 4-3 to make the last 16. He now faces 2010 World Champion Neil Robertson, who beat Joe Perry 4-1.

Last 32 – Thursday Afternoon

Jones Fightback Stuns Higgins

Jamie Jones came from requiring snookers at 3-1 down to stun home favourite John Higgins and win 4-3 in their last 32 clash at the BetVictor Scottish Open in Edinburgh.

It’s the first time that Welshman Jones has beaten four-time World Champion Higgins in ten years. The last time he prevailed against the Scot was at the 2012 PTC Grand Final.

Jones has already enjoyed success in this event, having made the semi-finals back in 2020, when it was contested behind closed doors due to the coronavirus pandemic. Next up he faces Thepchaiya Un-Nooh for a spot in this year’s quarter-finals.

Defeat for Higgins ends his quest to get his hands on the Stephen Hendry Trophy for a first time. The 31-time ranking event winner was runner-up to Marco Fu in the inaugural event back in 2016 and to Luca Brecel last year.

Higgins is also left stranded in 74th position on the live one-year list. The Glaswegian must put in a strong showing at the English Open to stand any chance of reaching the World Grand Prix, where only the top 32 qualify.

Jones found himself needing two snookers to stay in the match at 3-1 down this afternoon, but dramatically got them and clinched the frame on the black to remain alive 3-2. He came from behind to win the sixth and then controlled the decider to run out a 4-3 victor.

When I won the fifth frame I thought to try to get a foothold in the match. We were both missing and I just thought that if I could miss a little less than him I could get over the line. I did well,” said 34-year-old Jones. “He is one of my idols. Just to be playing out there with him is great, but to beat him is going to give me confidence.

Higgins said: “When I walked in today I was talking to an old lady with lung cancer. She said it was brilliant to get to see me and she hasn’t got long to live. You just have to tell yourself that you have lost one game of snooker and there are other people going through a hell of a lot worse. I am disappointed, but I live to fight another day and I live to fight another thousand days probably on the snooker table. That is the way life is.”

Thailand’s Un-Nooh put on a supreme performance to beat UK Champion Mark Allen 4-1. He fired in breaks of 61, 85, 58 and 87 on his way to victory, averaging just 15.5 seconds per shot.

Jack Lisowski produced a blitz of breaks to edge out Ali Carter 4-3. He compiled runs of 139, 101 64 and 137 en route to victory. The six-time ranking event finalist now plays Mark Selby this evening.

Kyren Wilson dumped out Scotland’s Stephen Maguire 4-2 and faces Zhou Yuelong for a place in the quarter-finals.

So, after the last 32 round, none of the guys in the poster were still in the tournament, and both the 2022 UK Championship finalists were out too. That’s what can happen in short formats especially when a shambolic calendar has prevented most players to properly “build-up” their form.

Last 16 – Thursday Evening

Selby Books Robertson Clash

Mark Selby set up a blockbuster quarter-final showdown with Neil Robertson at the BetVictor Scottish Open, beating Jack Lisowski 4-2 in Edinburgh.

Selby is aiming to pick up the Stephen Hendry Trophy for a third time this weekend, having claimed the title in 2019 and 2020, his first two appearances in the event. However, to do that he will have to overcome an unenviable recent record against Robertson.

Selby has lost the last six meetings with the Melbourne cueman, with his last victory coming in the quarter-finals of the 2020 World Championship.

Lisowski’s hunt for a maiden ranking crown continues, despite enjoying blistering form which saw him make the semi-finals at the recent UK Championship. The six-time ranking event finalist made three century runs during his 4-3 win over Ali Carter this afternoon, but was unable to carry that momentum into tonight’s match.

It had appeared to be a straightforward evening for Selby when he took the opening three frames to lead 3-0. However, Lisowski hit back to pull within one. Selby wasn’t to be denied and a typically steely run of 86 booked his place in the quarters.

Selby said: “Jack and Mark Allen seem to be the men of the moment. Obviously Mark is winning tournaments, but as far as performances go Jack is playing as well as anyone. I’m really happy to get over the line there.

I always look forward to playing against Neil Robertson. We are great friends, he is a great player and a great ambassador for the sport. It is going to be another tough match and a good game.

I know that he has beaten me the last few times. I wouldn’t go into the match thinking I need to win this one. He is a class player and every time I have played him lately he has played at the top of his game. When he plays like that he beats anyone, so hopefully tomorrow he’s not at the top of his game.

Unfortunately for Selby, Robertson certainly was at the top of his game this evening, beating the only remaining Scottish player Anthony McGill 4-2 in a fiercely contested encounter.

Robertson, who won the Scottish open in 2017, fired in breaks of 88, 117, 90 and 61 on his way to victory. The 2010 World Champion crosses cues with Selby tomorrow evening at 7pm.

World number three Judd Trump put on a battling performance to come from behind and beat Xiao Guodong 4-2.

The Ace in the Pack has already enjoyed a moment of success this week, making the eighth 147 break of his career during his last 64 tie with Mitchell Mann.

It was Xiao who started fastest with runs of 95, 60 and 61 to clinch the opening two frames and lead 2-0. However, Trump claimed a 35-minute third and that proved to be a turning point in the tie. He dug deep to take the next three and make it four on the bounce to emerge a 4-2 victor. Despite the battling nature of the win, Trump wasn’t impressed with his performance.

Trump said: “It was awful. I’m surprised any of you are still awake and you haven’t all gone home. That was so bad. He gave me that in the end. He was 2-0 up and looking good. He was getting all the best chances and handing me in all of the time. I needed four or five chances every single time.

Every round that I get through there is always a chance that I could turn it on. I am just waiting, maybe if I get in the semi-final with a new cloth I’ll find it a bit easier. I am struggling a little bit with my tip. I think I need a really reactive table to help me out.

Trump now faces the quick-fire Thepchaiya Un-Nooh, who held off a Jamie Jones fightback to come through by a 4-3 scoreline.

The match started at a blistering pace, with the pair conjuring three consecutive century breaks. Un-Nooh made runs of 106 and 109 to lead 2-0, before Jones pegged him back with 129. They traded the following two frames and Jones then took the sixth on the black to force a decider. It was Un-Nooh who prevailed in the final frame to claim his quarter-final slot.

Kyren Wilson earned his place in the last eight with a 4-2 win over Zhou Yuelong. He now faces Gary Wilson, who edged past Iran’s Hossein Vafaei 4-3.

Ricky Walden and Joe O’Connor face off in the other quarter-final. Walden eased through with a 4-1 win over Sam Craigie, while O’Connor defeated three-time World Champion Mark Williams 4-3.

The Trump v Xiao match was truly awful. I’m not sure what happened to Xiao but he really should have won this match and won it easily. For some reason, he completely lost his game after two frames. It was bizarre and unsettling.

Contrary to Csilla’s somber prediction Gary Wilson didn’t go out in the last 16. He won another hard-fought match, beating Hossein Vafaei by 4-3.

Of course, there is no word in WST report about the end of the Craigie v Walden match. The last frame ended on a 29-1 to Walden. A visibly frustrated Craigie had gone for a wild shot, leaving his opponent in the balls and, after Walden played only two or three of shots, Craigie got out of his seat and shook his hand. Without knowing what’s going in in Craigie’s life, I don’t want to comment but he will almost certainly be fined.

2022 Scottish Open – Ronnie goes out to Gary Wilson in the last 32 round

Ronnie’s run in the 2022 Scottish Open came to an end at the hands of an excellent Gary Wilson yesterday evening. Here are the scores:

It’s another early exit in a ranking event for Ronnie, which is a shame, but truth to be said, it was a very good match and Gary was the better player. Ronnie himself didn’t play badly. Both were above 90% pot success. This was probably as good as Ronnie has played in ranking events all season, he applied himself, his safety was very good but his long potting remains inconsistent.

Here is the report by WST:

The evening saw the last 32 get underway and Gary Wilson scored a significant first ever win over World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan, prevailing by a 4-3 scoreline.

Wilson had come up short in all of his prior meetings with the Rocket, suffering losses at German Masters, World Championship and Shanghai Masters in 2017.

Wallsend’s Wilson crafted breaks of 72 and 82 during the tie, before a match winning 73 in the decider. Next up he faces either Yan Bingtao or Hossein Vafaei for a place in the quarter-finals.

Of pretty much all of the top players on the tour, Ronnie O’Sullivan and Mark Williams were the only two I haven’t beaten before. I think there’s only Mark left now. It’s nice, you don’t want to keep playing someone and not winning. It is good to tick that one off and get a result,” said 37-year-old Wilson.

I don’t ever really feel comfortable with my game generally. It is hard to block out when you feel that way. On the very rare occasion I feel confident and good about my game it doesn’t matter who I’m playing.

No quotes from Ronnie by WST, but Hector Nunns spoke to him:

Ronnie O’Sullivan thankful he climbed “Arthur’s a***” as he crashes out of Scottish Open

Ronnie O’Sullivan crashed out of the Scottish Open with a shock defeat to Tyneside Terror Gary Wilson – but at least enjoyed some of the sights Edinburgh had to offer

Ronnie O’Sullivan was thankful he was able to climb ‘Arthur’s a***’ after crashing out of the Scottish Open.

The world No.1 was edged out 4-3 by Geordie Gary Wilson in a thriller at the Meadowbank Sports Centre in Edinburgh. Tyneside Terror Wilson, a huge underdog, held his nerve with a brilliant break of 73 in a tense deciding frame to seal his first ever victory over the Rocket. 

Wilson looked in complete control in the decider – with O’Sullivan suffering a surprise early exit before Thursday’s last 16. O’Sullivan has won two prestigious invitational events at the Hong Kong Masters and the Champion of Champions this year, but his wait for his first ranking title of the season goes on.

And the unflustered 46-year-old, an avid runner, claimed he had the ‘amazing’ consolation of climbing Arthur’s seat – the ancient volcano and famous peak of a group of hills in the Scottish capital that he mistakenly referred to as ‘Arthur’s a***’.

Gary was the better player tonight, he just played better than me – and so that’s what the snooker gods dished out,” O’Sullivan admitted. “He deserved to win, and it is as simple as that. Snooker can be very fickle and maybe this can be the start of something for Gary, and he can go deep in the draw.

I am pretty neutral about winning and losing these days, that doesn’t change. I will stay here working with Eurosport until maybe late Sunday and try and get home for my birthday on Monday. At least I got to run up Arthur’s Seat, or Arthur’s a*** or whatever it’s called while I was here. That was amazing.

Once again the words “shock defeat” are being used, but this was no shock at all. Gary Wilson is inconsistent, but when he’s playing well, he’s playing really well. Alan McManus in the ES studio was full of praise for his performance yesterday. He has been a ranking finalist twice, most recently, last season at the 2021 British Open, and he’s reached the one table setup at the Crucible. What he said about never feeling comfortable probably explains his lack of consistency. He’s also spoken about mental health issues in the past.

As for the race to the 2023 World Grand Prix, Ronnie is currently ranked 15, but that will probably change as the week goes on. However with a 10000 points cushion on the current 32d in the list, he is safe. He will however need results at the 2022 English Open and the 2023 World Grand Prix to secure his spot in the Players Championship, especially as he won’t play in Berlin and won’t play in the 2023 Shoot-out either as he currently has an exhibition scheduled that week.