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Monday, 23 July 2012

UKPTC 1 round up.

We may have already had two full ranking events this season but many will feel it was this weekend in Gloucester that the 2012/13 season really clicked into gear.That is in no way meant to take away from the fine stuff played by both Ricky Walden in China or Barry Hawkins in Australia but I think it's fair so say that some of the snooker in both tournaments was pretty dour.That is certainly not a criticism that could be leveled at this tournament as Stephen Maguire snatched the title on the final black beating Jack Lisowski 4-3

Maguire has seen somewhat of a return to form in recent months having captured PTC 12 last December and finishing the season with two further runner up spots in ranking events as well as reaching the semi final at the Crucible.Here he was pushed all the way by Lisowski and having missed a couple of  glorious  chances to seal the win he must have felt it had slipped away from him as Jack looked set to clear up and win his first professional title.This was not to be however as Lisowski missed a straight forward yellow off the spot with victory only three balls away and Maguire mopped up to win.

For Maguire this will surely give him even more confidence for the season ahead and it would be a surprise to me if this is his last time in winners circle this season.As for Lisowski  when the initial disappointment subsides he can look back on this weekend as another step forward in his career,His victories over Judd Trump and Mark Williams showed he has the character as well the ability to mix it with the best and it surely wont be long till he's doing this on a consistent basis.His style of play really is a joy to watch.

Other fine performers this weekend included Ali Carter who lost a deciding frame to Williams in the quarters , Barry Hawkins who also enjoyed another fine week before losing to Maguire and Luca Brecel who again showed signs that he is heading in the right direction beating two former world champions Graeme Dott and Ken Doherty before falling to Trump in the last 16.

Finally I'd to mention in passing the remarkable achievement of Lu Haotian who this weekend aged just 14  became the youngest ever winner of the IBSF World Under 21 championship .He joins a list of former winners that includes Doherty,O Sullivan,Ebdon and Robertson so if he goes on to achieve even some of what these great names have he'll have done very well.

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