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Thursday, 14 March 2013

PTC Grand Finals Day Three

Day three at the PTC Grand Finals in Galway and yet another long day of snooker.A lot of great things have happened in the sport in the last few years,but even still a decision is made that is just baffling.We have certainly had one of those this week as the powers that be somehow decided that the best way to structure this tournament was to have six best of seven frame matches on each of the first four days.This has resulted in a series of late night finishes that don't suit players,audiences or the tv stations
Last night we had the farcical situation that home favourite Ken Doherty didn't get to start his match until after 11pm and this was repeated again today as Mark Allen and Joe Swail didn't see the arena until just after midnight.The only ways around this situation that I can see is to either have two televised tables for the first couple of rounds up to the quarter final or else simply give the tournament an extra day.Of course it's to late to do anything about it for this tournament but surely lessons must be learnt for the future.

Onto the table then and first up this morning we had Marco Fu and Mark Joyce.Fu has been enjoying a bit of revival of late and eased through this one 4-2 to set up a rematch of the recent German Masters final against the man who beat him in Berlin Ali Carter.

Next up we had Robert Milkins and Anthony Mcgill.In a match that like so many here this week never really got going it was the sole remaining Scotsman left in the tournament who prevailed 4-2. Next up for him is Ding Junhui who brought Mcgills extraordinary run in the Scottish Open earlier in the season to and end when he beat him in the final. Mcgill will be looking to gain some revenge for that here.

This one was followed by what was perhaps the highest quality match of the week so far between Mark Williams and Ben Woollaston.Williams has been really struggling of late,but it was he who got off to the better start here and established a 3-1 lead with an impressive pot success rate of 94%.Woollaston is a good competitor though and foght back to take the next two to level at 3-3.Into the decider we went and it was once again Woollaston who produced his best under pressure sealing a famous win with a break of 70.

Next up for Woollaston will be a last 16 encounter with Joe Perry after he staved off a late fightback from Bingham to win by the weeks most popular scoreline 4-2. Here it was Perry who flew out of the blocks and looking comfortable among the balls quickly established a 3-0 lead. As i have noted before though ,this is a different Bingham these days and he slowly got himself back into the match winning the next two to close to just 3-2 behind.Perry was now visibly feeling the pressure but he still just managed to do enough to seal the win and move into the second round.

Into what was officially the evening session then and the first of the second round ties between Tom Ford and the man who eliminated Selby in the first round Jack Lisowski.This one always threatened to be a close encounter between two evenly matched players and so it proved to be.It was Lisowski who made the early running to lead 3-1 but there was never much in it and Ford fought back to level at 3-3.In a decider where both players had their chances it was Ford who got in first to establish a lead,but back came Lisowski who seemed set for the win only to jaw a tricky green down the cushion.Ford was never going to let this second chance go and he cleared up to become the first man through to the semi finals.

And so it was at 12.08 on day 3 (or maybe 4) that Mark Allen and Joe Swail finally got on the baize.It was obvious from the outset here that Allen was in no mood to hang around as he duly wrapped up the first frame in around 10 minutes.The second frame was a much closer affair and it seemed to be going the way of Swail as he lead 57-0 but Allen came storming back to clinch it by a single point with an excellent 58 clearance.He also stylishly won the third to go 3-0 and closed out the match in the next recording his second 4-0 win of the week.

So ends another marathon day at The Bailey Allen Hall.Day four starts in just over 8 hours. Hardly worth my while going back to hotel!

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