Follow by Email

Thursday, 29 October 2015

International Championship Quarter final round up.

And then there were 4 after a day of hard matchplay snooker at the the International Championship in Daqing.

The first semi final tomorrow will see Thepcheaiya Un_Nooh face David Gilbert after both came through tough deciding frames to book their places in the last four.

Un-Nooh of course has been no stranger to deciders this week having played four of them already just to reach this stage and he showed what good form he was in,turning a 2-1 deficit into a 4-2 lead. Mark Allen though is no pushover and pulled it back to level things up at 4-4.From here the standard upped another gears Un-Nooh knocked in a 99 break to go 5-4 only for a 114 from Allen made it 5-5.

Into that decider then and it was Un-Nooh who was always in control of it to run out the 6-5 winner.

Meanwhile on the other table David Gilbert was battling it out against the 2013 runner up Marco Fu.

 This was a real high quality encounter with Fu looking in great touch as he opened up a 4-2 with the help of breaks of 66,72 & 89.Gilbert though is one of those players who has threatened for a long time to make a name for himself in the game and maybe now that time has come.He levelled things up here at 4-4 before a break of 130 put one away from the match at 5-4.Fu though levelled with a 78 to make it 5-5.

The decider here was a real nailbiter and looked to be going the way of Fu ,but Gilbert held his nerve to clear from the last two reds and seal the 6-5 victory on the black.

If the semi final line up in the top is a surprising one,there is something quite familiar about the two who will contest the one in the other half of the draw.

Mark Selby stayed in contention for the title with a 6-4 victory over Neil Robertson.

There is always a danger when these two hardened match players face each other that they may well cancel each other out and so it seemed today as both struggled to find any real fluency.The telling move in this came when Selby took three frames in a row to lead 4-2 and although Robertson knocked a 127 to get within one again at 5-4 ,Selby did enough to get over the line 6-4.

John Higgins seemed t be picking up where he left off yesterday against Murphy when he raced into a 4-0 lead early on here against Joe Perry.This was indeed a run of 15 consecutive frames over three matches from Higgins,but Perry stopped the rot taking the next and he gradually dragged himself back into it.

Higgins was now feeling the pressure ,but managed to pot a superb pink in frame nine and followed it with the black to seal a 6-3.

So now we are down to the final four we revert to a single table set up and that rarest of things in todays game,a best of 17 semi final.Lets savour a weekend of glorious snooker drama

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

International Championship Last 16 round up

Last 16 day at the International Championship and as is often the case at this stage of a big event,we the usual mix of one sided matches & closes finishes.

Undoubtedly the performance of the day came from John Higgins who produced the kind of display that was once his trademark to ease past Shaun Murphy 6-0. This on paper looked like the tie of the round,but such was the scoring power on display from Higgins that the writing was on the wall here from early on.Breaks of 56,74 & 62 saw him to 4-0 at the interval,but if anything he stepped up another gear when they resumed & a break of 138 & 78 sealed an impressive victory.

As Higgins was easing his way into tomorrows quarter final the man he will next face was in a fight all the way deciding frame on one of the outside tables,It could all have been much easier for Joe Perry as he stood one frame from victory at 5-2,but back came Ben Woollaston,taking the next three to level at 5-5.Perry though held his nerve in the decider to go through 6-5.

World no.1 Mark Selby was far from his best today ,but in truth he didn't need to be as he was presented chance after chance by his Welsh opponent Michael White.The Leicesterman ran out a comfortable 6-3 winner in the end,but will surely have to up his game in the next round against his old adversary Neil Robertson.

Robertson for his part saw off the challenge of Graeme Dott by a scoreline of 6-1,the decisive moment in this one coming in frame 5 where needing a snooker with just pink & black remaining, Robertson got one and then cleared potted the two remaining balls to lead 4-1.From here he quickly mopped things up with runs of 73 & 75 to seal the win.

In the top half of the draw Mark Allen brought the run of Tian Pengfei to an end with a 6-1 win & will now play Thepchaiya Un-Nooh who beat Zhou Yuelong 6-5.The quarter final line up will be completed by Marco Fu who beat Jimmy Robertson 6-3 & David Gilbert who beat Dings conqueror Ryan Day 6-4

Quarter Finals
Mark Allen v  Thepchaiya Un-Nooh
Marco Fu v David Gilbert
Mark Selby v Neil Robertson
John Higgins v Joe Perry

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

International Championship Last 32 round up.

Last 32 day at the International Championship in Daqing and on another busy day of action here are the headlines.

Home favourite Ding Junhui bowed out to his old nemesis Ryan Day after their match went to their customary deciding frame,the Welshman winning in the end 6-5.He'll next face David Gilbert who kept up his fine recent form with a 6-4 victory over Oliver Lines.

World no.1 Mark Selby gained a small bit of revenge against his Crucible conqueror Anthony McGill,winning comfortably here 6-1 to set up a last 16 clash Michael White who bear Lee Walker 6-3

Neal Robertson came through a tough examination against Fergal O'Brien bating the Irishman 6-3 and will now face Graeme Dott who beat Peter Ebdon by the same scoreline.

In what on paper looks to be the standout match of the last 16 Shaun Murphy will face John Higgins,Murphy having beating Jamie Jones 6-2 & Higgins coming from 3-1 down to bear Michael Holt 6-3.

There wont be back to back ranking titles for Kyren Wilson after the recent Shanghai Masters winner went down 6-3 to Mark Allen.He will now play an in form Tian Pengfei who followed up his win earlier in the week over defending champion Ricky Walden,with a 6-3 victory today over Liang Wenbo.

Mark Williams went down 6-5 to Thepchaiya Un-Nooh and he will play Zhao Yuelong who took care of Sanderson Lam by the rather more comfortable scoreline of 6-0.

Elsewhere Yu Delu couldn't repeat the performance that saw him beat world champion Stuart Bingham in the last round as he went down 6-5 to Ben Woollaston .He will now play Joe Perry who beat Dominic Dale 6-3 & finally Jimmy Robertson produced some snooker to beat Barry Hawkins 6-4 & will ow play Marco Fu who beat Jack Lisowski 6-3.

Last 16 draw
Tian Pengfei v Mark Allen
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh v Zhao Yuelong
Jimmy Robertson v Marco Fu
David Gilbert v Ryan Day
Mark Selby v Michael White
Graeme Dott v Neil Robertson
Shaun Murphy v John Higgins
Joe Perry v Ben Woollaston

Monday, 19 October 2015

The season so far plus other bits & bobs.

Maybe its the first  real signs of a winter chill in the mornings,or the gradual drawing in of the evenings or maybe even the fact I attended a wonderful exhibition last night as Steve Davis & Ken Doherty entertained an enthusiastic theatre full of snooker fans,but I figured today was as good a day as any to fire up this blog again for the long season ahead.

Today,indeed saw the start of the Haining Open,the first of seasons Asian Tour event & next weekend sees the start of the International Championship,but more of that later in the week when I will be writing preview.For now though I'll quickly look back at what we've seen so far this 2015/16 season.

In a summer where we haven't seen quite as much snooker as we have in recent years,not in itself a bad thing,we have none the less been treated to a couple of superb finals.

The first of these was in the Australian Open in Bendigo where in the first round saw home favourite Neil Robertson  crash out 5-4 to Matt Selt,a fate which also befell to the first reigning world champion to make the trip down under Stuart Bingham who went down 5-4 to Fergal O'Brien.

The title itself though was to go to John Higgins who,despite turning 40 only a few weeks before this event,proved there was still life left in the "Wizard of Wishaw"as he came through a thrilling final of the highest quality with Martin Gould by a scoreline of 9-8..

This was the 27th ranking title of his illustrious career and whereas another world title may at this stage prove to be beyond him,you certainly wouldn't rule out another ranking title victory which would draw him level with Steve Davis on the all time list.

If Higgins victory was a salute to the golden era of the last 20 yrs,then the victory of Kyren Wilson in the Shanghai Masters was very much one for the next generation as the 23 year old produced some stunning snooker to claim his first ranking title with a superb 10-9 win over Judd Trump.

This was another really thrilling final with Wilson digging deep on more than one occasion to hold off a spirited Trump fightback,before clinching that decider with a fine 75 break.Such was the level of his displays in this tournament we will surely be seeing a lot more of this young man who bucked the recent trend of victories for the thirtysomethings.

Also this summer  have seen three of the European Tour events with,Barry Hawkins winning the Riga Open with a 4-1 final win over Tom Ford,Ali Carter lifting all our hearts as well as the trophy in the Paul Hunter Classic with a 4-3 victory over Shaun Murphy and Rory Mcleod,at the ripe old age of 44,claimed his first title with a 4-2 win over Tian Pehgfei in the Ruhr Open.

Away from the table the it has to be said man causing the most stir on social media has surprisingly been Shaun Murphy.

The first of his utterances to get people talking was his well thought out proposal of reducing the main tour  to 64 from 128,with the top 48 keeping there places every year and the other 16 places been filled from a new challenge tour.

I actually think this wouldn't be the worst idea in the world.Since the game has gone to the flat 128 draw I think certain events have lost their narrative with the UK Championship been all but destroyed as a event which is supposed to be the second biggest in game.

We also have first round matches been played long before the actual event and even worse in places where large numbers can be accommodated we have events been squashed into a tight schedule.Less players allow tournament organisers a little more breathing space and maybe even allow a return to some even slightly longer formats instead of these annoying best of 7's.

The other topic that Shaun seemed to start the debate on during the recent Ruhr Open was the subject of a shot clock. I'm not sure if he had started this before or after the record for the longest frame was smashed by Alan McManus & Barry Pinches as they broke 100 minute barrier,but it seemed to grow legs after that with everyone seeming to want to throw in their two cents worth.

Lets though just draw a line through this immediately.The day a shot clock is introduced to the game is the day the music dies.No discussion,no arguments, no exceptions.It would be the day the game of snooker as we know it dies.

Anyway thats all from me for now .As I said above I'll be back later in the week with a preview for the International Championship.Until then happy snookering.