A mixed first day at the 2016 Masters then saw an afternoon of high quality snooker followed by an evening session that is best forgotten.
First up in the afternoon Mark Allen brought a quick end to any hopes Shaun Murphy had of making it back to back Masters titles.with a 6-4 win in a thrilling opening match of the tournament.
Though both players did start off a little tentatively here,it didn't take long for both to find their scoring boots and a series of good breaks,the best of them a 137 from Allen,brought us to the interval at 2-2 Allen added a 91 to go 3-2 ahead when they resumed,before an extraordinary frame 6 which came to an abrupt end.when Murphy fell foul of the three miss rule to extend Allens lead to 4-2.
The Northern Irishman took the next with a run of 104 to go within one of victory at 5-2,We've often seen with Murphy though.that these situations can bring out the best in him and it appeared it might be happening here again as breaks of 67 & 100 closed him to within one again at 5-4.
That was where it was to end though as Allen took a scrappier tenth frame to seal the 6-4 win and book his place in the quarter finals where he'll meet the winner of Barry Hawkins & Joe Perry.
The second match of the day saw the clash of two players,in world champ Stuart Bingham & Ding Junhui,who would have come here this week hoping a good run might kick start,what for both has been,a very poor season so far
It is perhaps then with this in mind that it was little surprise to see such a scrappy match unfold this evening.Indeed the main highlight of the first four frames came when having potted 15 reds & blacks Bingham missed a difficult yellow to bring his maximum attempt to an end on 120. He still though did enough to lead 3-1 at the interval.
Things didn't improve much then either as Ding,without really upping his game at all, took the next two to level at 3-3.That became 4-4,before a lengthy ninth frame which Bingham nicked with a brown to pink clearance to edge ahead again 5-4.The tenth was another long frame,but Bingham did enough to win in and clinch his place in the quarter final with a 6-4 win.
All of course which means further despair for Ding in what is turning into a season to forget and a some small encouragement for Bingahm who was winning his first match at the Masters for ten years.He will though need to improve a lot if he is to trouble either John Higgins or Liang Wenbo in the next round.
The first round action continues tomorrow with Judd Trump facing Stephen Maguire in the afternoon and Barry Hawkins playing Joe Perry in the evening.