It is the penultimate day of qualifying for the Riga Masters on Wednesday with another bunch of players getting their new campaign underway as they bid to win the one match necessary to book their place in the main draw in Latvia next month.
We’ve seen some competitive action over the first couple of days and after a winner on Tuesday we are looking to get stuck into the remainder of the qualifying event, beginning with four more sessions of play on Wednesday.
There are four matches in the morning session with the two matches on the live stream seeing Kurt Maflin taking on Simon Lichtenberg and a competitive looking encounter between two men who should be higher up the rankings than what they are when Elliot Slessor plays Daniel Wells. Away from the spotlight Lee Walker goes up against Peter Lines in a tight looking affair while Gerard Greene will look to get the new season off to a winning start when he faces John Astley.
Early Afternoon Session
Another two juicy matches will take place in front of the streamed cameras in the second session of the day where Joe O’Connor begins his second season on the tour against the veteran Peter Ebdon while the talented Chinese youngster Lyu Haotian meets Jamie Clarke. Barry Pinches gets his new life back on the tour up and running by taking on Luo Honghao and the other match sees Oliver Lines facing Shane Castle.
Late Afternoon Session
The World Championship semi-finalist Gary Wilson will have plenty of spotlight and attention on him in this session when he takes on the competent Chris Wakelin. That is on one of the streamed tables with Mark Davis on the other. He meets Ben Woollaston in a juicy qualifying match. Two matches take place on the outside tables in this session which see Alfie Burden facing David Grace and Jackson Page meeting Hammad Miah.
It is a great session to round off the day. The other losing Crucible semi-finalist Dave Gilbert takes on Ian Preece in front of the streaming cameras while European Masters winner Jimmy Robertson plays Indian Open champion on the other streamed table. The outside tables should be good to watch for those in the arena too as Jimmy White begins another campaign against James Cahill while Tom Ford faces the Maltese player Alex Borg.
I’ll go with a couple of bets over the course of Wednesday with the first of them coming in the afternoon session as Joe O’Connor takes on Peter Ebdon. I think most judges were impressed with O’Connor last season. He burst onto the scene in the Welsh Open in a bunch of best-of-seven frame wins and eventually went on to beat John Higgins twice last term. He looks like someone who will improve over the course of this season too. Peter Ebdon will always battle, we know that, but his star is beginning to wane and at this stage of the piece I think odds against on O’Connor can’t be ignored.
Jimmy Robertson had a disappointing end to last season but he won’t need telling that this is a big campaign for him as he can make it into the top 16 with a decent start to this term and I expect him to get up and running in style against Matt Selt. Selt should be confident having won a title earlier in the calendar year but he faded a little more than I would have liked after that which makes me uneasy about him. Robertson remains a good player and I see no reason why he can’t start his season on a winning note.
WON – Back J.O’Connor to beat P.Ebdon for a 4/10 stake at 2.20 with Coral
Back J.Robertson to beat M.Selt for a 4/10 stake at 2.00 with Betfred
Back him here: