The second round of the UK Championship will conclude inside the Barbican Centre in York on Sunday as the first Triple Crown event of the season will play its way down to the last 32 over the two sessions of play.
We saw Ronnie O’Sullivan, Mark Selby and Neil Robertson all make it through on Saturday and it will be down to the likes of Judd Trump, John Higgins and Mark Williams to follow them on Sunday, when they take to the green baize once again.
The Masters and world champion Judd Trump is the headline act in the afternoon session on Sunday and his match against Mei Xiwen will form the bulk of the televised coverage over the course of the day. The other table with TV cameras on it could be a little tighter and more interesting as Ding Junhui looks to get his career back on track when he faces a Michael Georgiou who is beginning to find his groove again having swapped a London base for Northern Ireland.
Once again the outside tables are full up in this session with Ali Carter meeting Robert Milkins on one of them while the Chinese ace Yan Bingtao faces Stuart Carrington on another of them. Jack Lisowski looks to make it into the last 32 at the expense of Peter Ebdon while Fan Zhengyi meets Mark Davis. The other two matches sees Graeme Dott taking on the dangerous Yuan Sijun and two giant killers battling it out when Louis Heathcote meets Nigel Bond.
It is all about the class of 92 in the final session of the second round as John Higgins and Mark Williams take to the main stage. Williams has a battle with his fellow Welsh player Michael White which might be tricky if White plays to his best while Higgins encounters the capable but inconsistent Lu Ning in a game which could have a fair bit of mileage in it should the Chinese player be near his best form.
Once again the outside tables are loaded with talent in the evening session with Liang Wenbo meeting David Grace on one of them while Stephen Maguire looks to make progress when he takes on Jordan Brown. Martin O’Donnell has had a good run in this before and he meets Ricky Walden while European Masters winner Jimmy Robertson has a meeting with Kurt Maflin. Chris Wakelin goes up against the World Championship semi-finalist Gary Wilson and the other match sees Sunny Akani taking on Joe Perry.
I’ll go with a couple of bets for the day and they both come in the evening session. On the main tables Michael White looks a massive price to beat a Mark Williams who even though he made a couple of centuries in the opening round was pretty ordinary in that match. We know Williams hasn’t taken the game as seriously as he might in recent times and it showed in that match against Fraser Patrick where he was truly awful. White has been in no form whatsoever in recent times and his tour place is under threat which should fire him into life. He had a good win over Fergal O’Brien in the first round and scored well in the match. I would wonder whether White has the belief in himself to get over the line but he should be good enough to take four frames here. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he wins but the safer bet at still a decent price is to side with White on the handicap.
Kurt Maflin beat Jimmy Robertson in the English Open recently and I fancy he can do so again here. Since he won the European Masters, Robertson has offered very little, and he has never been past this round in any tournament this season which says something. Maflin is actually having a fine season with a couple of decent runs in competitions and has maintained his form over the piece. On their best form there probably isn’t a whole lot between these two but Maflin has produced his best stuff more regularly this term and as a result I think he’s the way to go here.
WON – Back M.White (+2.5 frames) to beat M.Williams for a 4/10 stake at 2.50 with 888sport
WON – Back K.Maflin to beat J.Robertson for a 4/10 stake at 1.91 with Betway