The second day of action at the World Championship qualifiers on Thursday will see another bunch of matches begin as well as the ones who reached the halfway mark on Wednesday conclude on a busy day in Sheffield.
At the end of Thursday half the field will have had their first round matches settled on the road to the Crucible Theatre. There are 11 matches to look at which form the morning and evening sessions as well as the 10 that are at the halfway mark.
Day 1 Recap
It was a very late night at the English Institute of Sport with the action going on way past 1am but in the main the surprises were few and far between with the only seeded player to be tested being Peter Lines who is 8-7 down approaching 1am as I type this preview. There were no other truly close matches on the day.
Annoyingly our first bet of the week snatched defeat from the jaws of victory as Thepchaiya Un-Nooh failed to convert an 8-1 lead into a scoreline which saw him cover a -6.5 frame start. Predictably from there he won 10-4 to really annoy the life out of me so there is room for movement on the match betting front.
As there will be all week, there are two matches on the main tables for us to view in the morning session. The first of those sees the former semi-finalist Ricky Walden in action. He takes on the veteran Alfie Burden who isn’t having a good 2019 so could do with a run here. The other table will see Anthony McGill starting his quest for a return to the Crucible. He takes on the talented Ashley Hugill in a trappy looking contest.
The other nine matches are all on the outside table and see Liang Wenbo in action. He has a good looking draw against Basem Eltahhan while Dominic Dale will look to boost his chances of staying on the tour when he goes up against Chris Totten. David Grace is already assured of a tour card next year so he can give his match with Rory McLeod everything. Sunny Akani begins his quest with a tie against Chen Zifan while Robert Milkins takes on Luke Simmonds. There is an all-Welsh battle involving Duane Jones and Kishan Hirani with the other three matches seeing Eden Sharav taking on David Lilley, Zhou Yuelong meeting Robin Hull and Liam Highfield takes on Hammad Miah.
The matches in this session have all played their first session and two of them are all but secured in terms of a result. Martin Gould leads Mostafa Dorgham 9-0 and Zhao Xintong goes up against Adam Lilley leading 8-1 from Wednesday’s play. It is hard to see those matches being overturned and in truth James Cahill should convert his 7-2 lead against Andrew Higginson as should Noppon Saengkham who leads Adam Stefanow by the same score.
The other matches are all fairly tight though. On the streamed tables Hossein Vafaei leads Zhang Anda 5-4 after a session where both men made a century while Matt Selt is 6-3 up on Dylan Emery. The other matches see Gary Wilson and Sanderson Lam level at 4-4 when they got hooked off, Daniel Wells 5-4 up on Jamie Clarke, Anthony Hamilton leading James Wattana 5-2 and Aaron Hill two ahead of Gerard Greene 5-3.
Annoyingly few bookies are offering odds on the matches in play other than the ones that are being streamed. Hopefully that changes later in the competition but for now it means I have just the one bet for Thursday’s play. I’ll keep an eye on the afternoon matches to see if odds go up on Thursday morning and I’ll tweet if they do and I like anything.
For now though it is just the one which comes with Zhou Yuelong who I’m expecting to be too good for Robin Hull. Hull hasn’t had the best of seasons by any stretch and while he’ll be more competitive than some of the lower seeded players we will see this week, I still don’t think he wins more than six frames from the competent Chinese player. Zhou knows his way around a snooker table and should have his eyes on qualifying for the main stages here. He was a quarter finalist in Gibraltar recently so he’s in decent touch unlike Hull who has only won six matches against professionals all season. This might be competitive to begin with but I expect Zhou to pull away late on.
Back Z.Yuelong (-3.5 frames) to beat R.Hull for a 4/10 stake at 1.80 with Boylesports
Back him here: