Two more sets of matches begin in the first round of the World Championship qualifiers on Friday as another 42 players get their quest to make it through to the Crucible Theatre in a couple of weeks underway.
We’ve seen plenty of drama mixed in with a few one-sided affairs so far and we should probably expect much more of the same here if previous years are anything to go by. It is a busy day on Friday over three more sessions of play.
Day 2 Recap
It was another truly annoying day for us on the betting front with Zhou Yuelong being the second player this week to lose a handicap by one frame. He was a ball away from beating Robin Hull 10-6 only to fail to convert and then predictably win 10-7 so there is a fair bit of work to do over the course of the remaining six days.
Elsewhere there were deciding frame wins for Anthony Hamilton and James Cahill in dramatic matches while there were close wins for the likes of Anthony McGill, Ricky Walden and Liam Highfield. There were no such problems for Liang Wenbo and Martin Gould who both despatched of Egyptian players 10-0.
As with the first three days, the morning session matches conclude in the evening and the two matches on the streamed tables over the course of the day see Marco Fu starting out on his qualifying campaign when he takes on the capable challenge of Luo Honghao while Zhang Yong is on a hiding to nothing when he goes up against leading ladies player Reanne Evans for a place in the second round.
There are a number of matches on the outside tables in this session too. Joe Perry heads up the standard when he takes on Simon Lichtenberg. Tom Ford is another decent player and he meets Ross Muir. Elsewhere Martin O’Donnell goes up against Adam Duffy while the other female in the tournament, Ng On Yee, faces former semi-finalist Alan McManus. Alexander Ursenbacher takes on Jordan Brown, Mark Davis meets Rod Lawler, Fergal O’Brien faces the Welsh youngster Jackson Page with the other two matches seeing Robbie Williams playing Sam Baird and Sam Craigie taking on Rhys Clark.
The standard bearer in this afternoon session, where the second session will be on Saturday afternoon, is Ali Carter. He is on one of the streamed tables when he meets Paul Davison to begin his quest to make another world final. Mark King is on the second streamed showing. The former winner in Northern Ireland goes up against Igor Figueiredo from Brazil in what is an interesting match up.
On the outside tables there will be plenty of attention here because Jimmy White is on show. He goes up against the amateur Ross Bulman. There is a Chinese battle between Li Hang and Niu Zhuang while Ian Burns faces Farakh Ajaib. Ben Woollaston hasn’t had much luck with the draw as he has got Elliot Slessor which is about as tough as it gets while Mike Dunn plays Nigel Bond. The other three matches look interesting as Michael White meets Andy Hicks, Yuan Sijun plays John Astley and Lyu Haotian faces Ashley Carty.
I’ll go with three bets in these matches with the first of them my biggest bet of the week so far and had I not frustratingly had two losers by one frame I would give this a maximum stake. As it is it just gets a chunky one. It is under 13.5 frames in the Alan McManus vs Ng On Yee match. The Hong Kong women’s star played in this last year and lost 10-1 to Matt Selt and went to Q-School and only won one match all week and hasn’t fared much better on the Challenge Tour either. This looks a level too much for her and with McManus bouncing back to form in China where he played some of his best stuff for a while I don’t see this being remotely close. McManus scored well in China. If he does that here he’ll breeze through but even if he doesn’t I don’t see On Yee winning too many tactical battles. McManus should be winning this no worse than 10-3.
Sam Craigie was another one who impressed in that China Open and I think he can cover 5.5 frames against a Rhys Clark who has given up with snooker. He had a tour card this year but hardly entered any events and he’ll fall off the tour when he loses in this tournament. I expect that loss to be on Friday too and I expect it to be pretty comfortable. If he is left in Clark might still be able to score now and then but there is nothing to suggest he’ll score well enough to win more than four frames against a Craigie who had Ryan Day, Ali Carter and Liang Wenbo as his victims last week. Craigie for me no worse than 10-4.
That is the worst scoreline I see Ali Carter winning by as well. The Captain knows all about making it to the latter stages of the main event and I expect him to see off Paul Davison pretty comfortably. These two have met twice in their careers and Carter leads the frame count 8-1. He beat Davison 4-1 in Northern Ireland earlier in the season and the longer this one goes the more you would expect Carter to get into a rhythm and pull away. Davison has only won six matches all season. I don’t expect this to be the seventh and I don’t even see him getting five frames.
Back A.McManus vs N.On Yee – Under 13.5 frames for a 6/10 stake at 1.70 with Coral
WON – Back S.Craigie (-5.5 frames) to beat R.Clark for a 4/10 stake at 2.00 with William Hill
Back him here:
WON – Back A.Carter (-5.5 frames) to beat P.Davison for a 4/10 stake at 2.05 with NetBet