The final round of qualifying for the World Championship begins inside the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield on Tuesday, with the 32 men remaining in the competition all just 10 winning frames away from a spot at the Crucible Theatre next week.
We’ve had everything in this qualifying tournament so far but the drama, tension and nerves we’ve seen to date will pale into insignificance to what we are going to get over the next couple of days, with the size of the prize so huge. World Snooker cover all the action from this round on their YouTube page and it is always a belting watch so we don’t need to miss any of the action.
Day 6 Recap
We lost some big names from the competition on Monday with the likes of Jimmy White, Ken Doherty, Peter Ebdon, Xiao Guodong and Ricky Walden all losing. There were wins for some big names too with Ali Carter, Graeme Dott, Matthew Stevens and Joe Perry all coming through their respective battles.
It was a perfect day for us betting wise. Three bets were settled for us and they all came out as winners. Lu Ning comfortably saw off Mark King while Eden Sharav came from 9-6 down to beat Ricky Walden 10-9 and Martin O’Donnell covered his handicap in the match which was held over from Sunday to complete the perfect day.
Eight matches get underway in this session and conclude on Wednesday morning. Although the YouTube coverage flitters from table to table, there are two matches being streamed in full in the usual places. Shootout champion Thepchaiya Un-Nooh meets the talented Joe O’Connor on one of them with the Chinese star Lyu Haotian taking on Mark Davis on the other one.
The beauty of this round is on the YouTube programme we’ll see all the action even on the outside tables. Liang Wenbo takes on Gary Wilson in one match while Robert Milkins takes on Anthony McGill. Daniel Wells meets Martin Gould while former Shootout champion Michael Georgiou goes up against Yan Bingtao. Eden Sharav’s reward for beating Ricky Walden is a tussle with Zhou Yuelong and the other match sees the two amateurs – Michael Judge and James Cahill – meeting for a spot at the Crucible.
The two streamed matches in this session and indeed on Wednesday afternoon sees the highest remaining player left in the competition, Joe Perry, up against Martin O’Donnell while the Indian Open champion Matt Selt is on show when he takes on the classy looking Chinese player Zhao Xintong in what could be the match of the round.
Matthew Stevens is a win away from a return to the Crucible and to get there he has to beat Tian Pengfei. Luo Honghao goes up against Tom Ford while Graeme Dott will take on Kurt Maflin. Li Hang has been expected to qualify for a while and he meets Ben Woollaston while Ali Carter’s route back to the Crucible goes through John Astley. Lu Ning meets Scott Donaldson in the other match in this session.
I’ll go with three bets over the course of the couple of days to begin with and the first of them comes in the earlier session where I expect Lu Haotian to come past Mark Davis. Haotian qualified for the main draw last season so he knows what it is all about and he breezed through the previous round without losing a frame such was how well he played. Davis is an experienced campaigner but he’s had a couple of battles with Rod Lawler and Fergal O’Brien and that’s enough to frazzle the brains of anyone so I wonder what he’ll have left. Haotian won when these two met in the Indian Open recently and while this is a different kettle of fish, I still fancy the Chinese player at odds against.
Li Hang is much better than his record suggests and I expect him to have too much for Ben Woollaston in their match. Unlike some of the Chinese contingent, Hang has a good safety game and he can score pretty well when the chance comes along too. To be fair to Woollaston, he often produces good performances when you don’t necessarily see them coming but he’ll have to do that here because he hasn’t been brilliant so far this week. On all we’ve seen this week thus far I’ve got to be with the Chinese player.
There is always a complete random outsider who qualifies for this tournament and while one of the amateurs will be one, I just wonder whether John Astley might be another. Ali Carter has come through nicely in terms of the scores this week but I’ve watched both of his matches and you couldn’t say he’s played near his best. Astley has scored nicely here. He made four 50s and a ton against Michael White and three 50s and a ton against Yuan Sijun. That might not be enough to beat Carter but he can run the Captain close and test his nerve.
Back L.Haotian to beat M.Davis for a 4/10 stake at 2.05 with Betway
WON – Back L.Hang to beat B.Woollaston for a 4/10 stake at 1.83 with Betfair
Back him here:
Back J.Astley (+4.5 frames) to beat A.Carter for a 4/10 stake at 2.00 with Betfred
Back him here: