The second day of action in the World Championship qualifying event sees the first round of the draw completed. By the end of the day we will know the completed second round line up where those involved will be three wins from the main draw at the Crucible Theatre.
Although we have the stragglers on the tour and the invited players in this round, there are still some players who are known pretty well to snooker fans. With the format being longer than usual and the prize so big we can expect another dramatic day of snooker.
It is a 128 player event but this competition should be thought of as 16 eight player tournaments with each tournament winner progressing to take their place in the main draw. The first round sees those ranked 81-128 in the world and the 16 invited players battling it out. The 32 winners then progress to take on players ranked 49-80. Those winners go through to meet someone ranked 17-48 in the third round and the 32 winners from that round meet in the final round with the winners going into the main draw. The first three rounds of the tournament are the best of 11 frames with the final round the traditional best of 19.
Once again we have a match on the TV table and one on the streamed table for those watching on to enjoy. The match on the TV table sees Billy Joe Castle taking on a Rory McLeod who is no stranger to coming through qualifying and taking his place at the Crucible. The streamed table will see Thor Chuan Leong taking on the highly-rated youngster from Ukraine in Iulian Boiko, in what could be a banana skin for the Malaysian.
Most of the tables are full in the outskirts of the arena at the English Institute of Sport in this afternoon session. One of them has Mitchell Mann playing Paul Davison. Barry Pinches will look to progress to the second round when he faces Dean Young while Peter Lines will also look to take advantage of a kind draw when he meets Connor Benzey. Gerard Greene is another who looks to have a nice draw against Brian Ochoiski while in the other match Fraser Patrick takes on Sean Maddocks.
Sign up to VBet to get a FREE £25 bet to use on the World Championship! Click the image below to join. New accounts only. 18+. T&Cs Apply. Gamble Aware.
The surprise package of last year’s tournament headlines the evening session when James Cahill, the man who not only qualified as an amateur but then beat Ronnie O’Sullivan in the first round at the Crucible Theatre, takes on the highly-rated youngster from Belgium in Ben Mertens. That match is on the TV table while on the streamed offering we have the Brazilian player Igor Figueiredo taking on Ian Preece.
We have a number of nationalities on the outside tables with Hammad Miah facing Florian Nuble from Austria while the German player Simon Lichtenberg meets Adam Duffy. Brandon Sargeant goes up against Jake Nicholson with Alex Borg from Malta going up against Patrick Whelan. Fan Zhengyi goes up against Dylan Emery in the one remaining match to take place in the evening session on Wednesday.
I’ll go with one bet on Wednesday and it comes in the evening session where I think Jake Nicholson could be a spot of value to see off Brandon Sargeant. Sargeant has spent much of the season slogging it out on the main tour with little success and obviously he is so far down the rankings that competitive action in 2020 would have been few and far between for him. That isn’t the case for Nicholson who has been winning plenty of matches on the Challenge Tour.
It is the Challenge Tour which could give Nicholson an advantage here. We’ve seen three players who played in the play-offs of that system on Monday compete in these qualifiers already. Two of them won against main tour opponents and the other one lost 6-5 having led 5-4. There is something in that as competitive action beats any kind of practice, especially when it is in the same venue as these qualifiers. Sargeant hasn’t played a competitive match since March. That’s a long time between drinks. I think the value is on Nicholson, who beat Tyler Rees in those play-offs, form that has already been franked this week.
WON – Back J.Nicholson to beat B.Sargeant for a 3/10 stake at 2.63 with Betfred