The second round of the World Championship qualifying event continues on Friday at the English Institute of Sport with another 12 players beginning their campaign against 12 who have already toiled hard to make it this far.
We saw some pretty dramatic action on Thursday with a number of deciding frames doing the rounds and given the tension and drama that these qualifiers create it would be foolish to expect anything different here.
You will need to be a real purist of the game to watch the action on the main table on Friday morning as Anthony Hamilton takes on Rory McLeod in a match which has to be odds on to be hauled off before it comes close to being finished such is the deliberate styles of the two combatants! The other match of note is a significant one for Luo Honghao as he needs to beat Peter Lines else he will be booking a date with Q-School next month.
The other two matches are pretty interesting. We wrote about the credentials and the chances of Robbie Williams in our outright preview and he enters the competition in this session. He takes on Igor Figueiredo for a place in the third round while Louis Heathcote, in a similar position to Honghao that he must win to have a chance of staying on tour, takes on an Ashley Carty who was impressive in overcoming Michael White in the opening round.
OPEN AN ACCOUNT WITH 888SPORT AND BET £10 TO GET £30 IN FREE BETS PLUS A £10 CASINO BONUS! PERFECT OFFER TO USE ON THIS TOURNAMENT! CLICK THE IMAGE BELOW TO JOIN. USE CODE 30F. NEW ACCOUNTS ONLY. 18+ T&Cs apply (See image for significant terms). Gamble Aware.
The former semi-finalist Alan McManus is the biggest name on show in the afternoon session. He has a meeting with Bai Langning who has barely been seen this season and then rocked up in the first round here and took care of Allan Taylor. David Grace is the other eye catching name in action. The former UK Championship semi-finalist has an interesting encounter with Steven Hallworth to negotiate to take a step closer to the Crucible.
Daniel Wells and Duane Jones will probably know each other well but there is a lot more than pride on the line when they meet on Friday afternoon as the loser will definitely be off the tour and even the winner might need to keep winning to stay on it. The other match in the session sees the giant killer James Cahill looking to continue his wonderful qualifying record when he takes on the veteran Gerard Greene who is another who needs to win.
There are some good matches in the evening session on Friday and the highest ranked player on show is Alexander Ursenbacher. The Swiss ace has risen his game in the big tournaments over the last year or so and he’ll be looking to continue to do that when he begins his qualifying campaign against Lukas Kleckers who had a good win in the opening round. Sam Craigie is also in action in this session. He joins the list of those who need to win to stay on tour and he meets Ashley Hugill in what could be a very entertaining match.
There is an all-Chinese clash between two youngsters who have done a lot of impressing this season. Pang Junxu is getting rave reviews from a lot of good judges and he meets Si Jiahui who must win at least two more matches to avoid a trip to Q-School. The other match in this evening session sees two more men who are in do or die territory in terms of their professional statuses as Jackson Page meets Kacper Filipiak.
I’ll take my chances on the one bet on Friday and it comes in the afternoon session where I fancy Steven Hallworth could be a spot of value against David Grace. Grace had a good little run in the Northern Ireland Open where he made the last four and then in the UK Championship where he beat Ding on his way to the last 32 but he has only won one proper match since then so could be low in confidence coming into this event.
Every time I watch Hallworth I wonder how he isn’t higher up the rankings because he seems to be a very good scorer and often these days it is scoring that gets you through the early qualifiers. Obviously he gets some rough draws mixed in which doesn’t help but he has wins over Martin Gould and Yan Bingtao on his CV this year. Twice in the Home Nations events in best of sevens he’s made five 50 breaks and he made three more and a ton in his first round win here. That scoring game could be enough to see off an out of form Grace.
WON – Back S.Hallworth to beat D.Grace for a 3/10 stake at 2.38 with Coral