Premier League Snooker: Night Five Review

Night five of the Premier League opened with Steve Davis against Ronnie O’Sullivan with Stephen Hendry and Joe Perry to follow. Click below to find out what happened…

Match One: O’Sullivan breezes past struggling Davis

As I had feared in my preview, this match was a completely one-sided affair as Ronnie O’Sullivan dominated the match from start to finish and handed Steve Davis his second consecutive whitewash in the competition.

In his first match since his quarter-final exit to Judd Trump at the Grand Prix last week, O’Sullivan looked pretty good from the off, taking the first frame easily enough despite a couple of missed doubles.

The second frame was a much more tactical affair, largely as a result of Steve’s ultra-conservative two-cushion break-off shot, something that O’Sullivan was highly amused by. Following a lengthy safety exchange it was Davis who was to get in first but as was to become a theme tonight, he simply could not take his chances and missed a relatively straightforward plant to leave O’Sullivan in. With the reds positioned awkwardly though, it was far from an easy chance for the world number one who made a neat 60 break which proved to be enough in the end.

O’Sullivan continued to punish Steve’s errors and despite needing a couple of chances, made it 3-0 before winning another slow frame as a result of Davis’ break-off to secure the points at 4-0.

Steve was really struggling and the stats that SkySports put up at this time did not make good reading for The Nugget. His highest break at this point (and indeed at the end of the match), was just 19, his pot success was down at 64% and his safety success a mere 81%.

Things were not to improve in frame five as more errors gave O’Sullivan the chances he needed to go 5-0 ahead. One interesting thing to note here though was that he broke off right-handed, unusual for him these days.

Speaking of unusual break-offs, Steve Davis surprisingly decided to abandon his in the final frame off the evening, reverting to the more standard shot of going straight into the reds. Typically though he left a red on to the corner which O’Sullivan had no trouble potting and taking advantage of to complete a 6-0 win.

O’Sullivan seemed happy enough with his night’s work, he played well enough without making any century breaks and seemed happy with his game. Moving up to second place in the league, he looks good for a play-off spot, as you would expect for the seven times winner of this event. He is next in action next week in Sheffield when he comes up against the form player of the league so far, Mark Selby.

Davis meanwhile looked disgusted with his performance and it has to be said that he played very badly tonight. The result means that he has won just two frames from 18 so far in the competition and it is hard to see him qualifying for the play-offs now. His next appearance comes in two weeks time in Wales where he comes up against another legend, Stephen Hendry.

Match Two: Three from three for Perry

Joe Perry put in probably his most impressive performance of the competition so far tonight as he saw off seven-times world champion Stephen Hendry 5-1 in the second match tonight.

Hendry looked good early on as he had the first chance in the opening frame, but having run out of position on 31 he was forced to play safe. The next opportunity fell to Perry who made no mistake, a tidy break of 75 putting him 1-0 up, which was soon to become 2-0 as Hendry made a couple of bad errors.

Hendry started the third frame in style by dropping in a smooth long red, but a relatively straightforward missed red to right centre on 30 was another sign of his low confidence at the moment and gave Perry a chance to secure a point. For the first time tonight though he made a couple of errors and in the end it was Hendry who was just able to nick it to give himself half a chance.

Frame four was the killer though as having potted a nice opening red, Hendry narrowly missed a tricky pink and gave Perry another chance. It was a far from easy one however as the pink and black were tied up and only the blue was available to him. Despite this, Joe made it look straightforward as he compiled the first century break of the evening, moving 3-1 ahead and securing a point in the process.

One point became two in frame five as Hendry again got in first before making an error and letting him in for 4-1. It was a strange shot choice from Stephen as he elected to go in and out of baulk when he appeared not to need to, hitting the brown and leaving only the possibility of a long red which he could not take. Perry then wrapped it up by taking the last frame of the night to secure the win and move back into second place in the league.

Joe played very well tonight and will be happy to have made it three wins in his first three league matches now. He needs just one more point to be sure of a spot in the play-offs now and will hope to get it when he meets Ding Junhui on November 6th in his next match.

Stephen’s hopes of making the play-offs now look to be quite slim, but I suspect that he will be more concerned with the state of his game in general at the moment as he is just so obviously short on confidence. I did see some encouraging signs tonight in terms of his state of mind as he did seem to play safe more often that he did at the Grand Prix, but he’s just not going to win matches missing some of the balls that he is right now. He is in action again next week against John Higgins at Sheffield, hopefully he will be playing better as I will be there to watch!

October 23 -Plymouth Pavillions

£6,000   Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-0 Steve Davis   £0
103(24,32,40)-7, 97(60,37)-25, 71(52)-38, 113(39,62)-0, 63(36)-22, 93(45,48)-0
£1,000   Stephen Hendry 1-5 Joe Perry   £6,000

31(31)-75(75), 12-62(39,33), 72(30)-9, 1-108(108), 53(44)-71(65), 10-75(66)

For a list of centuries, money earned and the league table, please click here.