Bahrain Championship Latest: Vintage Hendry Masters Walden

The final two matches of the day saw seven-times world champion Stephen Hendry come up against Ricky Walden, while Joe Perry met world number 60 Rod Lawler. Click below to read how they all got on…

Stephen Hendry 5-3 Ricky Walden

In what was comfortably the match of the tournament, Stephen Hendry continued his recent revival with a 5-3 win over Shanghai Master Ricky Walden this evening.

Hendry got off to a good start with a 60 break in the opener and looked good to double his advantage to 2-0, but a poor miss on a red with the rest proved to be costly as Walden made it 1-1 with a 40 of his own.

What followed though was a terrific run of scoring as following a poor safety from Hendry, leaving a red hanging over the left-centre, Walden knocked in a 130 century break, his eighth of the season to lead 2-1.

Hendry though is not the leading century maker in the game for nothing and showed his class to respond with a brilliant 139 to head into the interval all square. This continued after the break as he made his second straight century, the 721st of his career, to move back into the lead at 3-2.

Ricky looked like hitting back with another big break of his own in frame six but surprisingly missed a red on 46. This looked as if it might be a pivotal moment as Hendry found himself with a chance for 4-2, but he couldn’t take it this time and once again it was a level game.

Hendry though was playing too well to let this win slip and though he needed a couple of chances, took frame seven with a great break of 55 to move just one away from the match at 4-3. At this point I was thinking at this stage that the match seemed nailed on to go to a decider given how well both had played. In what was by far the most tactical frame of the evening however it was Hendry who was always on top, improving his lead with several small breaks before playing say and using all of his experience to get on top of Walden. This proved to be decisive as when 55 points behind with 67 on, Ricky missed a red, leaving it over the pocket for Stephen to get the points he needed.

After some really poor performances so far this season, this was a huge improvement for Stephen and a result that will provide a much needed boost to his confidence. Following his encouraging displays against John Higgins and Steve Davis in the Premier League recently, it was good to see his form translate into a ranking result against a very good player. Not only this but it is a further boost to his slightly precarious provisional ranking position that currently stands at 10th.

Having gained revenge for his defeat to Ricky in Shanghai, Stephen will now fancy his chances of a decent run in this event, particularly given some of the surprise results we have seen already this week. Next up for him is a match with Norwich’s Barry Pinches, a man he has beaten twice before in big matches, including in a 13-12 thriller at the Crucible in 2004.

Ricky meanwhile will be disappointed himself not to have taken advantage of this opportunity to go deep in a tournament again, but he didn’t do a great deal wrong, Hendry was just too good on the day. He’ll be back for sure.

Joe Perry 5-1 Rod Lawler

The in-form Joe Perry bounced back from his Premier League defeat to Ding Junhui last week with a comprehensive win over qualifier Rod Lawler this evening.

Joe was in good shape from the start as he took the opener with a break of 81 as he looked to move into the last 16 without too much trouble. This looked to be exactly what would happen as he made a century break of 123 to move 3-0 up, though Lawler responded with a ton of his own to give him hope going into the mid-session interval.

This proved to be a flash in the pan however as without making any big breaks, Perry duly wrapped up the next to frames to win 5-1 and book a potential tie with world number two Stephen Maguire in the last 16, if the Scot can overcome Mark Davis tomorrow.

A good win for Joe, he’ll not only continue his rise up the rankings by moving ahead of Shaun Murphy now, but he’ll feel that he has a decent chance of winning his first career ranking event this week. He is however in probably the toughest section of the draw so he won’t be taking anything for granted.

Rod meanwhile has already had a great tournament, winning three matches in Prestatyn as well as a wildcard match in Bahrain just to reach this stage. Provisionally ranked at number 66, he is bound to improve significantly and do his chances of staying on the main tour for another year a lot of good.


Joe Perry 5-1 Rod Lawler 81(81)-0, 54-38, 124(123)-1, 34-100(100), 70(37)-25, 64(42)-1
Stephen Hendry 5-3 Ricky Walden 84(60)-16, 44(38)-72(40), 0-120(120), 143(139)-0, 111(111)-4, 30-64(46), 87(55)-8, 73(35)-2