Maplin Electronics UK Championship 2008: Ding and Davis level as Murphy edges ahead

Tonight saw the the final four first round matches get underway, click below to read what happened in all the matches…

Ding Junhui 4-4 Steve Davis

The rematch of the 2005 final between Ding Junhui and Steve Davis is delicately poised at 4-4 going into tomorrow’s session as an entertaining session came to a close tonight.

The winner of that final three years ago Ding Junhui got off to a good start with a 54 break to take the opening frame, but Davis responded in fine style with a 67 of his own to level it in frame two before edging a couple of tight frames to lead 3-1 at the break.

Ding though responded well by taking a close couple of frames of his own to level it again at 3-3, before making an excellent century to show just how well he was cueing when in amongst the balls to lead 4-3. The sixth frame deserves a special mention because having at one point needed four snookers, Steve actually got three of them before potting the final red and missing an easy pink to hand the frame to a VERY relieved Ding!

The final frame of the night was another absorbing affair but in the end it was Davis who took it, perhaps surprisingly with the aid of a couple of long pots to keep himself level going into tomorrow. In fact Davis’ long pot percentage for the match was actually 62%, not shabby at all for a player aged 51. It seems very much that Steve has decided to be much more aggressive recently and it certainly paid off tonight…

Shaun Murphy 5-3 Martin Gould

The struggling number three seed Shaun Murphy ensured an overnight lead over qualifier Martin Gould going into the final session tomorrow, but it was far from a good session of snooker as both struggled to make the big breaks required.

The session actually got off to a good start, Gould drilling in a long red and generally looking confident as he took the opener to lead 1-0. It did not last however and though Shaun Murphy was hardly firing on all cylinders himself, he at least did enough to lead 3-1 at the break.

The match continued in a similar patter when play resumed, indeed in every single frame of the match both players had three or four clear cut chances to win it, but it was Shaun who managed to make the most of his opportunities as he led 4-2. It could easily have bee 5-2 but having gone to a re-spotted black, it was Gould who snatched frame seven to pull it back to 4-3.

The last frame of the session though went to Murphy, despite Gould having several chances again and the frame going all the way to the final black. Shaun is lucky that he wasn’t up against someone with more experience at this level, though I am sure he will be hoping for better tomorrow.

As an aside, he had some rather fetching silver shoes on tonight as well as his grey and white striped waistcoat and trousers. I’ll leave you readers to decide whether or not it was a good look for him!

Mark Allen 6-2 Stuart Bingham

Mark Allen got off to great start tonight as he finished the session with a 6-2 advantage over the talented Stuart Bingham today.  Coming off the back of his Bahrain semi-final recently, Mark will be looking to go far again this week and he has every chance looking at what is a wide open quarter of the draw with him in it.

Making a century and three other breaks of 50 today has put him into an extremely strong position and he will be hoping to see it through when they resume tomorrow afternoon…


Shaun Murphy 5-3 Martin Gould 50-57, 99(52)-23, 89-41, 68-11, 49-60, 59(50)-66(respot black), 94(45)-0
Ding Junhui 4-4 Steve Davis 75(54)-18, 8-76(67), 41-80, 51-78, 104(100)-0, 73-33, 37-69
Mark Allen 6-2 Stuart Bingham 92(40)-32, 58-46, 30-92(92), 104(100)-28, 64(55)-34, 69(54)-57(57), 0-69(44), 68(67)-29
Ali Carter 6-2 Ian McCulloch 1-80(52), 81(81)-10, 76(51)-37, 90(86)-0, 8-61, 93-66(48), 82(63)-21, 55-51(46)