Welsh Open Qualifiers 2009: Day One News

The penultimate set of ranking event qualifiers this season gets underway today at Pontin’s and every match is crucial now for the players trying to stay on the tour or progress to the next level. Click below to find out what has happened so far from a snowy Prestatyn…


One of the first winners this morning was promising Irish youngster Vinnie Muldoon who won his first match since the Bahrain qualifiers back in October by defeating Kuldesh Johal 5-3.  Indeed it was Johal who Vinnie defeated in Bahrain and in a match of few big breaks, it was Muldoon who again got off to a great start by racing into a 4-0 lead at the interval.

Kuldesh however did not give up, indeed he gave Vinnie a real scare by taking the next three frames to close to just one behind at 4-3. Muldoon though kept himself together and put together a break of 76 (his highest of the match), in frame eight to secure a crucial victory.

After a few disappointing results recently it was vital for Vinnie that he won today if he is to give himself any chance of retaining a spot on the tour for next season. He still has work to do however and could really do with another win over the struggling David Roe tomorrow morning. As for Kuldesh, this is a blow to his chances of a tour spot and he will now need a good run at the World Championship qualifiers later this month to retain his place.

In one of the ties of the round between Patrick Wallace and Liu Chuang it was Wallace who came out on top as he cruised to a comfortable 5-2 win this morning. Indeed after his run to the fourth qualifying round of the China Open qualifiers recently, Patrick appears to be full of confidence and it certainly showed early on as he raced into a 4-0 lead. Though Chuang gave him a scare by taking the next two frames, Wallace responded with the first century break of the week to seal an important win.

Until recently Wallace had shown very little this season in terms of form, but his China run and now this win have given him a real chance of keeping his place on the tour. Liu Chuang however is in deep trouble and is going to have to go on a good run at the World Championship if he is to stand much of a chance. He has done this before however…

For the second time this season Jimmy White overcame Bramley’s David Grace in a tense deciding frame to book his place in the second round of the Welsh Open qualifiers. Indeed just as their UK Championship qualifier went the distance, this match went to 4-4 as the pair traded frames all morning. In the end though it was White again who used his experience to win through and bounce back from his loss to Li Hang last month.

If Jimmy can get a few more wins under his belt then there is a chance that he might reclaim a top 48 place, though this is far from a certainty. For Grace relegation from the tour now looks to be a certainty, but he will hopefully bounce back in the future and be a better player for his 2008/9 experience.

Like Vinnie Muldoon, Stephen Craigie has seen his season unravel slightly after a promising start, but the Geordie youngster got back on track today with an excellent 5-2 win over Scunthorpe’s Matt Couch.

Indeed this is the second time this season that Craigie has beaten Couch, a player with much more experience than himself. This is a really crucial result for Stephen as far as his tour status is concerned because had he lost he would have been almost down and out. As it is though, he has given himself a realistic chance of retaining his place, despite having a tough draw in the next round here, being paired with former ranking event winner David Gray.

For Couch it is a blow, though not a fatal one as qualification is still in his own hands if he can go on a run at the World Championship qualifiers.

Jin Long continued his excellent form this season with another strong win today, defeating Supoj Saenla 5-2 to move into the second round.

Jin got off to a good start, moving 3-0 ahead of his Thai opponent with breaks of 64, 44 and 41. Though Saenla won the two to close it up, Long was playing too well to lose today and further breaks of 60 and 50 helped book a clash with Norwich’s Barry Pinches in the second round.

Already up inside the top 64 of the latest provisional list before this win, as well as sitting in 56th in the one-year list, Long looks to be virtually certain of retaining a spot on the main tour for another year. Indeed his form has been very impressive this season (winning six of his seven first-round matches), particularly when you consider that this is his fourth spell on the tour and he has previously shown little to suggest that he is capable of such consistent results.


Round One
Patrick Wallace 5-2 Liu Chuang 72(40)-10, 56-23, 89(44,43)-0, 63-28, 33-78(40), 41(40)-73(44), 124(102)-6
Kuldesh Johal 3-5 Vinnie Muldoon 40-65(56), 4-52, 40-68, 23-75, 69-37, 56-28, 66(58)-23, 26-86(76)
Matthew Couch 2-5 Stephen Craigie 8-106(52,49), 20-68, 66-11, 5-76(76), 41-75, 65(58)-20, 50-59
Scott MacKenzie 4-5 Stefan Mazrocis 22071, 69-9, 93(92)-0, 45-79, 67-27, 65(57)-1, 27-64, 8-84(52), 6-63(56)
Jimmy White 5-4 David Grace 2-59, 69(39)-23, 52(44)-65, 85(52)-0, 30-57(39), 81(75)-8, 29-64, 88(63)-8, 68-20
Simon Bedford 3-5 Wayne Cooper 45(45)-63(43), 64-19, 44-68(41), 70-21, 33-77, 64(44)-46(46), 61-68, 0-73(73)
Lee Spick 5-3 Robert Stephen 49-75, 85-21, 75-53, 67(51)-7, 56(48)-72, 63-7, 8-78, 70(40)-22
Supoj Saenla 2-5 Jin Long 14-108(44,64), 60-67(41), 40-63, 75(60)-38, 79(48)-16, 6-80(60), 0-62(50)


The first man to win this evening (not including Lewis Roberts who received a bye against Declan Hughes),  was Welsh youngster Daniel Wells who recorded an impressive 5-0 win over Chris McBreen. As well as being the first whitewash of the day, the match also saw Daniel record his highest ever break in professional competition of 132 in the final frame to seal a comprehensive win.

Next up for Wells will be a tie with Andrew Norman tomorrow afternoon in what should be a close contest. If he can keep on winning then who knows, he might just make the last 32 and earn a memorable clash with Ronnie O’Sullivan in front of the TV cameras. Long way to go though!

Soon to follow Wells into round two was Matt Selt who had a 5-2 victory over Michael Georgiou, though not without an early scare. Yes that’s right it was actually Georgiou, with McBreen and Hughes one of only three winless players on the tour this season, who made the better start by moving into a 2-0 lead. This was as good as it got however as Selt responded by taking the next five to secure another important win.

Next up for Selt will be the in-form Martin Gould while Georgiou will be hoping to end his first professional season on a high note with a a first win during the World Championship qualifiers later this month.

Veteran Paul Davison caused a bit of an upset tonight by defeating 2007 IBSF World Champion Atthasit Mahitthi who so far has enjoyed a hugely successful return to the main tour. Tonight though it was Davison who stopped the man from Thailand in his tracks and recorded an impressive 5-2 win to move into the second round where he will face Andy Hicks.

While I don’t see this result having too much of an impact on Atthasit’s main tour chances (he is still well up the one-year list), this at least gives Paul some hope of retaining his place for what would be an eighth season.

The hugely promising Li Hang continued his excellent season with another win today, this time completing an excellent fightback to defeat Welshman Jamie Jones 5-4.

It was a topsy turvy match as Jones took the opening frame before Hang responded to move into a 2-1 lead. Jones though began to find his form and reeled off three in a row to put himself one frame away from victory at 4-2. Hang was not the be denied however and himself reeled off three in a row to keep his 100% record in main tour matches this season intact. Awaiting him in the next round will be another Chinese player, Liu Song as both continue their quest to reach the final stages of the Welsh Open.

Peter Lines 5-4 Andrew Pagett 56-22, 0-85(84), 84(46)-13, 67-47, 61-72, 68-29, 68(49)-70, 9-71(59), 68-8
Paul Davison 5-2 Atthasit Mahitthi 94(58)-7, 64(40)-27, 78(51)-1, 79(65)-13, 6-89(75), 40-85(42), 75(68)-20
James McBain 4-5 Aditya Mehta 39(39)-89(81), 80(54)-16, 68-0, 54-56, 15-76(71), 56-21, 78(48)-1, 28-60, 8-78(41)
Matt Selt 5-2 Michael Georgiou 15-66(41), 50(50)-61, 67(60)-6, 62(62)-16, 62-40, 61(43)-14, 71(43)-9
Jamie Jones 4-5 Li Hang 75-23, 0-89(61), 31-64, 67-38, 60-41, 77(76)-7, 9-62, 16-75(70), 12-55
Lewis Roberts 5-0 Declan Hughes w/o – no show
Rodney Goggins 5-2 Andy Lee 100(66)-30, 71-38, 0-135(120), 66(45)-7, 43-65, 85(85)-0, 68-4
Daniel Wells 5-0 Chris McBreen 61-27, 70-49, 57-7, 66-36, 132(132)-0