Pro Challenge Series: Event Two, Day One

As you might expect with a six-red format, the players have made quick progress today and we are down to the last eight in the second of event of the new Pro Challenge Series. Click below for a summary of the day’s action…

Round One

It was a mixed morning for the tour newcomers today as Chris Norbury, Noppadol Sangnil, Thepchaiya un-Nooh, Jimmy Robertson and Craig Steadman suffered early exits, but four others progressed.

By far the most impressive win was that of Scot Mark Boyle, who not only sent world number 21 Stuart Bingham crashing out of the tournament, but did so from 4-0 down, taking each of the last five frames in the match. Another man to complete an impressive comeback was Ben Woollaston who managed to come through 5-3 against Thepchaiya un-Nooh despite trailing both 2-0 and 3-2 earlier on.

Things were more straightforward though for Snooker Scene’s new columnist Jordan Brown who ended the hopes of Matt Couch with a 5-3 win. After taking the first three frames he was always going to be a strong favourite and despite a mini-revival from Matt, it proved to be enough as he took a tight seventh frame.

Finally Sam Baird had an even easier task, indeed he just had to turn up as Jimmy White had already withdrawn from the event and so given him a bye through to the next round where he would meet Ken Doherty.

Aside from the newcomers, the other notable match of the opening round was that between Dave Harold and Stephen Lee, which despite a terrific three minute ‘maximum’ break of 75 from Dave, saw the former world semi-finalist come through 5-4.

Round Two

Dave’s maximum was not to be the quickest of the day however as Stuart Pettman opened his match against Jimmy Michie with a 75 break in just two minutes and 31 seconds. To explain the significance of the speed, the fastest of the week will take home an additional £500 for the fastest max prize. It was not enough for him to win the match however as Michie responded well to turn the match around and come through a 5-3 winner.

The third and final man to make a 75 was Ryan Day during what was a comfortable 5-2 victory over James Wattana for the top seed. Unfortunately for him however, he had pressed the start button instead of the stop one on the clock and so his time could not be verified so Pettman remains in pole position for the prize.

Aside from a one-sided match which saw Martin Gould thrash Stephen Lee 5-0, it was a round of close matches, indeed four went all the way to a deciding frame. The most notable two saw young talent Judd Trump, as well as a man with a good record in the six-red events, Ricky Walden lose out to Tom Ford and Andrew Norman respectively. Welshman Daniel Wells put up a gutsy performance from 2-0 down to take Anthony Hamilton all the way but as can often be the case, experience took the man from Nottingham through in a decider. Joe Jogia also gave it a good go but ultimately came unstuck against Fergal O’Brien who will be glad to get a win at Prestatyn following an agonising defeat to Ken Doherty there in the Shanghai Masters qualifiers.

The biggest shock however saw Mark King, one of just two top 16 players involved this week, suffer an early exit at the hands of Rod Lawler. Whether Mark was in the right frame of mind or not following a weekend playing in an event in Belgium I am not sure but in any case it was a good win for Rod.

Round Three

Down to 16 players, this evening’s third round saw Martin Gould maintain his immaculate record with another 5-0 victory, this time over the improving Matt Selt. He will meet Fergal O’Brien in the next round following his comfortable 5-1 win against Robert Milkins.

Another whitewash came the way of local favourite Ryan Day who kept the flag flying for the top 16 against Tom Ford to set up a clash with Anthony Hamilton. The lowest ranked player remaining meanwhile is Atthasit Mahitthi who ended Rod Lawler’s run and will be rewarded with a tie again Jimmy Michie tomorrow.

Finally the match at the top of the draw sees Marcus Campbell, a winner against Jamie Cope tonight, come up against a man who after so many bad days in Prestatyn last year, has now won four matches already at the venue this season, Ken Doherty.

For all the scores and results in full, please click here.