Welsh Open 2010: Home challenge halted

Day one of the 2010 Welsh Open qualifiers was an exciting one which saw two career best breaks compiled, but also the end of the home challenge for the three Welsh players involved today, two of them losing to Chinese opposition…

Please click here to view the updated draw.

Yes it was a poor day for Ian Preece, Daniel Wells and Michael White as the Welsh trio all crashed out of their home event at the first hurdle today.

The challenge of Ian Preece was ended by young Chinese starlet Li Hang in the deciding frame of a match that was closely fought throughout. Preece led both 1-0 and 3-2 but Hang would not let him run away with proceedings and thanks in part to a new career best break of 138, emerged as the winner to book a tie with countryman Jin Long tomorrow morning.  It was a good effort from Ian who having been awarded a main tour wildcard for this season has failed to win a match so far, but his efforts were ultimately in vain once again.

One match that I was particularly looking forward to was that between young guns Xiao Guodong and Michael White, but from 2-2 it was to all go Guodong’s way as the Chinese talent made breaks of 73, 50 and 37 to book his round two place. Daniel Wells was also to lose to an Asian player as Thai legend James Wattana won his second match of the season in a deciding frame finish. Having retained his main tour spot in such a dramatic fashion last season with that run to the final qualifying round of the World Championship, things have not quite gone Wells’ way this time around and it may be that he will need to repeat last year’s heroics if he is to survive again. Wattana meanwhile will just be relieved to be in the next round I am sure but faces a tough challenge tomorrow against the in-form Robert Milkins.

Away from the home players, Tony Drago continued his unbeaten round one run this season with a 5-3 victory over Simon Bedford. Early on it was a close affair as they went into the interval level at 2-2, but breaks of 67 and 70 helped the Maltese man to open up a gap that he was not to surrender.

As has been a theme this season at times, David Gray and Andrew Norman, two players who like Preece were handed invitational spots to the main tour this season, both followed the Welshman out of the tournament as they lost to Matt Selt and Bjorn Haneveer respectively today.

Finally the day also saw another good win for Craig Steadman against young Sam Baird to book a second round tie with the struggling David Roe. Along the way Craig managed to set a strong contender for the highest break of the non-televised stage with a run of 143, surely a career best.

For the day’s results in full, please click here to visit Global Snooker.