Day three from Sheffield as the second round begins at the first event of this season’s Q School. That said, the main event today was a first round clash between former professionals Craig Steadman and Kurt Maflin which more than lived up to the hype…
Morning Session round-up
Allan Taylor w/o Brent Kolbeck
Antony Parsons 4-3 Shehzad Iqbal
Manish Jain 1-4 Bobby Cruickshanks
Stephen Ellis 2-4 Gary Wilson
Justin Astley 4-0 Najm Khan
Kurt Maflin 3-4 Craig Steadman
The match of the morning on paper looked like being that between Norway’s Kurt Maflin and Farnworth’s Craig Steadman and so it proved as Craig edged a high quality encounter to book a place in round two.
Looking to reclaim a place in the top flight it was Craig who made the stronger start, breaks of 54 and 46 helping him to a 3-1 lead before his typical high-scoring opponent hit back to level with runs of 64 and 53. Judging by the live scoring the decider proved to be a tense affair but eventually a break of 42 from Steadman was enough to see him past the man who recently gave Ding Junhui a scare at the China Open.
Also coming through this morning was Scotland’s Bobby Cruickshanks who eased past India’s Manish Jain 4-1 while former World Under-21 champion Gary Wilson hit breaks of 97 and 66 to see off Stephen Ellis and progress to the next round. There he will face Justin Astley, a player relegated from the tour at the end of last season but who had little trouble today in defeating Pakistan’s Najm Khan.
Finally Anthony Parsons was given a helping hand by opponent Shehzad Iqbal who arrived late for their match and was duly docked a frame and a costly one at that as he went on to lose 4-3.
Afternoon Session round-up
George Marter 1-4 Robin Hull
Mohammed Raoof 3-4 Craig Barber
James Wattana w/o Sean O’Sullivan
Tony Knowles 0-4 Mike Hallett
Gareth Edwards 0-4 Dean Venables
Sachin Plaha 0-4 Reanne Evans
Mike Hallett eased past fellow veteran Tony Knowles today in the battle of the 1980’s as he began his quest to bounce back onto the main tour. It was not to be a match of big breaks and the scoreline perhaps flattered Mike as Tony had chances in all four frames, not least the fourth which he lost by going in-off on a re-spotted black, but with breaks of 45, 32 and 32 it was Hallett who ran out a deserved winner.
Another blast from the past this afternoon was Finland’s Robin Hull who having had to retire from the tour previously due to health problems is now back for another shot at the professional circuit. A player who at his peak was more than good enough for the main tour as evidenced by his 111 breaks in professional competition, Robin had little difficulty today as after dropping the opener, he then reeled off four frames in a row with a top run of 51.
There was also reason for cheer for Reanne Evans who having been relegated from the circuit last season without winning a match, did record a 4-0 victory today against Sachin Plaha and finished off with a top break of 80 in frame four. She will now meet Dean Venables who was also a 4-0 winner against Gareth Edwards.
James Welsh v Shahbaaz Khan
David Gilbert 4-1 Steve Judd
Lee Stephens 1-4 Martin O’Donnell
Phil O’Kane 0-4 Jeff Cundy
Alex Borg 1-4 Andrew Norman
Lee Spick 3-4 Luke Simmonds
Steve Judd might have hit a break of 114 today but that was to prove the only frame that he would win as David Gilbert came through to secure a 4-1 victory. On paper the favourite to progress from this section, Gilbert will now meet James Welsh who came through against Shahbaaz Khan this afternoon.
Jeff Cundy meanwhile came through 4-0 against Phil O’Kane while Martin O’Donnell was also a winner against Lee Stephens.
Michael Wild 3-4 Lee Walker
Ian Glover 4-3 Simon Bedford
David Gray 4-0 Sam Harvey
Mitchell Mann 2-4 Ian Burns
Stuart Carrington 4-3 Charlie Walters
Chen Zhe 4-2 Michael Wasley
David Gray continued his bid to reclaim a place on the main tour tonight with a comprehensive 4-0 victory against talented youngster Sam Harvey. Next up for him will be Ian Burns who continues to impress this week having defeated Jamie Clarke and now Mitchell Mann. During his win over Mann tonight he recorded a break of 122, the highest so far this week and judging by his consistent scoring so far could prove to be David’s toughest test yet.
There was a shock meanwhile as Simon Bedford lost out 4-3 to Ian Glover who will now go on to face former World Championship quarter-finalist Lee Walker in the third round after the Welshman overcame Michael Wild, also in a deciding frame.
Elsewhere Chen Zhe also continued his impressive form by defeating On Q youngster Michael Wasley 4-2 to set up a match with Stuart Carrington.