Saturday at the Pink Ribbon

Saturday from the Academy and today will see the field cut from 64 to 16 as the rest of the top players enter the fray. Click below for updates and photos throughout the day…

Arriving at the venue in time for the 9am matches I was able to set up the laptop and check out what was an appealing order of play with the standout ties being those between Mitchell Mann and Andrew Pagett, as well as Anthony McGill taking on fellow pro David Grace.

It was however not these two matches that I wanted to watch first, instead I chose to take a look at Polish youngster Kacper Filipiak who recently ensured that he will be the youngster ever professional player during the 2011/12 season following his victory in the European Under-21 Championship.

Having watched two and a bit frames of his match against amateur player Chris Cheshire, early observations were that like so many left-handers Kacper is a fine potter, indeed he produced four or five impressive pots from distance during that time and I could see the talent that helped him win a place on the tour.

Kacper at the table

As far as his technique is concerned, his cue action is an interesting one. Kacper’s routine appears to be to line up the shot and then pull the cue back at least a foot, once, maybe twice, before striking the ball. There is a lot going on there so perhaps this could be simplified but it seems to be working for him.

Understandably his positional play and safety game looked to be in need of some refinement, indeed at 15 he is far from the finished article but it will be interesting to see how he gets on during the coming season. It will be a tough ask for him to stay on the tour at the first attempt but having spoken to a few people at the venue he seems to be very dedicated which will surely set him in good stead. I understand that he will be based here at the Academy for the coming season and that upon his arrival he immediately went to spend several hours on one of the practice tables. Who needs rest?

Grace during a frame-winning clearance

As an aside, I also noticed that he appeared to have some sort of black ribbon hanging from his right pocket, I am not sure if that is for luck or any other reason!

As Kacper looked to be taking command of that match I headed over to that between Anthony McGill and David Grace, two talented young players who have each spent a year on the professional tour now and will be there for the coming 2011/12 season.

Battling over the colours, Anthony looked to have the initiative as he potted the yellow but what followed was an excellent clearance from green to pink from Dave, a brown close to the cushion with the extended rest proving particularly important.

The Tartan Nugget aka Anthony McGill in action

The next frame too was to prove a scrappy affair which would again come down to the colours following a period during which Grace successfull played on for a snooker. Eventually however it was to be McGill who would sink the yellow and with the green in the jaws, Dave soon conceded.

Back in the media room, Ben Harrison has just confirmed that he is playing Martin Gould at 11am as well as John Higgins at 1pm – tough school!

While talking about Ben, I have also uploaded a video of his match-winning break from yesterday when he played Scotsman George Scott in the previous round. You can view that by clicking here.

Ben Harrison in action yesterday…

Tiime to go wandering again…probably to watch Ben.


Just caught Ben’s match with Martin Gould, the latter eventually coming through 4-1 to book his place in the next round. Martin wasted little time in moving 2-0 up and taking the third it looked like it would come to a swift conclusion.

To his credit Ben hit back with a nice break of 65 in frame four, though the frame would progress for some time after that as Martin unsuccessfully played on for snookers.

Martin looks on as Ben is at the table

Having been passed some sweets from his friends in the crowd however Martin was able to add a scrappy fifth frame to progress. From Ben’s point of view it was a good experience to play someone of Martin’s class and with Higgins to come later today he can only learn from matches such as those, win or lose. It is great experience for players such as Ben to gain both at this tournament and the PTC events and I suspect will only help the next generation of players to come through more quickly.

Meanwhile I have also managed to have a word with David Grace following his match and he confirmed that he was able to win 4-1, also telling me that I had watched the worst two frames of the match!

Mark Joyce clears up

While watching Martin against Ben I also managed to catch a bit of Mark Joyce in action as he appeared to progress relatively easily against an amateur opponent. I am not sure of the score but every time I looked across he seemed to be clearing up and the handshake eventually came at around 12:15pm.


The latest from the arena is that world champion John Higgins leads Ben Harrison 2-1, a break of 79 in the third frame putting him ahead for the first time after he dropped the opener. The first frame in fact was the most entertaining, a long safety duel with just two reds eventually ending with Harrison making it to the table with a chance to clear. Eventually coming down to the final frame ball pink, I had a feeling that he was going to miss it and that is exactly what happened.

He was however to receive second prize, the white finishing tucked up behind the black leaving John in all sorts of trouble, much to the amusement of both! John twice tried to escape but was without success, handing the frame to his opponent.

John Higgins

The second frame was to prove a real scrap, but John with the aid of a few impressive long balls was able to draw level, before going ahead with his 79. I now understand from Maximum Snooker’s Stephen Kent that John has just gone 3-1 up with a century break.

In other news I understand that Stephen Maguire has come through his match 4-1 despite dropping the opening frame on a re-spot, while Reanne Evans trails 2-1 in her match.

In other news I have learned that On Q Promotions have now added three more players to their Pink Army, namely Liam Highfield, Jamie Jones and Michael White. Janie has just introduced me to Liam Highfield who may well be blogging for PSB next season so stay tuned for that…


During the last couple of hours I’ve had a break from the snooker and though the action has continued, the venues feels a lot quieter than it was earlier in the day.

Jack Lisowski

Ben eventually lost 4-2 to Higgins a good effort and there was an amusing moment outside when Kyren Wilson came out and tongue in cheek asked what he was doing losing to him!

Other highlights include the player reaction to Nick Jennings’ shirt as well as Jack Lisowski’s attempts to look ‘pumped’ for a new profile photo for the site. After several attempts he opted to keep the one that is currently up.


My plans to watch Jack Lisowski failed as I ended up chatting to the ever-helpful Sarah Mount in the shop. By the time I decided to go up and see him, he had unfortunately just lost to Michael White who by all accounts put in a fantastic display of scoring to come through to win the match. Amusingly Jack came out and said to me “and this is my losing face” before smiling and heading into town.

Your reigning world champion – John Higgins

As far as fantastic displays of scoring are concerned, the master right now is undoubtedly John Higgins and he proved it once again in his latest match with breaks of 111, 97 and in frame four a majestic 139, the tournament high surpassing the 133 of Nick Pearce set earlier on in the day.

Following his match the media centre became a hive of activity, first John Higgins giving an interview to Maximum Snooker while as I type Martin Gould is giving an entertaining interview to Roland from Snooker Island.

Final Update

The final update from Saturday night is from the match between Leo Fernandez and Craig Steadman, Leo eventually coming through a 4-2 winner. I caught the last two frames and as Michael Wasley commented after Leo took it on the blue, frame five was played with all the intensity of a decider! The final frame was to see Craig knock in a terrific long red only to leave the cue ball in the jaws of the green pocket and Craig wishing that it hadn’t gone in! Soon after Leo was able to get in and book his place in the last 16.

In other news, Ben Harrison was able to come back from 2-0 down against both Kyren Wilson and Alex Taubman to make it through to the last 16 on his last entry, while Michael Holt saw off David Grace to keep the defence of his title alive.

Main Arena

Back in the media room meanwhile there was a lot of fun as Dominic Dale made an appearance, fresh back from Vienna! Along with referee Tanya we had an interesting discussion on Russian pyramid billards as well as looking at a video of Dominic singing at the Paul Hunter Classic in 2007, much to Janie Watkins’ dismay!

Following a brief spell upstairs in the players round discussing retro chocolate bars with Andy Hicks’ entourage it was time for the hotel.

The last 16 draw for tomorrow is:

Jamie Jones v Martin Gould
Michael White v Sydney Wilson
Robert Valiant v JOHN HIGGINS
Mark Joyce v Stephen Maguire
Ben Harrison v Sam Harvey
Jimmy Robertson v Shane Castle
Leo Fernandez v Ryan Day
Michael Holt v Sean O’Sullivan