PTC2: Tuesday Updates as Hendry, O’Sullivan and Selby Get Underway (Updated)

Day two from the professional stage of the PTC2 event from Gloucester and today is highlighted by an excellent line-up at 1pm which sees Stephen Hendry, Ronnie O’Sullivan, Jack Lisowski, Matthew Stevens and Stuart Bingham in action amongst others…

Through without too much trouble this morning were Shaun Murphy, Neil Robertson and Judd Trump, while talented amateur Gary Wilson caused an upset by defeating former Grand Prix champion Marco Fu 4-2 in one of the 9am matches.

Elsewhere however there were a number of deciders, the first of which was between Matt Selt and China’s Yu Delu on table eight upstairs here at the Academy. The first chance fell to Matt Selt but unfortunately for him came to a premature end on 18 with a missed pink to the right-centre. The importance of that miss was not lost on him as he walked back to the chair and Yu was left with an easy starter. A break of 40 followed before he missed a red to the corner but an excellent snooker behind the green soon after from which Matt could not successfully escape was to prove decisive.

While watching the conclusion to that match I noticed that the contest between Joe Jogia and and Stuart Carrington was also heading for a decider, Joe taking frame six having lost the previous one following three fouls at an important stage.

First blood in the decider went to Stuart as he amassed a small lead before a good break from Joe got him back into the frame with four reds remaining. From there Joe played some excellent tactical snooker to eventually force an error from his less experienced opponent. With snookers required on the green Stuart played on but it was to prove in vain as Joe’s experience clearly told.

And from there Patrick Wallace too was involved in a decider against this year’s Crucible qualifier and On Q Promotions player Jimmy Robertson. Back at that tournament Patrick was to find himself on the receiving end of a quite brilliant clearance from Matt Selt in the deciding frame of their last 64 match but this time it was to be Patrick who was to finish the winner, clearing the table to win on the black and move into the second round.

Elsewhere, Pink Ribbon winner Mark Joyce also lost out, Sheffield’s Adam Duffy coming through in seven frames while Dominic Dale at the time of writing trails 2-1 against amateur player John Whitty.

Back in the media room a few familiar faces from the Crucible have arrived today while on the player front I can also confirm that both Ronnie O’Sullivan and Stephen Hendry are in the building ahead of their 1pm starts.

Shortly afterwards I suddenly began to receive a barrage of Twitter updates as it became apparent that the livescoring on your computers had frozen so I let the guys at the World Snooker desk know and spent some time relaying the latest via Twitter. While doing so I said hello to Matthew Stevens who was hanging around for a free table so he could get underway against Jamie Barrett, as well as chatting to Patrick Wallace who introduced himself and said some very nice things about the blog. I asked him what his goals were for the season and he said that he was just playing for fun now and that it was easier to do that at this stage of his life than trying to turn pro once again.

Shortly afterwards I bumped into Jack Lisowski as well as his mum who I had not met before and pointed them in the right direction of table 8 where he was set to play Ireland’s David Morris in what looked like a good match on paper. Ultimately it was to prove slightly one-sided as David played extremely well, making the perfect start in frame one by knocking in a red before laying a snooker behind the yellow which Jack could not successfully escape from. David stepped in and made the most of his chance with a break of 112.

From there he continued to look lethal in the balls as he moved into a 3-0 lead, before earning the first chance in frame four. As it was he could not take it and Jack stepped in to get himself back into the frame with a break of 45 before a missed green from Morris let him in to reduce the gap to 3-1. It was not to prove a turning point however as David won frame five with another sizeable contribution to seal a very good win. As Jack’s mum said afterwards you can’t win them all.

Meanwhile on the other tables, Stephen Hendry and Ronnie O’Sullivan both came through their matches relatively easily to set up a mouthwatering second tie later on this evening. Stuart Bingham continued his excellent form with a 4-0 win against Albino Assassin Allan Taylor while Mark Allen avoided a banana skin against Joe Delaney, coming back from 2-1 down to secure a 4-2 win.

Following a stop off at Tesco I headed back in to catch the match between Judd Trump and Mark Allen which got off to a flier as each made a century break. The following frames proved to be somewhat more scrappy but nobody left what was a packed booth at the Academy, indeed I had to stand throughout.

That is until Judd moved 3-2 ahead and I exited to make the start of the blockbuster clash between Ronnie O’Sullivan and Stephen Hendry! For me on a personal level, ‘Hendry v O’Sullivan’ is THE snooker tie, regardless of how both players are actually playing as growing up, they (along with John Higgins and Mark Williams), set the standard and their clashes just had something special about them.

While this match was not to be hall of fame material, it was in fact a very good match as Ronnie played well in making one ton and a couple of other big breaks while Stephen too did not play badly despite losing 4-1. In the past Hendry has not always applied himself properly in the PTCs but you could tell that he was up for this one and wanted to win, but the difference ultimately boiled down to the fact that his long-game was not working today whereas Ronnie’s was.

There was a brief moment when I thought that Ronnie had a good opportunity to make a maximum break in the second frame, something that would have been extra-special for referee Andy Yates who was given the day’s showpiece event, but he ran out of position and chose to play safe early on.

After this I had a chat with a few players in the media room and headed on up to see the conclusion of the match between Liam Highfield and Sam Baird as the latter was attempting to come back from 3-1 down to force a decider against his young opponent from Stoke. Though he had his chances he could not quite manage it however and when he left the final red over a pocket you could see Liam jump from his chair with a visible spring in his step as he managed to get over the line. Ronnie O’Sullivan next for him on the arena table tomorrow morning.

Results by now were coming in from the other tables, Ali Carter a comfortable winner against an out of sorts John Higgins while Ronnie O’Sullivan was taken all the way by Matthew Stevens following an optimistic attempt on the final pink in frame six which not only stayed out of the pocket but ran along the cushion over another for Stevens to knock in. Typically however Ronnie responded in style by knocking in a break of exactly 100 to set up that tie with Highfield.

The biggest shock of the week so far came when Adam Duffy wrapped up a 4-0 thrashing of Mark Selby in the third round, an impressive result for anyone let alone a main tour debutant! I caught the final few shots and he looked to be understandable delighted with his performance.

Elsewhere we were somewhat confused in the media centre as Tony Drago and Fergal O’Brien looked to have been locked at 3-1 for an age so both myself and Janie Watkins headed on up to discover that the electronic scoreboard had in fact malfunctioned meaning that they were forced into using the manual one in their booth. As it would transpire the match would be a painful one for Drago as from 3-0 up he was to wind up a 4-3 loser, Fergal showing once again that he will never give up. Afterwards Tony admitted that his chance to win came in the fourth frame but from there he tired somewhat and it became harder and harder for him. Still though it has been a good week for Drago who has at least got a couple of important wins under his belt.

With that match completed at gone 12:30am it was eventually time to retreat to the Dominic Dale suite (ask Janie on that one), and prepare for what promises to be an excellent finals day…