Tonight saw the start of the 2012 Premier League and victories for Ding Junhui and Judd Trump, on what was an entertaining evening of snooker all-round from Skegness. Click below for a re-cap of the action…
The night’s opening match saw 2009 event winner Shaun Murphy take on China’s Ding Junhui in what proved to be a highly entertaining contest, eventually won by Ding to get his Premier League campaign off to the perfect start.
The first chance of the match fell to Ding, but it was Murphy who was to take the initiative and a 1-0 lead with an excellent one-visit break. As the Magician moved 49-0 up in the second frame, it looked as though he might take an early stranglehold on the match, but a combination of an unfortunate in-off as well as a tremendous clearance of 36 from his opponent saw the scores level at 1-1.
Ding soon moved clear at 2-1 with a break of 82, despite his opponent having a pot success rate of 95% after three frames, before Murphy took advantage of what looked to be a kick on the black for Ding to draw level at 2-2.
From there it was Ding who grew stronger, taking advantage of a safety error from Murphy and sealing the fifth frame with an outrageous exhibition black (definitely one to catch on YouTube), before adding the last to secure a 4-2 victory and two points towards the league table.
The second match meanwhile saw Judd Trump run out a deceptively comfortable 5-1 winner against Stephen Lee, earning £7,000 in the process courtesy of his five frames and two century breaks in the match.
The match was however closer than the scoreline would suggest, particularly in the early stages. In frame one Lee looked set to snatch it back from behind with a strong clearance, only to falter on the frame ball pink as Judd cleared for 1-0.
A break of 95 doubled his advantage before he again saw his opponent fail with an attempted clearance in the third frame, a poor positional shot from blue to pink seeing him finish too straight to come down the table to land on the black. Though Lee was to have a shot at the final ball into the green pocket, he could not take it and Judd soon potted it to secure at least a point from the match.
From there, the 2011 UK Champion relaxed and hit back to back century breaks of 121 and 113 to move 5-0 up, before Lee took the last to avoid the whitewash and at least take £1,000 from the evening.
All in all it was an entertaining evening of snooker, the return to the more traditional Premier League format of two six frame matches in a Premier League night proving to be a success for me at least, and the event will next be back in three weeks time as Peter Ebdon, Mark Selby and Neil Robertson make their first appearances of the season in the competition…