Bahrain Championship Latest: Stevens wins all-Welsh clash

Just one match this evening due to the withdrawal of Steve Davis who was scheduled to play Dominic Dale in the last 16. As it is we still had a match between Ryan Day and Matthew Stevens to look forward to…

Stephen Maguire 5-3 Mark Davis

The battle of the Welshman tonight was won by Matthew Stevens who put out one of the favourites for the event in Ryan Day with a gripping 5-4 win.

Without making any big breaks, it was Matthew Stevens who had the better start, moving 2-0 ahead of his higher ranked opponent early on. Ryan was not playing badly though and the next two frames were shared as Stevens went into the interval 3-1 up.

Day though was starting to get going and took frame five with a nice break of 67. This form continued in frame six as Ryan looked all set to level it with a break of 59. Surprisingly however he ran out of position and was forced to take a tricky long blue which he missed. He looked to have got away with it when Stevens presented him with another chance but inexplicably missed an easy red and after that point seemed to lose his head a bit. Matthew’s superior tactical play soon worked an opportunity for himself and crucially he moved into a 4-2 lead.

In the next, it was apparent that the missed red from Ryan was still playing heavily on his mind as following a wasted opportunity from Matthew, he played a very poor safety shot which for a second looked like it might cost him. It was only a second though as he in fact fluked a red, freed the black and found himself with a great chance which he duly took advantage of with what turned out to be a frame-winning break of 62.

His reprieve looked to be only a temporary one however as Matthew got in first in the eighth frame, but he could not kill it off in one visit and Ryan found himself another chance. With just the colours remaining and little in it on the scoreboard, what followed was an absorbing battle as it went all the way down to the black. Matthew must have been wondering what was going on as on several occasions, notably when snookered on the brown, Day had some outrageous luck to stay in it. There was no luck involved on the final black however as Ryan doubled it into the yellow pocket, an incredibly brave shot given the circumstances and it was 4-4.

In the decider, a poor break-off shot from Matthew went unpunished as Ryan missed a red to right centre early on and left him in amongst the balls. Though he could only make 44, when Day missed a simple black off the spot when he had another chance, Stevens didn’t need another opportunity and won 5-4 to reach his first ranking event quarter-final since the 2007 Shanghai Masters.

This is a much needed boost for Matthew who currently sits at 33rd provisionally and faces fellow Welshman Dominic Dale in his next match. His first win over Day in four attempts, he will also be glad to break his duck there too.

Ryan though will be gutted though as like Ali Carter this morning, he is one of the form players in the game at the moment and has wasted what was a great opportunity to win his first ranking event title, particularly given how that section of the draw is opening up at the moment. He was probably my favourite to win the event but given some of the shock results we have seen this week, we shouldn’t be too surprised I guess!

Matthew Stevens 5-4 Ryan Day 71-36, 73-27, 0-85(51), 71(63)-31, 27-68(67), 65-59(59), 13-62(62), 67(46)-61(39), 114(44,70)-1