Harold battles through to Newport snooker show

Stoke potter Dave Harold continued his excellent season yesterday by qualifying for the last 32 stage of the Welsh Open later this month. Click below to read his thoughts on the match…

Dave told The Sentinel:

“I didn’t play brilliantly, but I did the job,”

“Gerard’s a good player, but I always managed to keep my nose in front.

“Neither of us had any big breaks, a lot of the frames went scrappy, but I didn’t mind because I like a battle.”

“It’s going to be a tough match, but you don’t get any easy matches, I’ll have to play well,”

“Mark’s a top 16 player, so he’s going to want to win his first-round match in Newport.

“But hopefully I can go there and get a good run under my belt. I want to keep pushing for the top 16 this season.”

And push on for the top 16 he is as this victory takes him up to 14th in the very latest provisional list, with the opportunity to gain even more points in the remaining three events of the season. Having really put in the work over the summer it has been an impressive effort from the 42-year-old to do as well as he has, the highlight of his season undoubtedly being that run to the final in Northern Ireland back in August.

Ultimately though it is likely that unless he can repeat this run in either Wales or China, his hopes of regaining a place among the elite are going to come down to a potential clash with China’s Liang Wenbo at the EISS in the final qualifying round for the World Championship next month. As well as a vitally important match for both players it promises to be an intriguing match-up, particularly when you take into account the contrast in playing styles between the two. Of course while Dave is a steady, methodical player who as he says above likes a battle, Liang is a quick, ultra-attacking potter who  can pot anything!

Who will come out on top? If Dave Harold can score like he did earlier on in the season when he was really in top form then I would fancy his all-round game to be too much for Liang over 19 frames. Wenbo is no stranger to to winning in the longer frame matches however and having beaten tactically strong players like Ken Doherty and Joe Swail in the World Championship last season, is more than capable of doing so again…