Maguire wins all-Scottish final to take Pro Challenge Prize

Congratulations to world number 2 Stephen Maguire who has come through against fellow Scot Alan McManus with a 5-2 victory to take the first of the new Pro Challenge events staged this season…

Alan McManus 2-5 Stephen Maguire

0-87(52), 88(84)-0, 73(73)-13, 15-62(59), 2-63, 29-69(68), 0-81(68)

Down to the final four today, this morning saw Stephen Maguire, Alan McManus, Ken Doherty and Ben Woollaston come together in pursuit of the £5,000 top prize.

Although Maguire started as a hot favourite to make it through to the final against Ben, he had been taken to a final frame shoot-out by by Mark Davis, Rod Lawler and Dave Harold already in the competition, while his opponent had recorded an impressive victory over Ricky Walden last night to make it this far. Ultimately though this match was to go with the rankings and it was to be a step too far for Ben as Stephen went through with a 5-2 win.

Meanwhile over in the other semi-final there was a good win for Alan McManus over Ken Doherty who as I observed yesterday, played very well to get to this stage. Alan though is a class player and it is no great surprise to see him also go through 5-2 to give himself a crack at the top seed.

While not a classic, the final appears to have been a good quality match with six breaks over 50 as the two met for what I believe is the first time since their tight clash in Northern Ireland at the start of last season. Just like in that match it was McManus who started the better, moving into a 2-1 lead, but from there it was Maguire who showed his class and powered on to take the next four and a 5-2 win.

Though he entered the event as the top seed and as such a warm favourite for the title, it is nonetheless a good victory for Stephen who as mentioned above, had to come through a number of tight matches to get to the final. With this result and his strong showings in Beijing, the laser eye treatment that he has undergone over the summer appears to have done him no harm and it will be interesting to see if he can get back to the form he showed in 2007/8 in the bigger events.