Grand Prix Qualifying 2009: Day One News

Good news at last for David Gray who has recorded a resounding 5-0 victory over Lee Spick this morning to book his place in the second round of the Grand Prix qualifiers. More to follow…

In the eyes of some snooker fans, the decision to hand one of the coveted tour wildcards to former Scottish Open champion David Gray was a controversial one and when he lost his opening qualifier for Shanghai, the knives were out again. Today however he has got his season up and running with an excellent 5-0 whitewash of Lee Spick, a player who has himself enjoyed a successful last 12 months. There were no big breaks in the match and it is only one win, but as far down the rankings as he is right now, it is a start. Next up for him will be Peter Lines, another player who has performed well recently and will be confident of a good run.

Like David, another controversial wildcard selection was Andrew Norman and he has also given himself a lift by defeating Chris Norbury 5-2 today. It was a close match early on as the pair headed into the interval level at 2-2, but from there it was all Norman as he booked a clash with Mark Joyce tomorrow morning, a player who could do with a good run soon and has recently taken steps to improve his fortunes by seeing a psychologist.

Mixed fortunes however for the two Chinese players who were forced to miss out on the Shanghai Masters last month due to visa issues. For Li Hang it was an excellent day as he came back from behind to defeat Ireland’s Brendan O’Donoghue and move into the second round. At 3-1 and 4-2 down the situation was not looking promising for the exciting 18-year-old, but he dug in and dramatically knocked in pink and black in the decider to earn a tie with the struggling David Roe tomorrow.

For Mei Xiwen though it was an inauspicious debut as he found himself whitewashed by experienced Northern Irishman Patrick Wallace. From the scoreline however it is clear that Patrick was in fine form as after a tight opening frame he knocked in breaks of 86, 72, 57 and 41 on his way to victory. Next up for him will be a clash with another Irish veteran, Joe Delaney.

Morning Session:

Chris Norbury 2-5 Andrew Norman
65-75, 92(45)-9, 1-73(43), 66(36)-35, 5-57, 25-65, 24-68
Li Hang 5-4 Brendan O’Donoghue
29-56, 33-68, 42-57, 2-67, 114(64)-1, 64-71(39), 71-39, 64-42, 62-51
Patrick Wallace 5-0 Mei Xiwen
60-53, 56(41)-35, 101(72)-6, 114(86)-16, 67(57)-30
Bjorn Haneveer 5-2 Ian Preece
69(36)-38, 11-85(34,34), 91(59)-9, 63(54)-18, 110(104)-8, 44-62(42), 83(71)-8
Xiao Guodong 1-5 Joe Jogia
26-73, 0-85(36), 56-55, 12-98(77), 58(49)-74(36), 0-137(137)
Lee Page 1-5 Tony Drago
17-74(50), 52-68, 5-77(52), 68(47)-43, 25-62(57), 19-65(59)
Lee Spick 0-5 David Gray
50-58(36), 39-73(54), 57-62, 32-64(44), 24-65
Matthew Couch 5-1 Jimmy Robertson
108(33,35,40)-0, 95(47)-0, 58(55)-53(53), 70(56)-45(45), 17-54, 64(50)-0

While this morning saw a number of one-sided matches, the evening session saw no fewer than four matches go the distance. One of the tightest was a brilliant clash between Thai duo Atthasit Mahitthi and Thepchaiya un-Nooh, who notched up five 50+ breaks between them, including a career best 140 from Mahitthi in frame three.

Ultimately though it was to be un-Nooh, who of course lost out 5-4 in a thriller with Xiao Guodong during the Shanghai qualifiers, who was to come through by taking the last two frames to win his first tour match. Awaiting him in round two will be Rod Lawler in what will be another tough clash for sure.

It was also a good day for Welsh youngsters Daniel Wells and Michael White who both came through with relative ease against Sam Baird and Noppadol Sangnil respectively. It is a shame for me that both will meet in the first round of the UK Championship qualifiers in November, but more immediately they will both be looking to make it up to Glasgow for the Grand Prix and will face Barry Pinches and David Morris tomorrow – both winnable matches.

Having come through in dramatic style against Steve Davis to qualify for the Shanghai Masters, Matt Selt has again shown his mettle tonight with another 5-4 victory, this time against tour newcomer Jordan Brown. Details are sketchy at the moment but in any case it is  a good result and helps him keep up the momentum from that Shanghai surprise. Next up will be Jimmy White in what promises to be the tie of the round.

EDIT: As posted below, it transpires that Matt actually came back from 4-0 down to win this match, a great effort!

Finally, well done to Stephen Rowlings who has won his first tour match with an excellent 5-1 demolition of former world number three James Wattana. With breaks of 91, 56×2, 37 and 35, Rowlings scored consistently throughout the match and will be rewarded with a clash with Dave Gilbert tomorrow.

Afternoon Session:

Noppadol Sangnil 1-5 Michael White
48-31, 47-66, 11-63(37), 41-71(58), 27-66, 17-71(55)
Atthasit Mahitthi 4-5 Thepchaiya Un Nooh
20-74(41), 70(62)-4, 140(140)-0, 75(75)-0, 43-70(36), 52-54(33), 31-94(93), 100(70)-17, 50(33)-61
Daniel Wells 5-2 Sam Baird
37-78(36), 91(61)-0, 89(65)-15, 54-11, 25-69(68), 74(45)-0, 126(102)-0
Stephen Rowlings 5-1 James Wattana
55-16, 88(37)-1, 8-86(35), 96(91)-4, 69(56)-32, 64(56)-24
Craig Steadman 4-5 Mark Boyle
29-91(43), 66(36)-10, 14-59, 78-50, 63(63)-16, 1-92(85), 27-59(40), 84-31, 53-64
Simon Bedford 5-4 David Hogan
72-55, 18-84, 67-0, 77-16, 8-61, 8-91(74), 10-72, 92-21, 71(38)-1
Matthew Selt 5-4 Jordan Brown
30-49, 47-66, 42-65(64), 32-74, 70(46)-13, 94(67)-23, 74(38)-47, 62-12, 61-22
Ben Woollaston 3-5 Anda Zhang
36-74, 65(38)-33, 23-71(39), 89(89)-0, 1-71(62), 69-27, 23-55, 58-63