EPTC4: Lee downs Maguire to take title

Stephen Lee – up to 21st…

It had to happen didn’t it? Former On-Q Promotions player Stephen Lee has defeated Stephen Maguire in tonight’s final of the EPTC4 event at the Southwest Snooker Academy to become the latest event winner this season.

Having enjoyed a solid if not spectacular start to the new season, Stephen Lee has managed to defeat Stephen Maguire in tonight’s final of the latest EPTC event to win his first ranking title since the 2006 Welsh Open and boost his hopes of a return to the top 16 later this season.

It has been a long day at the Academy but Stephen appears to have played well throughout, defeating Andrew Norman, Mark Davis and Joe Jogia to set up a final appearance against Scotland’s Maguire. Strangely enough the closest of these matches came against Andrew Norman first thing as the van driver who had already defeated Ding Junhui and Mark Allen to reach this stage moved into an early lead. Stephen though managed to turn things around and judging by the livescores at least, hasn’t really looked back!

The win lifts Stephen up to 21st place in my latest provisional seedings list, just 2,000 points away from a top 16 place which with two further EPTC events and the UK Championship to come before the next seedings revision is not a great deal at all. He will have to maintain this form however, something that recent PTC winners have been unable to do.

Stephen has also apparently been awarded a hamper of pies by tournament sponsors Peter’s for winning the event.

Maguire meanwhile will be disappointed not to have won but he had had a good run this week, getting a few more ranking points in the bag as he looks to stay in the top 8 as well as some confidence boosting wins, particularly that one against Marco Fu from 3-0 down yesterday. Without a major trophy during the past couple of years however, I feel that he still needs a few more strong performances against the game’s elite players if he is to really get his confidence back.

Earlier today both Mark Selby and Shaun Murphy exited at the last 16 stage, no doubt handicapped by their exertions in yesterday’s Power Snooker event but full credit to them for juggling both events anyway. The big story for me other than Lee’s victory was the run of youngster Liam Highfield who after a quiet spell made it through to the semi-finals before losing 4-2 to Maguire. His run lifts him up into the top 64 of my provisional seedings list and if he can remain there he will have one less qualifier to play in order to make it through to the venue stages of events later this season.

Today’s results in full:


Stephen Lee 4-2 Stephen Maguire


Stephen Lee 4-1 Joe Jogia
Stephen Maguire 4-2 Liam Highfield


Stephen Lee 4-2 Mark Davis
Joe Jogia 4-2 Liu Chuang
Liam Highfield 4-3 Graeme Dott
Stephen Maguire 4-2 Anthony Hamilton

Last 16

Andrew Norman 3-4 Stephen Lee
Peter Ebdon 1-4 Mark Davis
Joe Jogia 4-2 Ken Doherty
Shaun Murphy 1-4 Liu Chuang
Liam Highfield 4-2 Gerard Greene
Ben Woollaston 3-4 Graeme Dott
Jack Lisowski 2-4 Stephen Maguire
Anthony Hamilton 4-2 Mark Selby