Snooker Shootout: Saturday Round-up

Well what a night, I wasn’t completely sold on the event yesterday but tonight’s session was undeniably a real spectacle for snooker with several tight finishes Click below for the day’s results together with a summary of the action. To view a repeat of the live chat that we had (thank you to everyone who contributed, feedback and comments very much welcome below), you can also do that here.

Tonight’s results in full as reported by the excellent WWW Snooker:

Nigel Bond     96-0     Stephen Lee
Judd Trump     31-30     Mark Davis
Marcus Campbell 67-1     Andrew Higginson
Mike Dunn     66-59     Alfie Burden
Robert Milkins     54-9     Tom Ford
Stuart Bingham     37-34     Adrian Gunnell
Rory McLeod     61-57     Tony Drago
Mark Selby     89-6     Stuart Pettman
Peter Lines     54-47     John Higgins
Neil Robertson     50-49     Alan McManus
R.O’Sullivan     93-34     Rod Lawler
Fergal O’Brien     57-48     Allister Carter
A. Hamilton     52-15     Dominic Dale
Mark King     120-0     Steve Davis
Ken Doherty     83-25     Joe Perry
Ryan Day     53-40     Graeme Dott

Following the televised draw for the last 32 stage, Nigel Bond, Judd Trump and Marcus Campbell all moved into the next round without too much incident before the first classic match of the competition between Mike Dunn and Alfie Burden.

For much of the frame it looked as though Alfie would move into the next round without too much trouble but a costly decision not to pot the black and leave his opponent only able to tie came back to haunt him as Mike potted a superb yellow before eventually making what he later described as the best brown of his career on the way to a match-winning clearance. Up until that point there had been few really dramatic finishes but this as dramatic as you could wish to see.

Except of course it wasn’t. Following a comfortable win for Robert Milkins against Tom Ford and a relatively uneventful victory for Stuart Bingham against Adrian Gunnell, Rory McLeod then denied the ever-popular Tony Drago in similarly dramatic circumstances. Having both had chances to take the match, it looked as though Tony was through to the next round but with little more than ten seconds to go and the black seemingly safe, Rory hit it as hard as he could and almost unbelievable fluked it into a corner pocket. Poor Clive Everton in the commentary box I think must have needed a lie down after that!

The drama was not yet complete however following victories for Mark Selby and Peter Lines against Stuart Pettman and UK Champion John Higgins respectively, the third cracker of the evening got underway between veteran Scot Alan McManus and world champion Neil Robertson.

Following a foul shot from Neil the match looked to have swung the way of McManus, particularly as the clock stood at just 80 seconds with a gap of 37 points between the two players. Neil though was not about to give up and fought back in style to strike the winning black just one second before the claxon sounded to win. At the time I must admit that I thought he had lost as the black actually dropped following the end of the match, but as the ball was struck beforehand then it was allowed to stand.

Following that match while there were few classics, Ronnie O’Sullivan found his way past Liverpool’s Rod Lawler without too much trouble, while Fergal O’Brien put out another top 16 player, this time Ali Carter following his win over Stephen Hendry last night. Anthony Hamilton then comfortably defeated Dominic Dale before Mark King played arguably the best snooker of the night in making the third century break of the event so far to see off Steve Davis, gaining some measure of revenge for their Crucible clash last season.

Finally, Ken Doherty saw off Joe Perry while Graeme Dott, despite amusingly being announced as the winner as he got down to break off, lost out to Welshman Ryan Day in the evening’s final match.

Overall it was a very eventful evening and one that won me over to the tournament to some extent after being left unconvinced after yesterday’s play. One criticism would be that I think that it went on a little too long as by the time Ronnie had finished I had probably had enough, as had a few of you judging by the live chat, but all in all that is a pretty minor quibble at this stage.