PTC2: Monday Updates From The Venue

Monday from the PTC2 event in Gloucester and today sees the first batch of the main tour professionals enter the fray as the likes of Mark Williams, Ken Doherty, Ding Junhui and Graeme Dott get their campaigns underway. In between matches I will post updates from the media room as the day progresses…

Off to an early start today in the media room as the sponsor board was drilled into the wall at half past eight, while there was also a surprise as former UK Champion Doug Mountjoy made an appearance at the SWSA.

With Mark Williams, Ken Doherty and Jimmy White among those in action this morning I shall go for a wander and see what is going on…

First match for me was that between Ken Doherty and Joe Meara and it proved to be a quickfire encounter as the 1997 world champion ran out a 4-0 winner in little over an hour. Joe struggled to put him under pressure on the paper but Ken played very well indeed, starting and finishing with a century while also making half-century breaks in both frames two and three.

Joe did have a couple of chances but couldn’t take advantage and perhaps most costly were his safety shots when having run out of position which allowed Ken to get straight back to the table. Ken meanwhile looks like facing Mark Williams next, the Welshman 3-0 up on the main arena table.

The next table along from Ken’s saw an On Q Promotions derby as Andy Hicks was in action against young Welshman Michael White and from what I saw Andy played very well indeed, a couple of nicely constructed breaks putting him 3-1 up before he completed a 4-1 success soon afterwards.

I also had a look at Jimmy White v Craig Steadman on the second TV table and what strikes you is the difference in the lighting as for the live streaming table they have put up the TV lighting which for want of a better word makes the playing area look noticeably more yellow. It really brings home the point made by Stuart Pettman in his recent book.

I’ve just had the pleasure of interviewing Ken Doherty about a number of topics including Australia, the World Cup, the state of his game, the all-time greats he has played and more. Hopefully I will be able to type that up some time next week. For me that was a somewhat surreal experience as Ken has always been one of my favourite players from a very early age so to go from asking him for an autograph a few years ago to sitting down and chatting snooker with him for an hour is really quite incredible. Got to pinch myself sometimes!

Just went upstairs to see the final two frames of an excellent contest between Martin Gould and Ben Woollaston which saw the man from Leicester come back from 3-2 down to upset his higher ranked opponent. An excellent break of 62 in the decider ultimately proved to be enough, following an initial 31 from Martin which ended with a missed red.

After a bit of chit chat with a couple of the referees I decided to head up and watch Ben Harrison in action against Dave Harold in a real clash of styles. This time it was to be experience that would win out, Stoke potter Dave Harold running out a 4-0 winner within an hour and a half.

The moment of the day though came following the end of the third frame as I looked across to the adjacent table and noticed that Norwich pro Barry Pinches was on a break of 120 with the colours all on their spots! After a few moments of checking that I had read the score right I got my camera ready as the balls went in, only to see Barry to everyone’s horror missed the final black off the spot! In mitigation he did have his hand to the cushion but under normal circumstances you would still have expected him to pot it.

As it was though he looked to rush it somewhat and as he demonstrated by swiping the balls back up the table (quite understandably), afterwards, it had obviously hurt him. He would go on to lose the match 4-1.

Elsewhere in the media room it has been fun and games with a few players including Steve Davis and Peter Ebdon giving entertaining interviews to a few people here filming for some sort of project. Steve being asked what would make up his ideal woman and replying with one that was breathing, while also saying that his dream car would be a lorry raised a fair bit of laughter in here.

Unfortunately though something of a dampener has been put on the day as World Snooker have told me that I can no longer ‘tweet’ during the matches, something that I don’t intend to comment on further.

Since then I’ve hung around in the media centre for much of the time, caught a bit of Peter Ebdon’s defeat to Kyren Wilson while also chatting to Jak Jones’ mum about how he got into snooker and explaining how amateurs can qualify for the tour via the PTC this season. Jak has done very well today incidentally, wins against Anthony Hamilton and James Wattana seeing him into the third round where he will play Sam Craigie this evening.

So far as the other results are concerned, Ken Doherty clearly inspired by our interview has managed to gain some measure of revenge against Mark Williams for his defeat during the Australian Open semi-finals to progress to a tie with Jamie Burnett later on. Craig Steadman followed up his win against Jimmy White this morning with victory against Ricky Walden to earn a clash against Xiao Guodong.