UKPTC1: Saturday Updates

Day two from the South West Snooker Academy and the bottom half of the draw have entered the fray, including Jimmy White, Ken Doherty, Judd Trump, Graeme Dott and more. Click below for updates as the day progresses…

  • Click here to view the latest results from the event

Back at the Academy after last night’s late night finish between Barry Hawkins and Michael Holt (eventually won by Hawkins, though I left at around 1:15am with the scoreline poised at 2-1 to Barry), the main match this morning sees Steve Davis up against Zhang Anda, the scoreline now poised at 3-2 to Steve, the Nugget having taken three frames in a row after a slow start.

Wasting little time were Ali Carter and Ryan Day who progressed through to the next round without too much trouble, while Ian Burns (pictured above), leads Matt Selt 3-1, Matt having taken the fourth frame on the pink to stay in the match.

Coming downstairs, I caught the closing stages of the match between Scott Donaldson and Liam Highfield, eventually won by Scott as a frustrated Highfield offered the handshake while a surprised Donaldson was on his final break. I spoke to Scott shortly after his victory and he said that he was nervous in what was his first professional match having become the latest player to qualify for the main tour with his European Championship victory in Latvia last month. I will have the full interview up with him over the coming days, but in the meantime he plays Jamie Burnett at 5pm in his second match.

Elsewhere, Steve Davis has completed his comeback against Zhang Anda to win 4-2, while Stephen Lee made swift progress against amateur Craig Barber on the second streamed table.

The match of the day on paper however is that between Jimmy White and Tony Drago, which gets underway at 1am on the main arena table. Somehow I cannot imagine that will be a slow one!

As the afternoon progresses, it is turning out to be a day for the amateurs so far, with victories for Allan Taylor, Ryan Causton, Robbie Williams, Jordan Brown amongst others, all against professional opposition.

Another hoping to join them in the next round is Gareth Allen, who took advantage of a series of mistakes from the struggling Alfie Burden to move into a 3-0 lead. One of the players that is relatively prolific on Twitter, it was actually the first time that I had seen Gareth play and I was impressed with how fluent and easy on the eye his game is, indeed he was too quick for my camera on more than one occasion!

Since then however, Alfie has managed to claw his way back into the match, potting pink and black to take frame five and close to 2-3, leaving the match right back in the balance.

If the match between Jimmy White and Tony Drago had the makings of a quick one, that between Peter Ebdon and Rod Lawler always looked like being a somewhat slower affair and so it has proven, but Rod has now come through to complete a 4-1 victory, continuing his excellent start to the new season. Having started as well as he has, I am hoping to catch Rod for a chat at some point today to get his perspective on the stresses and benefits of coming through the Q School in the way that he did back in May.

While a number of professional players have exited the tournament, Jack Lisowski has wasted little time in finishing off Zak Surety to ease into the last 16, while Craig Steadman leads 2-0 against Nick Jennings. Martin Gould too is fighting hard, back to 2-3 against Welsh youngster Jak Jones, who is often dangerous at this venue in particular.

Following half an hour or so away from the venue to grab some food, I am back at the venue to find that Jak Jones has completed an excellent win against Martin Gould, before heading down to take a few photos of Robbie Williams who is currently level with Fergal O’Brien at 1-1. Over on the next televised table, Mark Williams produced a good performance from 2-0 down to defeat reigning Grand Finals champion Stephen Lee 4-2, while North East youngster Elliot Slessor has done well to force a decider with Wuxi Classic semi-finalist Marcus Campbell.

With most of the first round matches now complete, the matches are keeping reasonably to schedule, Judd Trump’s 4-0 win against Gareth Greene helping to get the arena table back on track. That said there was a long delay before Ken Doherty and Luca Brecel were able to get underway with all of the tables in use, but eventually they were able to start as Rod Lawler edged out Northern Ireland’s Jordan Brown 4-2 to free up one of the tables.

While waiting, Ken, Steve Davis, Ali Carter and Steve Daintry were chatting at the back of the media centre and there was a particularly amusing moment as Steve and Ali both asked me who they were playing next, each genuinely unaware that they were due to play each other!

There was to be an excellent win for Craig Steadman against Ben Woollaston, having taken one frame when needing three snookers before finishing off with a fine break of 124 in the decider. Craig’s run though was to come to an end in the next round against Judd Trump, who is now the highest player through to tomorrow’s last 16.

Having enjoyed a strong début season on the tour in 2010/11, Jack Lisowski struggled to maintain that level of form last year but produced a stirring comeback from 3-0 down against Li Yan today to keep himself in the tournament. A further win against Matt Couch was to follow in the last 32 to book his place in tomorrow’s action where he will face David Grace, conqueror of Jimmy White from 2-0 down earlier today.

With the last 32 matches getting underway, I decided to take in the early stages of the contest between Mark Williams and Rod Lawler, one that proved to be entertaining as Mark began with a well-taken break of 79, before adding the next frame in quick succession to lead 2-0. Rod though had already defeated on world champion in the form of Peter Ebdon today and having come through the Q School as he did is a man in form, which he showed to level up at 2-2 before eventually forcing what would prove to be a dramatic decider.

Though I was unable to watch the closing stages, I understand that in need of a snooker on the green, Williams produced some of his strongest safety play to force the mistake, before going on to eventually snatch the win on the final black and set up a tie with Allan Taylor, who today became the second amateur player after Andrew Pagett yesterday to make it as far as Sunday.

Also through to tomorrow is Ali Carter after a 4-1 victory against Steve Davis highlighted by a top run of 141, as well as Scotlands Jamie Burnett who saw off Ryan Day with a 4-2 win.