The last 16 line up at the Bahrain Championship is becoming not so much a who’s who of snooker as a who’s that?

So far, only two members of the elite top 16 – Ryan Day and Neil Robertson – have made it through.

There will surely be more to follow today and tomorrow but it does still give hope to some of the lower ranked professionals that this may be their turn to shine.

Take Robert Milkins. But for a miracle pot on a green by Matthew Stevens the Gloucester man would probably have been in the 2005 Irish Masters final.

Since losing that semi-final 9-8 from 8-5 up he has done very little. Down to 71st in the provisional rankings, his match against Michael Holt will be his first appearance in the last 16 of a ranking tournament since the 2006 Northern Ireland Trophy.

Holt will start favourite having beaten Jamie Cope in the previous round, although playing Milkins may bring back painful memories for him.

When they met at the 2001 B&H Championship Holt missed a red in the decider and banged his fist on the table rail in frustration.

So hard did he bang it that he had to be taken to hospital with a broken knuckle.

Looking back he was lucky this did not affect his career (he didn’t, as claimed by worldsnooker.com, pull out of the following month’s UK Championship).

What of the other lower rankers?

Could Barry Pinches or Mike Dunn win a ranking title?

Unlikely but you never know.

Few gave Bob Chaperon much hope in the 1990 British Open and he ended up winning it.

Whoever wins out of Stephen Hendry and Ricky Walden this evening will fancy their chances.

We still have the likes of Stephen Maguire, Ali Carter and Mark Allen to come.

But this has already been the sort of event where a shock winner would not be such a shock.


Matt@PSB said...

I agree, the Hendry v Walden match is huge, particularly for Hendry. If he can come through it and get into the last 16 I would fancy his chances of making at least the semis. If he loses though, which given his form so far this season is quite possible, then it will be a huge opportunity wasted and he will continue to slide down the rankings...

Anonymous said...

Hendry has no chance of winning this,or any other,ranking tournament.
Even a blind man can see his form for several seasons has been poor and,if anything,getting worse.
Form might be temporary but age isn't and it has finally caught up with Snookers greatest.
Even though there have been many surprise winners over the last few seasons neither Dunn or Pinches are good enough.

Matt@PSB said...

His form might not have been great but he did make two semi-finals last season, the UK final the season before. With the right draw and a bit of decent form, he's still capable.

Nice 139 there against Walden, though Ricky does look good, fancy him to win. 2-2 at the moment though.

Claus Christensen said...

But he is still hungry for the game and I love to think of his expression and clenched fist after his 10-9 win against Mark Allen in the WSC. He will return to form I'm sure, but maybe not for a long period. But being a Hendry-fan I'm far from objective...

Sammy said...

Come On Holty!!!

Matt@PSB said...

4-3 up against Ricky, win or lose this is the best Hendry has played in a best of 9 for a couple of seasons in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Hendry has won 5-3.He cued very nicely but the long game is still not there.He should make it to the semis now where he'll probably play Day.He won't fear Day after totally outplaying him at the crucible.This is a glorious chance to win world ranking title 37.
Come on Stephen!

Matt@PSB said...

It's certainly a very good opportunity to run deep, but it's not as easy as it looks. Holt seems to be much more solid this season and yeah he won't fear Day, but Ryan is playing brilliantly at the moment, he's more than capable of beating Stephen.

Hope I'm wrong though, a Hendry title would be fantastic, though I'd be happy enough with a run deep into the event for the sake of his ranking at the moment...

Anonymous said...

Hendry was "impressive" compared to the last 24 months or so, with the odd exception. he wont get carried away. he knows hes more than capable, but will take each match as it comes.

his form hasnt been great in recent years. though, if you look at his last 3 seasons ranking event and masters performances, look at his scores, and then look at the path of his victors scores in the remainder of each tourney. when you do that his results aint been as bad as theyd seem, but hes still not the hendry he was wrt consistency. its still a wide open event. 55

Anonymous said...

would be much obliged if someone, a hendry follower perhaps, has this information. ? i believe he has been beat quite a lot in recent years by players who have mostly went on to do well in the tournaments.

Dave H said...

Certainly in three of the last four ranking tournaments he's lost to the eventual winner

Anonymous said...

going back two to 3 years its not that bad a record when you consider what his opponents have done imho...including masters too maybe? ok he would have been expected to win more by a lot of people but when you consider his opponent future success after knocking him out then its not as if hes been losing to "bad players" playing bad. sometimes hes played well and lost to someone playing well throughout the tournament..

Matt@PSB said...

This season he lost to a good player in Stephen Lee in NI, Walden 5-4 in Shanghai who went on to win it, Higgins at the GP, though Stephen was shocking there.

Last season he lost to ROS in the Worlds who won it, Barry Hawkins in China who is a good player, Mark Selby 6-4 in the Welsh who won the event, Murphy in Malta who won it, Selby 6-5 in the Masters who won it, Allen in the UK...he's certainly not had it easy.

Anonymous said...

Of the seven major tournaments played so far in 2008 Hendry has lost to the eventual winner 5 times.
Selby,masters and welsh,ROS world,Walden,Shanghai and Higins GP
Three of these were in deciders and the only one in which he played badly was against Higgins.I know that sounds stupid after he was humiliated 17-6 by ROS but he actually did very little wrong in that match aside from letting a 4-1 lead slip in the opening session.

Anonymous said...

as i said id be much obliged. thank you. ok he may not be playing well but when so many folk say hes not capable when going by results he appears more than capable if he got a little bit more confidence back. not back to 90's type revival, but certainly top5 id say.