Like the police in Casablanca, Newport has rounded up the usual suspects with four world class players contesting the semi-finals of the Wyldecrest Park Homes Welsh Open.

John Higgins continues to justify his status as world no.1 after coming through a tricky tie with Matthew Stevens last night with a trademark classy finish.

Higgins hasn't actually lost a ranking event match since Steve Davis beat him in the World Championship last year. His first ambition on returning from suspension was to win a tournament - which he did immediately - and then to return to top spot.

But Ali Carter clearly likes Newport. In the last four years he's been in two quarter-finals, then won the title and then finished runner-up to Higgins.

Last night in his match we saw the way intervals - hitherto missing this week - can affect a contest.

Carter was a little unlucky as his 2-0 lead over Ding Junui was cancelled out and frustration would have been understandable but Terry Griffiths had a calming word with him at the break and he came out and played great stuff for the rest of the match.

Mark Selby laboured before putting away Graeme Dott in a poor match by their high standards. Stephen Maguire upped his game at the right time to beat the in-form Mark Williams.

Maguire has had a bit of a psychological barrier at the semi-final stage of major tournaments of late but has every reason to believe he can do the job tonight.

Much will depend on whether Selby takes the match to him or once again tries to slug it out.


Anonymous said...

Sorry for being a besserwisser but higgins lost the final of one of the PTC to Holt. He has won 22 och 23 matches

Ray said...

On a different subject,there seems to have been an inordinate amount of kicks at this week's Welsh Open. When will the powers that be at least try the well researched theory (as explained in Snooker Scene last year) of referees not wearing gloves at all. This is because the natural oils on the skin would at least cut down on the kicks if not eradicate them altogether. The cleaning of the cue ball is a fallacy in my opinion. How many times have we seen a player, when faced with a tricky shot (especially a stun run through), ask the ref to clean the white then play the shot and still get a kick. You would think every effort would be made to solve this soul destroying problem for the players. At least give it a try. You never know if you don't have a go!
Just as Michael Jackson wore a glove for no tangible reason so do referees.

Anonymous said...

What a truly remarkable performance from John Higgins today. He played faultless snooker in the face of such emotional circumstances. He has honoured his father's wish to continue playing and has shown great strength of character. Let's hope he goes on to win it and also win the World Championship.

Anonymous said...


there are loads of kicks in clubs where there are no referees (wearing gloves)

Anonymous said...

Will Maguire be a "fat World Champion" after all?

Ray said...

Re: Anonymous - 9.10pm

The Snooker Scene article highlights the fact that there are less kicks in club snooker with one of the reasons being that no gloves are worn. In my 30+ years experience of playing in clubs there are far less kicks than seen in professional snooker. This is no doubt due to the thicker cloths and heavier balls (which are rarely, if ever, cleaned) in clubs.
I was impressed by the article and would recommend it to you - perhaps Dave could tell you which issue it was in. I'm not saying it's gospel and we might never find the answer but I still think it is an idea worth pursuing.

Anonymous said...

Dave do you have a view on the Snooker Scene article referred to by Ray @ 12.22pm regarding kicks?

Anonymous said...

maybe, maybe not 1205, but he wont be a spineless **** like you.

Dave H said...

I think the referees 'cleaning' the cueball with their gloves makes very little difference, not least because their gloves become dirty as the match goes on.

Anonymous said...

agree dave though cleaning specific target areas (and making them smaller) will help if that target area [chalk mark etc..) is the contact point

it wont help any more if theyre gloveless