As far as I’m concerned, Simon Bedford’s 5-4 defeat of Mark Williams in the final qualifying round of the Royal London Watches Grand Prix in Prestatyn today will be one of the biggest shocks we will see all season.

Be honest, who saw it coming?

It means Williams misses out on the final stages of a ranking event for the first time since the 1996 World Championship.

And taken with Ken Doherty’s 5-0 drubbing at the hands of John Parrott it proves how hard it is for top players to adjust to the qualifying set up after many years in the elite top 16.

But what’s interesting is that it isn’t the new faces getting through to venues, more some old stagers.

Parrott and Steve Davis both won this morning, as did experienced campaigners like Bedford, Dave Harold Anthony Hamilton, Jimmy Michie and Michael Holt.

Only Ricky Walden could be classed as an up and comer, and he’s been that for a few years now.


Anonymous said...

Although the "old stagers" must have played reasonably well to qualify, it does go to show how difficult it is for the up and coming players to make an impact.

Perhaps an argument to make the game "open" again?

Just looking at some of the "new faces" in the draw, people like Ricky Walden and Jamie Cope may well have entered the top 16 by this stage in their careers (although to be honest, Cope could get there very soon anyway, and Mark Allen has made the top 16 after 3 seasons on the tour).

Sam T

Anonymous said...

Almost forgot - perhaps if they extended the format of the ranking events to the top 32 v 32 qualifiers, then that too might produce more "newcomers" - but keep the 32 man format of the UK Championship and the Crucible the same.

Anyway, Liang Wenbo and Judd Trump have just won through, so thats a couple of new faces who could do well if they produce their best.

Sam T

Anonymous said...

Glad Parrott got through. Hope his match is on TV... do you know if the BBC plan to show both tables on interactive?

Monique said...

Having watched all three, Parrott, Doherty and Williams play life this week-end in Duffel (Belgian Open), I must say I'm not surprised at the outcome of the Doherty vs Parrott match but shocked indeed at Williams defeat. Parrott displayed very fine form and was unlucky to stumble on Mark Selby there ... hardly a disgrace. Williams was playing well even if positional play was perfectible. But that's hard to judge as I don't know exactly how good the conditions were (although Doherty and Dom Dale both told me they were quite happy with them).
It's a pity really that those matches are not recorded ... it would be interesting to be able to analyse why this happened. Simon Bedford qualified coming all the "route" up. Maybe he's on an exceptional winning streak. Or maybe Williams had a bad day in office ... Anyone watched it?