There’s been a mixed start for snooker’s newest professionals at the 12bet.com UK Championship qualifiers in Sheffield.

There were wins in the first qualifying round for Jack Lisowski, Liam Highfield, Kyren Wilson and Adam Wicheard but defeats for Thanawat Tirapongpaiboon, Kuldesh Johal, Igor Figueiredo, Reanne Evans and Jak Jones.

Wicheard’s reward for his 9-3 defeat of Joe Delaney is a meeting with 1992 UK champion Jimmy White.

Highfield held off Johal 9-7 and will now face the super-fast Maltese Tony Drago.

Wilson beat experienced Yorkshireman Paul Davison 9-6 and now tackles Lancashire potter Ian McCulloch.

Lisowski, already confirmed for the PTC grand finals next March, takes on Matt Selt, a practise partner from The Grove in Romford, as was his first victim, Zhang Anda.

Young Jack contributes a monthly column for Snooker Scene about life on the tour. He says he is still learning all the time but is loving every minute of his time as a snooker professional.

The other side of the coin, though, is the disappointment of an early defeat in the game’s second biggest event.

Figueiredo qualified for the World Open but won only four frames against Liu Chuang while 16 year-old Thai Tirapongpaiboon went down 9-2 to Ben Woollaston.

Evans is still yet to win a match all season. She appears to be stuck in some sort of snooker limbo: too good for the other women but not yet good enough to challenge the men.

Another first season pro is Anthony McGill who, thanks to the new ranking system, has already made it into the top 64.

The Scot meets Northern Ireland’s Patrick Wallace, a World Championship quarter-finalist in 2001, in the second qualifying round.

The two session matches require a shift in focus for all players after the endless best of sevens in the PTCs.

The experienced players are thus at an advantage because they understand the mental approach necessary in the longer form tournaments.

But it would be good to see a few new faces in Telford.


Anonymous said...

Chances are the television won't see these new faces even if they did reach Telford in favour of those members of the BBC snooker team who always bag the tv tables.

Janie Watkins said...

I think this is the best season ever for these "young guns"

They've had so many playing opportunities and that's helped the learning curve a lot.

Players like Jack Lisowski, Liam Highfield, Kyren Wilson are the new bright young things and hopefully all 3 will keep their tour places and push on to venue appearances very soon.

jamie brannon said...

A question for everyone.

If you were a player, would you prefer to win the Masters or the UK Championship?

Personally, it would be the UK for me, however, Stephen Hendry has said he regards the Masters as his preference in this regard.

Betty Logan said...

The Masters definitely! The prestige that comes with a single table set-up, an arena that makes snooker look like a proper international sport, the toughest field of any tournament; easily my favourite tournament (although possibly my least favourite audience, at least up until Power Snooker came along). This event seems to throw up more classic finals than any other, and that's simply because only world class players tend to be in the line-up and they usually rise to the occasion if they're playing well enough to reach the final. I absolutely love the Masters!

Within the context of the season you might be tempted by the ranking points on offer but they drop away eventually, and personally I feel it's a distant third behind the WC and Masters in terms of prestige and relevance to a player's career.

Anonymous said...

the masters, by a street!

(no surprise to see Brannon disagree with the greatest player thats ever lived. if Ronnie had said the same as the greatest player that ever lived [and he remembered it] hed have agreed) *sigh*

jamie brannon said...

I would agree about the event throwing up more classic finals than any other tournament, every year I have been watching there has either been a classic match or a masterclass by the victor.

However, the fact that the UK is a long frame format, just like the World Championship, makes me inclined to go for the UK Championship.

I actually don't like the look of Wembley Arena on TV and the demise of Wembley Conference Centre is to be lamented as that seemed like a real ampitheatre.