Well if Monday was manic – at least it was good preparation for today with all second round matches concluding, which would decide the quarter final line up.
Day is off to a great start as England thrash Australia in Adelaide, it has been a long time since we could indulge in the jokes that so often have been made at England’s expense.
Some form of comfort for the Aussies as Neil Robertson shows them how to win, while four other matches go the distance. And the fall out from Chris Hughton’s sacking starts in the papers as people are queueing up to put in their opinions. Just about speaking for me as well.
As the temperatures are plunging outside so too caught cold are Ding Junhui who is sent crashing by Mark Allen, Stuart Bingham disposes of Marco Fu. Maguire outlasts Selby, while Higgins and Murphy squeeze through in deciders. Joining them is Mark Joyce, and in conclusion to the night’s action Mark Williams who ends Hendry’s hopes.
Quarter finals tomorrow: we are underway at 1.30pm
JOHN Higgins and Mark Allen both came through final frame thrillers to move into the quarter finals of the UK Championship in Telford.
Higgins saw off fellow Scot Graeme Dott, while Allen withstood a brave fightback from defending champion Ding Junhui. As Higgins resumed at 4-4 Allen held a 6-2 lead over the reigning champion, but how different and similar their paths to the quarter finals they were to be.
As Higgins and Dott were swapping frames as they battled on to 7-7 it was Allen who was feeling the heat from the reigning champion who roared back to level at 7-7, and with both matches now effectively the best of three it was down to mental strength to see who would prevail.
Higgins went behind against Dott at 7-8 and then was forced to sit and suffer as Dott, well placed among the balls in what was to be the penultimate frame, missed a straightforward red on 44. It was to be an expensive miss as Higgins, who is well used to pulling matches from out of the fire, pieced together a break of 79 to send the match into a final frame shootout. But that 79 proved to be a psychological blow as Higgins rolled in a 56 to take a firm grip on the decider. And despite missing a red to the corner he was not to be denied as seconds later he returned to the table to complete victory at 9-8 and set up a quarter final with Stephen Maguire who had ended the hopes of Mark Selby, with a 135 clearance in the final frame.
Meanwhile as Allen’s match entered the decider it was Ding who had taken the initiative – only to miss a vital black. Allen, back in the final frame when all looked lost, pieced together enough points to edge through and book a place in the quarter finals against either Stuart Bingham or Marco Fu.
MARK Williams reeled off six out of seven frames to dismiss the challenge of Stephen Hendry 9-6 and enter the quarter finals of the UK Championship.
The Welshman resumed at 3-5 but quickly capturned the opening two frames to level at 5-5. Hendry was having to deal with an opponent who had cut out a lot of the carelessness that had dogged his opening session. Indeed it was Hendry who was now struggling to deal with things; Williams was far from his best but Hendry struggled badly throughout the evening session. And despite leading in the third frame of the session could only watch as Williams inched closer and closer to his lead as they came to the final three colours. Williams was to err first as he missed the blue and left it cuttable to the centre pocket. Hendry sunk it – but then left himself a long pink. The pink was on the side cushion close to the top corner pocket. Hendry struck the cue ball well – but hit the pink plain ball. The pink wobbled in the jaws and wriggled away. To Stephen’s horror it was left for Mark to pot it at the second attempt and then sink the critical black to go 7-5 up.
The Welshman was in the balls as well on the resumption following the mid session interval, only to break down on 32. Hendry pulled himself together with a break of 84 to reduce his deficit to 7-6. Had the momentum shifted?
It appeared to have. Hendry sunk a mid length red, but could only make 12. As Williams managed to leave a red sitting over the corner pocket. A straightforward red. Or was it? It was a horrific miss on the red that allowed Williams in for a 66 before breaking down on a red. It was to prove decisive as Williams moved to within one frame of victory.
There was to be no way back for Hendry, who despite making 49 broke down on a mid length red. Williams countered with 35 before missing the final red along the top cushion. Hendry dispatched the red but then left himself in no mans land. As he snookered Williams on the yellow behind the blue he may have thought he would force an error from the Welshman. Williams though pulled a rabbit from the hat as he fluked the yellow and after winning a safety battle cleared to the pink. But as he lined up the black Hendry appeared to have accepted defeat, having unscrewed his cue. Williams missed the black but was destined only to have a short wait for another chance. Left a long straight black to the “yellow” pocket Williams sank it and turned to accept Stephen’s hand.
Williams now faces Mark Joyce, who put paid to Judd Trump 9-7 while Shaun Murphy squeezed through in a final frame decider against Ryan Day to meet Neil Robertson.