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World Qualifiers Preview

Postby Roland

It's not often I do a preview, but I did tonight.

Zhang Anda / Pagett to play Poomjaeng
Steadman / Jak Jones to play Steve Davis
winner to play Ken Doherty

This draw has the look of a set up because Steve Davis draws crowds and needs to stay on tour. How romantic if he wins a first round in which he is clear favourite, has a Saturday crowd pull in Poomjaeng in what will surely be a 10-9 qualifier classic with the winner to face Ken Doherty? Imagine that, Steve Davis having just secured his card for next year in his 10-9 Poomjaeng win, to play Ken Doherty for a place at the Crucible! Well that's the one they want. I bet Jason Francis is loving this section. And yes it would be great.

Poomjaeng to qualify

Highfield / Khaled Belaid Abumdas to play Jimmy Robertson
TT / Sandi Lam to play Anthony McGill
winner to play David Gilbert

I'm looking forward to seeing Lybian player Khaled Belaid Abumdas because he's not made a break of 20 since turning pro. That's the impression I get anyway but he can't be that bad ffs so tomorrow I'll find out if he really is.

Highfield hasn't fared too well since pulling out of the Indian after being scared by the weather hundreds of miles from his destination and refusing to fly. So much so that he's going to drop off the tour barring a remarkable run at the Crucible. On current form I don't expect either to get past Jimmy Robertson.

I think Anthony McGill could well come of age in this qualifying event. Last time he made a remarkable comeback against Rod Lawler and very nearly pipped him in the decider. I think Rod won it with a high break of 9 if memory serves. He played very well to beat Kyren in the UK and although Dave Gilbert is a high quality opponent, McGill has the quality to beat both him and little Robbo. He'll face the winner of Thirapongpaiboon and Sanderson Lam first though which you'd expect to be TT, but TT has been quiet of late so it remains to be seen how his form is at the moment. Not good enough to trouble Ants I would think.

McGill to quality

Pinches / Miah to play Burden
Kyren Wilson / Norbury to play Rod Lawler
winner to play Dotty

I'd like to see Hammad Miah go on a run because he's a player with potential who came through Q School last season and who looks capable of good things in the future. I think he'll give Barry Pinches a good work out, although he'll need to maintain his concentration to come through one of the tours battlers.

If he does then a match against Alfie looks very enticing although I'd have Alfie favourite to face Lawler or Kyren. On that one heart says Kyren but Rod is not Kyren's favourite type of player so it depends if he can stamp his authority on the match early doors and shake him off like Judd did in the German Masters semi-final. It's hard not to dismiss some players when doing a summary such as this, but I expect Kyren to beat Norbury. There is one problem for all though:

Dott to qualify

Martin O'Donnell / Shane Castle to play Higginson
Wells / Ryan Clark to play Kurt Maflin
winner to play Dominic Dale

It's a shame The MOD has drawn an amateur player who is very capable and has no pressure in terms of a tour place which Martin of course does. I hope he can come through this match, Castle will have plenty more chances in the future. If he does then he can beat Higginson but it depends on his tour status at the time of the match and form in beating Castle.

I think Ryan Clark will beat Daniel Wells, I've always referred to Clark as being very like Selby in his approach, he's very smart with his shots and he's got bottle. All things aside though, this is Maflin's best chance yet to get to the Crucible.

Maflin to qualify

O'Neill / Cao Xin Long to play Peter Lines
Paul Davison / Chris Wakelin to play McManus
winner to play Mark Williams

I have to admit I don't know who Cao Xin Long is so I reserve judgement on that section because he could spring a surprise, but I think Lines will win his opener. Snowy has a very tough draw in Wakelin and living in York our local hope is always Snowy so it would be great for him to have a run but I can't see it. I'm not sure Wakelin is ready to beat McManus yet but that's because I've seen how well McManus has been playing recently, he's on an Indian summer. He could give Mark Williams a problem, but Wakelin could give them all a problem.

Williams to qualify

Leslie / Keogan to play Mehta
Joel Walker / Allan Taylor to play Jamie Jones
winner to play Michael Holt

I'm looking forward to Walker v Taylor in this section, I think that could be a cracking game. In fact Joel could end up winning the group. However this group is stacked because he could have to beat Jamie Jones, Adi Mehta and Michael Holt to reach the venue and I think that's just a touch too hard in successive matches for him.

I would like to see Mehta at the Crucible, and much as he's a character on twitter and would be a popular qualifier, Holty has a tendency to enter meltdown in high pressure situations, none more so than at last year's qualifier he nearly blew a massive lead and then carried that form to the Crucible. Aditya on the other hand is very cool under pressure. It could be a qualifier classic.

Mehta to qualify

Wattana / Borg to play Campbell
Baird / Astley to play Cope
winner to play Mark King

I really hope Wattana has a run and regains his tour card. We could be witnessing the end of a legend if he drops off as there are so many good players in Q School I wouldn't fancy his chances of getting back on. Wattana is still mesmeric around the table and his bottle is always evident, it's just the natural decline and ability to sustain it at the moment for him. Still capable of great snooker on his day.

Sam Baird reached the Crucible last year and looked like a lost child under the lights. I'm sure he'd love to get back and have another go now he knows what to expect, and will want to do himself justice. He's got a great chance this time around if his natural scoring game is as good as it was this time last year.

And what has happened to Jamie Cope? When was the last time he featured in any match you watched on tv? He was on the path to genuine stardom, he should by early promise now be one of the tournament favourites, yet since developing a tremor in his cueing arm he's never been the same. It's almost cruel to have to write him off but it seems until he can resolve his problems and be playing at 100% his natural game that's all you can do.

Marcus Campbell will also fancy his chances of qualifying but will know he'll have to be at his best to beat Mark King who won't let anyone past him without a fight for that Crucible spot. I'm going to stick my neck out and back Sam to find his form in this event. If he doesn't, King qualifies.

Baird to qualify

Gary Wilson / Cahill to play Ford
Luca Brecel / Lee Page to play De Lu
winner to play Matthew Stevens

Gary Wilson is a dark horse for this section given his form this season. Luca also appears to be coming into form and a clash with Yu De Lu is definitely not one to be missed. Stevens will have his work cut out with either. Tom Ford is also a dangerous player for anyone to face, and could well beat Stevens himself. On current form though

De Lu to qualify

Chen Zhe / Ant Parsons to play Mark Joyce
Wasley / Syd Wilson to play McLeod
winner to play Milkins

It's good to see Snookerbacker Classic winner Ant Parsons get his chance in the biggest event and if he can get past sleepy he will have a chance against Mark Joyce. Wasley / Wilson is of interest to me because they were both amateurs in the Pink Ribbon I played in 3 years ago so to see them playing in the world championships is great, and Syd has been getting lots of good results recently so it will be a good game. I think the experience Wasley has gained since joining the tour will see him come through that one though. The winner has the honour of facing Rory the dentist, who will likely crush them slowly and painfully to death. The real interesting one is the likely group final, when the dentist faces the speed of Milkins. Slow v fast is always entertaining.

Milkins to qualify

Robbie Williams / Lyu Haotian to play Chuang
Hang / Yotharuck to play Advani
winner to play Fergal O'Brien

This group is loaded with some of the best Asian players in the draw. It will likely throw up some good matches. Liu Chuang hasn't lived up to his early promise but he's still very young in snooker terms and if on his game could be the danger man for the others. I want Pankaj to win it though, sod impartiality I'm using the heart ruling head card. Come on Pankaj.

Advani to qualify

Drago / Hull to play Pengfei
Burns / Patrick to play Jimmy White
winner to play Ebdon

Jimmy White could do with a win or two to retain his card. Oh look, he could be favourite to win his first match, and then guess what, he could play Tony Drago! How good would that be? And to round it off, a tough match against a former World Champion in one which is sure to draw the crowds. Genius random drawage.

Ebdon to qualify

Sean O'Sullivan / Mitchell Travis to play Martin Gould
Duffy / Igor Figueiredo to play Greene
winner to play Wenbo

Sean O'Sullivan has to overcome the Bradford amateur Mitchell Travis who made a name for himself by beating Marco Fu in the UK in York back in December. As an amateur he will have different pressure to Sean who is fighting for his tour card so in the same way as with MOD and Castle, I hope Sean sets up a clash with his mate, Gouldyballs. How strange they should be in the same section. Anyway, as far as Gould is concerned it seems his game has gone walkabout recently to drop a couple of ranking brackets. His class will shine through eventually, and this is the event to do it in, but with Gerard Greene in the section fresh from his PTC grand final fun and no doubt full of confidence, that would be a tough test if they meet. Gould v Wenbo could be a classic. Please happen.

Wenbo to qualify

Noppon / Vinnie to play Burnett
Donaldson / Ahmed Saif to play Yupeng
winner to play Woollaston

Noppon v Vinnie will be a good close match and the winner sure to test Jamie Burnett. Cao Yupeng hasn't done a great deal since his exploits at the Crucible last year but you would think him good enough to set up a clash with Ben Woollaston. If so then that could be a great match.

Woollaston to qualify

Carrington / Norman to play Lisowski
Grace / Muir to play Bond
winner to play Day

Carrington impressed me a lot when he won the English Amateur last year so he's a danger man. Lisowski has gone off the boil quite a lot recently, although he can still look very very good in patches. If he gets it together this week he's every chance of qualify. Dave Grace and Ross Muir will be a long match, both good match players and it just has the feel of a late finish about it. I have a hunch the winner will get past Bond. Lisowski v Day has a certain inevitability about it though.

Day to qualify

Dunn / Rhys Clark to play Selt
Morris / Ursenbacher to play Un-Nooh
winner to play Michael White

It would be great to see Dunn at the Crucible after his run to the semis in China and now with no pressure to retain his card. It's a tough group though, will he ride on the confidence of his recent triumph or will he suffer the after effects and jet lag?

I'm looking forward to watching the young Swiss Ursenbacher because he really is a genuine talent and one day could explode onto the scene winning a tv event from seemingly out of nowhere. I think he's 2-3 years off that but the kid has seriously got something. But then so has Un-Nooh who is the most Ronnie like player of all the players on tour when he's on it, the speed of thought and how easy he gets to 70+ in under 4 minutes can put the frighteners up anyone. Selt another capable of reaching the Crucible although Michael White is the favourite to progress.

White to qualify

Alex Davies / Swail to play Hamilton
Li Yan / Slessor to play Harold
winner to play Xiao Guodong

Swail v Hamilton winner to play Harold reads like a section of any qualifier for the last 20 years. That's the most likely scenario although Slessor will have a say of sorts at some point I'm sure. Hard to back against Xiao on current form and it would be great to see him at the Crucible. I'm sure the Crucible crowd will take to him.

Guodong to qualify

Re: World Qualifiers Preview

Postby Roland

Just having a look at how things are progressing and how my predictions are turning out.

Now it's Steadman v Steve Davis and I put Davis favourite but Steadman is capable of turning him over. Steve Davis has a knack of playing well in these types of matches which is why you have to go with him.

TT is playing well and he had a great match with Lam which featured many high breaks, Lam proudly displaying his match stats with a screenshot from live scoring on twitter last night. TT will be a tough opponent for McGill, but I'm sticking with Ants on that one.

I was way out with Hammad Miah giving Pinches a game, he got thrashed. He was docked a frame for turning up late (how careless for the world championship!) and soon went 7-0 behind. Not being fully prepared seems to have caught him out. Pinches a worthy winner.

Kyren always looked the better player against Norbury and at 8-4 lost a couple of frames through bad luck to 8-6 rather than any nerves or fireworks from his opponent. Kyren is so impressive in how he responds to situations dealt to him, like how Norbury knocked in a century and broke off in the next to which Kyren then slammed in a long red, went into other reds and held for the black then won the frame in that visit. That is what you call class, you can't teach it and he's got it. I think he can beat Rod Lawler.

I said about Martin O'Donnell playing Shane Castle who had no pressure, and depending on his performance had a good shout to beat Higginson in the next round. Well MOD did the same as Lam and posted his stats from live scoring in a tweet for all to see. He hammered Castle and put in the best performance of his career to date with 3 centuries and a host of other big breaks and frames won by large margins. He now has more than a sniff at beating Higginson if he keeps that sort of form up, and could go even further after that.

Ryan Clark was 8-3 up on Daniel Wells so my prediction seemed home and hosed until Wells suddenly hit his stride and unleashed a run of scoring which brought him level at 8-8. At 8-7 he became favourite for match because he was dominating the table time and Clark didn't know what was hitting him.

Cao Xin Long was the unknown quantity. Well now I can say he looks like a cross between Wattana and Li Yan and he plays very deliberately and is able to scrap it out. O'Neill has since said he thinks he should've been warned for slow play, but he was also complaining about other things between sessions so is coming across as a bit of a grumbler. Xin Long v Peter Lines isn't standing out as one to watch anyway.

Wakelin was 7-2 down to Snowy and went 8-7 up. Snowy had gone, yet somehow managed to scrap out a 10-9 win. He was looking very nervy out there as his opponent came back at him so that isn't good signs for his match against McManus I'd say.

The rest of the matches are still unfinished including this afternoons matches many of which are poised at 5-4.

Re: World Qualifiers Preview

Postby Skullman

Regarding Xin Long, from what I've seen of him, I have to agree with O'Neill.

Re: World Qualifiers Preview

Postby vodkadiet

There are usually 2 or 3 players who come through all four rounds to qualify, and they are usually players who no one would have predicted.

Sonny seems to know more about the lower ranked players than most. For betting purposes some money can be made for snooker anoraks with betting on all the qualifying rounds.

Re: World Qualifiers Preview

Postby Roland

Right then, this is why I don't do previews. Let's have a look:

Poomjaeng v Doherty - as I predicted and Poomjaeng to win 10-7

Robertson v Gilbert - I went for McGill who lost out to Robertson 10-9 but they were always going to be evenly matched. I think Gilbert will edge it 10-8 but Robertson is starting to come good in his career and he's reached the Crucible before so he can do it again.

Dott v Wilson - I'll be glued to this match tomorrow! I didn't expect Kyren to beat Rod Lawler if I'm honest but he blew him away 10-3 and did the same to Alfie Burden. Graeme will have his hands full, but I think his nous will see him edge it. Kyren takes on one or two too many sometimes and that's when Dotty will pounce. I was going to say 10-9 but if it went 9-9 I wouldn't be able to call it so I'll say 10-8 Dott

Higginson v Dale - I went for Maflin but he was a shadow of the player of 12 months ago. I saw him after he lost to Higginson and he said he's not getting through the ball at the moment but is confident he'll work out what the problem is and be back by the start of next season.* Higginson and Dale are evenly matched. Dale used to have a poor Crucible attendance record but he's made it the last couple of years and Higginson has been there as well so I can't call it. I think it'll be 10-9 and I'll go for ....Dale. No, Higginson.

McManus v Mark Williams - I saw this one coming and suggested McManus could give Williams problems. But Williams would have to be on his B or C game in all honesty because when you pit players against each other who used to play each other 20 years ago with one usually coming out on top, those sorts of rivalries late on in careers tend to have similar results. Williams 10-6, same as the current head to heads (which I just checked after writing this paragraph).

Jones v Holt - I went for Mehta but he was poor against Jones who deserves to be there. I would hope for a 9-9 in that one because it's bound to be tense, I wouldn't bet on either making a break over 70 without a bit of run to help them under those pressure situations. To be honest I wouldn't like to call it, but a coin toss says Jones 10-9 - Edit: on reading back I don't agree with myself, Holt 10-7

Cope v King - I went for Sam Baird but he wasn't in the form I was hoping. Jamie Cope is a strange one, I've always said I would love him to be back to his best, those who remember me from forums 5 or 6 years ago will remember how highly I rated and how much I loved watching Jamie Cope. Well he had one convincing win, and one struggle against Alex Borg where to be honest he wasn't very good. But there were moments when he'd look like the player he used to be, and when he picks up the pace and starts potting balls he's a joy to watch. I have to go with Mark King though. If Cope suddenly finds his confidence he could win it 10-4 but I think King will take it 10-7. I will be delighted to be wrong.

Ford v Stevens - I went for De Lu but he lost in a cracking match to Luca Brecel, who then got pumped 10-1 by Ford. If Ford plays like that, he wins. But as Martin O'Donnell will tell you, playing like god one match doesn't mean you'll do it next match so it remains to be seen. But on the evidence of the last round Ford 10-7

Milkins v Wasley - I went for Milkins but I'm delighted for Michael Wasley in coming through from round 1 to be one step from the Crucible. I don't know the relationship between them but assume they are friends, I've often seen them walking around together so it's bound to a difficult match for the pair of them and I'm sure if Milkins lost he'd be gutted but at the same time pleased for Wazza and I'm sure Wazza must've beaten him in practice so will believe he can win. As with others, it's difficult to predict until you see how the first few frames pan out but I'm going to stick my neck out and based on his form this week I'll go for Wasley 10-9

Robbie Williams v O'Brien - This group was always a tough one to call and credit to Robbie Williams for beating Haotian, Chuang and Advani. He's in with more than a shout against Fergal and I can't call it so I'll go for a 10-9 and give Williams the benefit because he's clearly got the bottle to do it.

Hull v Ebdon - I didn't see Robin Hull coming through the round, instead I went all cynical about Ebdon v Jimmy White but Hull v Ebdon is a likely stream and I think it'll be close. But Ebdon is so proven and driven in these sorts of matches, you only have to look at his 10-0 win over Alfie Burden and fighting his way past Maflin last year. He will be very hard to beat. Ebdon 10-6

Gould v Wenbo - Aside from Dott v Wilson this is the tie of the round. Gould has won his first couple of matches 10-1 and played very well in the process. Gould was the on the receiving end when Wenbo had his remarkable best of 9 match in the 2009 Bahrain qualifiers when he knocked in a 147, a couple of 139s and another century and frame winning break. Fireworks could happen! I love them both, and I'm going to go with Gould 10-9 with lots of big breaks.

Burnett v Woollaston - I'm sticking with Ben. JB has proven to be a tough opponent this week, but Woollaston reached the Crucible last year and has the self belief to expect to do it again and he has the game to do it. Woollaston 10-5

Carrington v Day - I saw Stuart Carrington win the English Amateur final against Ben Harrison and when he got in he scored. In every frame, when he had the chance he took it, every single time. I've seen a bit of that this week although not really following too closely I know how he can play. But I was in Berlin and I saw Ryan Day and that was only a couple of months ago. Day will be a qualifier to avoid for the majority of the top 16. Day to win 10-5

Selt v White - I'm pleased Alex Ursenbacher gave a good account of himself in this group, eventually losing out to Un Nooh who then lost to Selt quite heavily after being close early on. I haven't seen how Selt is playing and know that he can play, but I think Michael White will be up to the task. White 10-8

Yan v Guodong - I'm pleased to see Li Yan back playing well after all his health problems since he took everyone by surprise a couple of years ago and started beating some very high quality opposition. I think it would be great for either to reach the Crucible, I think they were on an even par for a time prior to Yan's illness so probably would still be if he'd remained healthy. I love Xiao Guodong and he's reached a ranking final so everyone knows how good he is. He is like poetry in motion when he's on his game but I've seen him show fragility which is why he's not already a household top 16 player. I'll have to stick with him, but it's bound to be an enticing match and it could go either way. Guodong 10-8

*He also said he wouldn't have counted the 147 he missed on the pink because he fluked a ball on 72 but I think he was just trying to make himself feel better. It's easier to say you don't count it after you've made it!

Re: World Qualifiers Preview

Postby vodkadiet

All matches could go either way, which is shown up in the betting. The best 2 days of snooker in the calendar.

Re: World Qualifiers Preview

Postby Wildey

vodkadiet wrote:All matches could go either way, which is shown up in the betting. The best 2 days of snooker in the calendar.

Yea i agree

Re: World Qualifiers Preview

Postby vodkadiet

Wildey wrote:
vodkadiet wrote:All matches could go either way, which is shown up in the betting. The best 2 days of snooker in the calendar.

Yea i agree


Re: World Qualifiers Preview

Postby Roland

My prediction / actual

Poomjaeng v Doherty 10-7 / 5-10
Poomers let the side down

Gilbert v Robertson 10-8 / 10-6

Dott v Wilson 10-8 / 7-10
Kyren was brilliant

Higginson v Dale 10-9 / 6-10
Way out

Williams v McManus 10-6 / 8-10

Holt v Jones 10-7 / 10-6
Oooh nearly

King v Cope 10-7 / 7-10
Happy to be wrong

Ford v Stevens 10-7 / 10-8
Could've been 10-7