O’Sullivan Exits 2019 ManBetX Welsh Open & Noppon Saengkham Hits Maximum Perfection

It’s back to watching it on the sofa for Ronnie in Wales…

The Rocket Ronnie O’Sullivan is yet another top player to fall in the Welsh Open in Cardiff at the Motorpoint Arena.

The 43-year-old 19 major winner exited in the last 32 at the hands of Switzerland’s Alexander Ursenbacher, 22, who’s not had much to shout about for a year and a half since his semi-final run in the English Open.

But today on Valentine’s Day, the Swiss fish, as he is nicknamed, had plenty to shout about as he ran out a 4 – 2 winner against the Rocket – and in the final frame he needed, he potted an outstanding yellow with the rest with lots of side and screw to get back onto the green. He said after Ursenbacher, ranked 71, that if he missed the yellow, he’d probably snooker him on the green, but he knew if he potted the yellow he would win the match.

O’Sullivan joins a growing list of stars to shockingly exit early from this year’s Welsh Open the final part of the Home Nations series. Mark Allen also got knocked out in Cardiff, who is struggling with form at the moment.Barry Hawkins is also out in the last 32.

First Maximum For Noppon & 149th 147

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Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham, 26, has racked his first career 147 in Cardiff. Neil Robertson, who made the first a day or so ago, will now have to share 17K with Noppon who held himself together well and fisted the air in celebration after he made the perfect 36 pots in a frame against Mark Selby. That’s the 10th maximum of the season, and with plenty of snooker still to play this season, there’s a chance the highest number of maximums, 13, in a season could be overthrown. We’ll see!


Stephen Hendry to Star in Six Reds Legends Next Month in Belfast…

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64 players from the qualifiers at The Crucible Sports Bar and Club, Newbury this month competed to roll onto the elite 8 man event to be hosted in Belfast on March 2/3rd 2019.

It was a strong field of ex-pros and top amateurs, but it was the usual suspect, Jonathan Bagley, a regular on the World Seniors tour, who managed to land a spot in the top 8, who will compete for a winner takes all 20K cheque in northern Ireland.

Bagley will come up against the Whirlwind of London town Jimmy White in the round 1/quarter finals with a chance of playing the 7-times World Champion the amazing Stephen Hendry in the last four. Hendry will face the 1986 World Champion and now Eurosport commentator Joe Johnson.

Another regular qualifier onto the main Seniors spotlight Patrick Wallace will play the Irish 1997 World Champion Ken Doherty.

The World Seniors is a great chance to see some of the Legends of yesteryear unpack their cues and see them play against over 40 qualifier amateurs who get to play their idols in a dream venue befitting to snooker.

In January, fans saw Jimmy White, still competing on the main tour, roll back the years winning the Irish Senior Masters in Goffs, and fans can enjoy some thrilling six reds with the Legends at the Waterfront in Belfast.

For more details, see Snooker Legends here…



Big Names Fall Early in ManBetX Welsh Open

Mark Williams had a howler against China’s answer to Mighty Mouse in the last 64…

Mark Williams, Kyren Wilson, Judd Trump and Shaun Murphy have all fallen in the early rounds of the ManBetX Welsh Open 2019.

But the remaining big guns Ronnie O’Sullivan, Neil Robertson, Mark Allen and defending Champion John Higgins and Mark Selby are still in the last 32.

2018 English Amateur Champion Joe O’Connor had a great win over the German Master Kyren Wilson as their match went the full distance as Cardiff’s snooker fans saw some real shocks in the rounds of 128 and 64.

It was also a great win for one of the Welsh compatriots in Duane Jones, who took down a below-par Judd Trump, who Ronnie O’Sullivan said in the commentary it was a “bad day at the office” for the Juddernaut. Jones put on a steely performance during the match despite Trump not being at his best. The 25-year-old from Rhondda Cynon Taf also had a recent good run in the German Masters, reaching the semi-finals.

There was also a bad day at the office for the current World Champion Mark Williams, who struggled in his match with Zhang Anda, from China, nicknamed Mighty Mouse. It took the Chinese player a while to realise he was in with a chance of beating the 43-year-old veteran of the baize, but he eventually got the job done 4 – 2.

As ever, the ManBetX Welsh Open has provided drama of the highest quality as the soap opera continues with the last 32 and 16 rounds being played to a close today on Valentines Day 14th February.


Neil Robertson Racks Incredible 148th 147

This is Robertson’s fourth 147 in his illustrious snooker career…

Just a few weeks after David Gilbert made history at the Championship League by compiling the 147th 147 in snooker history, Australian Neil Robertson has racked the 148th.

The perfect 36 pots lands Robbo, 37, a potential 17K pay day assuming no-one racks another before close of the 2019 ManBetX Welsh Open, where the winner will pocket 70K.

It was made in the last 128 of the event against newly graduated tour player Jordan Brown from Ireland. This is the ninth maximum of this 2018/19 season. The most number made in a season has been 13.

Watch the perfect break below…


Masters Champion Judd Trump Magics 10th Ranking Title Equalling Legend Jimmy White’s…

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The 2019 Master Judd Trump breezed to a milestone 10th ranking title over the weekend claiming the 2019 Coral World Grand Prix and putting him on double-figure titles with Jimmy White at 10.

Trump, 29, who’s come in for lots of criticism in the last years or so for not winning more has now secured his place as one of the very top players on the snooker professional tour difficult to beat with his now mixture of much-improved tactical play and potting prowess.

The Ace in the pack started his winning ways last year winning the northern Ireland Open and then continued into the beginning of 2019 with his second major title after the UK Championship in 2011 with the Masters at the Alexandra Palace in London. This bagged him 200K after securing a lightning win beating Ronnie O’Sullivan.

It was now the Coral World Grand Prix which saw Trump struggle in the early rounds of 32 but then he faced the World number one Mark Selby later on and he showed he was again up for the challenge as he competed in the safety and tactical part of the game to defeat the three-time World Champion.

He met Ali Carter in the final who was in his first ranking final since the German Masters a couple of years ago, but he started off the final in good form and it was 2 – 2 by the mid-session interval. By the time the close of the first session, Trump had beefed up a 6 – 3 lead.

The Juddernaut Rolls On…

Going into the second session, Carter, known for his battling qualities on and off the table managed to peg it back to 7 – 6 with some quality breaks over 80 and 90 before Trump won the last three frames he needed to bag 100K first prize and the trophy 10 – 6.

When asked by ITV after if this was Judd Trump at his peak, he jokingly said: “I certainly hope not.” Previously he admitted in a semi-final that the Judd Trump of old would probably not have won the type of matches he’s been winning now.

Carter, although said he took the positives from the week in Cheltenham, added it didn’t feel like a positive at this moment. The Captain walked away with 40K in ranking points. The World Championships are just around the corner and Judd will go into that with bags of confidence.

Can Trump’s Roll to Sheffield Continue…?

There is still plenty of tournaments to win before then with the Players Championship and Tour Championship of both the best 16 top earners on the one-year ranking list and the top 8 respectively. With Judd Trump’s roll of victories on the one year list, this sees him fly up to second behind Mark Allen. With his double win of titles, Masters and World Grand Prix he’s safely into the Champion of Champions later on in the year towards Christmas.


Talented Teenager Yuan Sijun Downs Two Class of 92 Players in Space of Days…

The 2018 World Champion Mark Williams was defeated by a teenager…

Two days into the 2019 Coral World Grand Prix and two World Champions from the legend class of 92 have been knocked out.

Yesterday saw Ronnie O’Sullivan knocked out by Marco Fu in Cheltenham as today (Tuesday 5th February 2019) Mark Williams is the scalp of young Chinese player Yuan Sijun, 18.

Williams, 43, was taken to a decider by the rookie, who’s only been on tour over a season and has already beaten two of the Legends of the game in the space of a few days. Last week he defeated John Higgins in the German Masters – albeit with some controversy at the end! Watch below…

The teenager coolly racked two tons on his way to the victory against Williams,, including making his highest break to date, a 131, in seeing off the reigning World Champion in the best of 7 and held his nerve in the decider to see himself into the last 16 of the event. Williams was playing well and made a ton himself, but it wasn’t enough to hold back this up and coming force from China, who seems to have no fear of the table or his opponents on the big stage!

He’s definitely one to watch for the future…


Kyren Wilson: The Incredible Steel Warrior Lifts German Double in Berlin

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Kyren Wilson lifted the German Master’s title in Berlin over the weekend and lived up to his nickname the Warrior, with plenty of steel attached.

The 27-year-old young snooker star had a week to remember at the Tempodrom, as along the way he had thrashed the World Champion Mark Williams 5 – 0. But it was his steely resilience against Stephen Maguire in the semi-finals and Dave Gilbert in the final that saw him lift the title and pocket the 80K first prize.

He was 4 – 1 up against Gilbert in the first session, but then Dave started to play and Wilson ended the session 5 – 3. But then Dave went on a winning spree of frames and by the mid-session interval was 7 – 5 up on Kyren, whose form had dipped at that point of the match. However, his steely bottle saw him complete a fantastic 54 clearance on his way to going ahead in the match, one of the best breaks under pressure you’ll see from a player. Previously in his semi-final with Maguire, he had also made a rock solid clearance of a 63 break to go 5 – 1 in his trouncing of Maguire after Maguire was ahead in the frame.

His German win 9 – 7 comes as the third-ranking title of his career and he also has done the German double, winning the Paul Hunter Classic in Furth last year in the same season. Kyren’s win comes a couple of weeks after Judd Trump lifted the English Masters in London, as these two younger guards now seem to be a handful of the under 30’s dominating the very top of snooker.

Wilson said after the win: “It’s unbelievable.”

He added to Rolf Kalb, the German Master of Ceremonies: “I’m hard Rolf.”

However, in an interview on Eurosport, he played down his chances of winning the big one in Sheffield by saying there’s a lot of great players that get there – so it’s difficult. He did however say he felt he belonged at the Crucible and enjoyed the bear pit of snooker’s top event.

The Nearly Man of Snooker

David Gilbert, 37, ten years Wilson’s senior said after he wasn’t going to worry about being runner-up again this time, but it was sadly the third time the Derby potter had reached a final but lost. Earlier on this season he was 9 – 5 up on Mark Williams at the World Open in China and let it go. Gilbert’s run in Germany means he’s one spot away from a top 16 place. Wilson’s win secures him a top 8 spot in the World!

No Time to Celebrate or Dwell Now

However, with tournaments being like buses now on the World Snooker professional tour, there is no time to rest on your laurels and enjoy the win or dwell on losses, as 32 players, including Kyren and Gilbert head to Cheltenham for the World Grand Prix where the Warrior will play former World Championship runner-up Matthew Stevens in the first round. These 32 players qualified on the one year list of the rankings and compete for a winner’s prize of 100K!

Women’s Snooker Went to Bruge

Meanwhile, on the World Women’s snooker tour, 11-times World Women’s Champion Reanne Evans lifted yet more silverware in Bruge defeating her rival, Hong Kong’s Ng On Yee 4 – 1 in the final.


Houston, “We Made US Snooker History”…Igor Knocks in Top 146

Proud as balls…Igor celebrates a bit of history in Houston: Screenshot from World Seniors Website

It wasn’t so much “Houston, we have a problem,” it was more, “Houston, we made history”, as the World Seniors Snooker Championship qualifiers qualifier 6 rolled into the Texan town at the weekend.

At least 32 players competed for the chance to play the Snooker’s Legends such as Jimmy White et al at an iconic venue to be confirmed later on in 2019.

It was the Brazilian Igor Figueiredo who triumphed in America, and it was indeed he who made history with an incredible 146 break – a first for America! Smiling Igor was as proud as punch for a double taste of sweet success.

The 41-year-old who has been somewhat a regular on the professional circuit, reaching bests in the last 16 of ranking events such as the Welsh Open and Gibraltar.

Igor will join five other successful qualifiers who will compete for a top prize of £25,000 later in the year and a spot in the World Championship qualifiers. These lucky five include:

  • Welshman Rhydian Richards
  • Englishman Stuart Watson
  • From the Netherlands, Joris Maas
  • Irishman Leo Fernandez
  • And from Hong Kong, Au Chi-Wai

The World Seniors events are for players over forty and not currently playing on the World Snooker main tour and they get to compete on the main venues at legendary venues against legendary players such as 7 times World Champion Stephen Hendry or the 1985 World champion Dennis Taylor. The hashtag #DaretoDream is exactly that. If you think you have what it takes, and fit the requirements, then check out World Seniors website or Snooker Legends for more details.

Watch the 146, below…


EASB English Amateur Tour Update

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The Amateur season of the English Association for Snooker and Billiards is in full swing so here’s a quick update of what’s been happening on the English Amateur Tour.

Last season saw Joe O’Connor win four out of the six events and then go on to scoop the English Amateur Championship, not before he turned pro and received a tour card for the 2018/19 season.

This season it’s a different story altogether as there has been no quadruple victory for any player. David Lilley has come close to winning thrice, but took the opening event of the EAT. The winners of the events pocket at least a grand on the circuit, plus, they get a FREE entry into QSchool 2019.

Event two was won by ex-pro Leo Fernandez and three was won by last season’s semi-finalist in the English Amateur Championship Jamie O’Neill. Event five has already been played, and it was won by Simon Bedford meaning there’s still Events four and six to be played. The venues generally get played down in Gloucester or up in Sheffield at the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucestershire and the Star Snooker Academy in Sheffield.

Event four will take place on the 2nd/3rd February at the Star Snooker Academy in Sheffield.

Currently, David Lilley is at the top of the ranking list for this amateur event .

See dates for upcoming events, such as the English Amateur Championship last 16, which happens in March, on the EASB website…


Dave Gilbert Makes Fantastic Historic 147th 147

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David Gilbert has racked the 147th 147 at the Championship League at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry.

The 37-year-old former International Championship runner-up beat the Chinese no 1 Ding Junhui to it this week, as last week Ding fell short of making snooker history at the Masters. Ding’s 122 break included a fluked yellow but he missed the green to create history ar the Masters.

However Gilbert made the break on a much smaller stage at the Championship League, which is synoymous with players making 147s.

Gilbert’s 147 is the second maximum of his career and is the eighth maximum of the season with Ronnie O’Sullivan making his 15th career maximum this season, among others.

147s used to carry a whopping prize of £147,000 in the early days but the prizes for a maximum now are more modest – as they are more frequent now and carry a roll over if no makes one in a particular tournament.

At the Masters, Stephen Hendry the 7 times World Champion suggested that a maximum should carry a special gift prize such as a watch per se, to mark the significant achievement.

Six-times World Champion Steve Davis made the first televised 147 in 1982 and got a Lada car. According to Wikipedia, a player who makes the highest break from Groups 1 – 7 only get £500! In the winner’s group of the Championship League, the prize is £1000.

A 147 involves potting 15 reds, 15 blacks and the six colours, 36 pots of perfection. Watch Gilbert’s historic break below at 13 mins into the match against Stephen Maguire…