Saturday, 24 December 2011

Look Back on Snooker 2011 - A Fabulous Year

2011 in the snooker calender is a fabulous year. We witnessed the rise of a new star, a brand new reform in the game with new tournaments, history-making and many other things.

All Asian Final

The year opened with two Asian heroes making history together in the Masters. They were China's Ding Junhui and Hong Kong's Marco Fu playing in the final, the first final to feature two Asian players. The remarkable final was won by Ding Junhui, beaten Fu 10-4 to become the first Asian to win the Masters title after his defeat to Ronnie O'Sullivan in the event final in 2007.

We welcome the new non-ranking event in the calendar two weeks after the Masters - The Snooker Shoot-out. The event in Blackpool featured Top 64 players gained a commercial success that enjoyed by many of the snooker fans. The title is scored by Nigel Bond. The best finish for Top 16 player was by Ronnie O'Sullivan, reaching semi-final but still it was a delightful new event.

German Masters in the Berlin enjoyed spectacular success when it was introduced this year. The final between Mark Williams and Mark Selby of the 5-day ranking tournament was played in front of a full house of 2500 fans. The whole tournament received positive feedback despite the last-minute absence of Ronnie O'Sullivan. Williams captured his 18th ranking title by sawing off Selby 9-7 in the stunning final.

Welsh Open title was defended by John Higgins after winning the All-Scottish Final against Stephen Maguire by 9-6. Stephen Hendry made his tenth maximum break to tie the record created by Ronnie O'Sullivan last September on World Open for having tenth maximum. Higgins won an invitation title Hainan Classic before China Open.

Shaun Murphy who topped the order of merit in the PTC series successfully marked his name on the trophy of the first-ever-PTC Grand Finals held in Dublin, Ireland. Championship League which is the qualifying event of Premier League was won by Matthew Stevens to earn a place in Premier League.

A Star Is Born

We then witnessed the rise of a snooker new star - Judd Trump. The new snooker sensation succeeded in China Open to win his first ranking title by defeating Mark Selby in the thrilling final 10-8. Trump continued his footstep at the Crucible for World Championship. He stunned the defending world champion Neil Robertson, Martin Gould, Graeme Dott and Ding Junhui to reach the biggest ranking final of the year.

7-time World Champion Stephen Hendry was on the edge to be knocked out of Top 16 after his defeat to Mark Selby in the second round. Luckily Ding Junhui helped Hendry to secure his place by beating Stuart Bingham in last 16 and Ding went on to reach the semis before losing to Judd Trump.

3-time-World Champion Higgins faced the challenge from Trump in the final, having trailed 7-10, 9-12 behind but managed to beat Trump 18-15 to win his fourth world title. This proved the complete return of Higgins after the six-month ban before UK Championship in December. The Wizard Wishaw made it hat trick to win three ranking titles to end this fabulous 2010/2011 season.

The New Season

Q School in May right after World Championship produced 12 winners to allow them earning tour places in the 2011/2012 season. The season is then officially kicked off with PTC1 in Sheffield. The disappointing performances from The Rocket (losing first round matches in five consecutive events until World Championship) in the last season hurt the fans badly. But seemed the new season awoke Ronnie's interests in snooker again - He won PTC1 with a strong and positive attitude.

July was the busiest month in the new season. The Asian tour began with Wuxi Classic in China which won by Mark Selby beating his team mate of the upcoming return of World Cup, Ali Carter in the final. Some of the boys then went to Thailand for World Cup to play in respects of their countries - China which led by Ding Junhui and Liang Wenbo earned this honour.

Australian Goldfields Open, a new ranking tournament that replaced Shanghai Masters in September to become the first ranking event of the season. First ranking event of the season always have surprise winners, this was not an exception. Stuart Bingham defeated Mark Williams in the final by 9-8 from 5-8 behind to snatch his first ranking title in his career. This act also helped Bingham to get into Top 16 for the first time.

The players did not rest much in the summer. The victories of three PTCs in August were shared by Judd Trump, Ben Wollaston and Mark Selby. The Rocket Ronnie O'Sullivan made his eleventh maximum break to surpass the record owned by himself and Hendry on PTC4 in Germany.

Shanghai Masters Final Controversy

Second ranking tournament of the new season Shanghai Masters came in September. Mark Selby grasped his second ranking title after Welsh Open back in 2008 by beating Mark Williams in the decider of controversial final from 7-9 down. 'The Pink Incident' was widely discussed but it did not change the fact that Selby climbed to world number one after his victory.

Stephen Hendry was officially dropped out of elite Top 16 in the first time of 23 years after his first round defeat to Robert Milkins in Shanghai Masters.

Shaun Murphy won the first ever professional snooker event in South America, Brazil Masters that came off right after Shanghai Masters. Ronnie O'Sullivan, Neil Robertson and Judd Trump dominated the PTCs in local and European countries afterwards, each won two PTCs. Andrew Higginson, Michael Holt and Tom Ford were the remaining PTC winners, Holt set up a record of 14 consecutive wins in the PTCs.

Martin Gould edged out defending champion Ronnie O'Sullivan in the final of Power Snooker. On the other hand, O'Sullivan continued to dominate the Premier League by winning his tenth title of the invitation event. Darren Morgan beaten Steve Davis on the World Seniors Championship to win the title.

The 147 made by Mike Dunn on German Masters Qualifiers set off the bloom of maximum breaks. David Gray and Ricky Walden each made one in the PTC10; Ding Junhui and Matthew Stevens did so in the PTC12. Ding set a record for the shortest duration between two consecutive 147s as he made another one in PTC11 three days later. Jamie Cope followed Ding to knock the 85th official maximum break in the same event.

Mark Allen Incident

UK Championship at Barbican Centre in York was the last major ranking tournament of 2011. With the reduction in the format, it led to the discontent of Mark Allen. This act by Allen was about to cause Allen a disciplinary hearing but Allen proved his best to Barry Hearn. The Pistol reached his first ever ranking final after beating Ricky Walden in the semis to play Judd Trump in the final.

Trump had a 9-5 advantage over Allen but The Pistol brought out his best to trail 8-9 with three centuries. His comeback did not threaten Trump's success. Eventually Trump clinched his second ranking title of the year, UK Championship with 10-8 win.

O'Sullivan's lost to Judd Trump in the second round of UK Championship marked the race of Top 16 at the second cut-off point before Masters. Mark Davis lost in the important battle against Anthony Hamilton in the quarter-finals of PTC11 (If Davis has won the match, he would knock Ronnie out of Top 16).

But Ronnie is not yet safe to be stayed in the Top 16: If Ricky Walden wins the upcoming PTC12 in Munich in January, Walden will knock Ronnie out and enters the top 16 once again.

The fierce competition of the game continues in 2012. I wish all my friends and readers Merry Christmas and all the best of the New Year!

Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

PTC 11 Day 3 - Tom Ford Captured PTC11 Title

28-year-old Tom Ford captured PTC11 title by edging out Martin Gould in the decider the final. Congratulations for Tom's second PTC victory!

Tom Ford won PTC11
Gould won the first frame on the black but Ford took the next two to lead 2-1 with 66 and 60. The Pinner Potter levelled and went on to make 127 to reach the match point. However, Ford managed to force a decider and came from 8-41 behind to win the match with 66 clearance in the decider. The PTC11 title is Ford's second PTC title after PTC3 last year.

Convincing win for The Leicester man
The Leicester man convincingly defeated the new UK Champion Judd Trump by 4-1 in the quarter-finals and whitewashed 2006 World Champion Graeme Dott in the semi-finals. "No disrespect to the players I beat to win a PTC event last year, but I count this one as a much better victory because of the players I've beaten," added Ford. "To beat the likes of Trump and Dott gives me a lot of confidence to go on and do well in the big tournaments. 

Hamilton did Ronnie a big favour
The runner-up Martin Gould beaten Anthony Hamilton in the semi-finals, who won the important battle against Mark Davis for Ronnie O'Sullivan. Mark Davis strived for knocking Ronnie out of Top 16 by a win in quarter-finals. Davis whitewashed Stephen Maguire in the last 16 but unfortunately lost to Hamilton in quarter-finals. That was so close for Davis but once again he finished 17th at the cut-off point. Ronnie is not yet safe to stay in Top 16 as Ricky Walden could knock him out if he wins the coming PTC12 in Munich next January. 

The unbeatable run of Michael Holt was ended by Martin Gould as well. Holt created a record for 14 consecutive wins in the PTC events but Gould hindered The Hitman to write new history. 

The last PTC event of the season, the last 16 stage of PTC12 will undergo at Munich on January 6-8, 2012.

Results of PTC11 Day 3, 19 December 2011
Last 16
Stephen Maguire 0-4 Mark Davis
Ding Junhui 3-4 Anthony Hamilton
Martin Gould 4-0 Simon Bedford
Michael Holt 4-1 Matthew Stevens
Mark Selby 0-4 Graeme Dott
Ricky Walden 4-2 Sam Craigie
Tom Ford 4-0 Yu Delu
Jamie Cope 0-4 Judd Trump

Mark Davis 3-4 Anthony Hamilton
Martin Gould 4-2 Michael Holt
Graeme Dott 4-1 Ricky Walden
Tom Ford 4-1 Judd Trump

Anthony Hamilton 3-4 Martin Gould
Graeme Dott 0-4 Tom Ford

Martin Gould 3-4 Tom Ford

Monday, 19 December 2011

PTC 11 Day 2 - Jamie Cope made Maximum

'The Shotgun' Jamie Cope made maximum break after Ding Junhui on the previous day in PTC11. Congratulations!

Jamie Cope
The Stoke cueman defeated Gareth Allen and Anthony McGill before facing Kurt Maflin in the last 32. In the match, Cope grabbed the opener with 147, his third in his career and went on to beat Maflin in decider to move into the last 16. Cope now plays Judd Trump, who replaced Ronnie O'Sullivan to top the order of merit of PTCs.

Cope's 147 is already the fourth maximum in 5 days time after two from Ding and one from Stevens. Under this circumstances, the official maximum approved by World Snooker will reach 100 very soon. I understand with more tournaments, numbers of maximum breaks will increase relatively. Should the 147 in PTC events treated as normal maximums in major tournaments?

Judd Trump tops the order of Merit
Ricky Walden keeps his hope of racing for the Top 16 place against Mark Davis alive - He beaten Ian Mcculloch 4-2 from 0-2 down in the last 32 and now plays Sam Craigie that beaten Stephen Lee in the first round, Justin Astley who beaten John Higgins in the previous round.

World Number One Mark Selby whitewashed Mark Williams in Round 3 to set up a clash against Graeme Dott in the last 16. China's Yu Delu and Tom Ford also booked their place in last 16 on Sunday.

Results of PTC11 Day 2, Sunday December 18

63 Mark Selby 4-0 Daniel Wells Round 2
64 Li Yan 0-4 Matthew Day Round 2
65 David Gilbert 4-0 James Hill Round 2
66 Stuart Bingham 2-4 Mark Williams Round 2
67 Gerard Greene 3-4 Adam Wicheard Round 2
68 Steve Davis 4-3 Joe Swail Round 2
69 Graeme Dott 4-1 Ashley Carty Round 2
70 Ryan Day 4-2 Paul Davison Round 2
71 Joe Perry 1-4 Ian McCulloch Round 2
72 Dave Harold 4-2 Reanne Evans Round 2
73 Ricky Walden w/o Jak Jones Round 2

Not before 11.30am
74 Barry Hawkins 4-2 Alfie Burden Round 2
75 Mark Allen 4-0 Ashley Wright Round 2
76 Michael White 4-2 Aditya Mehta Round 2
77 Stephen Lee 3-4 Sam Craigie Round 2
78 John Higgins 3-4 Justin Astley Round 2
79 Tom Ford 4-1 David Hogan Round 2
80 Mark Joyce v Ian Burns w/o Round 2
81 Fergal O'Brien 4-2 Thomas Wealthy Round 2

Not before 1pm
82 Nigel Bond 4-1 Lucky Vatnani Round 2
83 Yu DeLu 4-1 Andrew Norman Round 2
84 Dechawat Poomjaeng 4-3 Peter Ebdon Round 2
85 James Wattana 4-1 Adrian Gunnell Round 2
86 Jamie Burnett 4-0 Oliver Lines Round 2
87 Rory McLeod 1-4 Kurt Maflin Round 2
88 Adam Duffy 4-1 Andrew Pagett Round 2
89 Jamie Cope 4-2 Gareth Allen Round 2
90 Anthony McGill w/o David Singh Round 2
93 Ken Doherty 3-4 David Morris Round 2
94 Judd Trump 4-0 Sam Baird Round 2

Not before 3.30pm
91 Jimmy White 2-4 Barry Pinches Round 2
92 Alan McManus 4-2 Liu Song Round 2
111 MarkSelby 4-0 Matthew Day Round 3
112 David Gilbert 2-4 Mark Williams Round 3
113 Adam Wicheard 1-4 Steve Davis Round 3
114 Graeme Dott 4-3 Ryan Day Round 3
115 Ian McCulloch 4-2 Dave Harold Round 3
116 Ricky Walden 4-0 Barry Hawkins Round 3
117 Mark Allen 1-4 Michael White Round 3
118 Sam Craigie 4-0 Justin Astley Round 3

Not before 5pm
119 Tom Ford 4-2 Ian Burns Round 3
120 Fergal O'Brien 1-4 Nigel Bond Round 3
121 Yu Delu 4-1 Dechewat Poomjaeng Round 3
122 James Wattana 3-4 Jamie Burnett Round 3
123 Kurt Maflin 4-2 Adam Duffy Round 3
124 Jamie Cope 4-0 Anthony McGill Round 3
125 Barry Pinches 1-4 Alan McManus Round 3
126 David Morris 0-4 Judd Trump Round 3

Not before 7.30pm
135 Mark Selby 4-0 Mark Williams Round 4
136 Steve Davis 1-4 Graeme Dott Round 4
137 Ian McCulloch 2-4 Ricky Walden Round 4
138 Michael White 1-4 Sam Craigie Round 4
139 Tom Ford 4-2 Nigel Bond Round 4
140 Yu Delu 4-1 Jamie Burnett Round 4
141 Kurt Maflin 3-4 Jamie Cope Round 4
142 Alan McManus 2-4 Judd Trump Round 4

Sunday, 18 December 2011

PTC 11 Day 1 - Double Maximum from Ding in 3 days

Ding Junhui hit another maximum break in 3 days after PTC12 two days ago. Congratulations to Ding Junhui for his fourth 147 in his career.

Double Maximum Dream for Ding
Ding made this classy 147 during the fifth frame in his first round match against James Cahill. The second last black cut by rest was amazing and got the perfect angle for the last red. Ding successfully completed his fourth maximum to rank fourth on the history of making most 147s. He also created a record for the shortest time duration between two 147s, just three days.

The maximum man went on to win all the three matches today including a 4-2 defeat over Stephen Hendry in the last 32. Ding will face the challenge from Anthony Hamilton in last 16 on Sunday.

Dominic Dale
Dominic Dale could be called 'Killer of World Champions' today because he defeated Neil Robertson and Shaun Murphy in the first two rounds. However, Dale is unlucky to lose to Stephen Maguire in last 16 and failed to meet Mark Davis on Sunday. M. Davis kept his hope to replace Ronnie O'Sullivan in the Top 16 at the next cut-off point by entering the final 16. He needs a decent run in the PTC11 to get enough points for his hope.

Michael Holt made it 13 consecutive victories in PTC series with three wins today. Holt will bump into Matthew Stevens who booked his last 16 place on Sunday despite being docked a frame for late arrival in his first round match. Martin Gould will play against Simon Bedford in last 16 on Sunday.

Results of PTC10 Day 1, Saturday December 17

31 Neil Robertson 1-4 Dominic Dale Round 2
32 Shaun Murphy 4-0 Mark Miller Round 2
33 Marco Fu 4-1 Scott Donaldson Round 2
34 Stephen Maguire 4-1 Sean O'Sullivan Round 2
35 Mark King 1-4 Gary Wilson Round 2
36 Marcus Campbell 4-0 David Gray Round 2
37 Luca Brecel 4-1 Mike Dunn Round 2
38 Mark Davis 4-0 Matthew Couch Round 2

Not before 11am
39 Liam Highfield 4-3 Stephen Groves Round 2
40 Ding Junhui 4-1 James Cahill Round 2
41 Jimmy Robertson 4-0 Oliver Brown Round 2
42 Stephen Hendry 4-0 Martin Ball Round 2
43 Anthony Hamilton 4-2 Eden Sharav Round 2
44 Joe Jogia 3-4 Rod Lawler Round 2
45 Allister Carter v Andrew Milliard w/o Round 2
46 Craig Steadman 4-2 Zhang Anda Round 2
47 Jack Lisowski 2-4 David Grace Round 2
48 Jamie Jones 4-3 Scott MacKenzie Round 2
49 Peter Lines 4-3 Saqib Nasir Round 2

Not before 1pm
50 Martin Gould 4-2 Michael Leslie Round 2
51 Kyren Wilson 0-4 Chen Zhe Round 2
52 Matthew Selt w/o Kacper Filipiak Round 2
53 Simon Bedford 4-1 Mitchell Mann Round 2
54 Liang Wenbo 4-2 Stuart Carrington Round 2
55 Xiao Guodong 4-1 Ross Muir Round 2
56 Andrew Higginson 4-3 Chris Norbury Round 2
57 Robbie Williams 4-0 Barry Stark Round 2
58 Michael Holt 4-3 Duane Jones Round 2
59 Tony Drago 4-3 Robert Milkins Round 2
60 Matthew Stevens 4-3 Ricky Norris Round 2

Not before 3.30pm
61 Ben Woollaston 3-4 Stephen Craigie Round 2
62 Andy Hicks 4-3 George Marter Round 2
95 Dominic Dale 4-2 Shaun Murphy Round 3
96 Marco fu 2-4 Stephen Maguire Round 3
97 Gary Wilson 1-4 Marcus Campbell Round 3
98 Luca Brecel 1-4 Mark Davis Round 3
99 Lian Highfield 0-4 Ding Junhui Round 3
100 Jimmy Robertson 0-4 Stephen Hendry Round 3
101 Anthony Hamilton 4-0 Rod Lawler Round 3
102 Andrew Milliard 0-4 Craig Steadman Round 3

Not before 5pm
103 David Grace 3-4 Jamie Jones Round 3
104 Peter Lines 2-4 Martin Gould Round 3
105 Chen Zhe 4-1 Matthew Selt Round 3
106 Simon Bedford 4-0 Liang Wenbo Round 3
107 Xiao Guodong 1-4 Andrew Higginson Round 3
108 Robbie Williams 1-4 Michael Holt Round 3
109 Tony Drago 1-4 Matthew Stevens Round 3
110 Stephen Craigie 4-1 Andy Hicks Round 3

Not before 7.30pm
127 Dominic Dale 2-4 Stephen Maguire Round 4
128 Marcus Campbell 3-4 Mark Davis Round 4
129 Ding Junhui 4-2 Stephen Hendry Round 4
130 Anthony Hamilton 4-3 Craig Steadman Round 4
131 Jamie Jones 2-4 Martin Gould Round 4
132 Chen Zhe 3-4 Simon Bedford Round 4
133 Andrew Higginson 2-4 Michael Holt Round 4
134 Matthew Stevens 4-1 Stephen Craigie Round 4

Saturday, 17 December 2011

PTC 12 Day 2 - Hendry and Fu made up for German Fans

Stephen Hendry and Marco Fu made up for German Fans to appear in Munich for PTC12 in January for winning three matches today.

Stephen Hendry 
The two players failed to qualify for German Masters which will be held in February in Berlin will play against each other in the last 16 in Munich on 6 January. The seven-times World Champion Ben Harrison 4-0, Scott Donaldson 4-2 and at last Ken Doherty by 4-2 to book his seat in the last 16 of PTC 12.

Marco Fu
Hong Kong cue man who did not qualify for German Masters will meet Hendry in last 16 after beating Alfie Burden 4-1, Fergal O'Brien and Ryan Day in deciders. Stephen Maguire who reached the quarter-finals of UK Championship last week is also through after beating Ali Carter 4-1 in the final round. Marcus Campbell saw off Li Yan by 4-2 to book his seat as well.

Kurt Maflin scored a decider victory over Shaun Murphy in the second round and went on to beat Jack Lisowski 4-2 to secure his last 16 spot. David Gray conceded only one frame on his way to win three matches today while Andrew Higginson beaten Dominic Dale and Mark King to reach the last 16. The latest PTC10 winner continued his good run making it to Germany.

PTC12 Day 2 Results, Friday, 16 December 

33 Graeme Dott 4-3 Adam Wicheard Round 1
34 Marcus Campbell 4-2 Peter Ebdon Round 1
35 Li Yan 4-3 Thomas Wealthy Round 1
36 Craig Steadman 4-1 Daniel Wells Round 1
37 Dechawat Poomjaeng 4-3 Paul Davison Round 1
38 Michael Holt 4-0 James McGouran Round 1
39 Steve Davis 4-2 Liam Monk Round 1
40 Jamie Cope 4-1 Phil O'Kane Round 1

41 Ken Doherty 4-0 Andrew Pagett Round 1
42 Adam Duffy 4-1 Shane Castle Round 1
43 Stephen Hendry 4-0 Ben Harrison Round 1
44 Liam Highfield 2-4 Scott Donaldson Round 1
45 Ryan Day 4-0 Jamie Gibson Round 1
46 Kyren Wilson 4-0 Christopher Norbury Round 1
47 Fergal O'Brien 4-0 Stuart Wood Round 1
48 Marco Fu 4-1 Alfie Burden Round 1

49 Tony Drago 4-2 Rod Lawler Round 1
50 Allister Carter 4-2 Barry Pinches Round 1
51 Jamie Burnett 1-4 Zhang Anda Round 1
52 Stephen Maguire 4-1 Ricky Norris Round 1
53 Rory McLeod 4-1 Stephen Winstone Round 1
54 Anthony Hamilton 3-4 Ian Burns Round 1
55 Alan McManus 4-3 Adrian Gunnell Round 1
56 Jimmy Robertson 1-4 David Gray Round 1

57 Jack Lisowski 4-1 Andrew Norman Round 1
58 Joe Jogia 4-3 Mitchell Travis Round 1
59 James Wattana 3-4 Kurt Maflin Round 1
60 Shaun Murphy 4-3 Ashley Wright Round 1
61 Jamie Jones 0-4 Ian McCulloch Round 1
62 Jak Jones 4-1 Matthew Day Round 1
63 Mark King 4-0 Oliver Lines Round 1
64 Andrew Higginson 4-0 Dominic Dale Round 1

81 Graeme Dott 3-4 Marcus Campbell Round 2
82 Li Yan 4-3 Craig Steadman Round 2
83 Dechewat Poomjaeng 3-4 Michael Holt Round 2
84 Steve Davis 4-3 Jamie Cope Round 2
85 Ken Doherty 4-1 Adam Duffy Round 2
86 Stephen Hendry 4-2 Scott Donaldson Round 2
87 Ryan Day 4-2 Kyren Wilson Round 2
88 Fergal O'Brien 3-4 Marco Fu Round 2

89 Tony Drago 2-4 Ali Carter Round 2
90 Zhang Anda 1-4 Stephen Maguire Round 2
91 Rory McLeod 3-4 Ian Burns Round 2
92 Alan McManus 0-4 David Gray Round 2
93 Jack Lisowski 4-1 Joe Jogia Round 2
94 Kurt Maflin 4-3 Shaun Murphy Round 2
95 Ian McCulloch 2-4 Jak Jones Round 2
96 Mark King 2-4 Andrew Higginson Round 2

105 Marcus Campbell 4-2 Li Yan Round 3
106 Steve Davis 2-4 Michael Holt Round 3
107 Ken Doherty 2-4 Stephen Hendry Round 3
108 Ryan Day 3-4 Marco Fu Round 3
109 Ali Carter 1-4 Stephen Maguire Round 3
110 Ian Burns 0-4 David Gray Round 3
111 Jack Lisowski 2-4 Kurt Maflin Round 3
112 Jak Jones 3-4 Andrew Higginson Round 3

Please note, the remaining rounds (Last 16 to Final) will be played on 6-8 January 2012 at the Event Forum, Fuerstenfeldbruck, Munich. 

Friday, 16 December 2011

PTC 12 Day 1 - Maximum Dreams for Stevens and Ding

Matthew Stevens and Ding Junhui both made maximum breaks on the first day of PTC12 at Sheffield. Congratulations to both!

Stevens and Ding made 147
The two players clashed in the last 16 of UK Championship last week and both knocked their maximum break today. The first was from Matthew Stevens during the third frame of his first round match against Michael Wasley, his first 147 in his career, the second Welsh to produce a maximum after Mark Williams at the Crucible back in 2005.

Ding Juhnui's third maximum 
The second maximum by Ding Junhui was made an hour after Steven's. Ding made it in the third frame and went on to win the match over Brandon Winstone. Ding has recorded two maximum breaks before including on 2007 Masters and 2008 UK Championship. Stevens and Ding will share 500 pounds for the prize. However, the two players lost in the last 16 to David Grace and Ricky Walden respectively.

Mark Allen, the runner-up of UK Championship last week continued his good form to reach the last 16 stage of PTC12 in Germany and so did Mike Dunn, seeing off Mark Williams and Liang Wenbo today. Martin Gould, Xiao Guodong and Joe Perry are the players who are also through.

Results of PTC12 Day 1, Thursday, 15 December

1 Ben Woollaston 2-4 Mark Williams v Round 1
2 Mike Dunn 4-1 David Singh v Round 1
3 Liang Wenbo 4-2 Aditya Mehta v Round 1
4 Andy Hicks 3-4 Duane Jones v Round 1
5 Mark Allen 4-2 Stuart Carrington Round 1
6 Barry Hawkins 4-1 Oliver Brown Round 1
7 Mark Joyce 4-2 Chen Zhe Round 1
8 Joe Swail 4-0 Lucky Vatnani Round 1

9 Stuart Bingham 4-0 Sam Harvey Round 1
10 Matthew Stevens 4-0 Michael Wasley Round 1
11 Anthony McGill 2-4 David Grace Round 1
12 Gary Wilson 0-4 Jamie O'Neill Round 1
13 Nigel Bond 4-0 Scott MacKenzie Round 1
14 Jimmy White 4-3 Ross Higgins Round 1
15 Matthew Selt 4-2 Reanne Evans Round 1
16 Martin Gould 4-0 Martin Ball Round 1

17 Gerard Greene 4-0 Gareth Allen Round 1
18 Ricky Walden 4-3 Liu Song Round 1
19 Dave Harold 3-4 Mitchell Mann Round 1
20 Ding Junhui 4-0 Brandon Winstone Round 1
21 Simon Bedford 3-4 Sam Baird Round 1
22 Xiao Guodong 4-1 Matthew Couch Round 1
23 Michael White 4-1 Greg Davis Round 1
24 Tom Ford 1-4 Robert Milkins Round 1

25 David Gilbert 4-0 Michele Battaglia Round 1
26 Peter Lines 3-4 David Morris Round 1
27 Luca Brecel 4-2 Michael Leslie Round 1
28 Stephen Lee 4-1 Sam Craigie Round 1
29 Joe Perry 4-1 Stephen Craigie Round 1
30 Robbie Williams w/o Kacper Filipiak Round 1
31 John Higgins 4-0 Steve Ventham Round 1
32 Mark Davis 4-1 Hans Blanckaert Round 1

65 Mike Dunn 4-1 Mark Williams Round 2
66 Liang Wenbo 4-2 Duane Jones Round 2
67 Mark Allen 4-0 Barry Hawkins Round 2
68 Mark Joyce 2-4 Joe Swail Round 2
69 Stuart Bingham 3-4 Matthew Stevens Round 2
70 David Grace 4-2 Jamie O'Neill Round 2
71 Nigel Bond 3-4 Jimmy White Round 2
72 Matthew Selt 1-4 Martin Gould Round 2

73 Gerard Greene 2-4 Ricky Walden Round 2
74 Mitchell Mann 0-4 Ding Junhui Round 2
75 Sam Baird 3-4 Xiao Guodong Round 2
76 Michael White 2-4 Robert Milkins Round 2
77 David Gilbert 4-3 David Morris Round 2
78 Luca Brecel 2-4 Stephen Lee Round 2
79 Joe Perry 4-0 Robbie Williams Round 2
80 John Higgins 1-4 Mark Davis Round 2


97 Mike Dunn 4-1 Liang Wenbo Round 3
98 Mark Allen 4-1 Joe Swail Round 3
99 Matthew Stevens 1-4 David Grace Round 3
100 Jimmy White 2-4 Martin Gould Round 3
101 Ricky Walden 4-0 Ding Junhui Round 3
102 Xiao Gudong 4-2 Robert Milkins Round 3
103 David Gilbert 4-1 Stephen Lee Round 3
104 Joe Perry 4-1 Mark Davis Round 3

Monday, 12 December 2011

UK Championship 2011 Day 9 - Naughty Judd Trump is the New UK Champion

Judd Trump is the new winner of UK Championship by beating Mark Allen 10-8. Congratulations and good ending for this year!

A Passionate kiss on the beautiful trophy
Trump won the opener by 70 before Allen taking the next three to lead 3-1 with 56 and 141 at the interval. However, the match turned upside down to end the first session, Trump won all four frames after the mid session interval to lead 5-3 due to a few careless misses by The Pistol. Trump established a two-frame cushion before the final session at 8pm.

The 22-year-old from Bristol started the night session with a century 109. In the next frame, Allen started off with 40 but Trump cleared with 78 to lead 7-3. The Ace fired with 74 to extend his giant lead to 8-3 before Allen ended Trump's run of winning seven frames in a row with total clearance of 139 to trail 4-8 at interval. Allen won the first frame after interval with 129 but Trump reached the match point 9-5 with 76.

Allen gave an amazing fight back
This did not frustrate Allen, he continued his fightback with 125 and 95 to trail 8-9. Allen grabbed the first chance in frame 18 but was unlucky to see it rattle in the jaws and finish close to a baulk corner, leaving Trump an easy opener. Trump made no mistake again and 91 became his title-winning break. This title Judd Trump is the second ranking title of the year for Trump, after his first succeed in China in April. 

First UK title for Trump
"It feels amazing," said Trump. "It's an unbelievable feeling to win this tournament. I needed to step my game up and I did it. All week I've had support from my family and friends." Asked if he would celebrate with any 'naughty' behaviour, Trump added: ""I won't be naughty now until after the World Championship. I can't buy a Ferrari as I need to get my no claims bonus up, the insurance would not be pretty. But I'll have a brilliant Christmas and go into next year feeling positive. I can't wait for the Masters, to see what the atmosphere is like at Ally Pally.

The Runner-up but had an amazing fight back said: "I came here to win the tournament and I haven't done that, but at least I got over the semi-final hurdle. I have showed that I can handle the big occasion and that stands me in good stead."

Sunday, 11 December 2011


JUDD Trump withstood a gritty fightback from Mark Allen to claim the UK Championship 10-8. - Suzy Jardine. York 

Never mind the two reality shows that were fast reaching their climaxes this was far more 
compulsive viewing with two men who definatley do possess the X Factor in their respective games.
Trump, who had eliminated two former world champions in Ronnie O'Sullivan and Neil Robertson to reach the final started strongly against Antrim's Allen as he took the first frame with a decisive break of 70 after Allen missed a red to the centre.

Allen, who was bidding to become the first man from Northern Ireland since the late Alex Higgins to win the title was not about to let Trump have it all his own way and replied with a 56 to level at 1-1. And the bookmakers who had listed Trump as 2-1 on to win the title could well have been thinking of revising their odds with a string of errors from Trump. Namely in taking on a long range red that missed, leaving the cue ball to cannon into the cluster of reds, leaving them scattered in emminently potable positions, leading to a fantastic clearance of 141 from Mark.

Allen then stretched his lead to two frames in the fourth frame which came right down to a duel on the colours which was settled when Judd's cueing led to the brown leaving the table. With the brown back on it's spot Allen cleared it and the blue to lead 3-1 at the mid session interval.

But then deja vu kicked in for Mark, and from 3-1 up he found himself sitting in his chair for rather longer than he may well have wanted as Trump took full advantage of a missed red to the centre to make a vital 52 that saw him cut his deficit to just one frame.

There was no holding Judd in this mini session as with bits and pieces he levelled at 3-3 and then rolled in breaks of 75 and 61 to translate his deficit into a 5-3 advantage and leave Allen in the same position he had been in against Ricky Walden. The question was - could Mark respond in the same fashion as he did against the Englishman.

The answer was a no as despite having the first opportunity Allen ran out of position with just seven points on the scoreboard. Trump cpming to the table replied with a textbook break of 109. Trump leading 6-3 and the UK title was slipping away for Mark.

To make matters worse having engineered an opportunity of a maximum for himself Allen could only look on helplessly when his long red to the yellow pocket failed to drop. A 40 points lead was soon whittled away by Trump who hammered in a 78 to stretch his lead to 7-3.

The strain was telling on Mark and when he missed a straight red to the corner from the baulk line the spectre of defeat was looming large, and Allen could only sit and watch as Judd capitalised on his mistake, this time with a 74 to leave Mark needing two snookers. He found one as Judd hit the pink to elicit six penalty points, bad with four reds left and the colours well placed for snookering Judd knew he could not afford any slip ups. Allen was trying everything he could think of- even to the point of sitting in Judd's chair. It was to be all in vain as Trump drilled in a long straight red to move five frames clear. Three of the first four frames of the evening session had gone to Judd who was just two frames from victory.

Allen badly needed the final frame before the mid session interval and he was in first with a long straight red and chipped in with a clearance of 139 to close to 4-8. Having lost seven straight frames it was a courageous response from the Antrim professional as he and Judd left the arena for the mid session interval.

And the four frame deficit was further reduced when Judd's powerfully strike on the cue ball sent a red crashing off the table. With the balls kindly placed it was Allen who confidently struck back with a 133 to remind Judd he was far from finished.

But Trump remained unruffled and after a miss on a red hammered in a 76 to re-establish the four frame gap. At 9- 5 Judd required just one more frame for victory. Still Mark refused to surrender, instead he rolled in a break of 125. The quality of the snooker from both players was outstanding, and a marvellous advert for the sport.

There was further drama to come as Trump, who looked set for victory after an outrageous fluked red missed a red along the top cushion. Allen countered with 27, but in trying to double the final red missed it. The red though rolled away to safety, and seconds later Mark was back at the table, clipping in the red that Judd had left sitting over the middle pocket as he cleared to the pink to close to 9-7.
Another chance went begging for Judd in frame seventeen when he ran out of position on 32. And after a bungled safety that left the Antrim man among the balls Allen confidently stroked in a 95. Judd's lead, which had been 8-3 and 9-5 had plunged to 9-8.

But it is also a testament to Judd's strength of character that he was able to withstand such a tenacious and gutsy fightback when he pounced on a simple red that Allen had left in attempting a deep screw shot and slowly but surely inched his way to a match winning break of 91 to seal a momentous victory of 10-8 against a gallant opponant.

Nevermind who won X Factor. Snooker once again remains the best reality show, at once again was the main winner tonight here in York.

UK Championship 2011 Day 8 - Symbolic Victory For Allen to through to Final

Mark Allen beaten Ricky Walden by 9-7 from 3-5 behind to through to his first ranking final.

Symbolic victory for Allen
Allen took the scrappy first frame cleared from the last red to final pink. Walden made an quick response by giving a beautiful 124 clearance to level 1-1. However, Allen took the next three with 85 and 54 to go 3-1 up at the interval. Walden grabbed important frame 5 which might be the turning of the match - Walden missed easy black at 60 to let Allen it but Allen had the cueball off when he was on the final green to miss the chance going 4-1 up. Walden won the next to level 3-3 with 66, the game is still on. Confidence of Walden was boosted he took the last two as well to lead 5-3 to end the first session.

Walden should be proud of his effort this week
Allen stormed to win the first two frames of the night with 43 and 79 without missing a ball. Two frames advantage of Walden was gone but he had a chance to be 6-5 up but he missed a crucial brown at 60 which allowed Allen to clear to lead again. Allen took all four frames before interval to go 7-5 up on Walden. Allen reached the match point after Walden pull one back. The Northern Ireland player looked to set to win the match at 54 but Walden gripped the lifeline with clearance of 65 to trail 7-8. Allen  did not hang loose winning the big match with 70. He will play Trump in the final tomorrow.

This is a symbolic victory for Allen. Allen has not yet through to a ranking final in his five attempts before. This time he made it through to the final. This will be an awesome and all-attacking-snooker final. Two left-handers, who will be the new winner of UK Championship? Find out the answer tonight.  

UK Championship 2011 Results/Draw, Live Streaming & Match/TV Schedule


MARK Allen stormed into the UK Championship final after a commanding performance in the evening session against Ricky Walden. (Suzy Jardine - The Barbican, York)

But Allen did not have everything his own was in a match that see-sawed between with both men enjoying periods of domination.

Allen held a 3-1 advantage at the mid session interval as he took the opener and then followed with breaks of 85 and 54, with Walden interrupting the Allen avalanche with a break of 124 in frame two.

But then the match started to turn as Allen misssed a red to the centre to allow Walden a look at the table. From it Walden made 60. It looked for all of the world that the Chester man would complete the formalities, only to miss the black off the spot. With the balls kindly placed it looked as if Allen would punish Walden for what was a schoolboy error. Only to leave tongues hanging out of our mouths in disbelief as he went in off the green into the centre pocket in clearing up the colours. With this timely reprieve Walden made sure of the frame with green to blue to trail 3-2.

Buoyed up by this piece of good fortune Walden took full advantage of Allen's mistakes in the sixth frame as he left a red tot he corner. Walden swooped and fired in a 66 to level at 3-3. There was no holding Walden now as he capitalised on a red left along the top cushion by the Antrim man to fire in a 98, and then moved 5-3 ahead with a sublime 127 to end the session with a two frame advantage.

After seeing a 3-1 advantage disintergrate into a 3-5 deficit Allen knew he had to immediately reduce his arrears on his return for the evening session. A 43 made the initial running before bits and pieces helped him over the line and within one frame of Walden. And that deficit was swiftly wiped out minutes later as Allen took full advantage of a safety mistake to rattlle in a 79 to square the match at 5-5.

Allen was first in with a 35 in frame eleven only to miss a red to the centre. He then lost out in a safety battle and left Walden a chance.Taking a red to the centre Ricky made progressed to 60, and then came a key moment as he lined up the brown to the centre from behind the baulk line. He could only look on in horror as the brown hit the knuckle and stayed out. Allen was back at the table and made no mistake in dispatching the last few colours to lead 6-5.

And 6-5 very quickly became 7-5 as Allen's 64 accounted for the twelfth frame. Allen had captured the first four frames of the night. And Walden was now back in the same position he had been earlier in the match. Two frames adrift, and time running out for the Chester professional.

The mid session interval could not have come at a better time for Ricky as it allowed him some respite from the onslaught. On his return he he fired in a 52 - only to miss a routine red to the corner. To make matters worse he left it in an emminently potable position for his opponant. 

Seconds later our jaws were sagging as Allen missed and Walden pieced together enough points to scramble over the line and cut the deficit to 7-6.

But Allen soon re-asserted himself as a shot to nothing saw him make 43 and a 33 put him within one frame of victory at 8-6. Walden had revived his ambitions in the match earlier with a four frame burst. Now he needed a three frame one to stay in contention.

It seemed as if Allen was about to complete victory as he found himself among the balls on a 54, only to miss a red to the centre. For Ricky it was now or never and with great care and attention compiled a 65 to rescue the frame and stay in contention at 8-7.

But all of Ricky's hard work was undone in the following frame when an horrific miss on a red to the corner presented Allen with a golden chance to complete victory. And this time he was not to be denied as a controlled break of 70 saw him through to the final with a 9-7 victory and a meeting with Judd Trump.

Saturday, 10 December 2011


It is the first report from York by our exclusive journalist Susan Jardine! Over to you, Susan. 

JUDD Trump booked himself a place in the final of the UK Snooker Championship after a 9-7 victory over a disappointing Neil Robertson.

Trump, who sent Robertson packing in the opening round of the World Championship earlier this year started as he had left off against the Australian with a break of 47. Back though came Robertson, determined to make Judd scrap for everything. The Australian counter finished on 60 which sent the opening frame to a battle of the colours. It was settled when Robertson left the blue hanging over the centre pocket and Trump helped himself to the opener.

Building on this the Bristol man dominated the second with a break of 84 to lead 2-0. Robertson badly needed to take the third if he was to stay in contention. The former world champion, lacking his usual fluency finally scrambled over the finishing line to reduce his arrears to 2-1. Encouraged Neil took the fourth with breaks of 49 and 67 to level the match at 2-2 at the mid session interval.

With the match perfectly poised it was Judd who re-established himself by taking the fifth frame with a break of 43 after Robertson's rash attempt at along red only succeeded in scattering the reds into pottable positions. The Australian though , who has never won this title was not going anywhere without a fight and retaliated with a 105 clearance, to remind Judd that any errors such as a missed mid length red would be severely punished.

The see saw routine continued as Trump edged in front at 4-3 with an audacious plant for what was to be a decisive 69, leaving Robertson needing snookers, which he was destined not to find and the concession of the frame duly came. So with one frame to be played before the mid session interval Judd was in the position of knowing that he would either be level or two frames in front. Which was it to be.

The answer was swift and clincial as Robertson hammered in a 77 break to end the session at 4-4 and set up an intriguing evening session.

Resuming it was Neil who appeared to have wrested the initiative as he fired in a 56, only to leave the final red sitting over the corner pocket. Helping himself to the lifeline thrown to him Trump struck a 33 to clear up and pinch the frame. A frame that Robertson should have won. Now, 4-5 behind he needed a swift and sharp response.

It seemed as though Robertson would soon level at 5-5. Trump's long red to the corner wobbled in the jaws and stayed out. Even worse the cue ball travelled back up the table and left Robertson with an easy starter. It was a gilt edged chance that ended on 36 when the Aussie was forced into safety. As Trump countered the scores were delicately poised at 37-36 in favour of Robertson. Two reds left on the table and it was Trump who erred as he left a red sitting over the corner pocket. Yet as Robertson cued the shot the red wobbled in the jaw and stayed out. Trump hardly daring to believe his good fortune stepped in and cleared to the green. All he needed was the frame ball brown. He missed it and Robertson held his nerve to sink the brown. Next up was the blue. In cutting it to the centre Robertson saw the blue hit the knuckle. But he was fortunate as the cue ball travelled towards the corner pocket and was covered by the pink. Chances were going begging and with the scores 54-52 it became a black ball game that was settled when Robertson finally nailed the black and let rip with a fist pump and a cry of "Come On".

But still Robertson couldn't finish off a frame in one visit. He should have wrapped up the eleventh when well in with a 42. But his inability to finish a frame off was to cost him again as Trump cleared up to lead 6-5

Trump dominated the twelfth frame with a break of 73- after Robertson had left a red sitting ober the corner pocket. For the first time since the opening two frames Trump had a two frame buffer at 7-5. And he needed just two more for victory.

The power of fate seemed to be against Robertson as a break of 49 came to an abrupt end when a kick in cueing the red resulted in the cue ball going off. Taking a red to the centre Judd confidently dispatched a quickfire 26 before leaving Robertson snookered on all four remaining reds. But this time it was Judd who erred and left Neil a chance of a red to the centre. Grabbing it he knocked in a vital 18 to leave Judd looking for snookers which he was not to find.

With the pace of the match slowing it was developing into a tactical battle as well. A re-recked 13th frame ended with Robertson finally forcing a mistake from Trump. Sinking a mid length red Robertson showed more like his usual fluency in firing in a break of 83 to level at 7-7. Effectively the match was now the best of three.

But could Robertson sustain it. Initially the answer appeared to be yes as well placed among the balls he could only make seven before overcutting a red to the centre. With the chance now in Judd's hands he calmly with a break of 51 before missing the frame ball red. But Judd was not to be denied and drilled in a long red and followed up with the pink and a red to move to within one frame of victory.

With the scores poised at 37-36 in favour of the Englishman Robertson knew he couldn't afford anymore mistakes. But he left a straight red to the corner and Judd seized his chance. The red disappeared and followed with the oink and the final red and a blue to arrive at the colours. The yellow, awkwardly placed on the cushion disappeared and Trump duly completed the formalities to the pink to seal a nerve jangling victory and set up a final with Mark Allen or Ricky Walden.

Suzy Jardine - The Barbican, York.