Two of the three Irish players have surrendered their 100% winning record in the round robin stage of European Snooker Championship but the trio remain well placed to qualify for the last 32 on Tuesday.
Former three-time Irish National Senior champion Martin McCrudden lost his first match of the tournament following a 4-2 defeat to former professional Alex Borg in Bulgaria.
The Maltese 42 year-old, who first made the professional ranks 20 years ago, fired a stunning break of 141 to seal the encounter in the sixth frame – the highest break of the tournament so far.
Borg remains undefeated after five of his seven group stage matches and is assured of a place in the knockout rounds.
Indeed, the European champion in 2005 and 2006 has contributed the most breaks over 50 and is quite clearly in excellent form as he makes his challenge for the last available professional card for the 2011/2012 season.
McCrudden, though, with four wins out of five is still comfortably in the top four in Group B, which would be enough to see him qualify to the next stage.
Countryman Vincent Muldoon continues to impress in Sofia with a perfect record after his four matches so far.
Three centuries – equal most with Borg – and a hat-full of other high breaks will send out a strong message to the rest of the competitors as the Galway potter attempts to return to the Main Tour following an absence of two years.
Muldoon has dropped only two frames so far, though it still does not compare to Iceland’s Kristján Helgason who has romped to a quartet of whitewashes in Group E.
Other former professionals Patrick Einsle from Germany and Welshman Lee Walker are also performing to a high standard, as is Walker’s compatriot Daniel Wells.
Wells, like Adam Duffy, is already assured of his place on the circuit for the upcoming campaign but is determined to end what he hopes will be the climax of his amateur career in style.
The third Irishman, Robert Murphy, lost his third match of the event to Walker but would still feel confident of doing enough in the next few days to progress onwards.
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