Delaney Sets up Old Irish Clash

Joe Delaney won two qualifying matches at the Paul Hunter Classic in Furth to book a date with fellow Dubliner Fergal O’Brien in the first round proper of PTC 4.

Delaney dropped off the professional Main Tour last season after suffering a dramatic drop down the rankings after the influx of all the new events.

However, the 39 year-old has continued on the amateur scene over the summer months and has reached the first round proper of a PTC event for the second time.

The clash between two of Ireland’s stalwarts is a throwback to the years when the sport was a hotbed in the country.

Ken Doherty and O’Brien himself were regular Top 16 members in the 1990s and 2000s with the former obviously claiming the 1997 World Championship as well.

There have been signs of a growth in the game on the Emerald Isle and young pros like David Hogan and David Morris are currently attempting to make a breakthrough with Vincent Muldoon a main contender on the worldwide amateur scene.

But it will be good to see Delaney and O’Brien battle it out in Germany and at least it means that there’ll be an extra Irishman in the second round – Hogan is¬†already through after the withdrawal of Tony Drago.

Elsewhere, a lot of the regularly featured amateurs performed well on day one with Craig Steadman enjoying a fine 4-3 victory over Jak Jones while fellow Englishmen Martin O’Donnell and Nick Jennings also advanced to the last 128.

Germany’s Phil Barnes arguably caused the greatest amount of upsets on home territory as he ousted in-form female star Reanne Evans before knocking out German World Cup member Lasse Munstermann in the final amateur round of qualifying.

The triumph sets up a meeting with ‘Shotgun’ Jamie Cope while countrymen Stefan Jaochim and Christof Biniarsch also progressed.

It would be positive for snooker in Germany if some of their home players could make a good run because it is already clear that there is huge appeal for the game in the nation following the successful German Masters last February.

In an interesting twist to the scheduling, some of the amateur encounters have been left back until tomorrow evening which means that the entire first round draw is not yet known.

It does, however, ensure another day’s build up for the clash of the Twitter favourites as Ben Harrison and Allan Taylor lock horns for a meeting with a professional player.

Some of the intriguing first round clashes tomorrow include Jimmy White’s tie with Kurt Maflin – a player who has continuously proven his ability in recent months – while Dominic Dale takes on Kilkenny’s Morris.

The full draw can be viewed by clicking here.

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