Jamie Jones survived a late rally from veteran Jimmy White to move into the final qualifying round of the UK Championship at the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester.
The talented young Welshman edged the ‘Whirlwind’ 6-5 in a dramatic encounter that could have easily gone either way.
White, buoyant from his comprehensive victory over Passakorn Suwannawat yesterday, appeared to be coasting to another victory when he grabbed an early 3-1 advantage at the mid-session interval.
However, his 23 year-old opponent turned the screw after the break and quickly claimed the following four frames to go within one of a landmark triumph.
It was here where Jones realised the enormity of claiming the scalp of one of the sport’s legends and his nerves clearly got the better of him in the next two frames as Jimmy levelled to force a decider.
Yet, 49 year-old White appeared frustrated himself at how the match had turned out and a pair of poor safety shots gifted Jones an opportunity in the final frame, one that he duly took to set up a clash with Ricky Walden tomorrow.
Another match that ended in a decider was Robert Milkins’ win over David Gilbert – Milkins also emerging victorious with a cool high scoring visit in the last.
Elsewhere, Jamie Burnett ended Tony Drago’s run with a 6-3 victory – helped largely by the Scotsman racing into a 4-0 lead with some heavy scoring.
The 36 year-old has dropped down the rankings lately and is in need of some good performances but will have to dislodge Ryan Day if he wants to reach the venue at York in December.
Adrian Gunnell withstood a mini-revival to oust Dave Harold 6-3 while Peter Lines beat Alan McManus 6-4 and China’s Li Yan shocked Jack Lisowski 6-2.
In the afternoon session, Steve Davis produced a fine performance to beat Ian McCulloch 6-2 and book a meeting with Andrew Higginson in the final qualifying stage.
McCulloch had enjoyed two 6-5 victories in the previous two days but, his 100th career century aside, this was an encounter to forget for the Englishman.
Six-time UK Champion Davis, on the other hand, put the disappointment of finishing runner-up in the World Seniors for the second consecutive year behind him with a polished display that continues his return to form of late.
In contrast to the rest of the week so far, there were no really close matches in this session with Rory McLeod and Nigel Bond’s 6-4 victories over Adam Duffy and Tian Pengfei respectively being the only tight affairs.
Elsewhere, 20 year-old Michael White continued to impress with a comfortable 6-2 win over China’s Liang Wenbo – a player that is unbelievably in danger of dropping outside the world’s top 48 at the next cut-off point.
Xiao Guodong hammered an out-of-sorts Mike Dunn 6-0 while there were also triumphs for Gerard Greene, Ben Woollaston and Matthew Selt.
Tomorrow, 32 players will battle it out for the 16 places up for grabs at the event proper next month.
Irish duo Ken Doherty and Fergal O’Brien will be in action against Peter Lines and Li Yan – both knowing that victory will go a long way in rubber-stamping their places in the top 32.
Wednesday will also mark the first time in 23 years that seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry will compete in the qualifiers when he takes on Northern Ireland’s Greene.
The draw and a full list of results can be viewed by clicking here.
Note: At the time of writing Anthony Hamilton led Mark Joyce 5-4 and Joe Jogia vs Anthony McGill was 5-5.
Update: Hamilton 6-4, Jogia 6-5 winners.