Snooker News

Wonderful Walden Fires 147

Ricky Walden became the third Englishman in a week to compile a perfect frame of snooker at the tenth Players Tour Championship event in Sheffield.

Former Shanghai Masters champion Walden constructed the 147 break in his opening round match with Welshman Gareth Allen following two similar maximums recently by Mike Dunn and David Gray.

That brings the total to four this season and puts a comprehensible end to an unusual barren spell that lasted several months.

Perhaps more importantly, the 29 year-old followed up his 4-1 defeat of Allen with two battling deciding frame thrillers over Marks King and Williams.

Irishman Ken Doherty joined him in the last 16 tomorrow with a strong performance throughout the day’s play – however, the former world champion was made to work past 1am to complete a gruelling advance.

Doherty whitewashed amateur Ricky Norris 4-0 before close victories over Peter Lines and Sam Baird, who had earlier knocked out Sunday’s Premier League champion Ronnie O’Sullivan in the opening round, ensured the Dubliner’s progress to round four.

Liang Wenbo will be the 42 year-old’s opponent for a place in he quarter-finals after a very important treble success for the Chinaman.

The former ranking event finalist has endured a very difficult couple of years that has seen him go from the brink of super-stardom in his native China to a struggle to stay within the world’s top 50 ranked players.

Yet, this will go a long way to keeping the 24 year-old in the top 48 at the next cut-off point – meaning he will only have two qualifying rounds for the next batch of ranking events in the spring.

Lowly ranked Englishman David Grace had a day to remember with close contests against Mark Davis, Liam Highfield and Jimmy Robertson – two of which he prevailed in a deciding frame.

The former European amateur champion may well fancy his chances tomorrow too in a fourth round clash with veteran Dave Harold, who enjoyed a rather rare resurgence in form.

Top 16 members Graeme Dott and Stephen Lee will do battle in one of the ties of the morning session on Wednesday with the former notably dispatching¬†Fergal O’Brien in the last 32.

Finally, Welshman Dominic Dale will challenge Walden after stand-out victories over talented youngster Jamie Jones, former world champion Shaun Murphy and amateur Jamie O’Neill.

The full list of results and the draw can be viewed by clicking here.

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