Kilkenny’s David Morris came from 4-2 behind to beat Adam Wicheard in a deciding frame and advance to the second round of qualifying for the World Open.
The 23 year-old needs a strong second half to the season if he wants to assure his place on the Main Tour as he is currently outside the 64 places in the world rankings that guarantees a player’s professional status.
It looked like things were going from bad to worse when Morris wasted an opportunity to tie the game up at 3-3 but reeled off three consecutive frames in speedy fashion to shock his English opponent.
The Irishman will fancy his chances of progressing further in the qualifiers now and plays Tony Drago in the next stage tomorrow – the Maltese star having an out-of-sorts campaign himself.
China’s Tian Pengfei won the only other match that went the distance today when he pipped Stuart Carrington 5-4 while countryman Yu Delu beat fellow Chinese player Cao Yupeng 5-2, scoring the highest century break of the opening day with a 136.
The Chinese hopefuls will be desperate to go through all four rounds of qualifying as it was announced earlier in the week that the Asian country will play host to the World Open at the end of February.
All in all, it was a rather good day for the cueists outside the UK as India’s Aditya Mehta edged David Grace 5-3 while Dechawat Poomjaeng of Thailand defeated last year’s Crucible debutant Andrew Pagett 5-2.
Four English players did have a good day, though, with Sam Baird, Sam Craigie, Andrew Norman and Adam Duffy all proving too strong for their respective opposition.