The Chinese contingent suffered a horrible day in the final qualifying round for their flagship event, the China Open, yesterday as all four remaining players were dumped out in Sheffield.
Irishman Fergal O’Brien edged Li Yan 5-4 to make it back-to-back successes in the qualifying cubicles having recently reached the main draw in the Welsh Open.
Another old campaigner in Stephen Hendry easily saw off Yu Delu 5-1 in a match where the outcome was all but confirmed when the Scot claimed the fifth frame on the black having needed a snooker with only two balls remaining on the table.
It continues a return to some form for the seven-time world champion after following out of the elite top 16 for the first time since he was still a teenager and, even though he put out one of their own, Hendry will be given just as much red carpet treatment as the rest of the players in Beijing next month.
Peter Ebdon and Barry Hawkins whitewashed Liang Wenbo and Liu Chuang respectively while Hong Kong’s Marco Fu was also on the losing end after a 5-1 defeat by rising Welsh star Jamie Jones.
Ken Doherty couldn’t pull off a second miraculous comeback in two days and lost out to Marcus Campbell 5-2 but Jimmy White was able to reach the venue stage of a ranking event for the first time in this campaign after coming through against Andrew Higginson 5-3 in impressive fashion.
Approaching 50 years of age, it is a testament to the ‘Whirlwind’ that he is still able to compete at the very highest level and not only compete, but win his fair share of matches.
Steve Davis, at almost 55, is another golden oldie but succumbed to a 5-1 drubbing at the hands of Rory McLeod while Alan McManus was pipped 5-4 by Jamie Cope.
Joe Perry, Mark King, Tom Ford, Ricky Walden, Michael Holt and Ben Woollaston were other Englishman to book their flight across the world while Welshman Dominic Dale saw off Jack Lisowski 5-2.