Leading Irish amateur Rodney Goggins continued his excellent week at the Six Red World Championship by beating Judd Trump 5-1 to top his group in Thailand.
Goggins had already enjoyed a 100% win success record during the round robin stage and his apparent love affair with the shorter, modified format seems to be continuing as he becomes one of the top seeds entering the knock-out phase – which begins tomorrow.
The Wexford potter will have no star name to fear in the last 32 either as he has been drawn against home player Panompai Powises – one of an impressive seven Thai players still left in the competition proving that Six Reds really is a popular attraction in the Far East nation…despite the lack of evidence of which in crowd numbers.
So the question now is how far can Goggins go? A good omen on his side is the fact that he has reached the semi-finals or better in all of the major events he has contested at home and abroad over the last ten or so months.
The 34 year-old had spells as a professional on the Main Tour but it didn’t work out for him and he chose not to compete in Q-School last May to regain his place.
However, he is widely regarded among the snooker community in Ireland as one of the best and most consistent the country has produced in the last decade and it is clear to see why.
Although played with nine less reds, the regular ideals of normal snooker are all but the same ensuring that there will be a deserving champion come the end of the tournament on Saturday.
With the likes of Trump and Barry Hawkins already defeated, Goggins’ confidence levels should be at an all-time high and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him go even deeper into the event.
Joining him in the first round will be a more well-known Irishman in Ken Doherty after the Dubliner edged Mark Williams 5-4 in his final round robin match to narrowly secure his berth at the expense of fellow former world champion Peter Ebdon.
China Open champion Ebdon wasn’t the only big-name casualty with Scots Stephen Maguire and Marcus Campbell also biting the bullet.
Doherty’s draw in the last 32 could not have been much more difficult as he faces world no.1 Mark Selby – The ‘Jester from Leicester’ being the defending champion from the last time this event was held in Bangkok in 2010.
Two other former champions go head to with Jimmy White and Ricky Walden hoping to extend their Six Reds pedigree while other notable ties include in-form Stuart Bingham’s clash with Trump and an intriguing encounter between pals Stephen Lee and Matthew Stevens.
Last 32 Draw
Mark Selby – Ken Doherty
Graeme Dott – Noppon Saengkham
Stuart Bingham – Judd Trump
Andrew Higginson – Hossein Vafei Ayouri
Mark Williams – Joe Perry
Tom Ford – Marco Fu
Barry Hawkins – Saleh Mohammad
James Wattana – Shaun Murphy
Lee Walker – Issara Kachaiwong
Thanawat Thirapongpaiboon – Thepchaiya Un-Nooh
Dechawat Poomjaeng – Darren Morgan
Jimmy White – Ricky Walden
Stephen Lee – Matthew Stevens
Steve Davis – Mark Davis
Aditya Mehta – Dominic Dale
Panompai Porvises – Rodney Goggins