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More Upsets as Liang Misses 100th Maximum

The second day of the UK Championship threw up another few unexpected results but not as many as the higher ranked players fought back on Wednesday in York.

Five players ranked inside the world’s top 41 were dumped out of the competition on the opening day’s action and they were duly accompanied by four more yesterday.

Martin Gould, who is struggling for form this season and was edged 4-3 by Neil Robertson in last week’s Champion of Champions, was sent tumbling by fellow Englishman Chris Norbury.

There are 83 places between the pair in the rankings but even worse was Welshman Ryan Day’s plight.

In a topsy-turvy encounter with rookie Chris Wakelin, Day appeared to grasp control of the match when he won four frames on the spin to lead 5-4 from three down.

However, he surrendered the final two frames to lose to a player ranked 85 places beneath him.

21 year-old Wakelin, from Rugby, impressed at the recent Kay Suzanne Memorial Cup, reaching the quarter-finals in Gloucester, but this is the first time he has advanced beyond the first round in a main ranking event.

His victory over Day also enacts some revenge for losing to the three-time ranking event finalist in the International Championship earlier this season.

China’s Li Hang won the last three frames to come from behind to beat David Gilbert but the biggest turnaround of the day saw Scotland’s Michael Leslie overturn a 4-0 deficit against Jack Lisowski to amazingly win 6-4.

Leslie’s triumph sets up a clash with Asian Tour event winner Liang Wenbo, who missed out on compiling the 100th maximum break en route to a 6-2 victory over Elliot Slessor.

In the final frame, Liang sunk all 15 reds and blacks but agonisingly missed the yellow and the wait for the century goes on.

There have actually only been three 147 breaks in 2013, which is a little surprising considering there were 11 in 2012.

It just goes to show that despite the ability of the players on the Main Tour these days, and the increased opportunities to compete competitively, the perfect frame remains a considerably difficult feat to achieve.

Elsewhere, the results were more straight-forward, even if achieving them was anything but for the players involved.

Veteran Alan McManus witnessed his chances of progressing to the last 64 crumble before his very eyes when his opponent Joel Walker came from 5-2 down to force a decider, and subsequently a re-spotted black.

But the terribly unlucky teenager played a safety which resulted in the cueball going in-off – an immediate concession under the circumstance – and the Scottish former Masters champion scraped through.

It wasn’t the only mammoth decider of the day as two other Scotsmen, Marcus Campbell and Anthony McGill, emerged from titanic tussles with young, talented challengers as well.

Campbell edged China’s prodigy Lu Haotian, who only turns 16 on Friday, while McGill held off a late burst from Kyren Wilson to prevail in a gut-wrenching decider on the final black.

It was much more straight-forward for Michael White, who destroyed Joe Swail in a whitewash win that lasted only a couple of hours.

Finally, Andrew Higginson, Yu Delu and Jamie Burnett enjoyed success over Hammad Miah, David Grace and Simon Bedford respectively.

On Thursday, some of the bigger names enter the fray – including Judd Trump, Mark Allen and Mark Williams.

The live television broadcast does not commence until Saturday when BBC’s distinctly mediocre coverage begins – Eurosport, unsurprisingly, offer a better service.

However, in the opening few days there is the option to watch matches streamed via the internet.

It is a wonder then who is given the task of choosing what matches to air because in the afternoon session today the two ties being shown are Dave Harold vs Chen Zhe and Rory McLeod vs Martin O’Donnell.

Now, no disrespect to any of these players at all, but why are they being streamed when matches involving the likes of Shaun Murphy, Stuart Bingham, Barry Hawkins and Jimmy White are taking place at the same time?

Answers on a postcard please!

Edit: Answers didn’t arrive by post but by Twitter, with the good people there reminding me that the early round matches are split between the main arena and a sports hall – the latter of which only has the streaming until Saturday.

Understandably, the bigger names are playing in the main venue.

 

The full draw can be viewed by clicking here



Creator of SnookerHQ and a journalism graduate, David has been actively reporting on snooker since 2011. He has been published in national publications and has appeared on BBC World News and on talkSPORT radio as an analyst.

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