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Great Scots

Most of the big-name players in action on Sunday advanced unscathed from their second round encounters at the UK Championship in York.

The biggest scare came when 2004 champion Stephen Maguire found himself 5-2 down to young Belgian talent Luca Brecel.

However, the teenager panicked with the winning line in sight, allowing his more experienced opponent in to capitalise.

Brecel had chances in most of the last four frames but Maguire smelled blood and completed the turnaround with a confident 91 in the decider.

It was a relief to the former world no.2, who has endured a poor season so far by his standards.

The 32 year-old reached the last four of the Indian Open but had not won a match in any of the other ranking events until this week.

It was a damaging defeat for Brecel, who is currently outside the top 64 in the world rankings who automatically regain their place on the Main Tour for next season.

Maguire’s victory was one of many in what was a good day for Scotland at the Barbican.

Four-time world champion John Higgins easily overcame Rod Lawler 6-1 and looks in pretty good form.

Higgins has been struggling a little of late having tinkered with a new cue and led to his pre-tournament title odds drifting to 16/1 – a sizeable number for somebody of his calibre.

The 38 year-old will take on countryman Jamie Burnett for a place in the last 16 after the latter won three of the last four frames to oust rookie Chris Wakelin in a deciding frame shoot-out.

Meanwhile, the biggest upset of the day came from 19 year-old Scott Donaldson, with the Perth native following up his victory over Matthew Selt in round one with a further success over top 16 player Mark Davis.

The defeat for Davis puts a dent into his chances of earning an invitation into the upcoming Masters tournament at the Alexandra Palace in January.

Anthony McGill wasted little time in getting in on the Highlands action when he whitewashed Chris Norbury, making it seven Scottish players that will be involved in the third round.

Like Ireland, Scotland has struggled to produce a new batch of player that can emulate the success of their predecessors – in this case the likes of Hendry and Higgins.

Most of the seven remaining are seasoned pros, with some approaching the latter years of their careers, but in McGill and Donaldson they have a realistic hope for some future glory.

Elsewhere on the sixth day, it was almost too easy for Judd Trump as he romped to a 6-0 drubbing over Thailand’s Dechawat Poomjaeng.

The 2011 champion almost compiled a maximum but tried an ambitious shot on the thirteenth black that went awry and his effort ended on 97.

He admitted afterwards that he approaches every frame with the mindset of compiling the perfect frame so we might yet see the 100th professional 147 break during this event.

Welshmen Matthew Stevens and Mark Williams, also in the hunt for those Masters spots, earned contrasting wins over Yu Delu and Rory McLeod respectively.

In a topsy-turvy affair with Yu, Stevens came from behind and sank a cracking long pink in the final frame to pip the Chinese 6-5.

In contrast, Williams was always in control of his contest and his victory sets up a clash with two-time ranking event winner Ricky Walden after his 6-2 defeat of Peter Lines.

It wasn’t a good day for People’s Champion Jimmy White, playing in his first televised match on the BBC since the 2010 UK Championship, with the ‘Whirlwind’ going down 6-2 to Stuart Bingham.

The 1992 champion will be particularly disappointed given the fact he had so many chances against an out-of-sorts ‘Ballrun’.

Yet, he couldn’t settle on his return to the main arena and it later emerged that Bingham had been distracted because of a minor accident his wife was involved in on Saturday. Thankfully, she’s fine.

Finally, Ding Junhui remains on course for four ranking titles in a row after a 6-1 win over boyhood hero James Wattana while Mark Allen, Robert Milkins, Joe Perry, Li Hang and Stuart Carrington were also victorious in the second round.

Today’s line-up is rather box-office with Ronnie O’Sullivan, Mark Selby and Neil Robertson completing the second round – as well as amateur Mitchell Travis’ first game since shocking Marco Fu, he’s up against Kurt Maflin.

As the last 32 also gets under way, the evening session in particular looks tasty with Graeme Dott vs Ali Carter, Judd Trump vs Xiao Guodong and Liang Wenbo vs Stephen Maguire set to entertain what have already been big crowds in the main arena. 

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.

3 replies »

  1. do you really think Luca is a talent? I do not think so. He had one good run at the Worlds, but nothing more since then. The way he behaves at the table is somewhat strange and gets not only my nerves but also on Ali Carter’s as well. It was clearly seen it their last match.

  2. You have to remember that he is still only 18. He also reached the quarter-finals of the UK Championship last year. He is inconsistent because he is still inexperienced but look at Judd Trump – it took him several years to adapt to the professional scene but he eventually did. Luca has the talent to be a multi-ranking event winner, of that there is no doubt.

  3. Thanks for your comment, David.
    I think it is not fair to compare Judd and Luca, but I got your idea. Let’s hope we hear about him winning tournaments in future.
    By the way, may I ask you another question about the players, namely Adam Duffy and Judd Trump. While watching the match of Ronnie with Adam on Eurosport Russia with comments from the Vladimir Sinitsin – a very well-known person in the Russian speaking community of snooker fans (@essnooker) – the latter said that Adam Duffy told in his interview that he and Judd are no longer friends they used to be when they shared a flat. But on the very same day Judd in his post match interview said warm words about Adam. So my question is: are they still close friends or was it just a friendly comment?
    Thanks in advance for your feedback, David.