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Mighty Maxes but Rocket Runs Empty

It has only been five days since Mark Selby’s landmark 147 break that was the 100th made in professional competition.

Yet, there has already been two further maximums compiled since that memorable moment – both coming in the German Masters opening round.

The Berlin event doesn’t get under way properly until the end of January but the first round took place in Barnsley over the last couple of days to whittle the sizeable 128-man field down to 64.

And with the snooker action coming thick and fast these days, Thailand’s Dechawat Poomjaeng and Gary Wilson of England recorded their maiden maximum breaks.

It continues a trend in recent seasons of a flurry of 147 breaks coming in quick succession at this stage of the campaign and perhaps highlights that the players are producing at their most optimum level at this point.

Poomjaeng, who entertained the masses on his run to the last 16 of the World Championship in April, was hitting the headlines again as he made the perfect clearance in a 5-3 win over Zak Surety while Wilson, one of the star newcomers to the circuit this season, repeated the feat in his impressive 5-3 defeat of Ricky Walden.

Chester’s Walden was on the receiving end of Selby’s effort in the semi-finals of the UK Championship in York at the weekend and he had to sit and watch again as his opponent mopped up in style.

The prize money couldn’t be much different, though, with the pair sharing only 2,000 pounds in comparison to the 59K the ‘Jester’ collected for his 147.

Still, it will be a proud achievement for both competitors and the fact that they went on to qualify for the event proper in Germany next month will have made it all the more sweet.

Especially for Wilson, who continues a fine season with an excellent victory over a member of the game’s elite.

Wilson was a pro on the Main Tour years ago but failed to make as big of an impact as he is enjoying now having finally returned to the circuit.

Indeed, the only new or returning player who has performed better than Wilson is Ireland’s David Morris.

Morris, who reached the quarter-finals of the Wuxi Classic and only last week featured in the last 16 at the Barbican Centre, booked another flight abroad after a 5-2 success over Rory McLeod.

The win sets up an intriguing tie with double world champion Mark Williams while, amazingly, after only six months, Morris is already in the top 64 of the provisional money standings – the list that will be used to determine rankings from next season onwards.

Most of the results at the Metrodome went true to form but the 2012 champion Ronnie O’Sullivan is out after a lacklustre performance against Thepchaiya Un-Nooh that ended in a 5-4 defeat to the Thai.

The other big surprise featured teenager Joel Walker, who was once mentored by the ‘Rocket’, but it was not so much his triumph over Robert Milkins that was impressive, rather the 5-0 scoreline.

Martin Gould was another member of the top 32 to go by the wayside while former Crucible quarter-finalist Jamie Jones was also felled, as was namesake Jamie Cope.

Other than that, though, it was straight-forward progression for the big stars.

Ali Carter typically complained about the conditions in the arena following his victory over Elliot Slessor but remains in the hunt to defend the title he won early in 2013.

There wasn’t all that many deciders but one featured the ‘Whirlwind’ Jimmy White, with the Londoner clearing the colours in the last frame to seal a nervy 5-4 victory over Australia’s Vinne Calabrese, while fellow oldie Steve Davis returned from the jungle to record a 5-0 win over Dylan Mitchell.

Advancing past the opening round in every tournament is becoming imperative for both of these legends as they skirt dangerously with the top 64 line in the world rankings.

Failure to remain inside this cut by May will result in one or both of them dropping off the tour.

Dubliners Ken Doherty and Fergal O’Brien ensured it would be a trio of Irishmen advancing after comfortable wins over David Grace and Lee Page respectively.

The final action of snooker in 2013 takes place today and tomorrow in Barnsley with the first round, or qualifying stage if you will, for the Haikou World Open.

In action are all the regulars, minus world champion O’Sullivan who has chosen not to enter this one.

Making up the numbers as one of the amateurs invited to take part in replacement of the absent pros is Irish talent Josh Boileau, who is in action against China’s Yu Delu.

The draw for the German Masters can be viewed by clicking here

 

The draw for the World Open 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.

4 replies »

  1. David, was not it wiser for the Rocket to withdraw from the match, like he did already, rather than to play such snooker? I was shocked to watch Ronnie play like that. From the first shots it was clearly seen that he has on desire to go to Germany. Can he be punished for losing a match on purpose?

    • He didn’t lose on purpose, he just didn’t try very hard to win. There’s a big difference there. It wasn’t very professional but that’s Ronnie for you, you’ve got to accept that these things will happen from time to time – like it has done his entire career.

      • Thanks David. Are you planning to post some general articles on snooker in the near future? It is always great pleasure to read your posts.

        • I hope so. I’d like to do more opinion pieces but finding the time is sometimes difficult. I haven’t forgotten about your requests, though, and I’ll write articles on those prior to the World Championship.