Irish Out in Wuxi

The seeds enjoyed a good second day at the opening ranking event of the season, the Wuxi Classic.

But the same could not be said of the Irish challenge as Ken Doherty and David Morris joined Fergal O’Brien in the departure lounge.

Last year’s quarter-finalist Morris pushed Robert Milkins all the way but came up short in a tense decider that went down to the final colours.

These were the kind of tight tussles that the Kilkenny cueist was generally emerging victorious from this time last year so the 25 year-old will undoubtedly be disappointed to be going home early.

Doherty was looking quite good early doors in his clash with Jamie Jones and fired in a lovely 135 century break – the highest of the tournament so far – in the second frame to make it 1-1.

Yet, it was one-way traffic thereafter and the Welshman surged ahead to seal a 5-2 success over the former world champion.

Elsewhere, many of the results went true to form.

World champion Mark Selby made light work of Crucible debutant Robbie Williams, running out a comfortable 5-1 winner, while there were other straightforward triumphs for Shaun Murphy, Martin Gould, Liang Wenbo and Mark Williams.

Scot Stephen Maguire, who endured a difficult time of it for much of the last campaign, fought gallantly to overturn a 3-1 deficit to David Gilbert and prevail 5-3 with a top run of 118.

Michael White and Graeme Dott had similarly tricky ties but managed to escape without the need of a final frame, recording 5-3 defeats of Jamie Cope and Zhou Yuelong respectively.

It was a case of continuing where he left off last week for Ryan Day as the semi-finalist in Yixing appears to be in good form after he completely dismantled the challenge of Matthew Selt with a dominant 5-0 drubbing.

English duo Barry Hawkins and Joe Perry also enjoyed whitewash scorelines while much fancied Jack Lisowski had a 5-2 victory over Lu Chenwei.

There were a couple of minor upsets, though, with amateurs Oliver Brown and Zhao Xintong overcoming their professional counterparts.

However, Brown’s 5-1 triumph over rookie Oliver Lines doesn’t come necessarily as a huge surprise given the fact he knocked out Ding Junhui in the previous round while IBSF World Championship runner-up Zhao was similarly evenly matched in his contest with Q-School graduate Chris Melling.

Most definitely the biggest shock came late in the day when the newest Chinese teenage sensation Yan Bingtao, only 14 years-old, ousted veteran Barry Pinches 5-1.

Finally, Chris Wakelin saw off the challenge of amateur Joe O’Connor 5-2.

The full draw can be viewed by clicking here.


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