Morris Marches but Doherty Denied

David Morris has reached the final qualifying round for the Australian Open after a 5-3 victory over Fraser Patrick on Thursday.

Morris looks set to join the world's top 50 for the first time in his career - photo courtesy of Monique Limbos.
Morris looks set to join the world’s top 50 for the first time in his career – photo courtesy of Monique Limbos.

Fellow Irishman Ken Doherty crashed out, though, after letting slip a 4-2 lead over Kyren Wilson to be denied by the 23 year-old.

Kilkenny’s Morris was in good scoring form as he saw off the challenge of his Scottish opponent with runs of 63, 60, 70, 87 and 75.

The 26 year-old is playing his first season since his return to the tour a couple of years ago in which he has ranking prize money to defend, so he’ll undoubtedly be happy with his confident start in Crawley.

Morris takes on Gerard Greene in the final qualifying stage on Friday with a trip down under at stake.

It looked as though Doherty, a former semi-finalist in Bendigo, was headed in the same direction but he allowed his young challenger in for a fight back that concluded with a superb 115 century break in the decider.

Elsewhere, Hossein Vafaei Ayouri continued his impressive start as a fully fledged professional with his third victory of the week – this time a narrow 5-4 success over Lee Walker.

The Iranian had been granted a tour card for each of the last few campaigns but was unable to compete as he had issues obtaining his visa for the UK.

With that finally resolved, the former world amateur and world under-21 champion now has his chance to prove his worth and, at just 20 years of age, seemingly has a very bright future ahead of him.

There were two other deciders on the fourth day of action as English duo Jack Lisowski and Michael Georgiou edged Rory McLeod and Aditya Mehta respectively.

By all accounts, it has been an extremely disappointing couple of seasons for Lisowski, who has promised much but delivered little, so it will again be interesting to see how his prospects develop this year.

Meanwhile, Chinese pair Zhang Anda and Zhou Yuelong continued their progress while two Scotsmen in Jamie Burnett and Michael Leslie similarly advanced – the latter with a 5-0 drubbing of Sam Baird.

Northern Ireland’s Joe Swail enjoyed a 5-3 victory over Mitchell Mann while the rest of the winners on Thursday came from England.

Ian Burns, Andrew Higginson, Joel Walker, Mark Joyce, Allan Taylor and Chris Wakelin are all one win away from booking a flight to Australia.

The full draw can be viewed by clicking here.


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