Ireland Cued Up as Malta Remain Undefeated

Ireland got their World Cup campaign back on track with a 5-0 victory over UAE on the second day in China.

Tony Drago and teammate Alex Borg have an unblemished record so far.
Tony Drago and teammate Alex Borg have an unblemished record so far.

Ken Doherty and Fergal O’Brien lost their opening match 4-1 after a delay in the arrival of their equipment resulted in them being forced to compete with borrowed cues.

The comprehensive win on Tuesday means they are just a point behind Thailand, who overcame Germany in a tight tussle 3-2, and level on six points with China B.

The young Chinese outfit, combining for a remarkable age of just 32, narrowly lost out to England, who remain in a precarious fifth place position in Group D.

However, with only three points separating the top five there is still plenty of snooker to be played before the two quarter-final places are determined.

By contrast, the situation is much more different in Group C, with Northern Ireland and Wales supporting their initial 5-0 wins with 4-1 drubbings yesterday over Qatar and Poland respectively.

This puts them level at the top of the table, four points clear of Australia, who struggled to an unexpected 3-2 loss to Pakistan.

In Group B, Belgium rose to the top of the league with a 5-0 whitewash over Malaysia, with Hong Kong, Scotland and Brazil well placed behind them.

Brazil’s Igor Figueiredo and Itaro Santos scored an impressed 3-2 success over the Scottish duo of John Higgins and Stephen Maguire – one of the pre-tournament favourites.

Malta, meanwhile, are the only team left in the tournament who are yet to concede a frame after a second successive 5-0 triumph in Group A.

China A and India are hot on their heels, though, boosted by 5-0 scorelines of their own against Singapore and Austria.

With three rounds of matches in each group still to be played, a lot can and probably will change over the coming days in Wuxi.

The full draw can be viewed by clicking here.

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World Rankings Top 16

World Rankings after the Northern Ireland Open – won by Mark Allen.

1. Judd Trump
2. Mark Selby
3. Ronnie O’Sullivan
4. Neil Robertson
5. Kyren Wilson
6. John Higgins
7. Shaun Murphy
8. Stephen Maguire
9. Mark Allen
10. Ding Junhui
11. Mark Williams
12. Stuart Bingham
13. Yan Bingtao
14. Barry Hawkins
15. Jack Lisowski
16. Anthony McGill

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