Snooker News

Akbar Hammers Jones in World Qualifying

Pakistan’s Hamza Akbar caused a major upset as he knocked out Jamie Jones in the first round of qualifying for the Betfred World Championship.

NSTP

Akbar beat Pankaj Advani 7-6 to win the Asian Championship – photo by Goh Thean Howe

Akbar, in his rookie season as a professional after winning the 2015 Asian Championship, had not previously won a match on the Main Tour.

However, the 22 year-old dominated the former quarter-finalist from the outset, establishing a 7-2 first session advantage before coaxing to a 10-5 triumph over the Welshman.

Jones created headlines as a qualifier himself in 2012 with a magical run to the last eight at the Crucible but has mostly struggled to replicate that kind of form since then.

Akbar will move forward to play Ian Burns at Ponds Forge with two more victories required if he is to cause what would be a sensation by reaching the venue outright.

Burns endured a more difficult clash against another Welshman but prevailed 10-8 over Duane Jones.

Meanwhile, there was another surprise of sorts as Ben Woollaston exited in a decider to Chris Wakelin.

Woollaston looked in control when he led 9-7 but Wakelin responded well and won the last three frames – helped by a 107 in the penultimate frame to force the shoot-out.

1995 runner-up Nigel Bond also required the use of all 19 frames as he pipped Andrew Higginson 10-9.

Elsewhere, 2002 champion Peter Ebdon just about got the better of fellow veteran James Wattana in a mostly scrappy affair 10-6.

Ebdon had a best run of 105, while Wattana also compiled a 111, but most of the frames were scrappy ones that could have been won by either player.

Ireland’s Leo Fernandez, who qualified for the World Championship in 1999 and who looks set to return to the circuit as a professional next season, lost 10-4 to Gary Wilson while four-time quarter-finalist Anthony Hamilton comfortably beat Sydney Wilson 10-3.

A brace of 10-7 scorelines complete the results from the first day of qualifying as Robbie Williams and Mark Joyce edged Gareth Allen and Zak Surety respectively.

Eight other ties reached the halfway point of their encounters.

Jimmy White squandered a strong position against Gerard Greene, losing several frames he should have won to see a 4-1 lead turn into a disappointing overnight 5-4 deficit.

David Grace boasts a 5-1 advantage over Irish national champion Brendan O’Donoghue in a drawn out affair in which the pair only managed to complete two-thirds of their allotted frames.

Hong Kong 2015 World Ladies champion Ng On Yee found the going very tough as she lost all nine frames to Peter Lines while Michael Holt also ran a rout against Michael Wild, similarly just one frame away from a whitewash win.

Robert Milkins, Kurt Maflin and Rod Lawler are all in strong positions while Graeme Dott, Li Hang, Michael Georgiou and Sheffield’s Joel Walker all have narrow 5-4 leads.

Those ties finish on Thursday afternoon while 11 other games will be contested to a conclusion on day two as well.

Among those playing will be Irishmen Ken Doherty, David Morris and Josh Boileau.

Click here to view the full draw.

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