Ken Doherty Gibraltar Open

Doherty and Morris Through First Round

Irishmen Ken Doherty and David Morris won their opening qualifying match for the World Championship at Ponds Forge on Thursday.

Ken Doherty Riga
Doherty last qualified in 2014 – photo courtesy of Monique Limbos.

Doherty compiled a 109 and four other breaks above 50 as he saw off Andy Hicks 10-6 while Morris made two tons en route to his 10-5 victory over Chris Melling.

Morris’ win is crucial to his chances of remaining inside the top 64 at the end of the season, therefore regaining his tour card, but the Kilkenny cueist is going to need at least more victory as several of those around him who he is competing with in the rankings also won.

Morris will play Scotland’s Alan McManus next while Doherty tackles Iranian Hossein Vafaei Ayouri, who has been based in Navan for much of the last couple of years.

Ayouri prevailed in a grueling battle with China’s Tian Pengfei 10-7.

Elsewhere, it wasn’t such a good day for Brendan O’Donoghue as, despite a mini revival late on, the Irish national champion went down 10-5 to David Grace.

Josh Boileau was also given a rude awakening as to what life on the circuit might be like next season after the 20 year-old was hammered 10-2 by Matthew Stevens.

Meanwhile, Jimmy White fans were put through it once again and suffered yet more heartache as the six-time runner-up surrendered a 9-7 lead to Gerard Greene, losing the last three frames for another painful defeat.

There were upsets of sorts for Greene’s fellow Northern Irishman Joe Swail and fellow veteran Rod Lawler, both exiting at the first hurdle thanks to a pair of young Chinese.

Swail lost 10-7 to Zhang Yong while promising amateur Zhao Xintong edged Lawler in a decider.

Quite a few of the players fancied to qualify for the Crucible advanced, including Ryan Day, Graeme Dott, Kyren Wilson, Kurt Maflin, Michael Holt and Robert Milkins.

Peter Lines scored a 10-1 triumph over 2015 world ladies champion Ng On Yee, but the Hong Kong native was able to at least avoid the whitewash by taking the penultimate frame.

Welsh amateur Tyler Rees didn’t even manage that feat, though, as he was humbled 10-0 by Jimmy Robertson.

Thais Noppon Saengkham and Thepchaiya Un-Nooh progressed to the second qualifying round, the latter coming from 8-5 down to pip compatriot Akani Songsermsawad in a final frame shoot-out.

Finally, Li Hang needed all but one frame to dismantle the challenge of his fellow Chinese Lu Chenwei, while Scott Donaldson and Stuart Carrington also won.

There are two more days of first round action in Sheffield with the likes of Luca Brecel and David Gilbert entering the fold tomorrow.

Click here to view the draw.

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