The first day of the final round of qualifying for the Betfred World Championship took place on Tuesday.
Wednesday’s Judgement Day is set up nicely with an appropriate balance of runaway ties and close encounters to follow, as 16 hopefuls attempt to book their coveted spots at the Crucible.
This year World Snooker added a wonderful free initiative with sees a pair of commentators, Neal Foulds and Rob Walker, lead us in watching six out of the eight matches in a given session on their official YouTube channel.
The other two ties are streamed exclusively live on World Snooker’s subscription service or online bookmakers, meaning that for the first time the viewer has access to every table.
It resulted in some magical and not so fairy tale moments being brought to our attention like in no way possible in the past – when repeatedly refreshing the live scoring page was as good as it got for fans.
The most talked about highlight came barely an hour into the YouTube coverage when, switching over to the Thepchaiya Un-Nooh vs Anthony McGill clash, the commentators realised that the Thai could be set to make his first maximum.
Of course, Un-Nooh famously missed the final black in the 2015 UK Championship with £44,000 at stake, and quite incredibly he repeated the trick yesterday, wobbling the last ball before flinging his cue onto the table in disgust.
A few frames later he again showed his class with an effortless 144 total clearance which stands as the highest break in qualifying so far but the 30 year-old trails McGill 6-3 and one must wonder whether he’ll ever have the nerve to complete the perfect frame.
A lot of attention was also on Ding Junhui but he had few problems in establishing a convincing 8-1 lead over 1995 runner-up Nigel Bond.
Ding has surrendered just six frames across his three ties and appears certain to be the first qualifier in the bag for the main draw on Thursday – with practically every top 16 member praying that they aren’t paired with the Chinese no.1.
Another in which that elite group will be desperate to avoid is two-time finalist Ali Carter, who also opened up a comprehensive 8-1 advantage over a hapless Dominic Dale.
Veterans Peter Ebdon and Alan McManus enjoy similarly comfortable cushions over Ian Burns and Jimmy Robertson respectively, each sleeping soundly overnight with 7-2 scorelines.
The majority of the other matches still appear to be in the balance.
Ireland’s Ken Doherty orchestrated a narrow one-frame lead over Ryan Day while Kyren Wilson and Robert Milkins also have 5-4 advantages over Matthew Stevens and Kurt Maflin respectively.
In the pair of all-Chinese battles, Xiao Guodong and Zhang Anda are ahead of their compatriots Liang Wenbo and Zhou Yuelong by the same margin.
2006 champion Graeme Dott, Englishman Sam Baird and the charismatic Dechawat Poomjaeng also in front 5-4 as well.
It’s a little better for David Gilbert, Michael Holt and Robbie Williams, who all boast 6-3 leads over their opposition and are in control, though by no means over the line just yet.
Judgement Day promises to be a thrilling day of snooker, arguably the most tense and dramatic on the entire calendar.
Who will feature in this year’s World Championship alongside the likes of Ronnie O’Sullivan, Stuart Bingham, Mark Selby and Judd Trump?
There’s bound to be plenty of twists and turns before we learn the final qualifier late tonight.
Sessions begins at 11am and 5pm local time.
Categories: Snooker News