Alfie Burden made the first ever maximum break in the inaugural Home Nations series at the English Open on Tuesday.
The 39 year-old’s 100th career century was as memorable as they come as he squared his first round encounter with Daniel Wells with a perfect 147 break.
Unfortunately for the Englishman, Wells subsequently went on to take the deciding frame to ensure he instead advanced to the last 64 in Manchester.
However, some consolation for Burden will be that, if his achievement isn’t matched this week, he’ll pocket £10,000 from the rolling 147 purse, as well as £2,000 for this tournament’s high break prize.
As well as that, despite the increasing regularity of the feat, a 147 for Burden, who has been a professional since 1994, will certainly live long in his memory.
Meanwhile on day two, just like the opening day at Event City, there were hardly any upsets of note to talk about as the seeds powered through to the next stage.
Perhaps it’s the prospect of the £1 million bonus for winning all four Home Nations events this season, or just the fact that most of the heavy-hitters are starting to hit their stride as the campaign gathers momentum, but just Joe Perry of the top 16 stars failed to progress to the second round.
Recent European Masters champion Judd Trump beat veteran Ken Doherty 4-1 while Ronnie O’Sullivan, runner-up in Romania on Sunday, raced through his tie with Jimmy Robertson 4-0 in less than an hour.
The ‘Rocket’ will meet talented teenager Zhao Xintong of China for a place in the last 32 while Trump tackles amateur Jamie Bodle, who ousted former UK and Masters champion Matthew Stevens on Monday.
Elsewhere, world no.1 Mark Selby, Shaun Murphy, Neil Robertson and Mark Allen all emerged victorious in relatively comfortable outings.
Scottish duo John Higgins and Anthony McGill had slightly more difficult times of it but still managed respective 4-2 triumphs over Michael Wild and Jamie Cope, but former world champion Graeme Dott was whitewashed by Liang Wenbo.
Arguably the tie of the first round saw Ali Carter meet Luca Brecel, and it was the former who clinched a tight deciding frame victory over the Belgian.
Carter’s countryman Barry Hawkins was also taken the distance before seeing off Jack Lisowski 4-3.
Meanwhile, Dubliner Fergal O’Brien inflicted a 4-0 drubbing on Robbie Williams while other former ranking event champions Ricky Walden and Marco Fu similarly moved onto the next stage.
There were victories for Chinese trio Xiao Guodong, Mei Xiwen and 16 year-old Yan Bingtao while Thai’s Noppon Saengkham defeated Michael Georgiou.
Mark Davis, David Gilbert, Andrew Higginson and Rod Lawler were among the others to establish an early win.
The crowds continued to be sparse on Tuesday, albeit there was a larger contingent inevitably in to watch O’Sullivan strut his stuff in the evening session.
One early positive for this event, though, has been its coverage on television and online.
Eurosport has taken some stick for its Player streaming service in recent months – rightly so – but the team of Matt Smith and company has provided great studio analysis and post-match interviews with the players, and the addition of Quest TV on Freeview/Saorview for the afternoon bout of play has already worked a treat.
The more widespread coverage, the better.
Categories: Snooker News