The July break from ranking event snooker did nothing to hinder Ken Doherty’s resurgence this season as he beat Ali Carter 4-2 to qualify for the Indian Open.
That makes it three from three in qualifying events for the Irishman this term, having only regained his place on the Main Tour thanks to an invitational tour card provided by World Snooker in April.
Doherty has also qualified for this month’s lucrative China Championship and reached the semi-finals of the Riga Masters in June.
The 47 year-old didn’t manage a break above 50 but won the opening two frames against the World Games silver medalist, and was able to cushion that advantage through to the winning line.
It was an Irish double at Preston on Tuesday too, after Josh Boileau superbly came from behind to beat David Grace 4-3.
Boileau, in the second of his two-year card but struggling to break into the top 64 in the world rankings, fought back from 3-2 down aided by a run of 100.
Meanwhile, Martin Gould became one of the highest seeded early casualties as he was downed 4-1 by defending IBSF world amateur champion Soheil Vahedi.
The Iranian, boosted in confidence by his recent bronze medal at the World Games, knocked in breaks of 71, 62, and 55, and will be joined by countryman Hossein Vafaei Ayouri on the flight to India after the latter’s 4-3 success against Sanderson Lam.
One of the standout results of the day came in the form of another decider, as Matthew Selt survived a 3-0 deficit to prevail against Chen Zhe in a final frame shoot-out.
Another impressive scoreline saw amateur Jackson Page whitewash Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 4-0.
Elsewhere, Ricky Walden put some of his recent poor form behind him with a 4-2 triumph over Jimmy White while another multiple Crucible finalist also bowed out as Matthew Stevens lost by the same margin to Elliot Slessor.
Stuart Bingham, Tom Ford, and Jack Lisowski earned relatively straightforward victories, while ranking event winners Anthony Hamilton and Graeme Dott squeezed through in deciders.
Among some of the others to advance from the opening day of action at the Guild Hall were Ben Woollaston, Alfie Burden, Daniel Wells, and Tian Pengfei.
As has been the case with all the ranking events so far this campaign following the announcement of no players’ entry fees, there were unfortunately several late withdrawals from the tournament – including Neil Robertson and former champion Michael White.
While it was great in theory to banish the fees for the players, something will have to be done to prohibit this continuing as it seems a waste for so many last 128 games going unplayed.