Matthew Selt comfortably overcame the challenge of three-time women’s world champion Ng On Yee in the first round of World Championship qualifying on Wednesday in Sheffield.
Ng, who defended her women’s world title at a canter last month in Malta, had been among a group of several amateur players invited to take part in this year’s edition of the World Snooker Championship.
Yet, seasoned professional Selt wasn’t troubled at all as he romped to a commanding 10-1 victory at the English Institute of Sport, in doing so moving to within two wins of a Crucible berth.
Ng wasn’t able to better her performance from twelve months ago when she also lost by a nine-frame margin against Nigel Bond, although at least she avoided the dreaded whitewash having at one point trailed Selt 8-0.
There has been a lot of criticism on social media about the Hong Kong cueist’s tame challenge but it’s worth remembering that she doesn’t play regularly on the Main Tour and would likely produce a more competitive display if she were used to those kinds of conditions.
Counterpart Reanne Evans, who created headlines a year ago when she dramatically overcame Robin Hull in the opening qualifying stage, is faring somewhat better but still trails Dominic Dale 5-3 after her first session with the Welshman.
Meanwhile, the majority of the results on day one reflected the rankings well with only Sheffield own’s Adam Duffy accounting for higher ranked opposition after a 10-4 victory against Mark Joyce.
The expected drama began straight away with Stuart Carrington’s thrilling 10-9 success over Bond ending well past midnight while there were other close victories for Elliot Slessor, a young player who is highly fancied to qualify this year, and China’s Mei Xiwen.
Mei’s countryman Zhang Anda secured an important 10-6 defeat of Zhang Yong, boosting his chances of tour survival at the end of this campaign – always a key subplot of these qualifiers every season.
Elsewhere, there were routine wins for Martin Gould, Robert Milkins, Xiao Guodong, Ben Woollaston, and Scott Donaldson with all five competitors moving a step closer to the last 32 and the glory of the TV lights.
Overnight, former world champion Graeme Dott boasts a 9-0 advantage over the hapless Adrian Ridley but the majority of the other matches that reached the halfway point are still nicely poised.
Li Hang, Lyu Haotian, Mike Dunn, Rory McLeod, Aditya Mehta, and Thor Chuan Leong all boast narrow one-frame leads – the latter against Michael Holt, who fought back well from 4-0 down to salvage his ambitions of a return to the Crucible.
In two of the slower affairs, Martin O’Donnell holds a 5-1 lead over Anthony Hamilton in a match that could take a while to sort out while Akani Songsermsawad is 5-2 up on German rookie Lukas Kleckers.
Live coverage is on the Eurosport Player.
Click here to view the draw. (Times: CET)