There’s a day off in the UK Championship today so let’s have a quick recap at some of the snooker stories from the last week.
Welcome Back to York
The first round of the UK Championship concluded on Thursday with Ronnie O’Sullivan and Judd Trump safely completing the last 64 line-up.
The Englishmen, who contested an entertaining Northern Ireland Open final earlier in November, are on opposite sides of the draw to each other and many hope that a repeat showdown in the final is in prospect.
They each have five more rounds to negotiate before that prospect becomes a reality and there are plenty of marquee names still in the hunt.
In fact, Shaun Murphy and David Gilbert represent the only top 16 members who fell at the initial hurdle at the Barbican Centre.
Murphy bowed out to Eden Sharav while Gilbert succumbed to giant-killer James Cahill, who famously beat Mark Selby in this event last year and O’Sullivan at the Crucible in April.
The other story from the first few days in York were the pair of notable maximum break attempts.
Barry Hawkins compiled a third career 147 break and the fourth in total this season – contributing to the outlandish tour target of a combined 20 that would unlock a £1 million payday.
O’Sullivan could have thrown his name into the mix alongside Hawkins, Tom Ford (x2), and Stuart Bingham, but of course decided to snub the opportunity in favour of going for a pink late in the break.
The joke’s getting old, Ronald – at least go for a blue next time!
Century Watch – Judd Trump
It has become increasingly clear over the last couple of months that the world champion could be on course for a record-breaking season in terms of century breaks.
Trump has already compiled a staggering 46, adding a run of 125 in his first round victory over Amine Amiri at the UK Championship.
That number is almost double the amount of his nearest challengers this term, with Selby and Neil Robertson each contributing 24 so far.
It’s the latter’s record tally of 103 that Trump has within his sights and, if he were to prolong his impressive run of form into 2020, there’s no doubt that the Australian’s century of centuries could be under threat.
Funnily enough, Robertson completed his 100th century of the 2013/14 season against Trump in a dramatic World Championship quarter-final encounter that represented one of the great snooker stories from the past decade.
Trump wasn’t too amused at the Melbourne man’s exuberant celebrations at the time but now boasts a possible chance to surpass the target.
Let’s keep a close eye on Trump’s progress throughout the rest of this campaign.
— World Women’s Snooker (@WomensSnooker) November 26, 2019
Reanne Evans Wins the Women’s Masters
Another tournament and another piece of silverware for the greatest female player to lift a cue.
Reanne Evans won the Eden Women’s Masters title for a record-extending sixth time last weekend following a 4-2 defeat of Ng On Yee in London.
Held for the first time at Frames Sports Bar in Coulsdon, the event saw 30 players of 12 nationalities – including each of the world’s top eight – compete for the third ranking event title of the season.
Ng struck first blood in the title match with a break of 50 to take the opening frame, before Evans quickly drew level in their race to four.
The following two frames proved to be significant as each came down to the final black – Evans claiming both to move into a 3-1 lead and one away from victory.
Ng responded with a match-high break of 52 to stay in contention, but Evans was not to be denied her sixth Eden Masters title.
The win crowns arguably the most successful year of Evans’ career to date, which has seen her claim six ranking event titles, including her record 12th World Championship crown back in June and the Women’s Tour Championship at the Crucible Theatre in August.
There’ll be plenty of snooker stories surfacing in the coming days with the resumption of the UK Championship on Saturday.
The game’s second biggest ranking event runs until next Sunday and that will be the primary focus on everyone’s agenda in the meantime.