Gilbert Scottish Open
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David Gilbert Safely Through in Scottish Open

The Englishman has enjoyed a positive start to the 2021/22 snooker season.

David Gilbert overcame the challenge of Simon Lichtenberg to win his preliminary-round fixture in the Scottish Open on Friday in Barnsley.

Last month’s Championship League winner is looking to fight his way back into the top 16 in the world rankings list in time for the prestigious Masters in January.

Gilbert won two out of the first three scrappy frames against his German opponent at the Metrodome before shifting through the gears to reach the Scottish Open last 64 with consecutive century breaks of 131 and 113.

The 40 year-old has a current official ranking of 18 but is actually in 22nd place in the provisional Race to the Masters, with almost £50,000 in prize money to make up between now and December.

Elsewhere, Gary Wilson also continued his fine recent form with a 4-1 victory against Cao Yupeng, the Chinese competitor who has been playing strongly since making a return to the Main Tour for this campaign.

Wilson narrowly missed out on a maiden ranking event success in August’s British Open when he lost in the final to Mark Williams, but he will be pleased to have emerged from both the English Open and Scottish Open qualifiers unscathed.

The story of the day, of course, was Xiao Guodong’s 147 break in a deciding-frame defeat of Fraser Patrick during the morning session.

It represented Xiao’s first maximum effort in competitive play on the professional circuit and came when the game was delicately poised at 3-3.

A total of 169 maximum 147 breaks have now been made professionally, with three tallied this season already following previous knocks by John Higgins and Ali Carter.

Among the other players to make it through their initial Scottish Open tests were Fergal O’Brien, Oliver Lines, and Duane Jones.

O’Brien, just half a year shy of turning 50, continues to battle in trademark fashion and duly held off the challenge of David Grace to prevail with a 4-2 triumph.

Jones took three out of the last four frames to win by the same margin against Ian Burns, while Lines opened his match against Gerard Greene with a 116 ton before sealing a 4-1 defeat of the Northern Irishman.

Lee Walker and Lei Peifan were the others to progress thanks to respective victories against amateur top-up John Astley and the talented Zhao Xintong.

On Saturday, the Scottish Open qualifying round continues with former ranking event winners Liang Wenbo and Matthew Stevens among those set to participate.

This season, a change to the format for the Home Nations series events means that the majority of the players must undergo their opening-round matches before the venue stages of the competition itself.

Only the top 16 in the world rankings and a select few local players will have their matches held over to the main event, which in the Scottish Open’s case takes place in December.

While not ranked among the biggest and most important snooker tournaments that are frequently cited on snooker betting guides like SBO, the Scottish Open has been a regular fixture on the Home Nations series since 2016 and provides a top prize worth a handy £70,000.

The likes of defending champion Mark Selby, Judd Trump, Ronnie O’Sullivan, and Neil Robertson will be expected to be among the betting favourites for success once they enter the fray just before Christmas.

One of eight tournaments on the calendar that are sponsored by BetVictor, the Scottish Open is also one leg of the expanded European Series this term.

The player who can accumulate the most prize money from the eight tournaments – all four Home Nations events in addition to the German Masters, the European Masters, the Snooker Shoot Out, and the Gibraltar Open – will land a bumper bonus jackpot of £150,000.

Live coverage continues on Eurosport and via the Matchroom.Live streaming service.

Click here to view the draw (Times: CET)

Featured photo credit: WST

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