Northern Ireland Open final
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Northern Ireland Open final: Judd Trump vs Chris Wakelin

Judd Trump plays Chris Wakelin in the final of the 2023 Northern Ireland Open on Sunday at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast. 

The all-English title decider pits one of the game’s heavyweights against a ranked outsider at the start of the week. 

Wakelin has been a much-improved competitor since landing glory in the quick-fire Snooker Shoot Out in January. 

But not many would have predicted his incredible run to the Northern Ireland Open final this week. 

Perhaps his greatest attribute has been his general temperament, with the 31 year-old appearing completely unfazed by the unfamiliar settings he has manoeuvred himself into. 

After beating Shaun Murphy in the fourth round, Wakelin confidently dispatched Yuan Sijun to make his first ranking semi-final appearance in a tournament incorporating a traditional format. 

A disappointing Jack Lisowski was duly swept aside with ease on Saturday, with Wakelin running out a comprehensive 6-1 winner. 

The victory guarantees Wakelin’s spot in the upcoming Champion of Champions, a lucrative invitational in Bolton. 

Before that, he will attempt to continue his rapid rise up the ranking list – he is on the cusp of joining the top 20 – by capturing the Alex Higgins Trophy. 

Unfortunately for Wakelin, the bang-in-form Trump is the opponent he must overcome to pocket the £80,000 top prize. 

Already a two-time champion in October alone following triumphs in the English and Wuhan Opens, Trump is on a 19-game winning streak. 

The Bristol potter conjured yet another fight back in the penultimate round, overcoming Barry Hawkins 6-4 courtesy of a five-frame winning burst at the end. 

Should he live up to his favourite’s tag in the Northern Ireland Open final, the world number three will become just the fifth player in snooker history to win three ranking titles on the bounce. 

Only Ray Reardon, Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry, and Ding Junhui have managed the rare feat in the past. 

Success for Trump – who previously won this event in 2018, 2019, and 2020 – would also represent a 26th career ranking crown overall. 

That would take him above Mark Williams into fifth place on the all-time list on his own. 

There will be many writing off Wakelin’s chances completely, so it will be up to him to prove the doubters wrong like he did in the last four. 

Yet an 11-0 head-to-head record in favour of Trump provides another indicator of how this showdown is expected to be played out.

Northern Ireland Open Draw

Round of 128 (bo7)

Mark Allen 4-0 Ben Mertens
Andres Petrov 4-3 Sanderson Lam
Graeme Dott 4-0 Oliver Lines
David Grace 0-4 Zihao Xing
Ricky Walden 4-2 Ben Woollaston
Allan Taylor 1-4 Dominic Dale
Stuart Bingham 4-3 Ashley Hugill
Xu Si 4-2 Alexander Ursenbacher

Mohamed Ibrahim 2-4 Dean Young
Matthew Selt 4-1 Andy Lee
Liam Graham 0-4 Jackson Page
Jack Lisowski 4-1 Rebecca Kenna
David Lilley 1-4 Aaron Hill
Fan Zhengyi 4-2 Liu Hongyu
Dylan Emery 4-3 Martin Gould
Robert Milkins 3-4 Cao Yupeng

Shaun Murphy 4-2 Ryan Thomerson
Marco Fu 4-2 Jamie Jones
Joe O’Connor 2-4 Zak Surety
Andrew Higginson 2-4 Sean O’Sullivan
Ryan Day 3-4 Ma Hailong
Martin O’Donnell 4-3 Daniel Wells
Chris Wakelin 4-0 Anthony Hamilton
Alfie Burden 4-3 Mostafa Dorgham

Rod Lawler 4-0 Baipat Siripaporn
Zhou Yuelong 2-4 Stan Moody
Andrew Pagett 3-4 Lukas Kleckers
Gary Wilson 4-3 Louis Heathcote
Jamie Clarke 4-3 Alfie Davies
Xiao Guodong 1-4 Yuan Sijun
Jordan Brown 4-2 Stuart Carrington
Neil Robertson 4-1 Wu Yize

Judd Trump 4-1 Jenson Kendrick
Adam Duffy 1-4 Julien Leclercq
Pang Junxu 2-4 Ian Burns
Liam Highfield 3-4 Ken Doherty
Anthony McGill 4-3 Jimmy White
Robbie McGuigan 4-1 Muhammad Asif
Noppon Saengkham 4-0 Himanshu Jain
Manasawin Phetmalaikul 3-4 Barry Pinches

Mink Nutcharut 2-4 Michael White
Joe Perry 4-2 Ishpreet Singh Chadha
Long Zehuang 1-4 Anton Kazakov
Hossein Vafaei 4-1 Mark Joyce
James Cahill 4-1 Duane Jones
Stephen Maguire 4-3 Fergal O’Brien
Reanne Evans 0-4 Hammad Miah
Kyren Wilson 3-4 Sam Craigie

Mark Williams 4-1 Tian Pengfei
Liam Pullen 1-4 Robbie Williams
Si Jiahui 1-4 Zhang Anda
John Astley 0-4 Rory Thor
Barry Hawkins 4-1 Elliot Slessor
Andy Hicks 2-4 Jiang Jun
Jimmy Robertson 4-2 Sydney Wilson
Peng Yison 4-1 He Guoqiang

Matthew Stevens 4-2 Stephen Hendry
David Gilbert 4-1 Joel Connolly
Lyu Haotian 4-1 Ashley Carty
Tom Ford 4-0 Haydon Pinhey
Scott Donaldson 0-4 Mark Davis
Jak Jones 4-0 Oliver Brown
Victor Sarkis 2-4 Ross Muir
Rory McLeod 4-0 Ahmed Aly Elsayed

Round of 64 (bo7)

Mark Allen 3-4 Andres Petrov
Graeme Dott 1-4 Xing Zihao
Ricky Walden 4-3 Dominic Dale
Stuart Bingham 4-1 Xu Si
Dean Young 3-4 Matthew Selt
Jackson Page 1-4 Jack Lisowski
Aaron Hill 4-1 Fan Zhengyi
Dylan Emery 4-3 Cao Yupeng

Shaun Murphy 4-3 Marco Fu
Zak Surety 3-4 Sean O’Sullivan
Ma Hailong 1-4 Martin O’Donnell
Chris Wakelin 4-2 Alfie Burden
Rod Lawler 1-4 Stan Moody
Lukas Kleckers 1-4 Gary Wilson
Jamie Clarke 0-4 Yuan Sijun
Jordan Brown 4-1 Neil Robertson

Judd Trump 4-0 Julien Leclercq
Ian Burns 4-2 Ken Doherty
Anthony McGill 4-3 Robbie McGuigan
Noppon Saengkham 4-1 Barry Pinches
Michael White 3-4 Joe Perry
Anton Kazakov 0-4 Hossein Vafaei
James Cahill 2-4 Stephen Maguire
Hammad Miah 2-4 Sam Craigie

Mark Williams 2-4 Robbie Williams
Zhang Anda 4-1 Rory Thor
Barry Hawkins 4-1 Jiang Jun
Jimmy Robertson 4-0 Peng Yisong
Matthew Stevens 3-4 David Gilbert
Lyu Haotian 4-3 Tom Ford
Mark Davis 2-4 Jak Jones
Ross Muir 3-4 Rory McLeod

Round of 32 (bo7)

Andres Petrov 1-4 Xing Zihao
Ricky Walden 4-1 Stuart Bingham
Matthew Selt 1-4 Jack Lisowski
Aaron Hill 4-0 Dylan Emery

Shaun Murphy 4-0 Sean O’Sullivan
Martin O’Donnell 1-4 Chris Wakelin
Stan Moody 4-2 Gary Wilson
Yuan Sijun 4-2 Jordan Brown

Judd Trump 4-2 Ian Burns
Anthony McGill 0-4 Noppon Saengkham
Joe Perry 4-3 Hossein Vafaei
Stephen Maguire 4-2 Sam Craigie

Robbie Williams 4-1 Zhang Anda
Barry Hawkins 4-1 Jimmy Robertson
David Gilbert 4-1 Lyu Haotian
Jak Jones 3-4 Rory McLeod

Round of 16 (bo7)

Xing Zihao 1-4 Ricky Walden
Jack Lisowski 4-1 Aaron Hill
Shaun Murphy 2-4 Chris Wakelin
Stan Moody 2-4 Yuan Sijun

Judd Trump 4-3 Noppon Saengkham
Joe Perry 3-4 Stephen Maguire
Robbie Williams 0-4 Barry Hawkins
David Gilbert 4-0 Rory McLeod

Quarter-Finals (bo9)

Ricky Walden 1-5 Jack Lisowski
Chris Wakelin 5-2 Yuan Sijun

Judd Trump 5-4 Stephen Maguire
Barry Hawkins 5-4 David Gilbert

Semi-Finals (bo11)

Jack Lisowski 1-6 Chris Wakelin

Judd Trump 6-4 Barry Hawkins

Final (bo17)

Chris Wakelin 3-9 Judd Trump

Featured photo credit: WST


  1. Jakob Kidde Sauntved

    Wakelin got a 4-0 lead in his last match against Trump (at the European Masters) and went on to lose it 4-5, so hopefully he’ll at least get a lead at some point to make it interesting.

    While it’s technically correct I don’t think it really makes sense to include Ray Reardon among the winners of three consecutive ranking titles since the world championship was the only ranking tournament back then. While it’s certainly impressive to win three consecutive world championships you do after all have nearly a full year between them so it’s not comparable to having to win three titles in 1-2 months which is more draining than peaking once a year. Due to the low amount of ranking events back in the day I think a list of consecutive tournament wins without the “ranking” qualifier would be more interesting but I haven’t found one online.

    • Yes, a fair point and one I considered. But at the end of the day the stat is the stat, so Reardon is included. A more comprehensive list of consecutive tournament wins would be interesting, though.

  2. I think John Higgins won the first three events of the 2001/02 season. One of these was an invitation event.

    Reardon should be counted as not his fault that only the World Championship was ranked then.

    The one previous two session match between Wakelin and Trump was a close affair. A Crucible first round contest saw Trump edge home 10-9.

    A number of worrying semi-final losses for Jack Lisowski in the last 12 months. He was even worse when losing 6-0 at the Masters to Mark Williams. While a number felt he should’ve closed out his semis at the UK Championship to Mark Allen and in the German Masters against Tom Ford.

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