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Embassy World Championship 1999: Qualifying

Results from the qualifying rounds of the 1999 Embassy World Championship.

Rounds 12-14: Telford International Centre, Telford, Shropshire, England (Tel: +44 (0) 195 229 1199) (Mar 29 - Apr 2, 1999)
Rounds 7-11: Norbreck Castle Hotel, Blackpool, England (Jan 14-21, 1999)
Rounds 1-6: Hazel Grove Snooker Club, Stockport, England (Dec 11-15, 1998)

Results and reports provided by Janie Watkins (janiew@lineone.net)
Also posted on alt.sport.snooker

Players are English unless stated

Round 9 (14)

(April 1-2)

Nick Walker                      10-6 Jamie Burnett (Scotland)
Dominic Dale (Wales)             10-6 Leigh Griffin
Fergal O'Brien (Ireland)         10-7 Chris Scanlon
Steve James                      10-7 Billy Snaddon (Scotland)
Gerard Greene (N.Ireland)        10-2 Andy Hicks
Matthew Stevens (Wales)          10-6 Jonathan Birch
Marco Fu (Hong Kong)             10-4 Graeme Dott (Scotland)
Terry Murphy (N.Ireland)         10-9 Michael Judge (Ireland)
Paul Hunter                      10-5 Euan Henderson (Scotland)        
Ian McCulloch                    10-9 Gary Wilkinson
John Lardner (Scotland)          10-2 Martin Clark
Chris Small (Scotland)           10-2 Dave Finbow                      
Leo Fernandez (Ireland)          10-5 Brian Morgan
Joe Perry                        10-7 Dave Harold
Jimmy White                      10-7 Dean Reynolds                    
Darren Morgan (Wales)            10-9 Nick Pearce

1 April - Fu heads for The Crucible

Leaving Telford tonight were 3 happy Englishmen, two happy Irishmen, two happy Welshmen and a Happy Valley Fu!

In aother blistering display of potting prowess and break building, Marco Fu fulfilled the expectations of him, as he progressed to a Crucible debut, defeating Scot Graeme Dott 10-4. Dott had opened the match with a total clearance of 141, to set the tone, but after holding a 2-0 lead, it was Fu who turned on the style. He won six successive frames, helped by breaks of 86, 89, 125, 83 and 66. Having broken the back of Dott's resistance, he added further breaks of 52, 73 and 57.

Joining Fu in a Sheffield debut was Nick Walker, who defeated Scotland's Jamie Burnett. The two West Walians, Dominic Dale and Matthew Stevens return to the Crucible, having negotiated their matches without too many alarms. Dale got away to a 4-1 lead, which he did not relinquish. Stevens set himself up a 3-0 lead, but was pegged back to 3-3. He got two frames in front again and then got into his stride with breaks of 75, 56, 114 and 60. Having already reached the final of the UK this season, Matthew is one name the top seeds will be hoping to avoid.

It was harder work for the Irishmen. In a North/South battle Terry Murphy was pushed all the way by Dublin's Michael Judge, before eventually clinching the match 10-9. Murphy's break of 103 was the highlight of a very close match. Fergal O'Brien swapped frames all day with London's Chris Scanlon, before stretching to a 9-5 lead. But Scanlon fought back to close the gap to 9-7 before O'Brien applied his greater experience to win 10-7.

Kent's Gerard Greene bagged a major scalp, as he obliterated former World Semi Finalist Andy Hicks 10-2.

And returning to the Crucible will be Steve James of Cannock. After several poor seasons, James suddeny found his form at the right time as he beat the obdurate Scot Billy Snaddon 10-7, to return to the scene of his former triumphs. James ran in a break of 109 and a string of 50+ frame winners on his way to victory.

Round 8 (13)

(March 31 - April 1)

Nick Walker                      10-8 Rod Lawler                       
Leigh Griffin                    10-5 Mark Davis
Chris Scanlon                    10-5 Paul Sweeny
Steve James                      10-5 Craig MacGillivray (Scotland)    
Gerard Greene (N.Ireland)        10-8 Alfie Burden
Jonathan Birch                   10-7 Stephen O'Connor (Ireland)
Marco Fu (Hong Kong)             10-4 Robert Milkins                   
Michael Judge (Ireland)          10-6 Mario Geudens (Belgium)
Euan Henderson (Scotland)        10-8 Paul Wykes
Ian McCulloch                    10-6 Peter Lines
John Lardner (Scotland)          10-8 Quinten Hann (Australia)         
Dave Finbow                      10-8 Drew Henry (Scotland)            
Leo Fernandez (Ireland)          10-9 Bradley Jones
Joe Perry                        10-6 Nigel Gilbert
Dean Reynolds                    10-5 Joe Johnson                      
Nick Pearce                      10-7 Gary Ponting                     

31 March - Marco Fu just one match from an historic Crucible debut.

Hong Kong's Marco Fu continued his meteoric rise to fame, with a 10-4 win over Robert Milkins. After leading 5-4 at the interval, Fu quickly ran off the 5 frames he required for victory. Fu included breaks of 110, 98 and 93 on his charge for victory. He will now face the Scottish Open finalist Graeme Dott for a place in the Crucible draw on Saturday. Steve James continued his revival of form and now Scotland's Billy Snaddon stands between him and a return to Sheffield

The last match tonight to finish was a remarkable battle between Nick Walker and Rob Lawler. At the mid session interval Walker led 9-0, but Lawler came out tonight and won 8 frames on the spin, before Walker eventually clinched a 10-8 victory with a break of 51 in the 17th frame. Walker had included breaks of 62, 105, 97, on his way to 9-0, and he added a break of 68 in the 12th frame, only for Lawler to win the frame 69-68 to deny Walker victory for another 5 nerve wracking frames.

1 April

Joe Johnson's challenge was eventaully snuffed out by Dean Reynolds, but not without a tremendous struggle. An opening frame of 53 minutes set the tone for the match. With later frames lasting as long as 55 minutes, it was no surprise that the match was halted with the score 9-5 in Reynolds favour. On their return he eventually won a 48 minute frame on the colours to go forward to play Jimmy White on Friday.

Round 7 (12)

(29-30 March)

Nick Walker                      10-3 Dennis Taylor (N.Ireland)
Rod Lawler                       10-3 Nick Terry                       
Mark Davis                       10-4 Chris Shade                      
Leigh Griffin                    10-6 Lee Walker (Wales)
Paul Sweeny                      10-0 Willie Thorne
Chris Scanlon                    10-7 Shokat Ali (Pakistan)
Steve James                      10-5 Craig Harrison                   
Craig MacGillivray (Scotland)    10-8 Tony Chappel (Wales)
Gerard Greene (N.Ireland)        10-3 Lee Richardson                   
Alfie Burden                     10-4 Dene O'Kane (New Zealand)
Stephen O'Connor (Ireland)       10-5 David Gray
Jonathan Birch                   10-2 Joe Grech (Malta)                
Marco Fu (Hong Kong)             10-1 Jason Ferguson
Robert Milkins                   10-6 Karl Broughton
Michael Judge (Ireland)          10-4 Tony Knowles                     
Mario Geudens (Belgium)          10-6 Tony Jones
Paul Wykes                       10-8 Michael Holt                
Euan Henderson (Scotland)        10-6 Matthew Couch (Scotland)          
Peter Lines                      10-8 Troy Shaw                        
Ian McCulloch                    10-9 Barry Pinches
John Lardner (Scotland)          10-5 Neal Foulds
Quinten Hann (Australia)         10-8 Stuart Bingham
Dave Finbow                      10-5 Jason Prince (N.Ireland)
Drew Henry (Scotland)            10-6 Paul McPhillips (Scotland)       
Bradley Jones                    10-7 Stephen Maguire (Scotland)
Leo Fernandez (Ireland)          10-9 Paul Davies (Wales)
Nigel Gilbert                    10-9 Joe Swail (N.Ireland)
Joe Perry                        10-8 Mick Price
Dean Reynolds                    10-8 John Read                        
Joe Johnson                      10-7 Robin Hull (Finland)
Nick Pearce                      10-7 Björn Haneveer (Belgium)
Gary Ponting                     10-5 David Roe

Round 6 (11)

(21 January)

Marco Fu (Hong Kong)             10-0 Gareth Chilcott (Wales)
Mario Geudens (Belgium)          10-8 Patrick Delsemme (Belgium)
Barry Pinches                    10-3 Richard Somauroo (Mauritius)
Stuart Bingham                   10-4 Shawn Budd (Australia)
Stephen Maguire (Scotland)       10-7 Phaitoon Phonbun (Thailand)
Robin Hull (Finland)             10-0 Tom Finstad (Canada)

Robin Hull completed a routine 10-0 victory today against Canada's Tom Finstad, but was left rueing a missed black that cost him £7,000. In frame five Hull was on course for a maximum break, having taken 15 reds and blacks and the colour up to the pink, but he missed the black for the magic maximum and not only lost out of the max break prize of £5,000 but was not even in the running for the pre-tv high break prize of £2,000.

That honour is currently held by 17 year old Scot Stephen Maguire. Maguire compiled his 144 in frame nine of his match, to give himself a fighting chance at 6-3 down.

He duly took his chance in tonight's session, fighting through to beat Phaitoon Phonbun 10-7 and progress to Telford. He rounded the match off in style with another century - 122.

Marco Fu completed his 10-0 whitewash of Gareth Chilcott, while Barry Pinches and Stuart Bingham both capitalised on their early leads to win 10-3 and 10-4. Pinches closed out his match with runs of 83 and 97.

The Belgium battle of Geudens and Delsemme, locked at 5-4 after the first session, progressed through a series of nailbitingly close frames tonight. Geudens stretched his lead to 6-4 and 7-5, but Delsemme fought back to level at 7-7. But Geudens again opened up a two frame advantage and this time it was decisive as he went on to a 10-8 win.

Today's winners now get a break before travelling to Telford on 29th March to resume their dreams of reaching The Crucible.

Today's matches have concluded the qualifying series at Blackpool. The Nations Cup continues, with Scotland red hot favourites, but the other teams all have mathematical chances of joining them in the final. On Monday 25th January, The Regal Welsh starts in Cardiff, with Paul Hunter defending his title, The Ladies Regal Welsh dovetails into the same event and the first week in February sees the third Tour Event of the season, where many players still entertain hopes of making the Top 106 on the Ranking List and thus qualifying for next season's main tour.

Awesome snooker at Blackpool! (Jan 20)

Fu and Hull in a hurry - Maguire takes high break - Geudens/Delsemme locked.

Marco Fu has blitzed his way to a 9-0 lead over Port Talbot's Gareth Chilcott at Blackpool today. Fu's remarkable scoring power was emphasised as he compiled breaks of 53, 54, 66 ,94 and 129 on his way to an unassailable lead.

Fu's breaks paled into insignificance when 17 year old Scottish "Amateur" Stephen Maguire took to the table. Maguire is a regular practice partner of Stephen Hendry and already looks set to be the latest Scottish sensation off their "production line". Maguire was struggling at 6-1 down to Phaitoon Phonbun, but he clawed one back one the colours to just keep in touch and then produced the event's highest break - which looks set to take the £5,000 pre televised prize. To clip his deficit to 6-3 Maguire compiled a 144 total clearance, just pipping Barry Pinches effort of 143.

Finland's Robin Hull appears to be in invincible form at the moment, and he blistered his way to a 9-0 lead over Canada's Tom Finstad. Hull ran in breaks of 62, 56, 64, 65, 52 and topped it off with a break of 140.

The remaining matches are producing at a more sedate pace, but Barry Pinches has pulled out a 6-3 lead over Richard Somauroo, runs of 65, 105 and 54 helping him along the way.

Stuart Bingham holds a similar lead over Australia's Shawn Budd, with a match against another Aussie, Quienten Hann at Telford to aim for.

Meanwhile Mario Geudens and Patrick Delsemme are locked at 5-4 to Geudens. A break of 73 for Geudens in the final frame of the session giving him his narrow lead.

The matches are played to a conclusion tonight - Thursday. The winners will take the "low seeds" place in the draw and progress to the Telford stage of the event.

Already through to represent the Overseas contingent are Joe Grech of Malta and Björn Haneveer of Belgium. Today's matches will guarantee at least two more winners to join them as Geudens tackles Delsemme and Canada's Finstad takes on Finland's star Robin Hull

Round 5 (10)

(19-20 January)

Nick Walker                      10-6 Rory McLeod
Nick Terry                       10-6 Stuart Pettman
Chris Shade                      10-2 Wayne Brown
Leigh Griffin                    10-5 Shailesh Jogia
Paul Sweeny                      10-6 Mark Bennett (Wales)
Chris Scanlon                    10-9 Darryn Walker
Craig Harrison                   10-7 Wayne Jones (Wales)
Craig MacGillivray (Scotland)    10-7 Munraj Pal
Lee Richardson                   10-4 Paul S Davison
Alfie Burden                     10-4 Barry Hawkins
Stephen O'Connor (Ireland)       10-8 John Whitty
Joe Grech (Malta)                10-6 Karl Payne
Gareth Chilcott (Wales)          10-6 Graham Horne (Scotland)
Robert Milkins                   10-6 Mark Gray
Tony Knowles                     10-5 Marcus Campbell
Patrick Delsemme (Belgium)       10-9 Karl Burrows
Michael Holt                     10-7 Darren Clarke
Matthew Couch (Scotland)         10-9 David McLellan (Scotland)
Troy Shaw                        10-7 Kristjan Helgason (Iceland)
Barry Pinches                    10-2 Anthony Davies (Wales)
John Lardner (Scotland)          10-4 Damian Massey
Stuart Bingham                   10-6 Martin Dziewialtowski (Scotland)
Dave Finbow                      10-3 Patrick Wallace (N.Ireland)
Paul McPhillips (Scotland)       10-6 Jimmy Michie
Stephen Maguire (Scotland)       10-8 Sean Storey
Leo Fernandez (Ireland)          10-5 Steve Judd
Nigel Gilbert                    10-7 Ian Brumby
Joe Perry                        10-4 Mark Johnston-Allen
John Read                        10-4 Nick Dyson
Robin Hull (Finland)             10-8 Peter McCullagh
Björn Haneveer (Belgium)         10-9 Stefan Mazrocis
Gary Ponting                     10-7 Colm Gilcreest (Ireland)

16 out of 32 seeds fell in Round 4 and Round Five is already taking its toll on the seeded players as 9 out of the first 16 fail to negotiate their first match.

Triumph of the day so far goes to Tony Knowles, who has slipped steadily down the Ranking list recently. He has revived his form and distant hopes of a return to the Crucible with an emphatic 10-5 win of the season's high flyer, Marcus Campbell of Scotland. Knowles opened with 52 to take the first, but soon found himself 3-2 down. From there he hit a vein of five consecutive frames, that took him 7-3 up and broke the back of the match. Knowles is on schedule now to play Michael Judge, currently representing Ireland in The Nations Cup.

Malta's Joe Grech kept alive his hopes of joining his countryman Tony Drago at The Crucible. Another solid 10-6 win, higlighted by breaks of 120 and, 136 in the winning frame, over Karl Payne takes him through.

Belgium's Patrick Delsemme crept another step closer as well, but only after a titanic struggle against Karl Burrows. Delsemme trailed from the opening frame, falling behind 5-1, 6-2, 7-4, 8-5 and 9-7 before winning the last three frames.

Port Talbot's Gareth Chilcott notched a welcome win for Wales on what had been a miserable day for his peers in The Nations Cup. Runs of 64, 70 and a match winning 80 in the last gave him a deserved victory 10-6 against Scotland's Graham Horne.

Chris Scanlon survived a similarly close shave, but a break of 53 in the decider gave him victory against Darryn Walker.

Alfie Burden had no such problems as he breezed through 10-4 against Barry Hawkins. Runs of 67, 60 and 85 were his major contributions.

Stephen O'Connor representing Ireland in The Nations Cup had to make a quick dash from Newcastle to Blackpool to participate. He achieved a hard fought win over John Whitty, but having secured a 7-3 lead was made to work all the way for his victory. O'Connor returns to Newcastle to represent Ireland again today.

At the end of this round, the six lowest seeded players will have to play the overseas qualifiers, one of whom is Marco Fu, bidding to make a Crucible debut.

Scottish Amateur Stephen Maguire wins again. Helgason, Hull and Haneveer still flying the European flag

Match of the day: Matthew Couch 10-9 David McLellan

A nerve-tingling struggle between England and Scotland. Scunthorpe's Couch took a 3-0 and then 5-2 lead, but he just couldn't shake off the challenge of David McLellan. By the time the scores were locked at 8-8 the players had compiled six 50+ breaks, with the highlight being 101 from McLellan in the sixteenth frame as he fought back to level the match. Couch rallied to go ahead 9-8, but McLellan bounced back again with a run of 102 to level at 9-9. In a 45 minute decider Couch eventually held his nerve to sneak through 66-44. Couch's reward is a tie against another Scot - Euan Henderson at Telford in March.

Stephen Maguire won his 9th consecutive match, during which time he has played 98 frames. A thrilling 10-8 victory against Sean Storey will now earn Maguire a crack at one of the overseas qualifiers, the last hurdle he will have to cross before qualifying for his third venue of the event. Maguire set out last November alongside his fellow amateurs at Stockport, and if he survives another match at Blackpool, he will have to get his road map out again to find his way to Telford in March.

Robin Hull continued his superb 1999 form, to keep him on schedule to play 1986 World champion Joe Johnson at Telford. Hull may yet have to negotiate the overseas playoff round for the six lowest seeded qualifiers.

Round 4 (9)

(18-19 January)

Rory McLeod                      10-7 Barry Mapstone
Nick Terry                       10-6 Jamie Bodle
Chris Shade                      10-7 Malcolm Bilclough
Shailesh Jogia                   10-4 Jason Wallace
Paul Sweeny                      10-5 Sam Chong (Malaysia)
Darryn Walker                    10-8 Les Dodd
Craig Harrison                   10-8 Guo Hua (China)
Munraj Pal                       10-8 Ian Sargeant (Wales)
Paul S Davison                   10-6 Ryan Day (Wales)
Barry Hawkins                    10-3 Micky Roughan
John Whitty                      10-8 James Reynolds (Wales)
Joe Grech (Malta)                10-6 Kirk Stevens (Canada)
Gareth Chilcott (Wales)          10-7 Steve Newbury (Wales)
Robert Milkins                   10-7 Mike Hallett
Tony Knowles                     10-7 Avtar Sohanpal
Patrick Delsemme (Belgium)       10-5 Hugh Abernethy
Michael Holt                     10-7 Matt Wilson
David McLellan (Scotland)        10-7 Craig Roper
Kristjan Helgason (Iceland)      10-8 Simon Bedford
Barry Pinches                    10-6 Jason Weston
Damian Massey                    10-8 Philip Williams (Wales)
Stuart Bingham                   10-6 Alan Burnett (Scotland)
Patrick Wallace (N.Ireland)      10-8 Gary Thomson (Scotland)
Paul McPhillips (Scotland)       10-9 Geoff Dunn (Scotland)
Stephen Maguire (Scotland)       10-9 Mark Fenton (Wales)
Leo Fernandez (Ireland)          10-5 Neil Robertson (Australia)
Nigel Gilbert                    10-9 Eddie Barker
Mark Johnston-Allen              10-5 Antony Bolsover
Nick Dyson                       10-9 Oliver King
Robin Hull (Finland)             10-4 Stephen Murphy (Ireland)
Björn Haneveer (Belgium)         10-3 Adrian Rosa
Colm Gilcreest (Ireland)         10-4 Eddie Manning

A ton only wins one frame

A strange fact emerged from Round Four's matches as there were 10 centurians during the day's play, but with the honourable exception of Robin Hull who crashed in breaks of 123 and 108 during his over, the other nine all lost.

Runs of 100 and 102 couldn't save Jason Weston from going down 10-6 To Barry Pinches.

Llanelli's Philip Williams compiled 104 in his opener, got pulled off at 5-3 up and in the second session was pulled off at 9-8 down and eventually lost 10-8 on the resumption. (Matches are pulled off with frames to play if they cannot be completed before the next session is due to start).

Malaysia's Sam Chong went down fighting to Kent's Paul Sweeny, but his scoring power - 81, 122, 64, and 97 wasn't enough, curiously Sweeny's highest contribution during the match was 57, but it was enough.

China's Guo Hua perished at the same stage, beaten 10-8 by Craig Harrison and Kirk Stevens won't be gracing the Crucible this year, as the obdurate

Maltese player Joe Grech brought all his experience to bear in a bruising 10-6 win. Stevens compiled a run of 101 to claw back to 6-9 but it only postponed the inevitable.

Two centuries - 117 and 127 - didn't help James Reynolds of Wales, beaten by Liverpool's John Whitty. Swansea's Mark Fenton eventually succumbed to a break of 57 in the decider by Scotland's 17 year old Amateur Stephen Maguire, who has now won 8 matches.

Iceland's Kristian Helgason bagged himself another notable scalp as he beat last year's Crucible debutant Simon Bedford 10-8. Helgason joins Finland's Robin Hull and Belgium's Patrick Delsemme in the race to get their country's first ever representative to The Crucible, but they have four more matches to play to achieve that target.

Mike Hallett's hopes were ended by Robert Milkins, but Tony Knowles and Mark Johnston-Allen both negotiated tricky matches to keep their runs going. Knowles came through 10-7 against Avtar Sohanpal and will now face the in-form Marcus Campbell, while Mark Johnston-Allen beat Antony Bolsover 10-5

Round 3 (8)

(16-17 January)

Rory McLeod                      10-7 Marc Farnsworth
Jamie Bodle                      10-8 Richard Jones
Malcolm Bilclough                10-8 Mike Henson (Germany)
Shailesh Jogia                   10-6 Bob Chaperon (Canada)
Sam Chong (Malaysia)             10-3 Paul Clarke
Les Dodd                         10-8 John Giles
Guo Hua (China)                  10-3 Stuart Mann
Ian Sargeant (Wales)             10-6 Surinder Gill
Ryan Day (Wales)                 10-5 Neil Selman
Barry Hawkins                    10-3 Sean Lanigan
John Whitty                      10-8 Mehmet Husnu (Cyprus)
Kirk Stevens (Canada)            10-8 Gary Lees
Gareth Chilcott (Wales)          10-4 Simon Parker
Mike Hallett                     10-4 Andy Neck
Avtar Sohanpal                   10-9 Mike Dunn
Patrick Delsemme (Belgium)       10-6 Darren Hackeson
Matt Wilson                      10-6 Stuart Reardon
Craig Roper                      10-5 Mark Miller
Kristjan Helgason (Iceland)      10-6 Allister Carter
Barry Pinches                    10-3 Jeff Cundy
Damian Massey                    10-6 Grant Conquest
Stuart Bingham                   10-5 Joe Delaney (Ireland)
Gary Thomson (Scotland)          10-7 Dermot McGlinchey (N.Ireland)
Geoff Dunn (Scotland)            10-3 Paul Cavney
Stephen Maguire (Scotland)       10-6 Adrian Gunnell
Neil Robertson (Australia)       10-8 Johl Younger (Australia)
Eddie Barker                     10-8 Keith E (Singapore)
Mark Johnston-Allen              10-6 John Burns
Nick Dyson                       10-5 Tai Pichit (Thailand)
Robin Hull (Finland)             10-2 Brian Rowswell
Björn Haneveer (Belgium)         10-5 Steve Harrison
Colm Gilcreest (Ireland)         10-4 David McDonnell

Round 3 is now complete and the undoubted highlight so far is the performance of World No. 106, Barry Pinches from Norwich. The record books were torn up as Pinches embarked on an unprecendent bout of breakbuilding - his four century breaks encompassed three total clearances, and the leading break so far challenging for the £2,000 high break prize for the pre-Crucible stages. His victim was Scunthorpe's Jeff Cundy who bowed out 10-3. Pinches is a former English Amateur Champion. He contributed two centuries in the first session and then made 143 and 134 in the first two frames of the session.

Pinches was the only player in scoring mood - Matt Wilson had already set the pace with a superb total clearance of 140, which he might have expected to take the break prize. Consolation for Wilson as he completed a 10-6 win over Stuart Reardon. Mark Miller knocked in 101 but eventually bowed out 10-8 to Bristol's Craig Roper, whose brother Stuart competes on the minor tour.

Another former English Amateur Champion Stuart Bingham safely negotiated his match against Joe Delaney. 117 was the highlight for Bingham who now faces Scotland's fancied young player Alan Burnett.

Another amateur qualifier - Stephen Maguire made it to round four, defeating Adrian Gunnell 10-6 and celebrating with a break of exactly 100 in the final frame.

The all-Oceanian battle saw Neil Robertson prevail 10-8 against Johl Younger.

Mark Johnston-Allen notched another victory in his bid to return to a higher ranking position. He beat John Burns 10-6 and will now play Antony Bolsover.

Finland's only Snooker Star Robin Hull continued his great streak of form as he cruised past Brian Rowswell 10-2 to set up a match against Stephen Murphy. Hull notched another of the day's ten centuries with a run of 105. Thailand's Tai Pichit couldn't emulate his fellow Far East players as he lost 10-5 to Nick Dyson. However 8 overseas players have survived to round four.

The Old and the New

Kirk Stevens produced his vintage form to defeat Gary Lees of Oldham and progress to Round Four of The World Championship. The score having reached 8-8, Stevens suddenly rolled back the years to compile successive breaks of 106 and 123 to close out the match in style. Stevens will now face the vastly experienced Joe Grech of Malta.

Joining Stevens will be Mike Hallett. Having recovered from 8-0 in his first match, Hallett enjoyed an easier day's work against Exter's Andy Neck, winning 10-4. A break of exactly 100 helped Hallett on his way.

At the other end of the scale, 18 year old Welsh Amateur Champion Ryan Day from Pontycwmmer successfully negotiated his seventh match so far in the event, beating Burslem's Neil Selman 10-5.

Malaysia's hope Sam Chong ran in breaks of 70, 59 and 67 on the way to a 4-0 lead against Paul Clarke. Chong did not let his opponent off the hook as he added runs of 56, 54 and 85 on the way to a convincing 10-3 win.

Germany's representative Mike Henson, bowed out 10-8 to Malcolm Bilclough, the highlight here a 102 from Bilclough.

Rory McLeod also notched a ton with 102, on his way to a 10-7 win over Marc Farnsworth.

China's Guo Hua stormed to a 6-0 lead against Stuart Mann with consecutive breaks of 75, 82, 62, 79, 110 and 94, a further run of 83 saw him through 10-3.

High breaks (rounds 2-3)

Barry Pinches leads the charge for the £2,000 pre-televised high break with his 143 and has notched 6 centuries so far. Kristjan Helgason and Robin Hull both have 3 tons. Stuart Bingham, Adrian Gunnell and Kirk Stevens - 2.

Barry Pinches143
Barry Pinches140
Matt Wilson140
Barry Pinches134
Stuart Bingham130
Kristjan Helgason125
Kirk Stevens123
Adrian Gunnell122
Mark Johnston-Allen120
Barry Pinches120
Steve Harrison120
Colm Gilcreest118
Stuart Bingham117
Robin Hull117
Guo Hua110
Adrian Gunnell109
Craig Roper109
Allister Carter108
Ian Hurdman108
Barry Pinches108
Kirk Stevens106
Robin Hull105
Robin Hull104
John Whitty103
Malcolm Bilclough102
Kristjan Helgason102
Mehmet Husnu102
Rory McLeod102
Sam Chong101
Kristjan Helgason101
Mark Miller101
Barry Pinches101
Patrick Delsemme100
Mike Hallett100
Stephen Maguire100
Neil Robertson100

Round 2 (7)

(14-16 January)

Rory McLeod                      10-3 Wayne Saidler
Marc Farnsworth                  w/o  Li Jian-Bing (China)
Richard Jones                    10-8 Steve Mifsud (Australia)
Jamie Bodle                      w/o  Anan Terananon (Thailand)
Malcolm Bilclough                10-5 Mario Cutajar (Malta)
Mike Henson (Germany)            10-3 Michael Duffy (N.Ireland)
Shailesh Jogia                   10-9 Shaun Murphy
Bob Chaperon (Canada)            10-4 Pat Horne
Sam Chong (Malaysia)             10-2 Garry Baldrey
Paul Clarke                      w/o  Saleh Muhammad (Pakistan)
Les Dodd                         10-8 James McGouran (Scotland)
John Giles                       10-7 David Craggs
Guo Hua (China)                  10-3 Shane Haines
Stuart Mann                      10-8 Alastair Fleming (Scotland)
Surinder Gill                    10-7 Jason Pegram
Ian Sargeant (Wales)             10-8 Norman McLachlan
Ryan Day (Wales)                 w/o  Farhan Mirza (Pakistan)
Neil Selman                      w/o  Chatchawan Rutphae (Thailand)
Sean Lanigan                     10-2 Steve Russell
Barry Hawkins                    10-3 David Coles
Mehmet Husnu (Cyprus)            10-7 Richard King
John Whitty                      10-2 Mark Love
Kirk Stevens (Canada)            10-5 Paul Stockwell
Gary Lees                        10-3 Ryan Michael
Gareth Chilcott (Wales)          10-9 Matthew Bray
Simon Parker                     10-3 Mark Carrington
Andy Neck                        10-3 Alex Borg (Malta)
Mike Hallett                     10-9 Kyndon Paddon
Avtar Sohanpal                   10-5 Mario Wehrmann (Netherlands)
Mike Dunn                        10-5 Tim English (Wales)
Patrick Delsemme (Belgium)       10-7 Evan Munro
Darren Hackeson                  10-7 Ian Hurdman
Stuart Reardon                   10-4 Philip Seaton
Matt Wilson                      10-5 Martin O'Neill
Craig Roper                      10-2 Hitesh Naran (South Africa)
Mark Miller                      10-2 Scot Kearney
Allister Carter                  10-3 Steve Meakin
Kristjan Helgason (Iceland)      10-5 Robert Donkin
Barry Pinches                    10-1 Garoid O'Connor
Jeff Cundy                       10-6 Nick Manning
Grant Conquest                   10-5 Darren Limburg
Damian Massey                    10-2 Gary Natale (Canada)
Joe Delaney (Ireland)            10-3 Lee Walters
Stuart Bingham                   10-0 Brian Cox
Dermot McGlinchey (N.Ireland)    10-5 Indika Dodangoda (Sri Lanka)
Gary Thomson (Scotland)          10-8 Dylan Leary (N.Ireland)
Paul Cavney                      10-1 Mark Canovan
Geoff Dunn (Scotland)            10-5 Joe O'Boye
Stephen Maguire (Scotland)       10-1 Leigh Robinson
Adrian Gunnell                   10-3 James McBain (Scotland)
Neil Robertson (Australia)       10-3 Andrew Milliard
Johl Younger (Australia)         10-5 Ian Glover
Keith E (Singapore)              10-6 Anthony Harris
Eddie Barker                     10-6 Neal Jones
Mark Johnston-Allen              10-9 Darren Swinburn
John Burns                       w/o  Hasimu Tuerxun (China)
Tai Pichit (Thailand)            10-5 Graham Fisken
Nick Dyson                       10-2 Ben Reicker (Canada)
Brian Rowswell                   10-6 Andrew Grieve
Robin Hull (Finland)             10-5 Anton Bishop
Björn Haneveer (Belgium)         10-8 Steve Prest
Steve Harrison                   10-5 Wael Talaat (Egypt)
David McDonnell                  10-2 Colin Donaldson
Colm Gilcreest (Ireland)         10-9 Andrew Higginson

Hoodini Hallett

Mike Hallett produced one of the miracle escapes today, when he pulled back from 8-0 and 8-1 overnight, to beat Swindon's Kyndon Paddon 10-9. Hallett ran off 7 consecutive frames to give himself a chance at 8-7 down. Breaks of 67, 77, 68 and 86 set up his recovery. Paddon recovered his composure to go ahead 9-7, but Hallett's vast experience saw him through to a memorable 10-9 victory. Hallett now plays Andy Neck in round 3; Neck inflicted a 10-3 reverse on Alex Borg of Malta.

Kirk Stevens at last negotiated the Toronto blizzards to reach Blackpool and emerged a convincing 10-5 winner over Londoner Paul Stockwell. Stevens showed glimpses of his vintage form with runs of 93, 56 and 73. Gary Lees will be Stevens' third round opponent. Kirk's countryman Bob Chaperon joined him in round three after a resounding 10-4 win over Pat Horne.

Malaysia and China took their hopes a round further as Sam Chong and Guo Hua both recorded emphatic wins.

The ever popular Les Dodd, might yet salvage something from a miserable season as he progressed 10-8 over amateur qualifier James McGouran of Scotland.

Welsh amateur qualifier Tim English of Church Village went down 10-5 to Mike Dunn. Dunn will play Avtar Sohanpal, who inflicted a surprise 10-5 defeat on the experienced Mario Wehrmann. Runs of 72 and 73 in the final two frames helped Sohanpal to the next round. The secnd Welsh amateur qualifier Ryan Day benefited from a walkover against Farhan Mirza as yet again several overseas players did not show for their matches.

Mehmet Husnu, a maximum man at Plymouth, turned on his scoring power again during a 10-7 win over Richard King. Husnu opened a 2-0 lead with runs of 55 and 69, added 92 in frame six and 102 in frame 8. A brak of 53 secured frame 10 and 60 and 61 blizted frame 12, and he rounded it off with 81 in frame 15. Husnu now plays Liverpool's John Whitty, who also knocked in a century during a comfortable 10-2 win over Mark Love.

There was disappointment for snooker's youngest pro Shaun Murphy as he went down 10-9 to Leicester's Shailesh (Joe) Jogia; he will have to wait another year in his bid to become snooker's youngest World Champion, but still only 16 he had time on his side.

A rare win for Germany as Mike Henson beat Michael Duffy 10-3.

Round 1 (6)

Rory McLeod                      6-0 Rogelio Esteiro
Marc Farnsworth                  6-? Dessie Sheehan  
Richard Jones                    6-4 Vic Harris
Jamie Bodle                      6-4 Daniele Zagaroli  
Paul Clarke                      6-0 Grahame Francis
James McGouran (Scotland)        6-1 Julian Mills
David Craggs                     6-0 Anthony Bridge
Norman McLachlan                 6-5 Stephen Kershaw
Ryan Day (Wales)                 6-4 Danny Lathouwers (Belgium) 
Richard King                     6-1 Andreas Ahmed
Paul Stockwell                   6-0 Ewan Hunter (Scotland)
Mark Carrington                  6-5 Stephen Ormerod
Kyndon Paddon                    6-1 Alex Lambie
Avtar Sohanpal                   6-0 Ali Bassiri
Tim English (Wales)              6-5 Lee Johnson
Craig Roper                      6-2 Andrew Alexandrou
Scot Kearney                     6-4 David Athorn
Robert Donkin                    6-1 Del Smith
Damian Massey                    6-3 Shaun Wilkes
Lee Walters                      6-4 Joe Meara
Brian Cox                        6-3 Jack Fitzmaurice
Mark Canovan                     6-4 Justin Smalley
Joe O'Boye                       6-3 Mark Tucker (Wales)
Stephen Maguire (Scotland)       6-2 Carl Stringer
James McBain (Scotland)          6-3 Matthew Street
Andrew Milliard                  6-2 Andrew Highfield
Ian Glover                       6-2 Elliott Clark
Anthony Harris                   6-3 Anthony Massey

Round 5 (amateurs)

Ryan Day (Wales)                 5-0 Edward Davies (Wales)
Tim English (Wales)              5-1 Luke Fisher
Stephen Maguire (Scotland)       5-1 Jason Barton
James McBain (Scotland)          5-3 Lee Spick

Round 4 (amateurs)

Edward Davies (Wales)            5-4 Stephen Croft
Ryan Day (Wales)                 5-4 Gareth Coppack (Wales)
Tim English (Wales)              5-4 Kelly Fisher
Luke Fisher                      5-2 Stuart Mason
Jason Barton                     5-2 Scott MacKenzie
Stephen Maguire (Scotland)       5-2 Jonathan Nelson
Lee Spick                        5-2 David Gilbert
James McBain (Scotland)          5-4 Mark James

Round 3 (amateurs)

Edward Davies (Wales)            5-3 Ashley Walker
Stephen Croft                    5-4 Steven Bennie
Ryan Day (Wales)                 5-2 Sunit Vaswani
Gareth Coppack (Wales)           5-4 Graham Driver
Tim English (Wales)              5-2 Stuart Roper
Kelly Fisher                     5-1 Ben Fitzgerald
Stuart Mason                     5-2 Nick Smith
Luke Fisher                      5-4 Adam Jackson
Scott MacKenzie                  5-1 Stan Murphy (Ireland)
Jason Barton                     5-1 Richard Clark
Stephen Maguire (Scotland)       5-1 Charles Isbill
Jonathan Nelson                  5-1 Neil Craycroft
Lee Spick                        5-2 Jimmy Carney
David Gilbert                    5-1 James Linehan
Mark James                       5-1 Brian Salmon
James McBain (Scotland)          5-3 Garry Hardiman

Round 2 (amateurs)

Edward Davies (Wales)            5-2 Jason Bates
Ashley Walker                    5-2 Anthony Crosbie
Stephen Croft                    5-4 Robert James
Steven Bennie                    5-? Waheed Khan
Sunit Vaswani                    5-2 Jonathan Beeko
Ryan Day (Wales)                 5-0 Matthew Barnes
Gareth Coppack (Wales)           5-2 Craig Taylor
Graham Driver                    5-2 Andrew Esgrove
Stuart Roper                     5-1 Alexander Ness
Tim English (Wales)              5-4 Robert Murphy (Ireland)
Ben Fitzgerald                   5-3 Michael Wild
Kelly Fisher                     5-2 Arthur Eldridge
Nick Smith                       5-0 David Butler
Stuart Mason                     5-3 Wayne Cooper
Luke Fisher                      5-1 David Turner
Adam Jackson                     5-1 Tony Wood
Stan Murphy (Ireland)            5-0 Karl McQuillan
Scott MacKenzie                  5-1 Mohammed Azim
Jason Barton                     5-1 Darren Griffiths
Richard Clark                    5-2 Ian Lee Hunter
Charles Isbill                   5-4 Andrew Norman
Stephen Maguire (Scotland)       5-2 Nicholas Heseltine
Jonathan Nelson                  5-4 Nayef Al-Jawini
Neil Craycroft                   5-2 Anthony Noble
Lee Spick                        5-0 Keith Sheldreck
Jimmy Carney                     5-3 Nicholas Wiles
David Gilbert                    5-2 Mark Abrahams
James Linehan                    5-4 Colin Bingham
Mark James                       5-4 Stewart Colcough
Brian Salmon                     5-1 Gary Challis
Garry Hardiman                   5-1 Ian Preece (Wales)
James McBain (Scotland)          5-3 Adam Davies

Round 1 (amateurs)

Ashley Walker                    5-4 Lee Farebrother
Stephen Croft                    5-1 Richard Walsh
Steven Bennie                    5-4 Matthew Bulbeck
Jonathan Beeko                   5-3 Faisal Almisfer
Matthew Barnes                   5-0 Liam Smith
Ben Fitzgerald                   w/o Douglas Hogan (Ireland)
Arthur Eldridge                  5-2 Jonathan Lewis (Wales)
Stuart Mason                     5-3 Kevin Fitton
Luke Fisher                      5-1 Andrew Rosser (Wales)
Stan Murphy (Ireland)            5-0 Neil Kershaw
Jason Barton                     5-0 Paul Dunthorne
Charles Isbill                   w/o Mark Colgan
Nicholas Heseltine               5-4 Andy Lee
Nayef Al-Jawini                  5-4 Pascal Richard
Nicholas Wiles                   5-4 Jason Smith (Wales)
Gary Challis                     5-0 Martin Johnson
Garry Hardiman                   5-2 Weland Holroyd
Adam Davies                      5-3 Barry Hughes

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